Mani Shankar Aiyar, You Are Wrong About PM Modi

Published: July 29, 2014 19:36 IST
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(Nalin S Kohli is spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Director of the party's Public Policy Research Centre. He is also a lawyer and has extensive experience in media and education.)

"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense" wrote Lewis Carroll, 150 years ago, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. After reading Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar's latest opinion, the quote almost sums up the column. (Mani-Talk: Silence From Modi, Great Social Media Mogul)

It is fascinating to note Mr Aiyar's contemptuous scorn for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Is it because Mr Aiyar firmly roots himself to an antiquated and privileged lot of young princelings who thrive on favours doled out on the basis of the politics of entitlement? How can the deserving have any place in this seemingly gentrified world of scorners?

So while Mr Aiyar questions Mr Modi's alleged silence on recent controversies as a right, he adheres to a separate set of principles to blissfully ignore any comment about his esteemed leader Mr Rahul Gandhi's almost decade long spell of silence as a Member of Parliament.

It's the same mindset that propelled Mr Aiyar to infamously state in January 2014 at the AICC meeting in Delhi that "I promise you in the 21st Century Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country. ...But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him"..!

Every hard-working Indian worth his salt knows that it is easier to speak than to perform, and that it takes time for results to show. Work is the focus of Prime Minister Modi's government. Performance and outcome will replace the paralysed and ethically deficit governance model of the Congress-led UPA.

When Prime Minister Modi addresses the nation on 15th August from the ramparts of the Red Fort, his government will be just 80 days old.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards," says the White Queen to Alice; she might as well be writing about Mr Aiyar's state of mind. From his article it is clear that the Gujarat riots of 2002 is the only agenda that the Congress party consistently revisits time and again. He is unable to think beyond the vitriolics of communal politics, even after the voters of India have wholesomely rejected this agenda of the Congress party.

Beyond that agenda, even the facts Mr Aiyar quotes on Gujarat are selective. He speaks of death but ignores the countless incidents of rescue including that of 5000 people from around the Noorani Mosque by the Ahmedabad Police or the one where 400 children were saved from a madrassa at Bhavnagar. He tries to quote Begum Jafri on an alleged conversation but blissfully ignores that 150 people were snatched away by the police from a mob of 15,000 at the same Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad. He refers to "the newly-married girl whose womb was sliced open and the foetus tossed into the sky" but ignores the statement of Dr J S Kanoria "After the post mortem, I found that her foetus was intact and that she had died of burns suffered during the riot."

Mr Aiyar, riots are terrible. They cost human lives. Women and children, unfortunately, suffer the most. One constantly prays that riots don't happen anywhere. Since 2002 Gujarat is peaceful, but the same can't be said for many other states of the country, many including Congress-ruled ones like Assam.

Since the past is so his preference, would Mr Aiyar like to recall the infamous words of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi "when a big tree falls, the ground shakes", shamelessly justifying the 1984 genocide of thousands of Sikhs?

It is obvious that Mr Aiyar dislikes to see Mr Modi hold the highest elected office of the land. That the voters of the world's largest democracy, tired and appalled at the previous Congress-led government, have chosen to place Mr Modi in that seat, is a fact he conveniently ignores. Perhaps behind Mr Aiyar's venomous verbosity, there might well be the lurking regret of a bitter man, who finally is forced to acknowledge that he has little relevance left in a world that has changed, far beyond the politics of entitlement of an erstwhile raj, where he still desperately seeks to belong.

In his article, Mr Aiyar refers to the Silence of the Lambs. He might well want to consider watching the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Between Alice in Wonderland and this film, his worldview might just be complete.

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