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Narendra Modi, New Prime Minister, New India?
The people of India have spoken! Millions of voters ushered in a new government and hopefully a new era. Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister, has said a lot of things which bode well – “This nation does not belong to Modi or BJP. This nation belongs to the people of India. Let us forget the past. Let us look ahead and make development a mass movement. Development is the only agenda that can save the nation.”
The Nation’s Wishlist
Wonderful sentiments to which many of us would like to add a few more – Make it a totally inclusive country where people of all religions, castes, colors, genders and sexual persuasions can live peacefully together. Make it a more compassionate nation where every child, irrespective of his background, has a level playing field. Try to change the patriarchal mindset of the country, a place where women have always been less than men, and the birth of a girl child is a time for sadness. Yes, I know that centuries old biases can’t be changed in a day but so much depends on the tone set by the man leading the nation.
Standing Tall in a Secular Nation
Modi at his victory rally in Gujarat talked about cleaning up the country, clearing up the dirt and garbage that defaces every Indian city. I do hope he’ll be a hands-on leader who not only cleans up the cities but also our inner cobwebs. The greatest joy will be to see him bring equality and prosperity to the minorities of the country. That is when he can stand tall and help clear up any suspicions of his role in the tragedies of 2002. We don’t really know him and his actions as the leader of the world’s largest democracy, a great secular nation, will tell us who he really is and how much he cares about India.
A tweet which went out recently from his account is: “I am Mazdoor Number 1. In coming 60 months I will dedicate every moment of my time to the people.”
So be it!
BJP Victory – Views From Around the Globe
Here are your crib notes on the big victory with a quick look at what the world media is saying.
“As the Bharatiya Janta Party forms India’s first single-party majority government in 30 years, Muslims have been eclipsed. Only 4.05% of the members of the new Lok Sabha are Muslim – the lowest figure in 50 years. The 2009 polls saw 30 MPs being elected. Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha has hovered at around 5-6% for the last 25 years, with the highest number of 49 MPs (10%) being recorded in 1980.”
“Modi should be emboldened by his electorate mandate, and his post-poll speeches have clearly demonstrated that he has the self-confidence to offer India bold new leadership. But India being India, and Indians being Indians – argumentative and disputatious – there will be many political and social hurdles in the path of this low-caste former tea seller from Gujarat.”
The Khaleej Times
“He has a fairly clear idea of what he wants to accomplish, and he does not look for ratification from the market,” said Eswar S. Prasad, a Cornell University economist who has consulted informally with Mr. Modi’s economic team. “One could argue that in a country where there are far more words than actions thrown around, that this is far more preferable: a man who acts.”
The New York Times
Modi is the first head of government to have been born after 1947, and his relationship to India’s recent and ancient history is casual and instrumental. To him, as to many of the young people he will now represent, the past is a rubblescape of injury — to be avenged.
The Economic Times