Reality Check India

The Idea of Modi

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on March 17, 2013

The Gujarat CM Mr Narendra Modi gave a 2 hour speech at the India Today Conclave on Mar 16 2013. It offered a rare glimpse into the political philosophy of the man. Here is my take on where he stands with respect to the various democratic institutions that are in place.

To start you would have noticed the repetitive use of the following phrase :

Pic Credit : India Today

Pic Credit : India Today

“Kya ye hum nahi kar sakthey!”

In English this translates to “Can we not do this”.  I have marked the word “kar” (action)  in red because that is the operative word here.  How many of us get that funny feeling in the stomach when we travel overseas to countries like Singapore, Korea ?.  You see the order, visible, touchable development outside and the pride of the cab driver inside and go ‘This isnt fair, Why cant we pull this off. Certainly these folks arent that much smarter?”.   The funny feeling – which can be described as a mix of shame and guilt – stays with you for a while. Whatever your individiual achievements are,  you feel small and worthless because your country is mired in third world filth and all you hear is some mumbo jumbo about why we deserve to be in this state.  It is like wandering into a glamorous party when your mom is sick. Some get sloshed at the open bar and put the thought out of their minds. Some get out of the party, take mom to the hospital, get her treated, then come back. The idea is not to withdraw into a shell.  It is to come back to the party next year and rock the hell out of it – this time free of guilt and shame.

I sensed this with Modi.

He is unable to accept that India cannot do things that others like Korea have demonstrated can be done.  If you put this on top of everything else, the rest of Modi’s approach falls into place.

Utilitarianism in disguise ?

Will Modi pursue an exit out of third world by throwing human rights under the tyres? This is a common fear that might be drummed up by the media in the coming days.  I dont think there is any evidence to that effect. I dont think that would work in India either. The inherent resistance to centralized oppression in India is too strong. What is likely however is that he will not entertain group demands for consensus before works are taken up.  In other words, no group can have a veto because their arguments for a guaranteed minimum pro-rata share are simply not heard.  In that sense he is certainly a utilitarian. He even said in his speech that his government is legitimate as long as it provides goods. The 10-minute video at the start that had no mention of any hyphenated-identity group is his certificate of legitimacy.  Such a person is very senstive to HDI numbers as his entire philosophy rests on this belief –  develop and welfare will come.  When figures of malnutrition, even if they are lagging indicators are put before him – he sits up and takes notice.  He isnt trying to impress the glitterati assembled in the Conclave ballroom – but if evidence is tumbling out that welfare doesnt follow such visible development, it scares him. It invalidates in one shot his deepest convictions.  In this case, his state reacted by investing Rs 2000 Cr in 1yr to address this.  Even if you consider him a utilitarian, his model of social welfare is far superior to the  current one. You pursue production first, then if some specific indicator lags you isolate and hit that with a vengeance. Then on to the next indicator. This is far better than front loading programs like NREGA with an outlay of $40B without telling us what it is you are trying to solve.

Special protections & law

Someone asked Mr Modi what place special protection for minorities had in his scheme of things. His reply was “no protection for anyone”.  I suspect what he meant was he was for equal protection not special protection.  He is a rare politician that gets the  “majority rule with minority rights ” concept right in its original sense. It is the cornerstone of democracy but not in terms of religion or some other identity. What is means is the winners at the election cannot rape and loot the losers. So the losers – belonging to any group – can always rely on protections that are immune to the machinations of the transient majority.  This simple concept is perverted in the Indian scenario by our intellectuals. He also counts on traditional restraint and commonsense found in Indian society to power his agenda rather than seek approval of specific constitutonal provisions.  So he is unlikely to be a constitutionalist in the sense that some right leaning folks will expect.

His dig on the endless parade of “Right to XYZ Act” hit the right spot with me. He says that these rights are inherent and covered in some general sense in the constitution. They do not need to be encoded as a positive right because what is needed is “Action” and not “Acts“. This is a huge paradigm shift from the Congress which views positive rights, even samaritan rights, where one group has justiciable claims against another,  as something that is desirable.  For Modi, positive rights merely result in huge costs, endless litigation,  moral dillemmas, leading to a general sapping of energy. Not worth a price to pay for things like education, information, food, shelter which can be provided for simply by acting upon it. I think a fall back to the basic principles of law, sometimes mockingly called by Indian liberals as ‘first principles style’ is much needed. We need to step away from  the current trend to challenge at the drop of a hat –  ‘Lets take it to the Supreme Court’.

Private business

Mr Modi might well be the only politician in India to propose that private players be allowed access to railroads.  He comes across as an idea-man who has on multiple occassions approached the PM and Planning Commission for schemes such as solar parks along the border to compost dumps.  His idea of letting private trains run has to be singled out for special mention.  The current UPA mentality is to tom-tom marginal  improvements to Tatkal, which is merely a way to contain the impact of a pervasive socialist shortage  Things have gotten so bad that if you say during normal interaction that you arrived by train, people look at you with awe and admiration.  People might scoff at the simple idea of pilgrimage trains, but I think there is a massive potential there for national integration.

Communal violence

I think the participants squandered a great opportunity to get his views on communal riots vs development.  Instead of an in-your-face adversarial approach, they should have nudged him to articulate his vision on the matter.  It is evident that in the face of tangible  development Gujarat has managed not only to be riot free for the past decade but even caste flare-up like Dharmapuri or Maharashtra any of the innumerable caste riots have been absent.  The basic idea is if you empower folks with real skills, as he outlined in his earlier SRCC speech, and put them on a positive spiral then the incentive to breakout in violence at the drop of hat is absent. Everyone’s mind is a occupied about how to scale up to the next level as they believe in the PROJECT not because of some numbers measured by Indian Statistical Institute but because they can see and touch for themselves what growth means for them. The UPA is moving in the opposite direction by moving its attention of skilling and into a minefield where values are substituting real skills.   Lessons have to be learnt from Korea who shown the way of creating a knowledge based society.  It means hard work and stressful exams, so sorry to say that.

In conclusion, even if you were a believer in the redistributive model and assertion of hyphenated identity rights –  you need to stop and take a hard look at Modi.  We need to first pull ourselves out of abject poverty and third world squalour so that these liberal models of development make sense.

I believe Modi is the man to do it.

22 Responses

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  1. Shyam said, on March 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Modi can take our nation to a great hights……………….

  2. patnaikt said, on March 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Pl check he every citizen requires protection!

  3. Rakesh Babu G R said, on March 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    “Someone asked Mr Modi what place special protection for minorities had in his scheme of things. His reply was “no protection for anyone”.”

    His reply was that “everyone requires protection”.

    • R S Chauhan said, on March 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Mr Modi said that no special protection to minorities but he emphasized that every citizen of the country requires protection.

      His ideas and creativity is unique and will help the country in a big way if he could be PM in future. He is very decesive in the matters of public welfare and complaints redressal. Gen MaliK (Retd) should meet him some time one to one and he will be surprised to learn as to how much he is concerned about defence forces although he looked some what casual in public.Defence forces will get very high priority if he become PM of the country.

  4. Rajen said, on March 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Fantastic analysis!

  5. Harish Maru said, on March 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    One realizes after mulling ovr what he says, how difficult it is going to be bring about change because of the deeply entrenched, unscrupulous, exploitative, perpetuating power and influence based elitism and almost anti national vested political interests.

  6. desi said, on March 18, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Modi Is The Only Alternative! #MITOA

  7. Bhaktbhakt said, on March 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    No fact check, no quality check no editorial oversight, anon author. Long live socialmedia.

  8. dnesh said, on March 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    there is no problem in writer adding his opinion or comments. but he has no right to spread false hood. listen to the question answer in india to day conclave. modiji said was every one should have protection and nothing less or nothing more..

  9. Krishna Murthy said, on March 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Every despot starts with the same nationalism and ends the fate of the nation in chaos and disintegration.
    Modi worshippers may feel that he is going to lift the nation to a greater height by his liberal philosophy .Modi says that everyone shall have protection and that does not mean liberty. I quote a book “wisemen of Zions’
    We have set one against another the personal and national reckonings of the GOYIM, religious and race hatreds, which we have fostered into a huge growth in the course of the past twenty centuries. This is the reason why there is not one State which would anywhere receive support if it were to raise its arm, for every one of them must bear in mind that any agreement against us would be unprofitable to itself. We are too strong – there is no evading our power. THE NATIONS CANNOT COME TO EVEN AN INCONSIDERABLE PRIVATE AGREEMENT WITHOUT OUR SECRETLY HAVING A HAND IN IT.

  10. Krishna Murthy said, on March 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    When comes the time of our overt rule, the time to manifest its blessing, we shall remake all legislatures, all our laws will be brief, plain, stable, without any kind of interpretations, so that anyone will be in a position to know them perfectly. The main feature which will run right through them is submission to orders, and this principle will be carried to a grandiose height. Every abuse will then disappear in consequence of the responsibility of all down to the lowest unit before the higher authority of the representative of power. A. -protocols of elders of zions

  11. Jinju said, on March 19, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Modi fumbled when asked about the godhra riots . He could not articulate an answer which reveals the fox in him . The best bet would be a nitish Kumar or A K Anthony in case of nda or upa respectively .

    • Raju said, on March 19, 2013 at 7:49 am

      AK Anthony ????????

    • gaurav said, on June 19, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Nitish for NDA_haha

      • gaurav said, on June 19, 2013 at 7:04 am

        nitish won in Bihar only bcoz nothing was done in bihar in last 15yrs and for something he did he was awarded..but believe me has completely ruined education system in Bihar.. I’m from Bihar.

  12. Modi is a good speaker and also a good analysist of economy and humans.

  13. Rajesh said, on March 19, 2013 at 8:06 am

    In case we want to see India progressing in future, we must have leaders like Modi taking charge of the country like a CEO of the nation.

    We dont want to see politics trought out the five years,let us see for say about a month of politics and rest of the time good governance.


  14. vinay swarup (@vinaysri1048) said, on March 19, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Leave politics in hell,Development of a country Congress can Learn.Had it been Indira gandhi,She may huge him.

  15. Ramesh K. Srivastava said, on March 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Mr. Modi is a wonderful leader who must be brought to the centre as he has the vision of action which others lack. He has thrust, drive, action-oriented plans, innovative ideas, and above all he means business which is good first for the nation. Rather than confining to a particular vote bank by siding with one caste or community, he goes for the country as a whole. His spirit is great though he has been maligned a great deal by the opposition leaders for their vested interests.

  16. S.N.Kaul said, on March 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Too much of media hype is being created about Mr. Modi. The same happened to Anna Hazare and his crusade against corruption. Youth which seem to be over active in transforming the nation are themself totally confused. Ask any young man whether he is prepared to follow the rule of law and he will immediately say a big “YES” and the next moment you can find him ridding his byke without halmet with two friends on the pillion. He can be found drinking on the road with the help of his father’s ill gotten money. How many of young men can say no their parents money which they have earned through foul means? How many can say no to dowry? Modi can’t not bring the nation in air. Where are the persons whether young or old with an ideology? We want to correct and reforms others but not ourself. If we have “ATMA” alive we can’t do any wrong and a person with out “ATMA” can’t be reformed or checked. My appeal to all my fellow citizens young or old is just look inside you and try to find faults and improve on the same.

  17. Amrutha Nagaraj (@AmruthaNagaraj) said, on March 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Yes Modi can do………..but he need lots of support . being a citizen we too must do our duty wth responsblity…Especially youth(back bone of nation) must come up to support right things and right person. in right time.(electing leaders in election)… Then only modi can do something good to country and to country people…. ( bring changes in system ) “INDIA WILL SHINE.” once again with.MODI MIND…our expectation from modi is vry high..he is a such wonderful able leader one who can bring green even in desert….. no doubt abt it. but he mst get power in centre…Lets hope for the best… this one day proudly v can say MMM ……MERA MODI MAHAN……this is all my personal opinion on modiji..I respect him n want to c him in centre as PM(powerful Man)…All the best….

  18. […] இந்தப் பேச்சு பற்றிய ஒரு சிறிய ஆங்கிலச் செய்தி இங்கே: “Kya ye hum nahi kar sakthey!” […]

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