Posts Tagged 'modi'

Narendra Modi on poetry, politics and Rahul Gandhi as PM

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/narendra-modi-on-politics-poetry-and-rahul-gandhi-as-pm-134238

This interview is from Society magazine; its views do not necessarily reflect those of NDTV.

Meeting Narendra Modi was like meeting multiple personalities at one time. I have always perceived Modi as a man of steel having gone through fire. The constant picking and media barbs have not left him embittered. This could be attributed to his strong and courageous personality and being centred in spirituality.

Modi is the only CEO Chief Minister so-to-say who has corporatised political administration in his well groomed and well kept state! As I proceeded to Modi’s residence for a chat,
en route, the typical attributes associated with a politician were all missing. No hangers-on, no party flags or king size cut outs, no party men shouting slogans while lounging around and awaiting a darshan of their party honcho, and no desperate security frisking. One enters a ‘peace zone’ of sorts when you step into his home surrounded by well manicured lawns.

As I was ushered into his neatly laid out home cum office, I saw Vivekananda’s bronze figurine tucked in the corner of his work station. The freewheeling tete-a-tete that followed gave an astonishing insight into the man, the mystic and the leader, rather than the controversial politician that Modi is made out to be. My initial apprehension, going by his public image of a darting and intimidating person, was put to rest at the very outset. Modi seemed cheerful, gentle and benign. There was no attempt to overpower and manipulate my thoughts, no overtones or undercurrents. Modi exuded brilliant command over the session, was clearly defined in his approach and was never caught off guard.

“I make political statements only before elections. There is much more to talk about than my political opponents,” he quips. We agree. Here is a man who has become synonymous with dedicated hard work and administrative genius so much so that he is the only politician for whom a temple is built by his people. His state shines luminously as a model city. No doubt there are still issues to be addressed in the vast canvas, but Gujarat most certainly has filed past other states in showing an all round progress-industrialisation, infrastructure, tourism and a total turnaround.

The architect of this new and shining Gujarat, Narendra Modi, is surely someone you will either adore or despise but certainly won’t ignore. His political strategies that raised him from being a party worker to the Chief Minister for three terms in succession field him as a strong potential Prime Ministerial candidate from amongst the rest of the regional leadership. The writing on the wall is clear that if the nation chooses to vote out the Congress, Modi is the first choice of the people.

With the grim scenario that the nation faces today, the need of the hour is an able administrator who can fix the fractures within our system. Today, regional leaders like Narendra Modi, Ashok Gahlot, Sheila Dikshit and Nitish Kumar are in the public discernment as the ideal options for replacing their national counterparts at the helm.

With a proven track record of excellent governance in his kitty, Modi chooses to play the cards about his national political agenda only when the time is ripe. Among the disadvantages Modi faces is his love-hate equation with the media. And so, here was an opportunity to peel the stern communalistic facade, and peep into the man behind the iron curtain. Is he as blunt and intimidating as he seems from a distance? As ruthless as he is made out to be? As communal minded as he is perceived? What is his typical day like? Does Modi like to watch TV soaps and sob with them? When did he last take a holiday and where does he really like to unwind? Many such questions flooded my thoughts and my research furnished no insight into the man that Modi is. His political track record reveals him as an uncompromising and shrewd politician. Besides, the magnificent transformation he achieved in the eyes of his own people, from being an anti-hero to a hero, is a case study in itself. To the people of Gujarat, Modibhai, as he is fondly addressed as, is like no one else. They view him as a brilliant politician, an efficient administrator, an able strategist and ultimately, a competent leader who has staked all his might in serving his people. Indeed, all this and more is supported by the progress that Gujarat has recorded as a model state in the country with maximum NRI investment and all around growth. The accent is on ‘systematic, non-corrupt and good governance’ rather than mere tactics for political survival.

Modi is a proud man who can flaunt his report card and by quizzing him to talk about his state, you have turned him on, so to say! “In Gujarat’s model of governance, we have moved out of the traditional piecemeal actions and knee-jerk reactions. We now look at a whole new approach to the fundamental changes that would yield qualitative and quantitative leaps. My role is that of a facilitator and the real credit goes to Team Gujarat and the people of the state,” preens Modi. However, history can’t be recalled without associations of landmark events to fundamental authors. Like Gandhi and the freedom fight, Nehru and the Kashmir goof-up, Sardar Patel’s police action in the Razaka movement of the Nizam State, Indira Gandhi and the Emergency, and when it comes to Modi, you cannot finish the breath without remembering the infamous Gujarat riots.

Though the riots will continue to haunt Modi, he has made a conscious effort to heal the wounds and has worked in a sustained way to make the media take note of the immense progress made in the land of the Mahatma. His image as the ‘merchant of death’ is reversed to that of the ‘Sultan of good governance’. As shrewd and emphatic as Chanakya in his political arbitration and in the stringency of administrative competence, Modi is aligned in the league of the legendary Gujarat leader, Saradar Vallabh Bhai Patel.

However, Modi’s modesty is outraged at the comparison with the legend and he springs up in protest. “It is unfair to compare anyone with Sardar Patel. He was a great stalwart. We are lucky that his soul is there to inspire us. He was an iron man because he stood by his commitment to his ideology and thoughts. Even in the face of opposition to his stand, he never succumbed. No toothless ruler can rule the country,” he interrupts your thoughts.

Going to office is a rather academic activity for Narendra Modi. He has drawn a definite blue print for his people and his personal political agenda. His hours spent in the office are channeled towards proactive administration rather than for political sustenance, Probably, Modi feels best when he talks about his innovative governance, and his schemes are no mere eyewash. Looking closely, his schemes are universal in nature, not to be constricted by boundaries either. An offspring of a middle class family in Vadnagar in Mehsana district of north Gujarat where Modi completed his schooling, he was conferred his PG in Political Science from the Gujarat University. As a young man, he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student wing and was involved in the anti-corruption Nav Nirman Movement. After working as a full time organiser there, he was later nominated as its representative in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The upward climb had no stopping. But, amidst all the sound and fury, wouldn’t we like to know how his growing up years impacted Modi as a person? “I am just an aam admi, a common man. I live and think like a common man despite the trappings of power. My family background was very humble. My growing up was also nothing extraordinary. There were no unusual aspects to my life to have made me blossom into someone special. Neither my mother nor my father was the sarpanch of any village. It was a bewilderment to even know what it was like to be a Panchayat member. So, whatever is attributed to an ordinary man is applicable to me. I am happy with the small mercies of life. Even if a child tells me, ‘Uncle, you have done a good job,’ I feel joyous. And, the endeavour is to not do anything wrong so that you could be centred in joy,” proffers Modi. Modi likes to believe that he is driven by the will of God when he says, “I had not shown any temperament to be in mainstream politics in my growing years. Even now, administration within the government framework is an absolutely apolitical activity for me. I hardly spare one or two hours in a month for political activities. I am totally dedicated to my job. I don’t see this office as a political one. While you are elected to work, there should be no politics at all. If there is politics, it means you are a failure. You are not a Chief Minister for those who have voted for you but for those who have not voted for you.”

Usually, the day begins early for Modi. “I have been an early riser since the beginning. My initial life demanded labour and effort for survival, so I am very hard working by nature. I would toil more than my peers. Be it sports, theatre activities or even reading a book, I would feel I should read faster and more books than the others. Lazing around is not in my nature. Even today, I don’t avail a Sunday. I remember when I was a child, during the India-China war, 50 kilometres from my village; there was a railway junction from where the army was dispersing aid to the war field. I accompanied some young men who went there to serve tea and snacks and give a pep talk to boost the soldiers’ spirits. I didn’t know what exactly this whole act was about, but I was there,” recalls Modi.

A strong national fervour was bound to be embedded with such an exposure at such a tender age, and it sure did. Modi embarked on a political pathway with the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and as a swayamsevak, he had to go underground during the Emergency declared by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. He joined the BJP in early 1987. “I helped maintain relations between the RSS and the BJP. In 1988, I was recognised as a master strategist of the party and was entrusted with the post of General Secretary of the Gujarat State BJP unit. Between 1988 and 1995, I successfully carried out two major projects of the BJP initiated by LK Advani-the Ayodhya Rath Yatra and the march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. In 1995, I became the National Secretary of the party with the charge of five major states. In1995, the BJP came to power with a two thirds majority in the Gujarat Assembly. Since then, Gujarat is under the rule of the BJP. In 1995, I was promoted to the post of General Secretary (Organisation) of the BJP. I held the office till October 2001 and then became the 14th Chief Minister of Gujarat,” writes Modi in his introduction on Facebook.

“Being in the RSS, I got a chance to work at every level of the organisation, which helped me in building my character. Basically, I am not built only for politics. I am an ardent lover of nature. My interest is mainly culture and character building. Now, political instability has becomes a part of politics. You need diligence and commitment to succeed in politics,” says Modi. An avid reader, biographies of great men catch his fancy apart from philosophical books, and he unwinds by reading and writing poetry. “Poetry which had something to say about life and its varied facets used to captivate me. Now, I just flip the pages as that phase of my life is over. But, I have published my poems and the beauteous nature has always been my muse, my inspiration. I am a big environment buff and even in my own state, a lot has been done to protect and nurture the environment,” he muses.

Recalling his growing years, Modi says, “From a very young age, I have been writing books and I also wrote columns with pseudo names. During the Emergency, I used to run a newspaper, called Satya Samachar. I was barely 20 plus then and during that time, I would unearth whatever was censored, publish them and distribute copies as an awareness campaign. The government had also issued a warrant in my name. Recently, I wrote a book on the environment, titled, Convenient Action, which was launched by Abdul Kalam. It is about various environment problems and solutions and Gujarat practices all of them.”

Modi the Mystic

Modi revealed in a television programme that he lived in the caves of the Himalayas for four years before he made his foray into public life. To retain one’s composure on the face of a storm reveals one’s inner spiritual strength. “A stress buster is needed for the one who feels stress. For the one who has authored his life with detachment, where is the question of stress? I am a totally detached person. I am here, but I don’t feel I am a Chief Minister. I am a CM only when I sign on the dotted line. Even that is because someone has to take the responsibility,” he says emphatically.

Not one of the temple going politicians who always look to the almighty for solutions to problems of their own making, Modi says, “I am not religious. I go to the temple on the Gujarat New Year day. I can’t claim to be spiritual because it’s a very profound epithet. But, I like it when I get to read or hear anything related to the spiritual world. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for many years. Detachment is something I believe in practising for my spiritual self. In fact, with great difficulty, I have torn myself away from pursuing mendicancy in totality to be a part of this world. The call of the Himalayas has been put on the back burner. When the time is right, it is like crossing from one room to the other for me. You will be surprised to know that despite having lived in this house for 10 years now, until of late, I didn’t even know how the entire house looked. I only used spaces like my office, bedroom, dining room and the study. Only when recently there was a move to relocate my library did I take a tour of the rest of the building. That is what I mean by detachment. And, what makes me angry? That’s the problem. I don’t get angry, but have to enact anger in order to get work done.” (Laughs)

So, where does spiritually and politics bifurcate? “There is a problem only when they bifurcate. They should not be cut off. Gandhi was immersed in spirituality all his life and it is this spirituality that inspired him to serve the society. This inspiration sustains because it is a power. This is where we are erring,” he pontificates.

Moments to Cherish

Modi lives his life purely with an agenda for his people with no personal strings attached. However, were there any moments he stole for personal gratification amidst the dust and din of politics and work? He recollects, “After being the CM for two consecutive terms, I had two desires. One was to unearth my childhood friends with whom I had completely lost touch. One day, I sat up and listed all the names I could remember. I remembered them all but had lost track of their whereabouts. Some 35 names popped up. I wanted to invite them to the
Chief Minister’s residence and share my childhood with them and also because I wanted to remind myself about the real Modi lest I lose sight of him. So, I spent time with my friends getting down-to-earth. They too felt that if I remembered and spent time with them after having reached where I have then I must be fine. So, that was my test. The other desire was to get together all the teachers in my lifetime and honour them. One of them was 93-years-old. I invited them here and organised a big function to honour them. It gave me immense happiness that I was able to honour and say thanks to those who have contributed their might in shaping me. So, I fulfilled both my desires and I am happy about it.”

Contributory Influences

An ardent bachelor, one hardly hears about Modi’s family. “On my birthday, I go home to visit my mother and spend a few minutes with her. That’s my only contact with my family. I left home when I was 17. And, I went back after 35 years. I left home in order to serve the society and the country. Then, I was drifting to different destinations and landed as the CM. I eat simple food-khichdi, chapatis, kadhi and stuff like that. I am a 100 per cent vegetarian,” he says.

“As a 13-year-old, I used to read Vivekananda. I don’t have a political background. I hadn’t seen the Chief Minister’s chambers before I became one. I had not seen the Assembly before I became an MLA. I didn’t know how a government functioned. I didn’t know anything. I was fortunate to physically visit more than 400 districts where I stayed overnight. That’s why I am conversant with the problems of Hindustan. Probably, amongst all the politicians, I have visited the maximum number of villages. I have visited more than 50 per cent of the state and for 35 years, I was only travelling all over. This has given me a lot of strength. This contributed to my vision for the state and has translated into the progress of the state in all sectors. The other thing is my temperament to write, and to think out of the box is my innate nature,” stakes Modi.

Pro Hindutva

Branded as the messiah and ambassador of Hindutva, Modi has had much at stake due to the image. However, he vindicates his core philosophy in his inimitable rhetoric. With a stern voice, he says, “The government’s work is to function in accordance to the constitution. I am committed to the constitution of India. Being a Chief Minister, I have to follow the word and spirit of what the constitution states. If I say violence is bad, what is wrong in it? If I believe that we must love nature, what is wrong? If I say, serve the poor, what is wrong in it? If I say, sarva pantha samabhav-no discrimination of religion-what is wrong in it? And, if this philosophy is called Hindutva then why should one feel shy?”

The Bachchan Factor

Even as Modi’s Hindutva has triggered controversy, there was a hullaballoo over the choice of the Big B as the brand ambassador of Gujarat. Unflustered, Modi simplifies the entire saga, “I was taking up the promotion of tourism in the state. Gujaratis are the best tourists but Gujarat was never a tourist destination. I wanted to change this because all the elements needed for exotic tourism are inherent here. So, someone had to do something. Around the time I picked up this campaign seriously, Amitabh Bachchan came to me as he wanted me to watch his film Paa. I liked the film. Then, we got chatting and he said I could count on him if at all there was anything he could do for me. I have no personal needs, but it occurred to me that if he could do something for Gujarat, I would be happy. He said he had only his voice and his face as his fortune. I immediately asked him if he would promote our tourism. He willingly agreed to do so and what’s more, he does not charge us a single rupee and has always given as much time as we required for the shoots without even once shifting or cancelling a schedule. This is sheer service to the state. What more can I ask for when someone gives so much love to my state? I repeatedly express my thanks to him.”

Genesis of Controversy

The ghost of the 2002 riots haunts Modi as a convenient silencer and a political weapon. To Modi, it is a dream to find a benign press that would put the past behind and pat him for his good deeds. So, being the blue eyed boy of the media is indeed on Modi’s wish list. The media, Modi feels, keeps scratching the wounds of the riots, not allowing them to heal despite the dramatic amendments he has made. “It would be good if I were liked by the media world,” he rues.

Personal and Political Philosophy

Political commentators feel that the veteran politician has all the exposure and experience it takes to shoulder the responsibility at the helm of the country with ease, if given a chance. Does he not see himself playing a bigger role in national politics? “For me, any remote villager from Hindustan, even if he is repairing shoes, is doing national work. Even if a small individual averts an impending accident, it is a service to the nation. I don’t believe that it’s only by holding certain posts that you can serve the nation. Even now, whatever, I am doing is service to the nation. It does not matter from where and how you do it. It is a media created trend that if any Chief Minister does good work, he has to be spoken about being fit to be the next PM. We have seen this happen in the case of Chandrababu Naidu, Karunanidhi, Sharad Pawar, ND Tiwari, and others. It is a very big club but I don’t want to become a member of that club. To me, as Raja Ranthidev said, ‘Neither do I desire to rule nor do I desire liberation or rebirth. If I do have any desire, it is to wipe the tears of the poor.’ That was the philosophy of our country. What better inspiration can we have than this? Whatever work is entrusted to us, the benefit must reach the last person in the periphery,” he says crystal clear in his thoughts.

National Politics

While the media is going hammer and tongs about the suitability of Rahul Gandhi to take over the leadership of the nation and Rahul himself making inroads at the grassroot levels to entrench his presence, Modi’s take on the situation is of everyone’s interest. “Well, I don’t want to discuss this. One has to first explore where the grassroot is. As for Rahul Gandhi having the makings of a national leader, analyse the ingredients needed for that first. It is not my job to analyse anyone. Everyone works in his own way. The country is watching the centre’s performance. The Prime Minister himself stated that he has problems and that he is constrained. After this, there is no need for any editorial debates about their performance. He has confessed he has his limitations,” he sums up.

Keeping Terror At Bay

One of the major achievements of the Modi government is its success at keeping terror at bay even though the state shares a boundary with Pakistan. Even as the Al Qaeda has administered a threat letter to Modi, he refuses to lend terrorism any religious association. He explains, “It is not in good taste to associate terrorism with any religion. Terrorism has no religion and you cannot associate it with humanity. Someone who is human can’t be a terrorist. Only the one who ceases to be a human being becomes a terrorist.”

Success Mantra

“Success is a relative term. By and large, success is measured in comparison with someone else’s. I feel success is something that satisfies your inner conscience and tells you that you have done the right thing. Success should not be measured on a scale. If I can please a person by some gesture then I have found success,” Modi believes.

Personal Style

Modi has authored his own style statement that is now world renowned. “Well, when I was travelling extensively, I used to take a small bag and keep all my stuff in it. I used to then wash my own clothes. So, just as a space-saving and soap economising measure, I used to chop away the long sleeves of my kurtas. That’s how the half sleeve kurta became my style statement. You can find the Modi kurta even in London and New York and also in our own Khadi Bhandar,” says he blushing.

Network

Twitter and Facebook are now public forums and no surprise that Modi is present there. How net savvy is the Gujarat Chief Minister? “The communication revolution has set in and there is nothing wrong in using these mediums. I am an avid user of Twitter, I use Facebook, I send emails, I keenly keep track of how this medium is developing. In this age, information is power and through social networking, you can get and disseminate information fast. I believe in keeping communication with people alive. There are rarely any calls I don’t return or mails I don’t respond to. I surf the net and read the newspaper early morning over a cup of beverage, listening to my morning ragas,” he says.

Leaving FootPrints

All those who have achieved prominent public presence nurture the desire to be immortalised for their deeds. Modi has made service his axiom. How would he like to be remembered in posterity? “I should be able to serve the poor even more. Why should I be remembered? Why should I have such a dream? I am not an idealist. You behold the Ajantha Ellora caves. They are immortal. Does anyone know who created them? So, my philosophy is, we have been given a mission, we need to finish it before we quit. As far as the work is remembered, it’s still acceptable, but what is the need to remember the person behind it? I don’t even have the stature to give a message to anyone. I am a very small person. I don’t have the right. But, I love this country and its people and I give them the assurance that whatever task I am entrusted with, I will never spare any effort to fulfill it. I will work as hard as I can.”

Men of steel are rare to find and here is one, self made. It’s time we saw Modi in a new light-as a catalyst of change and growth. Though he insists he doesn’t harbour great political ambitions, only time will tell if this iron man of Gujarat gets the opportunity to rule the Delhi darbar.

MOOD GAUGE

MOOD GAUGE

Source: Organiser Date: 10/1/2011 6:54:45 PM

Modi’s message: Will it work?

Shift in Muslim vote inevitable

By GVL Narasimha Rao

Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana Mission is an attempt by the Gujarat Chief Minister to make Muslims equal partners in the process of development rather than treat them differently as vote banks. The message from the three-day fast by Narendra Modi is loud and clear. Muslims are an integral part of the state’s populace and they would neither be singled out for special treatment nor discriminated against.

The results of such non-discriminating governance paradigm are already showing. The human development and economic well being indicators show that Muslims in Gujarat are a much better lot than their counterparts elsewhere in the country, notably in states ruled by pseudo-secular parties.

Hitherto, Muslims were taken in by the bogus promises of the Congress and other pseudo-secular parties. The Congress party and other ‘secular’ parties have always benefited immensely by demonising the BJP and its leaders among Muslims and developing the Muslim community as a vote bank. What they got in return was a raw deal from parties that secured their support. The condition of Muslims is the worst in states like West Bengal where the Muslims overwhelmingly supported the Left regime for decades.

With his Sadbahavana Mission, Narendra Modi has begun a process of reconciliation with the minority community not by appeasement but by creating awareness and arousing aspirations for better development. Muslims are responding to Narendra Modi’s call because he is speaking with conviction and from a position of strength.

Nationwide, Narendra Modi is perceived to be an icon of development, a role model for efficient governance and a symbol of honest governance – virtues that are extremely rare to find in politics today. For the same reasons, Narendra Modi has been rated as the best Chief Minister in the country by India Today’s “Mood of the Nation” surveys year after year.

Muslims are also experiencing the same level of development as those belonging to other religions. In the last year’s local body polls in Gujarat, more than 120 corporators elected on BJP ticket were from the Muslim community. The tremendous response from the Muslim community to the Sadbhavana fast has rattled the Congress party so much that it has begun to organise campaigns in all districts of Gujarat to woo the minority voters.

If Narendra Modi’s efforts pay off in next year’s assembly elections in Gujarat, he may be able to replicate elsewhere in the country. In that event, proving its critics wrong, the BJP may be in a position to dent the Muslim vote bank outside Gujarat as well.

Had Muslims been vehemently opposed to Narendra Modi in Gujarat and unwilling to support his non-appeasement policy, the Congress party would have never felt threatened and organised campaigns to woo minorities. That Muslims would heavily oppose Narendra Modi in elections, if he is given a national role is the most aggressively circulated myth by the opposition parties in the country.

The reality is that the Muslims have always voted vehemently against the BJP in national elections in 1996, 1998 and 1999 even when a moderate Atal Behari Vajpayee was projected as Prime Minister. Yet, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in all these elections and grew from strength to strength despite stiff resistance from the Muslims. What I am saying here about the Muslim consolidation against the BJP is based on evidence and not a hypothetical analysis.

The same BJP which was not favoured by the Muslims attracted allies in 1998 and 1999 parliamentary elections despite the Muslim community’s fears and opposition to its ascension to power at the Centre. Admittedly, the allies needed the BJP because it had a popular leader in Vajpayee who could sway general masses. Muslims were also not opposed to Vajpayee as a leader and respected him, but they never supported the BJP in any significant measure in any election held under Vajpayee’s leadership.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had once told a media acquaintance in a personal conversation, ”Who wants the BJP to get the Muslim votes for us? We want the BJP to win Hindu votes for us.” For potential allies of the BJP, electoral success is all that matters and it does not matter whether the votes come from Hindus or Muslims.

Alliance Expansion

The BJP’s success in expanding the NDA would depend on the appeal and popularity of the BJP and its leadership. No party does anybody a favour in politics. Therefore, the BJP need not bend over backwards to appease any potential allies. Parties join the alliances for their own political success. Potential allies would like to deal with a party and a leader with stature, nationwide appeal, authority and an ability to strike deals.

With the BJP on a bounce, a number of parties are likely to sign up with the NDA. The most likely allies would include the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Chautala led INLD, Ajit Singh led RLD, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) etc. Alliances with regional parties like Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress and Trinamul Congress also cannot be ruled out.

The future augurs well for the BJP and its return to power is being widely speculated. The BJP neither needs to dilute its ideology nor be apologetic about its non-appeasement policy for Muslims. The BJP is a national party with much strength and should not follow the minority agenda set by some regional allies for their own selfish considerations. Parties are known for their core beliefs and principles and they should never be compromised at the altar of short term political success.

Complicated encounters

Complicated encounters
Ajit Kumar Doval
Posted: Wed Aug 04 2010, 02:42 hrs

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/desperate-congresss-votebank-politicssame-way-its-trying-to-protect-afzal-guru/655825/

Beware of half truths — because you may be holding the wrong half. After having seen and read so much about the Sohrabuddin episode in the last five years, one might believe one knows it all. Sohrabuddin is now cast as an innocent victim of police excess.

However, it would be worthwhile to explore the real facts about Sohrabuddin, the nature of police encounters, and the real issues at stake. Sohrabuddin was an underworld gangster who was involved in nearly two dozen serious criminal offences in states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. He maintained transnational links with anti-India forces from the early ‘90s onwards, until his death in 2005. Working with mafia dons like Dawood Ibrahim and Abdul Latif, he procured weapons and explosives from Pakistan and supplied them to various terrorist and anti-national groups (had it not been for his activity, at least some terrorist acts could have been averted). Sohrabuddin was solidly entrenched in the criminal world for a decade-and-a-half. Around the time he was killed, the Rajasthan government had announced a reward on his head. In 1999, he had been detained under the National Security Act by the Madhya Pradesh government.

In a 1994 case investigated by the Ahmedabad crime branch, he was co-accused along with Dawood Ibrahim and convicted for five years, for waging war against the Government of India, planning an attack on the Jagannath rath yatra in Orissa, and other offences under the IPC, Arms Act, etc. During the investigation, 24 AK-56 rifles, 27 hand grenades, 5250 cartridges, 81 magazines and more were seized from his family home in Madhya Pradesh. In 2004, a fourth crime was registered against him by Chandgad police station of Kolhapur district in Maharashtra under sections 302, 120 (b), and 25 (1) (3) of the Arms Act, for the killing of Gopal Tukaram Badivadekar. As fear of him often silenced people from reporting his whereabouts, let alone deposing against him, the Rajasthan government had to announce a reward on his head after he killed Hamid Lata in broad daylight in the heart of Udaipur, on December 31, 2004. So much for Sohrabuddin’s innocence.

However, irrespective of who Sohrabuddin was and what he did, the use of unaccountable force against him is indefensible is the public view of many (often at variance with their private view). There are many who feel that there is a higher rationale for such actions in compelling circumstances, as the law of the land has repeatedly found itself helpless in dealing with individuals bent on bleeding the country. Their argument, that the rule of law is a means to an end and not an end in itself, often finds support in the jurisprudential principles of salus populi est suprema lex (the people’s welfare is the supreme law) and salus res publica est suprema lex (the safety of the nation is supreme law). Even the Supreme Court of India, in the case of D.K. Basu vs. State of West Bengal [1997 (1) SCC 416] accepted the validity of these two principles and characterised them as “not only important and relevant, but lying at the heart of the doctrine that welfare of an individual must yield to that of the community.” The validity of the principles of salus populi est suprema lex and salus res publica est suprema lex could have been part of an enlightened national discourse, and what could be the governing instrumentalities, empowerments, legal checks and stringent processes if these principles were to be invoked. It is better to accept reality as it is and then strive to change it for the better, rather than what we wish it to be. Feigned ignorance is the worst type of hypocrisy.

But there is another vital question that needs to be addressed. While pursuing the Sohrabuddin case, was the government really serious about stopping the menace of fake encounters, or was it pursuing a different agenda? Encounters have been taking place all over the country under all regimes, at times degenerating into what are called fake encounters. Between 2000 and 2007 there have been 712 cases of police encounters in the country with UP topping the list at 324, and Gujarat figuring almost at the bottom with 17.

In some of the cases there was not much on record, even to establish the criminal past of those killed. Settling political scores through security and investigative agencies like the CBI is not only bad politics, but also destructive for the nation’s security. To convey the impression (explicitly or implicitly) that Sohrabuddin was targeted for belonging to a particular community, thereby creating a sense of insecurity in a section of society, is detrimental to national interests. It is little known that a large number of Sohrabuddin’s victims were Muslims while a good number of his closest associates (including Tulsiram Prajapati, who was also killed in a similar encounter), were Hindu. William Blake could not have been more right when he said that “a truth that is pursued with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent”.

The other negative impact of the Sohrabuddin case is the impression it is creating that all encounters in which police and security forces are involved, are fake. Society needs to be reassured that the majority of encounters are genuine and mostly in response to murderous attacks on security personnel. The fact that, on average, over 1,200 policemen get killed every year grappling with terrorists, insurgents, underworld mafia and other anti-social elements, bears ample testimony to this fact. Playing up a few aberrations and blowing them out of proportion and presenting them as the only truth is not in the national interest.

The other downside of the publicity around such cases is that it erodes the people’s trust in governance. Administrations begin to be seen as instruments of repression and self-aggrandisement and politicians as perceived as manipulating their power for political and personal gains. This erosion can lead to a dangerous delegitimisation of the polity. Democratic politics is an exercise in regime-legitimisation, and to lose the confidence of the governed would set the government on a self-destructive path.

The writer is former director of the Intelligence Bureau

Communalism and Secularism

Who is secular

I am not a PM candidate – says Modi

http://paramnews.com/
In an exclusive interview with ParamNews.Com, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi shares his view about current economic crisis and how to tackle against terrorism.

Q: What are your views on Global economic slowdown?

Narendra Modi:It is a financial tsunami which has originated in the US and Europe and has started impacting India also. Wherever there is inflation, the Centre blames international scenario but when it comes to economic slowdown, they try to outrun it by claiming that India is safe. The central Government needs to be proactive in handling the crisis. The industries, finance companies and insurance sector have been impacted due to the global economic turmoil. A vacuum has been created. Terrorist groups and drug mafias are waiting for this opportunity to enter into the Indian market to pump in their ‘dirty money’. If it’s so happens, they can gain command on the Indian economy

Q: What are your views on UPA Government underplaying current economic crisis?
Narendra Modi: “UPA Government has failed completely in handling economic crisis in the country. Issues of price rise, economic policies, corruptions and scams (satyam fraud), mismanagement of fund, and to tackle Bangladeshi infiltration. Congress had been surviving by creating problems in the country and insecurity and fear in people’s mind.” Congress has not only become weak and old but a burden for the people, I appeal to the voters “to reject the old party and choose BJP which can solve all their problems, including terrorism and unemployment.”An old Congress can not change the fate of the youth,” he said and pleaded for a young BJP government committed to peaceful and steady development of the country.

Congress in its manifesto before the last election had promised to provide 1.5 crore employment. But unfortunately, about 5 lakh people have lost their jobs recently due to faulty policies and mismanagement. While UPA had been crippled after several of its constituents quit the alliance, “people are virtually sitting in a sinking boat”.

Q: Where do you see Gujarat in five to ten years down the line?

Narendra Modi:Gujarat will be different from other states because our development focus is not Ahmedabad-centric. Ahmedabad is good for marketing Gujarat. It may get the right branding in the next couple of years. But we want uniform development of Gujarat. We want to make Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and other cities strong pillars on which Gujarat will stand. Plus, we are building new cities, like the financial city. Then there will be a nano-city exclusively for units researching or using nano-technology. We are planning a knowledge city, on the lines of Nalanda or Taxila, as an education hub. We are also planning a health city with modern medical infrastructure. We need to create satellite cities around major cities to speed up the expansion of the mother city. Another new concept I am working on presently is called ‘rurban’. It is a big village with a rural soul and an urban feel, having all the amenities that a city can strive for. But the soul would remain that of a village.

Q: How far is Terrorism seen as a threat in realizing the dream of Vibrant Gujarat?

Narendra Modi: Terrorism is not Gujarat’s problem alone. It is a problem for entire humanity. The need is for the right thinking world to isolate terrorism and unite to fight it. There should be a joint strategy to combat terror. In India, all governments, people, media and intelligentsia should come together. It’s like war. Nobody talks about intelligence failure in a war situation. There should be one voice against terror. We need zero tolerance on terror.

Q: Most of the people have started seeing you as the ideal prime minister of the future?

Narendra Modi: There are two ways to harm a person. One, you can give that person less work than what is he is capable of doing. Second, you can show him big dreams which he is not capable of achieving. You fire his ambition so that he ventures out and gets finished. In my past, many CMs were shown dreams of becoming PM. I pray to all my well wishers not to make me a sacrificial lamb. I am happy doing what I am doing.

Why India needs Narendra Modi

Why India needs Narendra Modi

 

Suhel Seth

Posted online: Oct 19, 2008 at 2338 hrs

Let me begin with a set of disclosures: I have perhaps written more articles against Modi and his handling of the post-Godhra scenario than most people have; I have called him a modern-day Hitler and have always said that Godhra shall remain an enduring blemish not just on him but on India’s political class. I still believe that what happened in Gujarat during the Godhra riots is something we as a nation will pay a heavy price for. But the fact is that time has moved on. As has Narendra Modi. He is not the only politician in India who has been accused of communalism. It is strange that the whole country venerates the Congress Party as the secular messiah but it was that party that presided over the riots in 1984 in which over 3,500 Sikhs died: thrice the number killed in Gujarat.
The fact of the matter is that there is no better performer than Narendra Modi in India’s political structure. Three weeks ago, I had gone to Ahmedabad to address the YPO and I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with Modi. I called him the evening before and I was given an appointment for the very day I was getting into Ahmedabad. And it was not some official meeting but instead one at his house. As frugal as the man Modi is.
And this is something that the Gandhis and Mayawatis need to learn from Modi. There were no fawning staff members; no secretaries running around; no hangers on…just the two of us with one servant who was there serving tea. And what was most impressive was the passion which Modi exuded. The passion for development; the passion for an invigorated Gujarat; the passion for the uplifting the living standards of the people in his state and the joy with which he recounted simple yet memorable data-points. For instance, almost all of the milk consumed in Singapore is supplied by Gujarat; or for that matter all the tomatoes that are eaten in Afghanistan are produced in Gujarat or the potatoes that Canadians gorge on are all farmed in Gujarat. But it was industry that was equally close to his heart.
It was almost like a child, that he rushed and got a coffee table book on GIFT: the proposed Gujarat Industrial City that will come up on the banks of the Sabarmarti: something that will put the Dubais and the Hong Kongs of this world to shame. And while on the Sabarmati, it is Modi who has created the inter-linking of rivers so that now the Sabarmati is no longer dry.
He then spoke about how he was very keen that Ratan Tata sets up the Nano plant in Gujarat: he told me how he had related the story of the Parsi Navsari priests to Ratan and how touched Ratan was: the story is, when the Navsari priests, (the first Parsis) landed in Gujarat, the ruler of Gujarat sent them a glass of milk, full to the brim and said, there was no place for them: the priests added some sugar to the milk and sent it back saying that they would integrate beautifully with the locals and would only add value to the state.
Narendra Modi is clearly a man in a hurry and he has every reason to be. There is no question in any one’s mind that he is the trump card for the BJP after Advani and Modi realises that. People like Rajnath Singh are simply weak irritants I would imagine. He also believes that the country has no apolitical strategy to counter terrorism and in fact he told me how he had alerted the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the NSA about the impending bomb blasts in Delhi and they did not take him seriously. And then the September 13 blasts happened! It was this resolve of Modi’s that I found very admirable. There is a clear intolerance of terrorism and terrorists which is evident in the way the man functions; now there are many cynics who call it minority-bashing but the truth of the matter is that Modi genuinely means business as far as law and order is concerned.
I left Modi’s house deeply impressed with the man as Chief Minister: he was clearly passionate and what’s more deeply committed. When I sat in the car, I asked my driver what he thought of Modi and his simple reply was Modi is God. Before him, there was nothing. No roads, no power, no infrastructure. Today, Gujarat is a power surplus state. Today, Gujarat attracts more industry than all the states put together. Today, Gujarat is the preferred investment destination for almost every multi-national and what’s more, there is an integrity that is missing in other states.
After I finished talking to the YPO (Young President’s Organisation) members, I asked some of them very casually, what they thought of Modi. Strangely, this was one area there was no class differential on. They too said he was God.
But what they also added very quickly was if India has just five Narendra Modis, we would be a great country. I don’t know if this was typical Gujarati exaggeration or a reflection of the kind of leadership India now needs! There is however, no question in my mind, that his flaws apart, Narendra Modi today, is truly a transformational leader! And we need many more like him!
The writer is Managing Partner, Counselage

My daughter Pragya is innocent – Pragya’s father

http://in.rediff.com/news/2008/nov/12inter-my-daughter-pragya-is-innocent.htm

‘My daughter Pragya is innocent’
 
November 12, 2008

In the first part of the interview, Dr Chandrapal Singh, father of Puranchetanand Giri, better known as Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, who was arrested by the Mumbai police’s Anti Terrorist Squad in connection with the bomb blast in Malegaon, spoke of her growing up years and early influences.

Dr Singh, a committed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker for the last 35 years, spoke to rediff.com’s Sheela Bhatt at his home in Surat [Images] about why he believes his daughter is innocent.

Excerpts from the second and final part of the interview.
“I encouraged Pragya to become a sadhvi because that is the real life. We are all suffering the results of falsehood. In the last two years she became a sadhvi and headed her own organisation called Jai Vande Mataram. It’s active in helping women who have been converted to other religions by deceit. She also helps quarrelling couples by trying to build bridges between them. The entire Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad family was her family.

“Talking about the police, I can only say they are working under the political parties. They have to obey them 85 percent of the time. Later, they will apologise that they are forced to do certain things.

“During the Emergency I have seen it first hand. My name was on top of the police list. The government alleged that I was an anti-national, I belonged to an organisation that killed (Mahtama) Gandhi and that I am disturbing peace in society. The RSS asked me to go underground and I wasn’t arrested.

“In the case of Pragya, we don’t deny that she owned a motorcycle. Some four and a half years back Pragya had lost the registration papers and her degree certificates in Bhopal. She lost her purse when an autorikshaw hit her; she had a head injury. When she recovered she thought of getting rid of the motorcycle. One way was to prepare a new set of papers. When her colleagues at ABVP came to know that Didi wants to sell her motorcycle they came forward. Her one-year-old vehicle was worth Rs 43,000 and it was in a very good condition but they offered her only Rs 25,000. When the deal was closed, the buyer, Manoj Sharma, gave only Rs 24,000. He used to attend ABVP programmes and used to come to Surat also.

“We signed the papers. Some RTO fixer said they will help transfer the name. For four years the vehicle was not transferred in the buyer’s name. Meanwhile the motorcycle was stolen from Sharma’s home. Why did he not report to the police? Manoj claims it’s because the motorcycle was not transferred in his name. He was targeted by SIMI [Images] and guys from the Church, also. A Christian member of the Congress was murdered and Manoj Sharma’s name was inserted in that case. This is how the bike reached “that” camp. When the vehicle resurfaced in the (Malegaon) blast, the police could trace our house from the chassis number.

“On October 9, the Anti-Terrorism Squad’s inspector Samant came to see me in Surat, in this house. He said he wanted to ask me some questions. I agreed. He asked me, “Where is this vehicle?” I said, “It’s not mine. It belongs to my daughter. And some four years back it was sold.” I asked him why is he asking all these things. He said he would tell me later.

“He asked me if I have my daughter’s number. I didn’t have it but I got it from someone. He talked to Pragya on the phone. She accepted that the motorcycle once belonged to her and it was sold. The inspector asked if she can come to Surat. Pragya came on October 12 from Madhya Pradesh [Images]. The police took her to Mumbai and kept her illegally in police custody for 12 days.

“I didn’t complain. I believe that every citizen should help the process of law. I told the police that you may be very strict. I will be happy for that because it means that you are honest. I welcome you if you are honest. Why should I fear you? People who are guilty should be afraid of you. Why should I be afraid of you? Pragya told me, “Pitaji, my intention is not bad. I haven’t done anything; I have never even imagined such a thing. Don’t worry about me. You remain absolutely tension-free. I will return safe after managing this crisis. Trust me. Even if I am imprisoned I will come out without any blemishes”.

“By the way, what is your definition of non-violence? When Gandhiji was asked about it, he had said that non-violence doesn’t mean escapism. To protect “non-violence”, even if we have to hit someone it can’t be termed as “violence”. Will you term Ram a violent person because he killed Ravana? However, to uphold nationalism you don’t need to plant bombs. Pragya has Christian and Muslim friends. I believe in Hindu religion non-violence is valued above truth. I am confident that my daughter will come out unblemished. This is a made-up case to prepare the political climate .Have you heard anywhere that SIMI is wrong? People in power can do these things if they carry bad thoughts.

“I will ask you a counter-question. Do you think anyone who is involved will give her own bike to do such things? Those who indulge in terrorism, will they easily surrender when the ATS calls? When a relative went to see her in police custody Pragya asked him, “What was the need to come? Don’t you trust me? Let the police do whatever they like. One day they will have to release me”.

“Being a sadhvi she eats little food. She mixes rotis and subzis in one deep bowl and dilutes the taste before eating it.

“Now, I don’t know how she is in jail. She is no more with ABVP because she heads her own organisation. She was never with the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad so if they deny any links with her they are not wrong. I have an association with the RSS but the RSS doesn’t have swayamsevikas so in that sense she is not directly related to the RSS. (Gujarat Chief Minister) Narendra Modi [Images] has been associated with ABVP and Pragya has been a member of it, so they have met at a few events.

“I am not upset that some leaders have not come out in the open to support Pragya. Because, my daughter has not done anything wrong. When Christ was crucified he didn’t ask for a saviour. He was less famous then, but today he is famous many times more.

“I am 99 percent sure that Pragya is not involved in the Malegaon blast case. I am not sure one percent only because since the last two years she was not visiting my home because sadhvis are not supposed to visit their parental home. She doesn’t address me as pitaji and now calls me Doctor saab.

“I know she was dissatisfied with the blasts in India. She wanted everybody to be pragmatic. She wanted the people to think of the nation first. We believe that when India will become a Hindu Rashtra there will be no sin committed on this land. The Supreme Court says Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life. But in Sanskrit it is said that a person who is opposing sin on the strength of divine beliefs is a Hindu. We are not yet true Hindus.

“The Sangh believes that if Muslims are doing something wrong we should explain to them that it is our collective loss. And, we believe there are enough Muslims in India who understand this.

“Bal Thackeray [Images]ji is not supporting my daughter; he is trying to unite Hindu votes. The same thing is done by the Congress. This is not fair. Thackeray is supporting Pragya to prepare his votebank and Congress is harassing Pragya to tell Muslims that they are their only protectors. Muslims know well the games the Congress plays.

“I don’t need Modi’s support. If I have done injustice, I will get punishment and I will be hanged. If I have not done any crime then even if Modi doesn’t come to our rescue we will be saved. There is something called self-confidence. I haven’t met Modi in a formal sense but we know each other well enough. I am an RSS worker and he is also one.

“I need only the support of God and society. If my daughter had done anything wrong she would have told me somehow. My daughter is not capable of hiding anything from me. She would have surely told me, “Even if I die, I will do this (planting of bombs).”

“I believe my daughter is innocent.”