Narendra Modi: A Man of Ideas, a Man of Action- By Amish Devgan
विक्रमी पुरुष, सिर पर, चलता न छत्र पुरखों का धर
अपना बल-तेज जगाता है, सम्मान जगत से पाता है”
The couplet above by national poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar aptly suits Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s persona, and his journey from a tea shop in a small town of Gujarat to ruling the state and finally becoming the most powerful head of the nation.
It is the aura of his personality carved out of sheer grit and determination that shines when he says, “Once we have decided to do something, then we can go miles ahead in achieving that objective,” imbibing a sense of confidence among the people.
For the first time, the nation, after 75 years of freedom, and being exposed to a galaxy of leaderships who lured the masses with false promises and claims constantly, is now witnessing a performing leader whose USP is taking his new ideas to implementation and ensuring their successful execution, unlike others.
Today, on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday, I wish to analyse the unique elements that have sustained the ‘Modi magic’ over Indians for years, and with more to come. What was that attraction, which sustained people’s confidence in the Modi regime during the pandemic? People never lose trust in him. If you do a random survey in any nook or corner of this country, the major factor that would make the difference is the Modi factor.
The reason I am saying this is that during the second horrific Covid wave, as a journalist, I talked to many people during those terrible times. The motive behind that was to assess their mood. The common reply was that as long as Narendra Modi is there, bad days would be over soon as he would definitely come out with a solution. The reason for this confidence is the track record of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat and later as Prime Minister in the last 7 years. It was their firm belief that the man always has the potential to deliver during troubled times.
Just recall those terrible days of this year’s months of April and May and see the situation now. The central government’s vaccination programme has even left the USA’s inoculation drive far behind even as it began much earlier than us. Today, one can very well assess the situation: within a span of four months over 75 crore doses have already been given.
Why do people trust Modi?
I tried to decode it myself as during my tenure as a journalist I have never seen a leader in whom people have complete trust. He has managed to sustain this faith and trust, and it points towards the assertion that Modi has delivered according to their expectations.
Modi’s speciality lies in his unique ideas
Narendra Modi is a different Prime Minister altogether as he is not bound by unnecessary traditional protocol. His intent is to deliver governance to the people at their doorsteps. For that, he removed the bottlenecks in the government that made the system lethargic. For instance, the abolition of unnecessary laws, implementing DBT for subsidies in people’s bank accounts, removal of mediators in the use of technology, etc. Indeed, he introduced many ideas of governance that catapulted him into a different league among political leaders, as the majority of the leaders today don’t have the courage to talk about such ideas, forget about implementing them. I wish to dwell upon such ideas that set him apart from the rest.
1. Swachh Bharat
Before him, no political leadership came out with the idea of cleanliness being a part of lifestyle. It was Modi’s confidence that came out in the form of his declaration from the ramparts of the Red Fort regarding cleanliness and making India open-defecation free (ODF). The campaign was such a roaring success that today people are getting habitual of cleanliness and living in more hygienic conditions.
He is not like his predecessors who confined themselves to rhetoric and sloganeering. Modi always believes in quick implementation of his ideas. He made it a mission and himself swept the ground to make it successful. The Cleanliness Campaign was empowered with necessary grants and a ranking system of cities on the scale of cleanliness was started to make the Swachh Mission more robust.
The result today is that the country has many cleaner cities in comparison with what they used to be before 2014. Today you won’t find any city where you have to toil in search of toilets.
2. Campaign for toilets
Modi’s popularity and his appeal among the masses are evident from the fact that almost every household in the country has a toilet today. Earlier, 60 per cent of the country’s village homes didn’t have toilets for generations. The majority of them didn’t have it because of poverty, but a few didn’t because of ill-beliefs prevalent among them despite their prosperity.
The major sufferers were women who had to face physical as well as mental torture because of the absence of toilets in the house. Modi did it smartly, working on two fronts. First, the Government sanctioned a grant to such poor people who were unable to make toilets due to the lack of funds and water.
Secondly, he himself took upon the task of enlightening such people who refrained from making toilets due to their ill-conceived belief systems through his campaigns. He appealed to the women to pressurize their menfolk to provide toilets in their homes. The trick worked, and today one could gauge the success of Swachh Bharat Mission with more than 95 per cent of households having toilets in comparison with 2014’s figure of 40 per cent. This is the USP of Modi that he imparts accountability at the individual as well as community level, so that one should not remain dependent upon the government or system for implementing changes.
3. Mann ki Baat
To connect directly with the people, he started the Mann ki Baat programme on radio. The programme is such a success that even people who rejected radio as a redundant technology now acknowledge the success of the show. It has given a new life to radio. The programme with its timing of the last Sunday of every month at 11 am is such a success that it has continued for the last 7 years, barring a few months during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It has strengthened the reach of Modi among the people. It is not a monologue. Through this, the Prime Minister invites suggestions from people and introduces them through radio and ensures their participation.
The level of interaction is so informal that it is as if a father were talking to his elder son or a youth were talking to his friend or an elder brother. Modi has never used this programme to get political mileage; rather, he used it to make those appearing on it more confident and to make their talent public.
4. Interaction with students
This is a unique initiative by Prime Minister Modi as no other PM has ventured into this uncharted territory. He befriended the youth and encouraged them to shun pressure to achieve success in life and face challenges.
He told them to take examinations as an adventure, to cope with exam phobia in a more friendly manner.
No political leader has this kind of connection with children, especially students of class 10, 11 and 12. It is necessary as during these stages in a student’s life, it’s crucial to decide upon the right career path. For this, it is necessary not to have pressure of any kind. Modi told them to face the examinations without any fear as honest efforts always yield results in the future.
Before Modi, no leader made an effort to introduce fitness into daily lifestyle. He is the first Prime Minister who encourages people to lead a fit and healthy life. It is evident from the global popularity of yoga as International Yoga Day is being celebrated with great fanfare around the world with the participation of celebrities, leaders, film stars and doctors too. Modi’s relentless energy and working without getting tired has encouraged political leaders to such an extent that he has now become the brand ambassador of fitness.
6. Sports culture
Modi wants Indian athletes to achieve international acclaim and has been saying for years that athletes should win medals at competitions like the Olympic Games. For that, the campaign acquired mission mode right from 2014. The efforts are yielding results, as evident from India’s spectacular performance at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. India had its biggest haul of medals to date at these events in 2021. Modi has ensured that players get the best possible training to encourage their hunger for medals. India’s javelin throw gold medalist Neeraj Chopra got training in many countries and so did the women’s and men’s hockey teams who achieved laurels through their hard work and planning. He advised the athletes to give their best without having any pressure.
This positivity in the system is the result of the country’s top leadership’s belief in its athletes. Modi congratulated them all for their performance and made it a point not to ignore those who didn’t win medals.
7. Padma Awards
Prime Minister Modi made these coveted awards ‘real Indian awards’ in a true sense. Earlier, the Padma Awards were meant for those who either believed in the ruling government’s ideology or were close to the corridors of power. The awards meant for the respect of prestigious citizens lost their credibility because of the biased attitudes of earlier regimes. Modi made it the common man’s awards and brought back the glory attached to them. For that, the government started its selection policy from the ground level and began looking for those people who had worked for the masses and were among the commoners. The awardees were people who never hit the headlines of news channels or newspapers; rather, they were the people who worked selflessly for the public. If one could glance through the list of Padma awardees for the last 7 years, one wouldn’t complain of any biases, favouritism, or partiality in the selection process.
8. Atmanirbhar Bharat
It is crucial for a leader to understand the pulse of the nation and instil confidence in its people. Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programmes will in the long run make India self-reliant and an economic powerhouse.
As per the figures of the Reserve Bank of India, the country has more than doubled its foreign investments compared to Manmohan Singh’s regime. During Manmohan Singh’s tenure of ten years, the average annual foreign investments were at approximately 30 billion dollars, which has now increased to 65 billion dollars during Modi’s tenure of seven years.
9. A safe and strong India
Modi asserted India’s resolve of taking strong decisions by giving a befitting reply to Pakistan-sponsored terror through surgical strikes followed by the Balakot airstrike. It was for the first time in the history of India that the country had adopted such an aggressive posture after a terrorist strike. Modi by destroying terror launchpads twice on foreign soil made India’s intent clear to Pakistan— that it won’t be spared if it resorts to such terror tactics. Not just Pakistan; even a powerful neighbour like China has acknowledged the fact that this new India won’t budge, and it had to make a retreat in border skirmishes. The country has felt much safer and secure during Modi’s 7 years.
10. Ideas that brought prosperity to the poor
Modi’s approach is of improving the living standards of people by bringing them prosperity. The free LPG connection scheme, popularly known as Ujjwala, has empowered women, getting them relief from dust and fumes of the traditional chulhas. It is only because of his appeal that crores of people voluntarily surrendered the subsidies that they were availing on their LPG connections.
Through the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign, he exposed the evils of Indian society and advised people to treat their daughters at par with their sons by giving them respect, love, education and rights.
Modi lives and has a firm belief in Indian culture but at the same time has stressed upon living with science and technology and adopting modern methods to improve standards of living. India has achieved new milestones like in space exploration and missile technology during his regime.
Modi’s contempt for lethargy and laziness is evident from instances when he ensured that projects, which were stuck for years in government files, were completed. He often says that the projects whose foundation stones were laid by him should be inaugurated by him during his tenure.
The Kashi corridor in Varanasi, Ambedkar Centre in Delhi, Sardar Patel’s highest statue at Kevadia are examples of this intent.
Modi still has a long pipeline of ideas to be implemented, and with the kind of energy he has, it is a firm belief that there are more to come. Here is perhaps the only leader in whom the country has faith and has expectations from. His seven-year tenure has seen some ups and downs but failed to shake people’s faith in him.
Modi is an unconventional leader in Indian politics. He knows how to correct his own mistakes. Taking speedy decisions according to the situation is his hallmark, and he never dwells upon political gains and losses.
He knows the trick to connect with the people and how to make good use of technology for it. Even before becoming CM or PM, Modi travelled across the length and breadth of the country, and spent at least one night in nearly each of the 450 districts in the country.
Even many opposition leaders are fans of Modi’s oratory. He is such an excellent communicator that he knows how to reach the people. However, what stands him apart from other politicians is his track record of executing whatever he says. Thus, the entire nation believes him when he says, “Main desh nahi jhukne dunga. main desh nahi mitne dunga.”
For me, the biggest quality of Prime Minister Modi is that he works for the people not as their PM but as a friend, a philosopher and a guide. He gives them expectations and self-confidence to achieve them.
Even at 71 years of age, he is agile and energetic, and always ready for new ideas. We all wish him good health as the country needs his guidance more than ever now. I leave my readers with the following line of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, which perfectly describes Modi’s style of working.
“कुल-गोत्र नहीं साधन मेरा, पुरुषार्थ एक बस धन मेरा”
[This was first published in News 18]