I’m addressing you with your first name even though you are the Prime Minister of India. This I’m doing after taking a cue from you during Barack’s recent visit to India (Barack, as you very well know, is the President of the United States of America, also known by the quaint acronym POTUS, especially, I’m told, by the legions of security personnel who protect him from known unknowns, unknown knowns or whatever…you get it, right?).
I hope you now have some breathing space from your jet-setting schedule and from entertaining world-renowned guests to tea at expansive lawns, amid the sharing of stories of courage and hardship from your childhood and youth. You, like your bespoke tailoring suit, rock, man! I know this because you yourself have told everyone loud and clear at multiple forums.
And even though you have tried to share your Mann ki Baat (matter from the heart) on state-sponsored radio, something tells me you are hiding a lot deep down your 56-inch chest.
In all possibility, this hiding may be causing you undue pain, pain that is hidden from this cruel world that only knows to laugh at, ridicule and criticize politicians rather than show any empathy.
The other day, I overheard a bunch of wealthy businessmen chuckling at your discomfort. One of them remarked, “Bechara Modi! (Poor Modi) He must be sick and tired of one or the other of the Sangh Parivar making some religiously loaded or divisive comment every now and then. If this goes on, his economic agenda will be derailed sooner than Kejriwal can change his mind!”
As of writing this post, Kejriwal hasn’t but Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India’s long-ruling Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, is probably thinking of changing his mind about something critical in his life—perhaps because he couldn’t change the sinking fortunes of the Congress party in the last general election.
But then I digress, so let’s come back to you…
You apparently set in motion a Modi wave that swept through the poor country that India is. The millions of jobless youth, tens of thousands of entrepreneurs whose businesses were suffering because of UPA-II’s scams and indecisions (and the handful of mega-industrialists who had billions riding on that wave), among countless other voters, brought you and your party to power.
It’s possible that the pain in your chest is a manifestation of all the unfulfilled election promises. And it doesn’t help that your poll prospects from the rest of India (after Delhi) wherever elections are due are seen to be declining.
I know you have tried hard to package old Congress wine of policy schemes and structures into swankier new bottles but, unfortunately, many people want results, not hangovers.
Every now and then, there are comments from one business tycoon or the other, including some international credit rating agency, that the prospects of growth have begun to look good for India. But there are contrary opinions as well.
At least one industry shouldn’t be complaining: media. I have seen your ads on innumerable pages of newspapers, on hoardings all over the city, on so many websites where you would least suspect them to appear, and wherever there has been space to accommodate your well-bearded, avuncular face. And I have not yet reached the state of naiveté where I can believe that the media moguls have given you space for free because they are all Modi bhakts (devotees) or consider splattering those ads an act of patriotism.
Let us get this straight: I’m all for ads because they affect me too, for I’m also part of the media industry. But I think spending on building toilets and recycling waste will be more effective than saying, “Clean India, Clean India!” or “Swachh Bharat, Swachh Bharat!” a hundred thousand times.
Allow me to take just one example: I sometimes use the public loos in Delhi where a lot of swanky urinals were installed in ex-CM Sheila Dixit’s tenure (around Commonwealth Games I think). But hell, there is no water or flushing system and people just keep pissing into the ceramic receptacles ad nauseam.
Would it be possible to divert some of the tidal water from the Modi wave to flush out the filth in the capital’s urinals? (Other cities and towns would be worse off, I presume, and also in need of urgent watery intervention).
Another instance where I can speak from personal experience is the poor state of data connectivity. While your government has quickly launched some websites and your social media machinery is quite active, those gestures do not a Digital India make. I know, I know, other initiatives are in the works—but my fear is that as far as broadband connectivity in India is concerned, it has been always in the works for the past 10-15 years (many other “comparable” nations, meanwhile, have zoomed past India in “digital index”).
Narendra bhai, everyone knows your full name and that you are the PM of India by now. Ab naam ki nahi, kuchh kaam ki baat chalu karo! (Now start talking of the work rather than the name.)
I know you sleep fewer hours than many of your other, able-bodied political brethren. But please remember that hundreds of millions of Indians still sleep on an empty stomach. And those who do get their fill, still have no choice but to empty it in the open.
As of now, shit is one of the biggest things we make in India. The pun, though unfortunate, is intended.
You must fix a lot of things before India can proudly unleash its “lion” out in the world for its roar to be heard.