It’s Modi Sarkar. Get Over It.

I distinctly remember the bumper sticker that I saw quite a few times (living in the South, of course) when George W Bush won his second election. Well, technically that was the first one he won, but it was his second term, remember?  It said: W is President, Get Over It!  It was aimed squarely at Democrats and liberals. Like moi.

More recently when President Obama was elected (both times!), you could see a bumper sticker that said – “Obama is President, Get Over It, Republicans!“.  Memories of this are a bit hazy. My premise is that a painful taunt sticks with you longer than the others. I know this was there, but I don’t remember giving it much thought. After all, it wasn’t meant for me.   🙂

Switch to the Eastern hemisphere.

Still in India, I watched as the dramatic election results unfolded and the expectations of the new Modi government (“Sarkar”) rose. And kept rising. The markets are bullish, the world awaits “India Shining” (again), and most people are behaving like they have won the lottery.

No one can accuse me of being a Modi supporter.  He was about the most scary character who had the potential to become the new leader of India. The only one scarier, unfortunately, was his chief opposition, the dynastic heir-in-waiting.  Perhaps that accounts for why Modi won such a resounding, no holds barred victory?

Narendra_Modi_in_Odisha

Modi campaigning

So, I sit here and contemplate the situation and the future of India (sometimes I wonder why, but that’s a question for another time). My first thought to myself is, get over it.  But that’s easier said than done. So, then I wonder – really, what could and what will likely happen under a Modi government?

About the best way to get over something unpleasant is to think of all the positives that could be associated with said situation. At least, that’s what I believe. Either that or hide your head in the sand. Somehow, that prospect doesn’t appeal too much to me.

So, I’ve delved deep into my psyche to unearth the positives of Mr. Modi as the new PM. Actually, not really. I simply reasoned through the situation and his personality, and came up with enough fodder to help my thinking in a different way.  See what you think.

The issue with Modi was never whether he could deliver the goods on economic growth or development of India. There was always a good chance that he could – with his unique brand of governance, determination and resolve. His marketing machine certainly gave that impression.

The issues were about whether he believed in secularism and pluralism. It was whether he would ever overcome the reality and perception of his responsibility in the Godhra tragedy, about whether he truly believed in the idea of India’s democracy, and freedom of speech, and whether his agenda was ultimately about Hindu fundamentalism – yes, even this religion based so heavily on the principles of tolerance can apparently be fundamentalist.

But.  And it’s a big one! Modi comes across as one of the smartest and most savvy of leaders. How else could he get where he has reached? In addition, he has made his aggressive ambitions clear to everyone. He wanted to be the Prime Minister, leading India into her glorious future, and he got that. But he also does not want anything to stand in the way of many terms of leadership. The only way to guarantee that is to succeed and to succeed rather well.

Therefore. Isn’t he much too smart to fall into any trap?  Isn’t his ego much too large to be anything close to what his detractors expect? Doesn’t he want to thumb his nose at all of them and make them simply shut up and eat their words? I say, yes!

Think about it. I believe he is out to prove to everyone how good and great he is and will be for the country. He knows that there is a spotlight shining squarely on him, and that that spotlight is not going anywhere anytime soon. He wants everyone to forget about Godhra and the past, put it behind and move forward.

My postulation therefore is that he will focus on the things that matter to most of the country. That means the agendas for economic progress and development of India, at the cost of any other. He’s got a lot to prove and major expectations to meet.

Case in point. By inviting the Pakistani PM to his swearing-in ceremony, hasn’t he in effect thumbed his nose (rather vigorously) at his detractors (yours truly included)?  There’s no denying that it was a remarkably bold, calculating and smooth move on his part.

Get this. Now that Sharif has accepted the invitation, this will be an absolute first in the long and hostile history of India and Pakistan. Methinks that Modi is making a very significant and crucial point to everyone that is watching. He intends to be bold. He intends to be unpredictable. And he intends no missteps that will take anyone back to regurgitate his messy history.

To all the people whose opinions of Modi closely match mine, I say to them – watch, wait, listen and wait some more but ultimately, in India, it is Modi Sarkar, so a wise move would be to really get over it. Even at this early stage, I actually do believe there are some very good reasons we can.  

Opinions are free, right? So, here’s mine. Like him or not, there are many qualities of Modi that have the potential to help/save India – he’s just a bit too smart, too proud, too much of a narcissist and too ambitious to fail. And that’s good for the country.

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Finally, I’m certain of one thing – I’d rather be wrong (about all my previous gloomy expectations) than have him fail now. You?

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Updated two days later:   There was an article in the papers in India today that was rather disturbing.  It didn’t take a lot of newspaper real estate because that was taken over by the Modi swearing-in ceremony planned for this evening. The news was about the arrest of a couple of people in different parts of India for either posting a Modi criticism on social media or receiving one as a message on their phone. Really? This is democracy?

So, sad to say, while I wish for everything that is positive for the country and postulate that Modi’s ambitions will overcome his weaknesses, the flip side of the discussion is that his arrogance and totalitarianism could very well upset the apple cart. And it’s a big apple cart, some 1.2 billion+ big!

So, once again, it’s watch and wait time. Fingers crossed.

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Posted on May 25, 2014, in india, people, politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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