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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chetan Bhagat,

Dear  Chetan Bhagat,

Your column ‘Time to polish those very rough edges’.
I do not venture to write on politics or politicians because it would be better to write about the shape of a cloud at least I can be sure that probably sometime or other I can show to people what type of cloud I was writing about. So at the outset let me make it very clear that I am not a supporter of any particular party or political figure.  
I would like you not to ignore facts even if you are not willing to accept or approve them. This is the fundamental rule for writing about politics or history. You are at liberty to then give your own interpretations, justifications, opinions etc. So, first notice facts without prejudice, take notes from political correspondents like Paul Johnson or our own M.J. Akbar [ who has incidentally written an excellent article in the same page today] and read history by authors like Will Durant, Dance etc along with reading of social psychology before venturing to write on subjects like Modi. Do your home work before arrogating yourself  to sit on judgment on all matters like TV anchors or act like the feigning petty know-all newspaper or news channel reporters. 
1] “He stands tall but does not work well as a combo meal” It is not a rough edge it is the sharp difference of a great personality and all great leaders are firm and look firm. He did not have greatness thrust upon him either by virtue of any dynasty, sect, class, caste, religion or sponsored by any political party or business house but has become great through showing to India what is governance and what a good leader can do, someone who gives priority to governance  over corruption and governance over promoting his family members . What is wrong in being a tall leader if you can deliver good governance and achieve something very important for improving the economic conditions of the people like a Margaret Thatcher, Moraji Desai, Vallabai Patel, Martin Luther King, Jothi Basu and E.M.S.Namboodiripad [ I have selected examples from  parties where party ideology {whether right or wrong} and cadre approval matter more than any single personality]

2] On Independence Day remember it was not aggression but it was honest appraisal and evaluation. Come on stop being hypocritical all Prime Ministers, Ministers, Chief Ministers owe their post , position , power ,pelf etc to politics and must and do use all opportunities to play politics. Unfortunately most Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers observe Independence Day and Republic Day as mere calendared observation of rituals rather than an occasion to put across what is required to make the nation a better place to live and acknowledge the mistakes that have led the nation to where it is now and also pointing out who is responsible for the mess [here though not directly- unfortunately the PM is the official face of the present Government]

3] Modi hype. Without PR, publicity or hype nothing sells anywhere. That too in a country where it involves taking on a entire government machinery , paid and biased media and a hoard of sycophants who would do anything to support a single family. Please remember it is only because of hype and promotion by business houses like IBD that your books are in the front racks in most book shops at the Air ports, Railway stations, major book stalls etc and only because of hype an ordinary small time writer like you could become popular enough to migrate from writing very ordinary novels to writing columns in newspapers and they too publish them. Please do not abuse something [hype and publicity] which has given you an identity which probably many better writers deserve in India and unfortunately do not get it.

4] Pan –Indian sensitivity. Please define what it is? Probably only economic development, equal opportunities to all, dignified living standards to everyone, national interest above dynastic, family, party ideology etc could be the few things that can be included in that classification called  Pan –Indian sensitivity. We cannot even include common civil code for fear of  losing a particular minority vote which is euphemistically and conveniently termed as Secularism of lately. On this Modi has declared boldly that Constitution is the only religion of a politician.

He talks frankly as all leaders who have with national and economic welfare as a vision and mission do, combined with  good intentions, initiatives and interest in implementing them like Margaret Thatcher, Dr. B.R . Ambedkar, Vallabhai Patel, Moraji Desai, Kamaraj etc rather than perpetuating a dynasty, promoting their kith and kin or thrusting a political ideology at the cost of economic welfare of all. It was one family which ensured that a great person like B.R. Ambedkar was never allowed to lead the nation as a main leader or sidelined Kamaraj and ultimately pushed him out they want to push aside Modi too because he belongs to very backward Ghanchi caste.

Considering all this I find your write up as highly parochial, prejudiced and perhaps paid up.

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