If you are wondering “who is that old man holding hands up in the air with Hugh Jackman”, well, shame on you. That my dear friend, is the the Prime Minister of the seventh largest country in the world, and his back story is nothing but amazing. Yes, that is Narendra Modi, and if you are an American who was stuck in traffic yesterday because of the great show that was unraveling in Madison Square, well, nobody is apologizing.
No other Indian has received the spectacular reception that Modi received in New York or for that matter in any other part of the U.S. That should tell you a lot about the kind of influence & power the man has for someone who was banned from entering America until only a few weeks back. Now, I am not someone who goes for writing about things that are already trending and are being written by thousands of people the world over already, but I could not help it. I was surfing the television yesterday and I saw this crazy bald guy drawing a portrait upside down of Modi, while people danced around him to a cheering crowd of what seemed the entire Indian diaspora in the U.S, I was quite intrigued. I watched the program for a while and then got bored and stopped watching the television completely. But well, the crowd there down at the Madison square seemed extremely excited! You would think it was some kind of a music festival (mela is the Indian word).
Now, I obviously did not watch the Prime Minister deliver his speech, but I have read excerpts and there was nothing new in what he had to say. I have heard him say his “make in India” chant a hundred times already and maybe he believes in repeating things for more impact. But forget what he had to say, what my basic problem with the entire sing and dance routine before the Indian Prime Minister actually delivered his speech is – will he be taken seriously after all that? But from all the reading I have been doing, I can safely assume it does. He has his share of detractors, but he is able to do what is needed – pull the world’s attention to India. But now that he has its attention, will he be able to hold it and get what India needs? Well, he will have us believe that he is working on it. And I cannot say anything of the man, because I am no fan and will only give my verdict after his five year tenure is done and some concrete results are seen.
Like many observers, I am very skeptical about the man but sometimes cannot help but admire him from a safe distance. And then there are those days when I will be like “can he not talk so much bull”. For a man who has been accused of “attempted genocide”, the tides have turned in his favor against massive odds. It makes you wonder how short-lived the public’s memory is – to forget the taint of alleged genocide attached to a man who has become the most powerful leader of a burgeoning economy vying to become a super power.
You will have to read his back story for yourself to understand how spectacular & baffling his rise has been. Some people compare him to Hitler, but that is going a bit too far, just like comparing him to Swami Vivekananda is ridiculous. But one thing that I can safely gather is that he comes of as a man of extremes, on one side he has this image of a right-wing Hindu leader and then there is this other side which pushes all for development and technological advancement. He is a man whose party wanted to make reading Geeta (the sacred hindu scripture) compulsory for school children, which is like making the Bible a compulsory read for all Americans! but he is also the man whose party wants every child in the country to know how to use the computer and be tech savvy. So in a nutshell, the man can be confusing. Therefore, it is safe to be skeptical.
And with that I would like to end this post as randomly as Mr. Narendra Modi had concluded his speech & vote of thanks – May the force be with you!