Imperfect Arithmetic by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (MARCH 30, 2013)

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Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam on Narendra Modi’s formula for India’s future greatness.


Recently we read the following piece of wisdom from Mr Narendra Modi in a newspaper: “’Indian Talent’ plus ‘Information Technology’ is equal to ‘India Tomorrow’.” What a pearl of wisdom! This amar vani (deathless speech) was quoted by The Times of India of March 25, New Delhi edition, on its edit page.

From this you can begin to guess why Gujarat’s farmers are killing themselves in droves. Quite simple: they have no place in ‘India Tomorrow’, and hence are disposable in ‘India Today.’

We may ask why we are putting everything in single quotes with initial capital letters. Just because The Times of India has written them like that. In honour of the great TOI, we have put the words within single commas and capitalised them.

To give Mr Modi the credit that is his due: he exudes extraordinary confidence about the correctness of his forecast, which is more of a prescription for what India should be doing tomorrow. Forget about agriculture, forget about bio-tech, nano-tech, issues of equity, issues of justice and fair-play. Only IT and a certain kind of talent (as understood by Mr Modi) will be enough for India tomorrow.

Interestingly, all fascists have a great confidence in their prescriptions, to the extent that they do not allow dissent. Mr Modi shares this trait with men like Hitler, under the training of whose admirers he grew up to be what he is today. Most of us know that soon after an interview with him, Ashish Nandy said he had found in Mr Modi a text book fascist. Mr Modi was not amused. Hence, we will stop short of calling him that.

Whether he likes it or not, his mathematical formula for India’s future greatness is deeply flawed. More than anything, India today needs some amount of fair-play in public life for it to be a great power tomorrow. Saving farmers’ lives and reducing inequity (which has increased during Modi rule in Gujarat) will be more important than people driving Maruti 800s graduating to BMWs and Audis.

India’s politicians, including Mr. Modi, have also to learn being accountable for their deeds. Mr Modi has consistently refused over an entire decade to accept accountability for the anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002 during his stewardship of Gujarat under the mistaken belief that the ghosts of the pogrom will go to sleep, if he tries hard enough.

To shirk accountability, he has undermined the law of the land, harassed human rights activists and hunted the survivors of the pogrom. He has tried to divert attention from the mass murder by cunningly talking about “development”, as if development (in which Gujarat stands not first, but sixth among Indian states) is a magic wand that will remove the stigma of crime against humanity.

Now his lobbyists in the United States are trying to get a visa for him to detract attention from the mass murder of 2002. The United States has denied him visa in the past, but that is no reason for his lobbyists not to try again. They are sure that once he lands on the US soil his sins of omission and commission would be washed off. They are sadly mistaken.

Narendrabhai needs another mathematical formula to be relevant. We are accommodating his great formula in a more meaningful and sincere one, that is: “Indian talent plus IT plus accountability minus communal malice is the mantra for India’s future greatness.”

Hope Narendrabhai will sincerely accept accountability for what happens under his charge, and also shed his communal view of things in the interest of “India Tomorrow”, because what we sow today we will reap tomorrow.

 

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