I am still under Michelangelo's spell....
This appeared in Asian Age...
What if NaMo pulls it off ??
Really! What if NaMo does pull it off? NaMo phobia/ mania has gripped India big time. It’s almost as if there is no other topic and not a single individual worth discussing or dissecting left in this vast country of ours.With even TIME magazine jumping on the bandwagon and all but declaring Modi the next prime minister of India in a syrupy cover story, Modi’s juggernaut seems unstoppable. Each and every utterance of Gujarat’s Chief Minister goes instantly under a scanner as we look for hidden meanings, taunts, rants, insults, double entendres. We are being entirely ridiculous, and it’s about time we gave ourselves - and him - a break from this nonsense. Take the case of the idiotic ‘Puppy’ reference.It became a national issue when it was nothing more than careless linguistic usage. We jumped down his throat and gave that particular quote far more importance than it warranted. At best, it was a dumb analogy. At worst, a gauche remark. But that’s not how it was played. I am not a NaMo supporter… if anything I have been a consistent critic. But I have been observing with some degree of alarm that it is NaMo’s worst critics who have actually been doing the guy a favour by inadvertently creating a superhero out of him. Had virulently anti-Modi commentators ignored the ‘puppy’ incident, NaMo would not have dominated news channels and hogged as many headlines at a time when there were several other national issues at stake. That’s the thing about creating a bogeyman – at some point, the bogeyman comes back to bite.
Just a few months ago, nobody could have imagined that drawing room conversations across India would be dominated by a man called Narendra Modi. And look where he has reached purely in terms of name recognition and recall. How has this happened? And why? What has Modi done in this short period of time to get to this hallowed position? Is there a single milestone that can be highlighted?An exceptional feat? Some earth shaking development? Nope. If anything, he has gone from one gaffe to another ( rushing to Uttarakhand to rescue Gujarati pilgrims, being the most embarrassing act of derring do). And yet, he is the one a majority of people believe will make it as the next Prime Minister. Shocking as this sounds, it is no longer in the realm of mere speculation, or even blatant propaganda put out by his many supporters. It is time to concede only person who can beat Narendra Modi today, is Narendra Modi himself.
Confidence is one thing. Over confidence, something else. Leaders who don’t understand the difference clearly don’t understand good leadership. Narendra Modi has been talking way too much. He sticks both his feet in his mouth each time he opens it. Supporters lap up each faux pas and rush to defend their leader. Which is fine.That’s what supporters are there for. Modi has the best media management machinery in place, going by the record number of vicious trolls on the loose. So, why on earth is he making so many ridiculous statements in the first place? Either he knows something about the electorate that experts don’t. Or, he is just being himself. There is the third explanation and that may just be the right one – semantics. Modi does fine when he sticks to Gujarati, his mother tongue. It is when he ambitiously ventures into making bhashans, or gives interviews in Hinglish, that his carefully constructed image goes for a toss. Let’s face it, his Hindi sucks. And frankly, he doesn’t need to speak English – in today’s times, regional languages work best. And this is the key message his overzealous minders should pass on to their leader – speak Gujju, think Gujju, act Gujju.That’s the Modi brand. That’s Modi’s USP. A great orator sticks to the one language he has mastery over in order to make the maximum impact.
As the Modi campaign picks up momentum, there is going to be far greater scrutiny and debate each time he addresses a rally. The smart thing for his opponents to do is ignore him. His only real rival is a phantom. India is still waiting for the official announcement on Rahul Gandhi ( which, of course, won’t be made). Rahul Baba’s stony silence and frequent disappearing acts hardly help matters. Nobody seems to know what the hell Rahul stands for or if he is even interested in the top job. Since there are no other obvious candidates in the picture right now, it’s a solo run for Modi. A dream run. In Bollywood parlance, it’s like a hero suddenly discovering his movie is the only one to release during Eid or Diwali. When a theatre actor presents a one man show, it is assumed he is either blindingly brilliant or depressingly delusional. It’s always the audience that has the last word.Right now, Modi is that actor, and India, his stage.It’s advantage Modi. Sure,he’s talking big– that’s his prerogative. But it’s those bechara Congresswallas routinely falling for the bait and hitting back in posh English, who should instantly back off! Modi provokes them – and they obediently react ( or rather, over react). He describes himself in grandiose terms, and everybody rushes to pull him down. This is plain silly. History has thrown up worse bigots, megalomaniacs, show offs and braggarts. History has also discarded them with ease. NaMo is on a roll right now. Sooner or later he is going to miss a step, trip and shoot himself in the foot. The smart thing for his opponents to do is really do nothing at all, but watch from the side lines. And wait for NaMo to self -destruct. It’s entirely possible.