Monday, July 22, 2024

India’s first PM turned a colonialism-ravaged land into a worthy nation


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PM Modi cannot even think of equalling Nehru’s achievements

By Devasis Chattopadhyay

Narendra Damodardas Modi became the Prime Minister of India for the third term on June 9, 2024 and equalled Jawaharlal Nehru’s tenure, statistically. However, did he earn the respect of the citizens of India that was equivalent to what Nehru had earned?
Since the time Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India in 2014, the atmosphere has been vitiated by hate and unbridled administrative excesses. As the Prime Minister of the country, he has been constantly deficient in compassion, the mark of a leader, people feel. Instead, he always remained a politician from the far-right political party with a very narrow organizational agenda.
Yes, Pandit Nehru was a politician too. No doubt about that. Yet, he worked for the greater good of Indians. His tenure began when our country became independent after being under British rule and occupation for 190 years (1757-1947), when a predominantly agrarian economy was facing the waves of industrialization, and when the entire world was just coming out of the devastation caused by World War II.
The social, economic, and political factors surrounding India under Nehru were completely different. He had to create the fundamentals of the newly Independent India so that the likes of Narendra Modi could come and boast of statistically matching his tenure but not intellectually. That’s the irony.
Pandit Nehru took over a country that was considered ‘Third-World’, economically challenged. He laid the foundation of her socio-economic growth brick by brick. On the contrary, we can argue that Prime Minister Modi’s efforts towards reforms of the educational systems, inclusiveness among the people of India, the generation of employment, and empowerment of the Non-Brahmins and Non-Kshatriyas since 2014 have been far from satisfactory. Experts and civil society argue that his policy decisions related to the Indian economy reeks of crony capitalism. And many of the citizens even feel that he lacks empathy towards fellow Indians.
Sixty years after his death, the father of modern India, Jawaharlal Nehru, remains the main target of the present Prime Minister, who has just secured a third term in office. For Modi, Nehru is a recurrent target to attack. Not just because he believes Nehru cast India in his distorted image but also to chip away at the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty and the Indian National Congress, his main and arch-rivals.
But, is that all there is to Modi’s Nehru fixation? One thing we know about Narendra Modi is that he is never driven by any sentiment, or wastes his time reviving old debates for sheer intellectual and political pleasure. His compulsion is possibly somewhere else.
Which brings us to the real issue. If we analyze carefully, since 2014 Modi rarely attacked other members of the Nehru-Gandhi family. He deliberately ignores Rajiv Gandhi as if he never existed. Significantly, he has been very careful not to attack Indira Gandhi directly. He does invoke the excesses caused during the Emergency period often but is careful not to mention Mrs. Gandhi, in the same sentence. Moreover, he tries during every opportune moment to appropriate Sardar Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri as well.
However, in Modi’s logic, he probably feels that Rahul Gandhi draws major strength from the Nehruvian lineage, philosophy, era, and dignity. And, he considers Rahul Gandhi his main political threat in our national politics, even though he may not openly acknowledge it. As such, he uses all his rhetorical skills to portray Rahul Gandhi in a bad light, as naïve and incompetent and tries belittling his great-grandfather. As a result, since 2014, Narendra Modi’s BJP unleashed its band of vicious trolls on the young man as well, to destroy his dignity.
And, there-in lies the deficiency of Prime Minister Modi to be equal to Pandit Nehru. IPA
Devasis Chattopadhyay is a Reputation Strategist, a Columnist and a Writer.


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