He was not a man of wealth. Neither was he a product of IIT or Harvard. He was a common man with common origins. Yet, within a decade he was able to mine the cultural gold of the common people and offer them a lifeline away from the coalition of ruthless looters. The people, in turn did not fail him. They took to him like a duck to the waters. And after a grueling campaign of sheer brilliance, Narendra Modi ascended the historic stage with an overwhelming majority. Amidst wild jubilation accompanied by historic echoes of “Veni, Vidi, Vici”, a stunned world watched as he took his place as Prime Minister of the largest democracy of the world.
It was not easy. He had to run the gauntlet between the haughty dynasty’s sting squad, the vehement accusation of “2002 riots”, the steady drumbeat of demonization, and endless recriminations loaded with contempt. Gutsy and straightforward, he braved the largest and longest witch hunt ever launched against him by the hydra like tentacles of the Dynasty and their vested henchmen. Yet, like the fierce wind he rose unscathed and unfazed. For nobody could match his conviction that his fight was the poor man’s fight, the unemployed man’s fight, the laborers fight and the Nationalist’s fight to reclaim their land from the cabal sold to foreign interests.
For decades, India was a two lane highway – one lane for the privileged and the well-connected, and the other for the common man. Slowly, the lane for the common man became smaller and smaller as the looting orgy of the privileged increased in leaps and bounds. Resentment was growing, inflation was marching ahead of the country and jobs disappeared in a swooning economy. The government enmeshed in gridlock was in bed with crony capitalists and the nation stared at a horizon looking forlorn and bleak. When Modiji sounded the bugle call of development, the recession-battered people took the call that pushed the tides of History. They faced a stark choice – either they roll up their sleeves and vote for change or forever limp into the future.
Victim of a political system gone rogue, they chose to change and in the process, drove the fat cats to oblivion. For the first time in over a decade, hope glimmered in the long lines of polls, solemn magic came out of the civilizational cradle of Varanasi, and a land of mythic proportions came alive with a new collectivism that moved the political needle away from the complacent dynasty.
Meanwhile that hoary stereotype of “secularism versus communal” flew out of the country as soon as the people marched to the old pull of “roti, kapda aur makaan.” The endless debates lost its cultural currency as soon as the Modi colossus crusaded across the country and gave notice to a rocky economy. While media experts resurrected the “2002 riots” again and again, a quiet miracle took place within the beating heart of the vast and varied land. The result – the people struck back and sent the rotten ship of state sailing towards the sunset.
There are many stories to tell here. There is the story of a self-made man and his wrenching odyssey against the largest, longest witch hunt since Independence, which eventually propelled him to History’s stage with the force of a giant. There is the story of a people who have borne the psychological weight of centuries of being told, “You are not good enough.” There is the bleeding story of Kashmir, whose pundits roam the land seeking a home. There is the story of Bangladeshi refugees who squat on India’s land and bat for India’s enemies. There is the story of unsung martyrs, hounded whistle-blowers, courageous officers, investigative journalists, and firebrand patriots who have told the sordid tale of cover-ups and corruption and paid for with their livelihood or their lives.
Then there is the story of overwhelming arrogance on the part of the dynasty who took and took and gave back nothing. Always high on optics and low on substance, the truth finally escaped its tight clutches. All of these stories are woven into people’s memory and have laid the bricks of revolt that eventually smashed the much hyped façade of the rulers and their fawning yes-men.
The biggest story, however, is that in spite of high-sounding bytes, sophisticated talking heads, misleading rhetoric, the people have learned to strike back. In spite of a hostile and elitist media, their epic quest for dignity and justice has resulted in a unified voice that will not be quiet any more. It has brought together a broken country in the nick of time and it will do so again and again.
Finally, the happy ending to all the stories is that the common man has risen from his seat and has had his say. And nobody, not even the vicious dynasty can ignore him. This is what gives meaning and substance to the victory of a can-do renaissance man, Narendra Modi.
And while the nation savors the victorious hero, He who rules Time and the Seasons, having done His merciful work will move on quietly with a soft benediction echoing Modiji’s wishes, “Good Days Have Begun.”
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