The True Power of Modi-Speak!

Narendra Modi missed the coveted mark, which he may come to regret some six decades later, in his *characteristic haste* to arrive on the scene. He entered this world on 17th of September 1950. Had he waited for just 89 days, he could have rightfully claimed to be reincarnation of the Iron man he so *dearly covets* at the moment. Sardar Patel breathed his last on 15th of December in the same year. In a society, where there is no dearth of *believers* in transmigration of soul, such reincarnation would have looked to Modi’s followers not just natural but a divine act guiding the destiny of an ancient civilization. It would have been a double whammy of sorts. Stakes could have been placed that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would get his just dues in his *reincarnation* as Modi, which were *denied to him* in his earlier life as Patel. This would have been a *clinching argument* to promote Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India post 2014 general elections. A vote for Narendra Modi, it could have then be claimed, is a vote for Sardar Patel. To add to this *fortuitous imagery*, the Patel-Modi duality could have also been seen as a harbinger of P-M or Prime Minister (of India).
Modi’s cavalier attempts to appropriate Patel, or Patel’s legacy to be precise, have been vociferously condemned from many quarters as they have been roundly applauded by his staunch admirers. His attempts are cavalier because even in this case truth is the biggest casualty as is the case often when Modi speaks. Media too has off late begun taking note of his casual disregard for facts just as the initial charisma of Modi-Speakis showing signs of wear. Times of India’s staff took note by calling it in a tongue in cheek headline: Modi’s Verity Malfunction, which was quite obviously styled on US media’s euphemism for publicly embarrassing sartorial situations of fashion models and starlets: the Wardrobe Malfunction. Modi is so smug about lying through his teeth that he doesn’t waver to utter blatant falsehoods, which could be very easily and conclusively nailed. In his eagerness to prove the shabby treatment and raw deal Patel got at Nehru’s hands, he went so far as to claim that Nehru did not attend Patel’s funeral.
This Modi-Speak was proved to be a blatant lie no sooner it was uttered. The politician, who wants to be seen as different from the rest, took the same much abused route of denying what he had said and of claiming he was misquoted (Modi has since “clarified” that he was misquoted. But, still, what explains the repeated cases of Narendra Modi getting it wrong?). The senior most leader and Bhishma Pitamah of BJP, L K Advani, who was not at all pleased at Modi’s haste to rise to the very top, recently jumped onto the Modi-Speak bandwagon by asserting that “Nehru called Sardar Patel “total communalist” when the latter had allegedly suggested after Independence that army be sent to take over a defiant Nizam’s Hyderabad state”. Advani cited a less known source, an autobiography in Malayalam by one MKK Nair- its title translated by one as “With ill feeling towards nobody” and by another as “The Story of an Era Told without Ill Will”. Whatever the actual title or the exact contents of this autobiography in Malayalam –a language that neither Advani nor I understand; Was the source authentic and believable? Surprisingly, MKK Nair, whom a seasoned Advani *trusted to make such a controversial and contestable statement*, there is very little information thrown up on him in Google search. There is no WiKiPedia page on him either, which otherwise has something to say about almost all and sundry. Nair Academy of Information Research and Services says M K K Nair was selected to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1950. It was well-nigh impossible for such a young person in the infancy of Indian republic to be privy to a Cabinet meeting or even a casual conversation between the then Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Then it occurred to me that Hyderabad police action took place in 1948 –full 2 years before Nair joined IAS. Even if Nair were to join IAS a few years earlier, his “knowledge of such an event” would be at best hearsay. One doesn’t know what exactly he has said in his Malayalam autobiography, but his testimony could be safely and rightly ignored. But, then what motives did prompt M K K Nair to lie? A news item in The Hindu dated 2nd January has a clue.
This may turn any man bitter, and a one who has sufficiently high self-opinion may like to pay back in the same coin. Curiously, The Hindu article credits MKK Nair with “establishing major infrastructure facilities for fertilizer units at Ambalamedu and Udyogamandal. FACT, with its own school and hospital, was one of the first industrial units that Kerala could boast of in the sixties and seventies”. Is it a fact that FACT was Nair’s brainchild? Fertilizers And Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT)’s website identifies its “Private Birth” in 1943 and later its “Public Takeover” in 1960. When even a reputed newspaper is careless about facts, it is no wonder that politicians in general and especially a highly ambitious one like Modi are totally cavalier in their approach to and regard for truth. However, this aspect of Modi is being commented upon quite extensively in the media, blogs-sphere, and discussion forums. Even Nitish Kumar, Bihar’s Chief Minister, did not lose a juicy opportunity offered by Modi to give latter lessons in history (Chandragupta belonged to Maurya and not Gupta dynasty, Alexander did not reach Ganges to be defeated there, Takshashila is not in Bihar but in today’s north-west Pakistan). However, while Kumar did well in ancient history, he has much to answer in contemporary history, where he too has had a role to play. As a starter, Kumar needs to explain to the nation why he failed to order an enquiry as stipulated in the Indian Railway Act after the Godhra train carnage of 2002? Kumar was the Union Railway Minister at that time in A B Vajpayee led NDA government. Kumar calls Modi a fascist today; but, then he has to share some part of the blame heaped at Modi’s door for the 2002 violence and mayhem let loose in Gujarat. History of Fascism tells us that the silence at critical moments of those who mattered allowed it to ultimately usurp absolute power, which finally consumed even who had acquiesced earlier.  
What has caught little attention in this atmosphere of rabble rousing is the positive spinoff that the inveterate lies of Modi are generating. Many people are rushing to brush up their histories and check on facts. It is not just the critics of Modi, but even his diehard supporters, who have to scurry around to scout for factsto support the brazen claims of their leader. That should also teach quite a few lessons to those, who at least have an open mind. A few things that struck me about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel from his WikiPedia biographywere:
·        Patel just like M K Gandhi, but unlike J L Nehru, did successfully become a barrister.
·        Quite again like Gandhi, he did not promote his progeny in politics. Nehru not only promoted his daughter Indira in politics during his life time, but also placed sundry other relatives like sister, Vijayalaxmi Pandit or cousin B K Nehru in positions of power and eminence. Nehru undoubtedly started the Dynasty politics in the Republic of India.
·        Both Gandhi and Nehru received generous help from their extended families to study in England. To the credit of Patel, he saved money for his studies in England after some years of toil as successful lawyer only to give funds over to his elder brother, Vitthalbhai, who remonstrated with him that it would blight family honour if younger brother were to become a barrister before him. Patel had to again toil for few more years to save money for his own studies in England.
·        Patel established his own household for the first time at Godhra and established his practice at Godhra, Borsad and Anand. The year was probably 1902(exact year is not mentioned, but it is mentioned that his first child, a daughter, was born in 1904). Exactly 100 years later in 2002, Godhra and Gujarat shot to infamy.
The positive spinoffs of Modi-Speak are many. For starter, Congress has suddenly become aware of Patel out of the blinding and benumbing haze of Nehru-Gandhi, ..Nehru-Gandhi, …Nehru-Gandhi, rhetoric. Modi speaks of *Development*, and scores of Development Economists spring up among critics and acolytes. Modi speaks of *Model*, and scores of Statisticians are born among critics and acolytes. Modi speaks of *History*, and we have a crop of Historians both among critics and acolytes. Modi-Speak has many fields to conquer before the general elections. And surely he won’t disappoint. That is the true power of Modi-Speak.
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