“People are not upset when any other player is out with a low score, but if Sachin Tendulkar is out even at 90, he is criticized because people judge him on a different scale. I’m glad that I, too, have been judged on a scale of expectations and not on a scale of credit and discredit. ”
— Narendra Modi comparing his situation with that of Sachin’s / May 26, 2009
Image source: http://narendramodi.com/
Let me start with a confession: I am strongly biased in my views FOR Narendra Modi.
Modi, the name for which everyone has a clear opinion on. Either you are a big fan of Modi’s entrepreneur skills or you simply hate him for Gujarat Riots in 2002. I have very rarely come across people who have mixed opinion on this politician. I belong to the prior group and I have my own reasons and biases for it. I always wanted to write something about this great architect after the recent news about Supreme Court’s summon. Thanks to a friend, after reading whose article, I felt the moral duty to share my views on this Man with capital “M”. May be because it’s MY state and hence MY chief minister that I feel so obliged to share what I think about this whole debate on “Who is Modi, a great leader or a murderer?”.
For many people, when thinking about Modi, the first thing that comes to their mind is 2002 Gujarat Riots. On the contrary, I see the skyline of Gujarat that seems to have changed overnight. Every time I go to Gujarat I see so many changes in transportation, industries and incentives for young entrepreneurs that it’s hard to comprehend. Probably this is the Gujarat which the prior generation might have just dreamed of.
This does not mean that my memories of 2002 are diminished. I can never forget that ringing sound of lamp post which was used as an indication that a mob is approaching our area and we need to get ready. Those sleepless nights, wild thoughts and insecurity of tomorrow lasted for months. I can still visualize that night when I saw a mob of 100s of people, 20 meters away from me, shouting and screaming with metals in their hand. Sound of gunshots was so common that even a firecracker burnt in marriage would throttle our heartbeats. People were talking about leaving their home and going to a more *safer* place. That mere thought of having to leave the place was just dreadful. There were fewer days without curfew than with curfew. Shops, businesses, offices and schools remained closed for days. After being on the ground myself, I believe, its not just 1 or 2 individuals who suffered during that time but it is each and every individual living in Gujarat who had to suffer in one way or another. I don’t know when our impotent judicial system will uncover the culprits, but for me “it was a wave of emotion which took over every Hindu and Muslim and caused brutal damage”. The good news is that it has passed and its time now to move on. I don’t know what the facts are and truly, I don’t want to know them. It’s just going to open up the wounds which took long time to heal. This being said, if it’s Narendra Modi who was responsible for this massacre, he should be given his due punishment for sure. But I think until he is proven guilty, we need to blame our nonfunctioning system and not him or his government.
Leaving 2002 behind, I think Modi has tapped into the inborn skill of Gujaratis, that of being successful entrepreneurs. In 2001 he was sworn in as the CM, when Gujarat was trying to fight repercussions of earthquake. Now is 2010, 10 years from then, Gujarat has achieved what seemed impossible in 2001. Be it the Vibrant Gujarat initiative or Jyotigram-Yojana, Gujarat has grown at unimaginable pace. From a common man’s perspective he is getting more and better opportunities to work, better road and transportation facilities, access to drinking water and cheaper utilities due to increasing competition. As a common man from Gujarat, I am enthralled to see these changes in front of my eyes. It makes me feel good when Modi says “There is no red-tapism in my state, only red carpet”. This is a statement which is backed by big business tycoons and their investments in Gujarat. It is also evident from the fact that Gujarat is one of the fastest growing states in India.
Talking about the debates and furor in media, I feel Modi is getting political mileage out of it instead of damaging his image. I know that outside of Gujarat people have equally strong and opposite views for him. I doubt he will ever be a national leader with the stain of 2002 riots on him. I know he is often talked about being denied US visa, but never saw people appreciating his efforts in bringing global companies to Gujarat. What I like about this man is his vision. People compare him to personalities like Hitler, but I see him more similar to someone like Steve Jobs. Just as triumphantly Steve Jobs came back to Apple after being written off, Modi has repeatedly won the elections and people of Gujarat after being written off.
For me he is THE visionary who changed, transformed and enhanced the lives of my friends and family back there in Gujarat. I know this is highly one sided view, but this is what comes to my mind when I think about this divisive figure. Are you a fan or a critic of this controversial personality?
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