The Moving Finger Writes: Modi and an Awakened West
With the swearing in of the new government, the long journey for Narendra Modi has begun. No one ever dreamt of the way in which an entire country would consciously empower the BJP and Modi specifically, to move ahead unhindered. Many are comparing Modi’s success to that achieved by Franklin Delano Roosevelt way back in the early 1930s. Comparisons are odious. Roosevelt surely had a remarkable victory but Narendra Modi has outshone him. One can be assured that Modi will outclass the American leader in every department of activity – and there are scores of them.
The Modi victory is a powerful reminder that for India the time has come. There are icons to look up to like Roosevelt in the US, Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore but there, the comparisons should stop. India is India with its 1.2 billion people, multi-ethnic and multi-cultured and to win their grace is no small achievement. Indeed when one thinks of it, Modi is just incomparable. He has overcome sectarianism, communalism, linguistic chauvinism and sponsored hatred – situations no foreign leader ever had to face. That people across the country and industry as a lever have trusted him has already begun to show results.
According to an analysis by the ET Group, nearly 1,200 companies have so far unveiled earnings that suggest aggregate quarterly profits have jumped the highest in at least two years with an operating profit margins at a three-year high. As the media put it: “The January-March period could well turn out to be a watershed for India Inc.” What Modi has done is to inspire industry and with him now finally taking over the reins of power, an economic miracle can well be expected in a short while.
|Roosevelt surely had a remarkable victory but Narendra Modi has outshone him. One can be assured that Modi will outclass the American leader in every department of activity.|
For the first time, Modi has adopted as guiding principle the concept he has been repeating time and again during these electoral months: “Minimum government and maximum governance.” The ministries he has formed should bring more coordination between different departments. An official statement from Gandhinagar made this clear when it said that “the focus is on convergence in the activities of various ministries where one Cabinet Minister will be heading a cluster of Ministries who are working in complimentary sectors.” In an obvious way administration should be made easier than ever before with the government in full control. Already both the United States and China are showing greater interest to work hand-in-hand with India. In an article in The Economic Times (May 26), China’s Ambassador to India Wei Wei has made it clear that Beijing is looking forward to work with India to the maximum extent possible. China would like to help India build its infrastructure on the theory that “manufacturing and infrastructure are two sides of the same coin.” According to him “just as the common development of China and India would not be possible without cooperation between the two, the development of the world would be difficult without cooperation between China and India.” Shamelessly, the United States is also eager now to cooperate with Modi.
According to Nisha Desai Biswal, the US Assistant secretary of State for South Central Asia and the US administration’s point person for the region, both US President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are looking forward to engage with the new Bharatiya Janata Party government, including welcoming Narendra Modi to Washington. Long before the US saw the light, two European countries had taken a decision not to isolate Modi globally and credit must be given to Denmark and Sweden.
As early as 2008, two European diplomats, Ole Poulsen of Denmark and Lars-Olaf Lindgren of Sweden had defied the European Union visa ban, to reach out to the then Gujarat Chief Minister. The scandinavians proved to be more pragmatic than the famously pragmatic British. British High Commissioner James Bevan was to shake hands with Narendra Modi during a meeting in Gujarat in 2012, thus ending a 10-year diplomatic boycott by the United Kingdom of Modi. Then came the turn of the Germans and the French. Now, the West is at Modi’s feet. It may not take very long for the rest of the world to come to terms with Modi.
(The writer is a senior columnist and former editor
of Illustrated Weekly)