Saturday, April 20, 2019


The last 5 years swept by pretty fast. 
It feels fresh. It seems like I wrote about Modi just a few days ago. 

It seems like it was just yesterday we couldn't tolerate a PM who wouldn't speak and wouldn't be able to act decisively. We lamented about his puppet master and the scams of the Grand Old Party.

We just wanted to get him out. 
We thought it was the worst thing to happen to an economist. 
And we thought we had enough of scams and we deserved better.

And then we voted

We kicked out the Congress and brought in the butchers. er.. the BJP. The Hand gave way to the Lotus. Green turned Saffron. 

We cheered. Well, albeit cautiously. We weren't used to politicians who spoke with such gusto. 
Modi swept the quasi-literate off their feet by sheer technological brilliance and digital blitzkrieg. 

I personally know of bloggers who were offered close to 1 lakh per month (tax-free) to write up to 4 favorable posts a month about the BJP. 
I know bloggers who refused and then I know many who took the cash. I won't name them here for obvious reasons, but the lure of easy money was hard to resist. 

BJP mastered the art of PR and paid the Piper. 

Congress retreated to lick their wounds and for a while, it looked like the Saffron wave was all-powerful when it won one State after another across the country.

As Modi became the flavor of the nation, countries that avoided him like the Bubonic plague began to roll out of the red carpet and set the fine china. After a decade of seeing countries treat us and our PM with disdain, we were chuffed when we saw packed stadiums and world leaders fete our real First Citizen.
We couldn't thump our chest hard enough. Any prouder, and we would have wanted to adopt Modi as our son. 
We finally thought we got the leader we deserve. We finally thought we were the greatest nation on earth (Sorry Uncle Sam).

Sure, Modi is an amazing orator. By that token, every toastmaster should be a great politician. But not.
Sure, he did turn Gujarat around and we all wished, hoped and believed he would turn us around as well.
And like a diligent salesman going door-to-door, Modi spent a good number of his first year at office traveling, begging, cajoling, hugging, and fist-pumping for support. Mostly, he was still celebrating his party's 'hard-won' victory and rubbing salt into Congress's wounds. When he wasn't traveling on his on-site assignments, he was on 'Poll-mode' because his party was still fighting elections across the country and he was their star performer and pack leader. 

His penchant for erasing Congress would lead him to rename pan-Indian projects and schemes, repackaging welfare programmes, and clandestine dissemination of misinformation against his opposition. 

His campaign promised a lot. Not entirely his fault because like resumes, we've come to believe that manifestos are loaded with exaggerations, false claims, and dubious promises. Repeating them here again would be blasphemous and entirely inappropriate and unpalatable for my readers. 

Cut to the present.

Our economy is barely breathing.
More millionaires have fled our country in the last 5 years than any other country in the world.
We have millions of semi-literate graduates unemployed. 
Our farmers are distressed. And don't even get me started on our manufacturing sector.
Our Rupee has been sliding.
Every governmental institution has been rendered untenable.
Every citizen who dares utter anything against Modi or the BJP will be called 'Anti-national'.
Religious intolerance is all-pervasive.
And amidst all of this, our country has been split down in the middle. 

Yet, 'Bhakts' (the common botanical name given to Modi-maniacs) think Modi is the best and can't do anything wrong. 
They proudly ask and answer the question: "Has there been a single scam?"
Right after they answer this, they suddenly become expert political analysts who will tell you, in technicolor detail, about all the scams the Congress engineered. 
True. The Congress did loot and plunder for a very long time. But then, who elected them to power the second, the third, and the fourth time? Why didn't you challenge and change the government then?
Why didn't you revolt then?
Because you were too comfortable in your cushy lives.

Starting from when they won the General Elections in 2014, they antagonized the opposition so much that it was embarrassing to hear Modi thump his chest and proclaim victory. Fine Modi, we get it you won. Now get working for us. 
It is now apparent that the single-handed act of demonetization and unscientific implementation of GST shrunk the economy. I challenge Bhakts to prove me otherwise. What Modi did was the financial equivalent of an emergency. 

And scams?
Sure, how about the Rafale deal?
While there is no doubt that Rafale is a better aircraft for our skies, there is much more to the deal than meets the eye, and the desperation of our government to malign people who'd merely ask for more transparency is suspect. If I'd done no crime, I'd have nothing to hide and no need to malign anyone who accuses me of the crime. The truth will triumph. As we hear more of how the PMO circumvent protocol and intervened in the deal, Modi has realized we have cornered him and desperately wants to divert our uncomfortable gaze off him.
He and his cronies have polarized our society and allowed Hindus and Muslims to kill each other. Radicalized Hindus have found protection behind powerful Hindu politicians. Muslims have been left to defend themselves. 
The corrupt have been allowed to get more powerful under his rule. 
And terror? For someone who talks tough on terror, Modi didn't flinch when his party fielded the Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya (among other equally colorful convicts) in the current elections. 

Modi has perfected the art of etching the right memories into our minds. Like a trained parrot, he knows what he needs to repeat so that fiction becomes fact. After all, a lie often repeated becomes reality. 
Modi has conveniently glossed over unemployment statistics. 
His government has fudged inflation reports, among other reports about shrinking GDP. 
Modi has forgotten how he had promised to bring back black money from Swiss banks. The irony is not lost on how he has not only failed to bring back ill-gotten money but how billionaires have fled with more of our money.
Obviously, Modi can't remember OROP anymore, because nothing has really happened on that front.
Surely, Modi won't remember too many of his campaign promises because, hey, when you have been traveling and fighting elections non-stop for the last 5 years, you aren't going to remember every lie you've told, right?

Modi is, like most politicians, a very eloquent and accomplished Pakistan-basher. If you haven't heard of the term 'surgical strikes' before Modi made it a catch-phrase, I wouldn't blame you. He made it fashionable to taunt Pakistan. Something that only the BCCI did every 4 years.
Since the second airstrike, Modi has been doing the rounds trumpeting and proclaiming how he nipped terrorism in the bud. How 'his sena' has taught Pakistan a lesson. 
Can I ask you something, Mr. PM?
How is it that an ordinary citizen living in a 'proclaimed' war zone acquire the amount of RDX that killed 40 soldiers in Pulwama? Are you telling us that our Intelligence Agencies failed to flag such a purchase? Do you not know the suicide bomber was a radicalized Kashmiri and not a Pakistani? Do you know what that Kashmiri's family went through in the months and years until the bombing? Do you not know there are thousands of Kashmiri youngsters that our high-handed policies have systematically radicalized? If we really wanted to resolve the problem with Kashmir, we could in a matter of years. Starting with defining the International Border, we must begin to treat Kashmiris with the respect they deserve. But no. War-mongering is good business. Keeping us in a perennial state of fear makes great political sense.
Surely, none of our politicians will send their sons and daughters to the armed forces. Modi, like most politicians, have perfected the art of arm-chair activism and puppetry.

Modi, you are the elected representative of our democracy, but you aren't everyone's choice. In fact, you aren't even our first choice. You were but the lesser of the demons. The best amongst the worst. Unfortunately, you still are the lesser of the evil. 
But trumpeting yourself to be the voice of a billion people isn't fitting the stature of a true statesman.  By calling the armed forces 'yours' and belittling their sacrifices and taking credit for their prowess, you show the world how phony you are. How trivial you are!
By trashing your political opponents, and by claiming how insignificant your lapses and misses are compared to theirs, you are fooling no one but yourself.

Well, dear Bhakts,
Here are some facts for you:

  • India under 5 years of Modi has lost more jobs than in the past 30 years. Worse still, your Modi has scrambled to hide statistics that show this fact.
  • Demonetization and GST did nothing to curb black money. Instead, it helped the corrupt launder billions.
  • Universal Health Insurance is still a pipe dream. 
  • Farm Crisis. Enough said.
  • Aadhaar. Once the favorite pinata (when the BJP were on the other side of the fence), BJP not only expanded it but created unnecessary intrusions into privacy. 
  • Make In India. Again, a pipe dream.
  • The RBI and the CBI. Handmaidens of the [insert name of the ruling party here].
  • Lokpal, anyone?
  • Financial markets have been on a free fall for over 2 years now and billions in wealth have been wiped off. 
I could talk about unsustainable Mudra loans, poorly built free housing for the poor, (expensive) subsidized cylinders for the poor, artificially inflated fuel prices (even when global oil prices are at their lowest), countless cesses, non-existent electoral reforms, banking reforms (that gave away money for poor policies) etc. but you get the drift, right?

I've spoken to countless 'Bhakts', of all age groups and sizes, and realized one thing - They love to thump their chest and proclaim 'Namo Again'. However, not one of them can stand to debate based on unbiased facts and figures. They take refuge at how Congress looted our country. Yes, they satisfy themselves with the firm yet lop-sided belief that whatever happened in the last 5 years was way better than whatever happened for 40 years. A crime is a crime.

Our democracy! 
We are now having to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. 
Many cherish the memory of Manmohan Singh. Those were simpler times. When our sons and daughters had a job, and our communities were truly cohesive and loved to co-exist. 
With the variety of politicians forming alliances to defeat BJP this year, in 10 years from now, we will remember Modi kindly as well. 

Most importantly, Modi has revealed the chink in our armor. 
He has revealed the blueprint to manipulate large sections of the country. 
His party has used the most basal instincts of fear, hatred, and ethnic divisibility to divide and rule us. 
Today, Modi and his bunch of cronies have shown how they want to win at any cost. They've tasted blood and boy, they love it!
Today, as Modi does the rounds dissing other politicians and selectively talking about how little India has gained, I want to remind him this - India isn't you, Modi. India has grown despite everything you have done to us.

The BJP realizes this - if they lose this round, they are going to be banished. Modi has created powerful enemies who are a lot more ruthless and less polished than him. 

So as we settle down and decide - 'Should I vote or not, because whether I vote or not, it won't matter, things don't appear to change.' 
Let me tell you this - There are people who didn't vote the last time and they thought it wouldn't get worse. But it did. And unless you've lived under a rock, it would have affected you adversely. 
So, please vote. Because we have the responsibility of saving whatever is left of India. 
But if you still believe you don't want to vote, I won't force you. Because in 10 years, when your lives have become truly miserable by the people you didn't vote for, then you will revolt. 

Because unless we put the fear of God in our politicians, what's happening in Paris and Spain will happen in India. The people will rise. 

Should we really wait until then?

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