Is Modi just a Hindutva Agent or is he Spiritual?

From the time Narendra Modi showed up on the graph of Indian Politics, it has been with the tag of Hindutva attached to him. By Hindutva the media always meant a Hindu who is unafraid of using his religion or powers to attack people of other religions – in short, a Hindu terrorist. It always made me wonder whether Hinduism had come to such dire straits that we had to resort to terrorism to protect it. I also used to wonder whether people actually believed that two wrongs made a right.

Gujarat is the land of Somnath, Lord Shiva who partially forgave the Moon God Som for his partiality to only one of his numerous wives. Partially, because Som had to undergo the monthly process of waxing and waning, so that he would understand what it meant to hurt another person. It is this very Somnath temple which had to face the furious ravaging of Mohamed Ghouri, not once, but 18 times. I remember reading that the natives of this land rebuilt the temple all 18 times without resorting to violence from their side. Gujarat is also the land of Gandhiji, the father of our nation. As is well known, he was instrumental in our freedom struggle, not by the bullet but by ‘Ahimsa’ – non violence.

All this was the past, right? When we talk about the recent past, Gujarat featured in the news regularly only with respect to Godhra riots. Again and again. There was hardly a day when the newspapers did not carry news about Modi being held responsible for the carnage or for terrorizing minorities. Very rarely did one read news about the start of the riot; but one did read news about the reaction. One read news continuously about how one religion was targeted by the Government of Gujarat. It did make me wonder whether Modi was so powerful and such a dictator that the Central Government was unable to do anything to stop such targeting. Was the Central Government there only to watch the unfair acts of Modi from the sidelines?

“Any coward can fight a battle when he’s sure of winning; but give me the man who has the pluck to fight when he’s sure of losing.” – George Eliot.

Then more recently, thanks to the new age media, like the internet, one started getting news of wide spread progress in Gujarat. One also started getting news about people of the minority religion leading peaceful lives there. I must say that this conflicting information about Modi really made me wonder what kind of a dual personality Modi must be having. Every day during the election campaign, it was routine to see Modi being vilified by all the stalwart politicians of almost every political party of India. All so-called great people insisted that they would leave the country if Modi became the Prime Minister. What drama! Many a times it seemed that Modi would lose the votes of the educated classes.

“What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside you.” – Wayne Dyer.

Right; one could see the vitriol being spewed by so many against one person. Throughout the campaign, Modi was more respectful to the opposition than most other campaigners. The election results threw up the biggest surprise ever seen by the people of a free India. The reportedly most hated man was actually the most desired man for the post of the Prime Minister. Whaaat!!! Was it actually possible that the reasonably peace loving Indian decided to vote for the terror loving Modi? Or was it that the media, the ruling government and their cronies were the only ones who believed that Modi was a terror loving horror? Did this mean that the Judiciary was correct all along in giving a clean chit to Modi despite all attempts by the ruling government and some NGOs to make him look like the Supreme Villian?

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened; vision cleared; ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller.

I waited with bated breath to hear Modi speak after the Battle Royale. I knew that the speeches by politicians before the elections were always aimed to please the masses and garner votes. The real speech would be the one by the winner, after the decisive vote. The actions of the winner would actually show what kind of a person he really was. In the case of Modi, this seemed so true. The first action of Modi was to seek the blessings of his aged mother. While the people watched, Modi sat on a simple plastic chair next to his mother, speaking to her and speaking to the family members. He neither attempted to ask for a more comfortable chair, nor did he seek to speak in privacy. There was speculation on where he would give his first speech as the PM designate. He gave it in Vadodara, in Gujarat. He was showing respect to his elders, the land and the people he belonged to. And as an indication that he belonged to the entire country, he spoke in Hindi, the National language.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Ernest Hemingway.

If his words are any indication, he has definitely chosen to project himself as superior to his former self. His speech was aimed at Patriotism, first and last. When he likened the nation to a mother, when he said that no son could bear to see the tears of his mother, one had to reflect on the scene between his own mother and him when he won. He spoke only about an all-inclusive development. When he said that the country needed to think of every action being done, as an action done for the development of the nation, I felt that here was one modern politician who was actually putting the nation first. He was speaking about every person being a small part in the larger picture of things. This is Spirituality speaking!

His body language during the Ganga Aarti at Benaras showed how much he was in touch with the present. At the time when the Aarti was going on, he did nothing other than absorb the piety and be one with the ritual. His hand, his eyes, his body, all showed his devotion. Those sitting next to him were talking and discussing some matter, but not him. He was fully in the present. When he started talking, he spoke about immersing the ashes of a freedom fighter, as per his last wishes, in the Ganga. I am sure that not many remember having read any news about this when it was done. To honor the dying wishes of an unrelated person, a person he has never even met, with no fanfare or expectations, calls for character and spirituality. He went on to speak about cleanliness. While everyone expected him to only talk about cleaning Mother Ganga, he went a step further and spoke about cleanliness in the whole country, starting with Benaras. While saying so he quoted Gandhiji’s passion for cleanliness. It is an oft-learned lesson that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” For a Prime Minister designate to talk about cleanliness in his first address to the citizens of the place where he was elected from shows his commitment to sorting out even the little problems.

When Modi spoke about Benaras’s return as the spiritual jewel of India, he was not just talking about Hinduism; I believe that he meant that we need to take pride in the spiritual foundation as laid by our ancestors. India has indeed been the beacon of spirituality in the world and if it has to embrace modern progress, it should be firmly on the shoulders of our spiritual past. If we only aim for financial and physical progress, it would be as ephemeral as our perceived progress in the past years of our freedom from British rule. Swami Vivekanand had said “Everything that is excellent will come when the sleeping soul is aroused to self conscious activity.” He also said “Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith in God … this is the secret of greatness.” When Modi exhorted the citizens of India to take one step forward (leading to 125 crores of steps ahead in India), I believe this is what he was trying to do – arousing Indians from their slumber of inactivity into activity for the noble goal of development of the Nation. If this is not spirituality, what is?


More by :  Rati Hegde

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Views: 3406      Comments: 15

Comment It's true that spirituality is a word on its own, but the concepts it is couched in constitute the distinction in religions, and leads to the term being qualified accordingly. An example is the term 'Ignatian spirituality' as used by the Jesuits in a distinguishing sense. HIndu spirituality contains concepts and practices that are unique to its understanding of the spiritual dimension. It is patently distinct from Muslim spirituality that employs different concepts. It would be a wonderful day when spirituality would be unqualified by the tenets of religious faith and understood for what it is..

26-May-2014 22:22 PM

Comment @rdashby ... Spirituality knows no religion ...

Rati Hegde
26-May-2014 04:16 AM

Comment In Modi’s triumph, there is a sense of deja vu of the day of Indian independence. Gandhi is echoed in Modi; but the danger of inclusion that terminated Gandhi's life with a Hindu fired bullet is now overridden as Modi's strength in theory. There are echoes too of the massacre accompanying Partition in the recent massacre in Gujarat, proving tit-for-tat killing is still on the unwritten agenda of both sides after all these decades. Hindu spiritualism was enshrined in the policies of Gandhi for India's future, and rejected, much as it is projected now in Modi as accepted, but in the wily guise of an election promise yet to be realised. One can blame secularism as the cause of corruption in India due to a disregard of moral principle whose objective terms of truth and brotherly love are at root Christian. Hindu spirituality has no role in modern democratic society structured by the objective methods of science, a sibling of Christianity by virtue of its search for the truth, whose fruits are the equality of all men, as does any other religious form of spirituality. Just as the euphoria of independence lifted the whole nation, so the same in Modi's election to power - with a difference, that he is not a British educated Indian in the colonial stamp, and incorruptible in that respect, given that Britishness is a form of new Indianess without the Christian principles. One wishes Mr Modi luck, but as a politician one must remember that power is gained through promises that are often believed in more than they are credible.

24-May-2014 13:19 PM

Comment @ Mani ji ... yes, Modi ji only spoke about Vikas and that too a development which includes EVERYBODY. I am optimistic too.
@ DurgaMadhobji ... truly many a times it looked like we (the previous govt. esp.) had not come out of the era of Colonialism completely.... i hope this time round it is truly India Shining.
@ Kumarendra ji ... i had put up this article before Modi ji spoke about the poor in his address at the Council Hall. But i too look forward to good days ahead. I shall definitely read your write-up too.

Rati Hegde
23-May-2014 01:12 AM

Comment Rati, I liked the spirit behind your good write-up. The media and the politicians tried to malign Modi as they had done earlier with Jaya Prakash Narain or even Morarhi Desai. All are caught off guarded, since behind their canard propagonda there was great fear.
Modi also referred to 'Govt. of the poor, by the poor and for the poor.' It has escaped your attention. We do look forward to a brighter horizon and a brighter dawn, far different from a hazy morning over decades.
Please read my write-up ' Between the lines' published here along with yours, Rati.

Kumarendra Mallick
22-May-2014 10:38 AM

Comment The year 2014 will hopefully go down in history as the year of real independence.In 1947 we only gained political power,The British left but the administration retained the same colonial ethos and methods and that is the reason for all the problems we have.With the emergence of NAMO we are seeing the emergence of a truly INDIAN leader and hope that ethos of adminisratration will also become truly Indian putting an end to the colonial ethos and therby heralding arrival of independence in the real sense.Let us all pray that NAMO succeeds,which hopefully he will in spite of obstructions which he will definitely face from the people still imbued with colonial ethos as he has faced for the last 12years,and therefore he needs our collective prayer.
With NAMO rising we are perhaps seeing the emergence(if he succeeds) of the STATESMAN of the 21st century and perhaps embodiment of Swami Vivekananda,Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya all rolled into one.

22-May-2014 08:40 AM

Comment Modi from the word go spoke only of vikas and why the country badly needs it. He never spoke about anything remotely divisive while the rest were focussing on that. Even in the address in the Central Hall he was projecting an inclusive approach to everything even though the BJP was numerically well placed. He not only sounded spiritual but looked it. Your article was good.

22-May-2014 08:00 AM

Comment @Harsha ji ... thx ... I guess i did not know that ... but let us look at it as the language understood by the majority of the people.
@Jeti ji ... yes, i agree that Modi indeed had to face too much criticism but he emerged stronger from all that :) Thx ..
@ Suresh ji ... truly the majority have spoken this time with an interest not seen before & thus this result. Thanks for your comments ...
@ Mr. Kundu ji ... indeed if one really loves & respects one's religion then one respects all other religions even better. I agree with what you have written. Let us hope for the best :)

Rati Hegde
21-May-2014 09:41 AM

Comment What is wrong with Hindutwa? If a Hindu strongly believes in being a Hindu, what is wrong with it? Is there anything wrong, if somebody has faith in Islam, or for that matter, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism? Nothing wrong. Any believer of any religion is a good person. I think only notorious self seekers speak ill about followers of any religion. They are mischief mongers and they speak rotten things in public space. A famous devotee of Kali in Bengal (Kavi Raamprasaad) composed a song, which roughly translated would go like this: "Mother, confuse and confound, so that I can loot ...". This is the game that religion baiters play. In Narendra Modi we have a true Indian leader. I repeat, "TRUE INDIAN LEADER". Let GOD give him the strength to CONFOUND MISCHIEF-MONGERS.

Sharbaaniranjan Kundu
21-May-2014 01:42 AM

Comment Rati very well written.No other leader,in india and abroad, faced so much vilification as Modi. What you have written is absolutely correct. I have lived in Gujarat for almost 4 decades and muslims had no reason to feel unsafe except during that short period in 2002.Had the burning of the two coaches of Sabarmati Express not taken place, this short period of insecurity would not have arisen.The intellectuals and so called secularist made a hobby of anyone chanting "hinduism" as communal and those talking about any other religion or no religion as secular.But this feeling was limited to the English and the western media. I think for the first time the common people, who are in majority, have decided their choice on their own.

20-May-2014 15:22 PM

Comment Modi was special that is why Vajpai sent him as CM to control Gujarat. In 2002, he was maligned by media (specially popular NDTV) and by Congress. Nobody giving his side of story. It appeared that Congress saw him as a threat in future and hence wanted to silence him by hook or by crook which went till the last stages of election. Some of the TV talkers appears to be take easy way and that is to bash Modi to show they are doodh se dullah.
Modi is down to earth person a true Indian, did you all not notice that every time he won he would visit his mom touching her feet and then to his enemy Keshu who along with Congress wanted to finish him. With "Satyamev Jayte" on his side he perceived his objective including the present one.
Moreover all other parties only agenda was focused on opposing Modi and nothing else. He became still popular

20-May-2014 10:41 AM

Comment Hi Rati,
Its a good article. I am a Modi supporter too. However , you must note that Hindi is NOT the National Language of India. India does not have a National language as such.

20-May-2014 08:40 AM

Comment Buddha ji ... thanks for your words of appreciation. I am sure that Modi will succeed in making all of us take more pride in being the citizens of our country. We need him to succeed.

Rati Hegde
20-May-2014 06:42 AM

Comment A very cogent analysis of the present state of affairs.

20-May-2014 00:16 AM

Comment This is a very thoughtful and wonderfully worded article.
I am sure as more people listen to PM Mr.Modi,more they will know how powerful his words are and yet put so simply.
I hope the so called secularist will read Mr.Hegde`s article and try to understand PM Mr,Modi`s true nature.
Lord Krishna had promised: Sambhami yuge yuge,
PM Mr.Modi is here in human form to save mother India(Bharat Mata) one more time.
Bande Mataram.


Buddha d.Rudra
19-May-2014 23:06 PM

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