Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Nation of Symbols

This post started with Indian Home Maker's post on Modi and comments there after.

IHM insists that Modi must apologise or demonstrate regret for post-Godhra riots, and also believes that words are a must, and action would therefore follow later.

To me, an expression of regret by Modi for the violence and suffering in the riots, is desirable, yes. It did not happen in his interview with Karan Thapar, and one reason could be Thapar's negative style of interviewing. It is debatable whether another (decent) interviewer would have got a different response out of Modi.

Having said that, does one apology by Rahul Gandhi make any difference today? The crimes happened when Rajiv Gandhi was in power, not Rahul. Most of the criminals have got away scot-free. Cynically , this apology may be yet another of our political gimmickery, with the Delhi elections round the corner.

And we as citizens, lap it up. And assume that things have changed for the better. What if he does not mean a word of what he says, it is just plain acting?

A comment on the post by another blogger, which I found extremely immature: "I had hoped he (Modi) would be voted out but the Gujratis really let everyone down!"

This is an extremely naive viewpoint, assuming everything would be fine if the Congress had been voted back. It also forgets the divisive and communal politics played by Congress Governments over the years in Gujarat. An example - the KHAM (Kshtriya-Harijan-Adivasi-Muslim) theory defined & implemented by Madhavsinh Solanki of the Congress.

And my view is, rather than get enamoured by speeches made by Rahul Gandhi, we need to evaluate them by their work, and actions taken to restore communal peace (if any).

Versus the Godhra blot of Modi, there is also the work he has done for the female girl child, including education & improving the sex ratio. Kutch, and Anjar, completely rebuilt after the earthquake - I have not seen any Congress government acting efficiently, and without most of the money going to politicians and/or contractors. He is building the GIFT City (maybe the only way the massive problems Mumbai faces due to congestion, might get solved!). The Tata Nano and Bombardier Metro plants are some of the successful projects that are improving the economy. There is no talk of his brothers/ sons/ uncles getting important posts in his govt or administration. There is also no allegation of corruption against him, and I am sure the media would not have spared him even if there were a whiff of a scandal. Is all of this completely irrelevant because of one blot of post-Godhra?

How many politicians in India today can claim to be efficient AND not corrupt? Yes, his track record on the communal agenda needs improvement, but it is also a fact that there have been lesser Hindu-Muslim riots during Modi's regime than during previous Congress Govts in the state.

Which brings me to my main point:

- Are we right in merely looking for symbolic gestures like those of Rahul, combined with inefficiency, lip service to the masses, and corruption. AND, on top of it, pushing a communal or divisive agenda at the same time, but claiming not to do so.

- Or, should we prefer someone like Modi, abrasive, but delivering on some of his promises, and good governance.

I prefer good governance, minus his communal stance. A regret, expressed publicly, would be good, ideal.

But I would, still, rather have good governance from a tainted politician, rather than, lousy governance from a Wolf-in-a-Sheep's clothing (who claim to be unisive, but practise divisive politics instead).

What would you have?

(Oh, and by the way, I have, up until now, not voted for the BJP ever my life - it has always been for the Congress/ its Allies. Of course, it is another matter that the BJP/Allies in other part of the country are probably exactly like the Congress - and no good symbolic speeches, on top of it)

..

13 comments:

Pinku said...

that was hard hitting.

i agree with you on all the good things Modi has done. No doubt he is a good and firm administrator. He has developed the state like possibly no other CM can boast of.

But if I remember my history lessons correctly Hitler also had the same talents...does that make him a desirable character at the helm of affairs?

The point is not whether Rahul was to blame for things or not. the point is that he took it upon himself to say sorry for all the wrongs that his family members have been held guilty of.

that does not change history...but it helps to finally perhaps think of a chapter as over and move on to the next...in a small manner.

Sagarone said...

The internet is a medium where most of us do not take the time and trouble to do our own due diligence and keep on perpetuating myths. One such myth is that Modi gave a free hand to rioters for three days to do whatever they wanted to do.

"The Army units, frantically called by the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, as the situation seemed to slip out of hand, started arriving in Ahmedabad and are likely to be deployed in the city on Friday."

That is a quote from the archives of The Hindu, dated Thursday Feb. 28 2002, which can be accessed at
http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2002/03/01/stories/2002030103030100.htm

And the army was in place and had shoot at sight orders on Friday the 1st of march according to The Hindu archives. So what 'three days' is everybody blabbering about?

If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. Goebbels

Perhaps it is time Narendra Modi seeks an apology from the secular media?

rain girl said...

very very well written

"But I would, still, rather have good governance from a tainted politician, rather than, lousy governance from a Wolf-in-a-Sheep's clothing (who claim to be unisive, but practise divisive politics instead)."

I agree with you..sth i have started doing a lot off late, bowww. but you are right.

still, the tinge of the taint may change the perception...

Does it matter said...

@ Pinku
You compare Modi with Hitler. But on what basis - the concentration camps located on the outskirts of Gandhinagar?

Likewise, one can compare Obama with Hitler, since they are both able to sway the public with their speeches. Would that be ok?

@ Sagarone

Yes.
The problem is, people have not cared to check out the ground reality. Riots were a way of life in Gujarat even earlier. And the situation was no better when the Congress was in charge. But it is becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

Having said that, I do agree Modi could have done better managing the riots. And a regret would not hurt either.

I am only saying the others are merely giving lip service. And how does that help us as a society in any way?

Vinod_Sharma said...

DIM, this is a very fine piece of analysis with just the perfect blend of passion, honesty and objectivity. The first attribute is exhibited freely by all our politicians. But the the other two almost completely reversed.

I agree with you entirely. Such dishonest apologies are an eye wash. Obviously, for all these years you believed that what was done was right. Many still do. So,why not be a man and say that under the heat of circumstance whatever happened was justified? Or just continue to keep mum?

The great lie of Modi giving three days free run to rioters was born because every one forgot that the day following February 28 was March 1! So they counted 29,30, and 31 - three days!

Does it matter said...

@ rain girl
Yes, the taint needs to be remembered, and the pressure probably needs to be kept on, so that any such errors of ommision or commission are not repeated ever again.

But, we do need someone who delivers results.

How long can one tolerate inept and corrupt politicians who keep giving lovely speeches.

Does it matter said...

@ Vinod
I am keeping an open mind about Rahul as well - maybe he is well meaning, and maybe it is wrong to be cynical. But, what bugs me is the way everyone rushes to condemn Modi (fashionable to do so), but accept his and his party's statements at face value.

Re the 3 days part, I really have no idea. But if anyone who knew the social fabric of Gujarat would hv known, it was IMPOSSIBLE to have stopped the backlash that happened post Godhra. A state that would erupt on an eve teasing incident, not erupting after THIS? Dont think any govt would have managed it much better, and that is what bothers me.

Does it matter said...

I am keeping an open mind about Rahul as well - maybe he is well meaning, and maybe it is wrong to be cynical. But, what bugs me is the way everyone rushes to condemn Modi (fashionable to do so), but accept his (Rahul's) and his party's statements at face value.

Re the 3 days part, I really have no idea. But if anyone who knew the social fabric of Gujarat would hv known, it was IMPOSSIBLE to have stopped the backlash that happened post Godhra. A state that would erupt on an eve teasing incident, not erupting after THIS? Dont think any govt would have managed it much better, and that is what bothers me.

Ajit said...

@"does it matter",
Great post... made me think...
Btw, for the "Word Verification" for posting this comment, I had to type "Whine".
So I am not going to WHINE in this comment...
But yes, what you say makes sense...
But personally when you ask me to choose "the lesser of the two evils, I choose none".

Vinod_Sharma said...

DIM, the three-day lie was that Modi was accused vociferously for doing nothing for three days after the 28th and called the army only on the 1st. No one remembered that Feb is of 28 days! As sagarone has mentioned, citing a report in The Hindu, Modi called for the army on 28th itself and the army came in the very next day, 1st march.

umm oviya said...

i agree wiht the tainted but good governance bit... in TN, social and development indicators have always been improving. despite the fact that the politicians are corrupt, be it JJ or MK, they ensured quite a bit of development and ease of investment. health and education indicators are positive. so i guess better that then have a saint ruling badly!

Does it matter said...

@ Vinod, Sagarone
Yes, this 3 days thingy is one of the reasons I dislike the "intellectual terrorism"/ trial by media/ hang-first-ask-later kind of attitude of so many otherwise, logical, sane-minded folks. As I said, I would like to see the Congress control rioting in Gujarat before they even open their mouth first. So many times in the past, Congress CMs were even accused of actually instigating them for personal gains.

The folks who are ready to criticize Modi, obviously, either dont want to read history, and/or wish to have dual standards - one for their favourites and one for the others.

@ Umm Oviya
It is not an easy decision I agree. But, I believe unless we decide & demand our priorities as an electorate, how will we get it? If lip-service is what we desire, that will follow. If it is action & governance, politicians will go that way. Ideally, it should be all of it - but..

@ Ajit
Yes, sure. Selecting none is ofcourse an option, and one followed by so many of us - that decide not to vote.. Unfortunately, that has not brought about any improvement in so many yrs. But yes, so many of us do take that route, only for lack of good options..

Anrosh said...

Rahul Gandhi,
don't even bother to apologize. you guys already had your 2nd, 3rd (sanjay gandhi ) and 4th chances.
and if you are not used to hearing a NO - go and spend 45 years in the villages of india for 365 days a year.

Honestly, I will only cast a negative vote for you for you breed horrible genes and you will not hesitate to follow in the footsteps of your great-great grand father, grand father, grandmother, uncle or father. but i don't think there is an ounce of genes of feroz gandhi in you, whose name you carry. because if you had you would have already shown it by now.