Dr Jay Dubashi
YOU can say that he came, he saw and he conquered, but that would not be quite right. Narendra Modi was in the capital for only a few hours, and he received a hero’s welcome, but it was more than a hero’s visit. He took New Delhi by storm, to the mild amusement of people like me, who expected it, and the shock of those in power, who did not know where to hide.
I watched Modi from a thousand miles away, from Pune in fact, where I live, but even I could feel the vibrations. In Delhi, of course, there were the usual demonstrations outside the college where Modi spoke, by the usual people, who are always demonstrating against this or that, but this time they were crying hoarse over the visit of a harmless man who had done nothing worse than pumping energy into the lives of a people who were raring to go, but did not know where, and how. In Narendra Modi, they have found a man who can point to the right direction, and he has appeared on the scene at the right time and, before the right people.
Most of us have known Narendra Modi for over thirty years, but he now appears in a totally new incarnation. He has obviously found a new voice, as happens to people who believe their time has come. You may say that there was nothing in his message in Delhi, if you can call it that, that was new, but then nothing in this world of ours is really new. All you can do, and that is all that Modi did before an eager crowd of students, is to point in the direction which, he thinks, this country should go, and, if you wish to follow, you may do so.
Let me first deal with the so-called Leftists from Jawaharlal Nehru University, who thought they could shout him down and force him to leave. But Modi has seen more summers than they have, and he has spent at least ten years trying his experiments in a state that speaks his language, both literally and figuratively. Gujarat is where Gandhi – the Mahatma, not the Nehru-Gandhi—started from, and Gujarat is also the state where Modi is starting on his political pilgrimage. He said so, or hinted as much at the beginning of his address, though I doubt many people in the audience took the hint. The biggest pilgrimage in this country, the march to freedom, started from Gujarat way back in 1920’s, and the second biggest pilgrimage, the march to greatness, is also starting from Gujarat. It is certainly not starting from Jawaharlal Nehru University, whatever the Leftists might think.
What were the Leftists shouting about? They didn’t say. Perhaps they had in mind the atrocities committed in 2001, when Modi had barely takenover as CM, and who had no hand in it. But communists of India, who have never spoken about the atrocities committed by their comrades, from Joseph Stalin and Laurenti Beria downwards, and are still being committed by mad men like Castro and his brothers in Cuba, can hardly point fingers at the events in Gujarat. Communists and atrocities, go together, for one cannot exist without the other. They should be the last people to point fingers at others.
But it is not what the Leftists did in New Delhi on February 6, 2013, but what the mass of eager students did that matters. And they never gave any outsider a more rousing reception than they did to Narendra Modi. This is not what I am saying, for men like me are likely to partial in such matters. I am referring to press reports, particularly reports in habitually hostile newspapers belonging to a British-styled company called Bennett Coleman, which simply could not conceal their astonishment at the rousing reception received by the man from Gujarat. I counted at least three dozen clappings in an hour, one every two minutes, which is not a bad thing, and which even Nehru must not have received. And at the end of it all, the boys and girls stood up and gave the speaker an ovation that Winston Churchill must have received in the House of Commons in London when he announced that Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in a filthy bunker in Berlin, and the Second World War had come to an end.
Make no mistake; we are at war, not with Leftists and their pinpricks, not with the likes of Setalvads and Manders, or the Hindu-haters like Mani Shankar Iyers, who simply do not understand Modi’s India, and why the young generation is fascinated by him and his philosophy. His philosophy is no different from that of Swami Vivekananda, to whom Modi made a reference at the close. The Swami always stood for a modern, resurgent India, an India that is the source of all that is beautiful and magnificent, an India of philosophers and kings, of sadhus and thinkers, an India that provides direction not only to those who call themselves Indian or Hindu, but to the entire humanity. Whenever the world falters, and there is nothing but darkness, India has come forward to guide the world from darkness to light, and from despair to hope. And that time has come.
There is little that is new is this. This is what Hindu philosophers and kings have been saying all along, but Modi is using a new idiom, an idiom of the 21st century. For every century uses new idioms to express itself, but what is expressed are the same old truths in new words. Lokmanya Tilak and Swami Vivekananda did it, more or less at the same time the beginning of a new century a hundred years ago, and Narendra Modi is now doing it in a new language, a language of the 21st century.
He spoke in Delhi about skills, scale and speed – new skills in an age of new technologies, high speed in a fast moving world always short of time, and on a vast scale in lien with the needs of a new big global world. The world is short of time and it is also short of space. In this new space-time visualised by Albert Einstein, also a hundred years go, all dimensions have to be looked at from new angles, and this applies to companies as well as nations. We are facing a new paradigm and we have to find new means to cope with it.
This is what the youth of this country senses instinctively since the youth is more attuned to the future than the old. Seventy and eighty years old men and women are too tired, physically and mentally, to respond to the new challenges which only the youth can sense, which is why the future belongs to them. And no country in the world, not China nor America or Europe, is as young as India, where 65 per cent of people are below 35 years old. India may be an ancient civilisation, but it is a young country, physically as well as intellectually, and its problems can be tackled only by the young.
In honouring Narendra Modi, the youth of this country is honouring youth and hope, present and future, today and tomorrow. And that is precisely the reason why he has become such an overpowering symbol of a new India.