Two Shades of Democratic Socialists
In the last week, two stalwarts of Indian public life, who claim themselves to be democrats and socialists, gave divergent views on Narendra Modi’s PM candidature. We have to decide which side is truly democratic and which one is dictatorial….
At a book launch function in Bangalore on September 16, Kannada writer Dr UR Ananthamurthy expressed his view on Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Shri Narendra Modi, when even there was no need of making such a statement. He said, “I won’t live in a country ruled by Narendra Modi”.
Everybody has a right to criticise and gave their expressions on any topic freely in democracy but there is a huge difference between freedom of expression and an expression of irrational hatred. Ananthamurthy too had a right to criticise Modi but he cannot premeditate, assume and impose his personal views on others. People of India wait in anticipation to listen to the speeches of Modi and in fact, already waiting for the next speech which showcases his vision for Bharat and how he will build a vibrant Bharat.
Modi a good candidate to be PM of India—Justice VR Krishna Iyer
Narendra Modi, a leading public figure of Gujarat has fascinated me for two great policies of his as Chief Minister of Gujarat. He dared to fight alcoholism and make prohibition a near success in his State. Secondly he introduced solar power as a viable project in his State. So I wrote to him this appreciative letter:
“I gather from the media that Shri Narendra Modi, presently Chief Minister of Gujarat is declared to be a candidate of BJP for Prime Ministership of India. Without reference to his politics and as an independent myself, I wish him success since I am of the view that he has positive qualities of nationalism and comity of cosmic dimension. I take the view that we should not have nuclear power in India. ‘Nuclear never and Solar ever’ is my policy. Japan, the victim of Tsunami of nuclear danger and earthquake has closed down its last nuclear project according to the media report. Narendra Modi stands for solar power. No other State in India has developed solar power on a grand scale as Narendri Modi’s Gujarat has done. Mahatma Gandhi and the Constitution of India are against alcoholism which is a multiple evil and ruinous for the Indian people. The only State which insists on prohibition and has put it into practice is Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. So far as I can gather corruption in public life has been eliminated in Gujarat. As a man his integrity deserves great praise. On the whole his administration deserves national support and so I wish him the rare opportunity to be the Prime Minister of India who will implement the great principle of Swaraj and eradicate poverty. I am a socialist by conviction and support Modi on the assumption that he too is a socialist and an advocate of human rights and Indian fraternity, justice, social, economic and political of the Gandhian ethos.
Great and glorious Narendra Modi, Felicitations galore and congratulations Everest on your illustrious birthday! May it inaugurate a career of Primeministership and national splendour of the Indian people as their Prime Minister.”
To support Modi required courage and my letter created considerable controversy. To make my points plain I put them down in a seven point formula where I insisted on socialism, secularism and marked a copy to him which elicited a lucid reply which I enclose herewith.
I will briefly discuss my reaction to his reply since there is much misunderstanding about him especially vis a vis his anti-Muslim communalism, socialism and secularism. The major objection to Modi’s governance was the communal riot in Gujarat of which the responsibility was found to be on the shoulders of Modi who was then the Chief Minister. As Chairman of an enquiry Committee I have found fault with him, so how can he be a secularist now was the criticism against me in supporting him. True, men may change their policies and views and assuming Modi to be a communalist at one time he could well change. So, I thought he has changed. His reply to my letter endorses my view that either he is a communalist and anti-Muslim or I am against him. I take the liberal view that he has changed as seen from his reply. So if he agrees with me on socialism, secularism and democracy and is willing to fight corruption in public life I see no reason why a man of integrity like Modi and who swears by nationalism he should not be supported. I maintain my conditional advocacy of Modi.
September 23, 2013 V.R. KRISHNA IYER