Even as Narendra Modi embarked upon his visit to Japan, Pankaj Mishra asks the question :
” But can Modi’s old-fashioned reverence for all things Japanese, from the tea ceremony to nuclear plants, produce the right blueprint for India’s future ?” However, nothing in Prime Minister Modi’s background nor in Japan’s “all things” would place the rhetorical query in perspective; for that we need to read what the author’s bile threw up on the day India’s electoral results were declared, catapulting the forward-looking but culturally rooted man to the helm of affairs. The long piece published in The Guardian was pointedly titled : Narendra Modi and the new face of India @ http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/16/what-next-india-pankaj-mishra.
The latter is a ramble at best. It draws from such diverse symbols as Vikram Seth, the gay activist who in January this year made a dramatic show of an issue that was at most peripheral to most of us, already discredited Jawaharlal Nehru and since reviewed Mohandas K Gandhi, Indian economy, and the plethora which doesn’t even add up to something viably in context. It’s a babbling man in the make of what we now recognise as a reactionary fifth column, shooting off on prompt for sponsored effect.
The truth is that this country has moved past the elitist beats of accented delivery and much awarded english moulding intellectuals, who had taken over the media space and had settled back insured by their opinion creating prowess in an electoral process where demagoguery counted more than anything else. They could raise an issue to prominence, mould it to a different meaning, and kill it at will. That made for huge convenience for the powers lording over organised corruption in government corridors and bizmen caught up once on a while in light of public gaze. Bureaucrats and lowly lieutinents found it useful even to shield themselves from irresponsible consequences of their laziness and incompetence.
But the new India woke up to a man who didn’t just talk anti-corruption but walked it as an epitome, whose mother went in an ubiquitous ‘auto’ to cast her vote and still lived in a one-room abode. He lived the quintessential Indian values, was focussed on people-problems and making solutions happen, and had the carishma to attract competent and meritorious men who were equally passionate about this nation and its future. Unlike Pankaj Mishra, the sold messianic soul in search of his awards, Narendra Modi worked and delivered what mattered to people of India.
And that I believe is the real cause of the author’s heartburn : redundancy, before someone who had performance credentials that meant everything to the people against those accusations and insinuations Pankaj Mishra and his ilk have been hurling for over a decade without let up. These professing liberals, sloganeering seculars are diverse; but they all are now of a feather — clipped !
Frankly, Pankaj Mishra sounds like a fool trying to run down Japan.