Sunday, June 09, 2013

NaMonia vs NaMania

History is full of lessons but we are in an era of short term memories and instant gratification, so we lack vision and visionaries. The last three days have seen images and signs of hysteria with a build up reminiscent of what was seen in 1930's in far away Germany. It led to the rise and rise of a leader called Adolf Hitler and the fall of a nation and its people leading to a shame which continues to haunt it. While 2013 is not 1930's and India is not Germany and Modi is not Hitler may be true, but it is time for right thinking individuals to stand up and thwart the NaMoniacal NaMania that can potentially lead to a situation that Germany found itself in.

There are so many what if's that are worth recollecting today and ironically 11 years back at the same venue a leader with a visionary image which transcended party lines had an opportunity to live up to his image and create history. Atal Bihari Vajpayee instinctively knew that the occurrences in Gujarat 2002 were not an action reaction but a criminal act of misgovernance where the state instead of impartially protecting all sections of the populace, allowed one section to kill and persecute the minority. Weather this was just allowing the Hindus to wreak vengeance for Godhra train burning or a calculated cynical attempt to consolidate the Hindu vote was not certain in 2002, but A B Vajpayee's comment to Modi reminding him of the concept of Raj dharma left nobody in doubt. At that time the hawk in L.K. Advani saw the electoral dividend and prevented Vajpayee from following his conscience. Had Vajpayee acted, the 2004 story may have been different, and so would 2009 been different. While the 2002 led to solid consolidation of Gujarat, the plurality of the Indian polity and the divisive agenda of the BJP, did not find support in the country and despite the NDA running a decent Government, its obsession with India shining and minority bashing lost it the support of the wise common man and revived a dead and moribund Congress. Even Advan's attempt to hide his true colors failed to convince the wise Indian voter. Over the years Modi has systematically usurped the powers of the state and back stabbed and betrayed all the persons who contributed to his rise, by foul or fair means. In Gujarat majority appeasement became the mantra and making minorities live as second class citizens became the norm. Along with this media manipulation and self glorification made Modi a larger than life figure. His efficient and effective governance was projected as a model worthy of emulation on a national scale. Our first past post election model does not reflect the popular mandate and even in Gujarat where Modi has never got past the 50% mark. large section of the gujarati population is now seeing through the game and in my recent visit to Gujarat I was pleasantly surprised to see some of my cousins and Gujerati friends seeing the threat and danger which Modi represents. The Congress had 9 years to rule efficiently and run an inclusive government but massive corruption and government which is anti common man has given Modi and his party an opportunity. The efficient style of governance and corporate CEO efficiency are worthy of emulation and can lead to a rapid economic growth, however, the state of Gujarat is a business class state and would have grown even without a Modi at the helm. The swanky malls of Ahmadabad the smooth roads and expressways, flyovers, ambitious solar power projects and rise in prosperity are indeed very impressive, but the price the nation may have to pay by endorsing a dictator and arrogant megalomaniac leader will far outweigh these benefits. India has endured and punished the dictatorship and arrogance of Indira Gandhi in the mid'70's, and Advani and Vajpayee were imprisoned physically. Today both of them are imprisoned, while one does not even know his fate the other knows it and finds himself helpless and breft of support in a party which he himself has created.

However, I see hope and have immense faith in the wisdom of the ridiculed and underestimated common man the so called "mango people". They will come up with a verdict that will punish the corrupt present government and yet not allow a dictator to sit in the top chair. NaMonia will remain just that and till there are enough right thinking democratic people, Modi's dream of making India a theocratic Hindu rashtra will remain just a dream.

Vispi H. Jokhi