This article is by Archana Kapoor. She is the Founder and Chief Blogger at drishti.coDate: January 25th, 2015 at Hyderabad House, Delhi
Scene 1: Chai Pe Charcha
Take 1. Action!
Enter President Obama with our very own, much-loved Prime Minister Modi. Dress Code: Formals.
As the two besties make way towards the garden where the hot tea-pot awaits them, suddenly all cameras zoom in… No! not at the charming smile of Obama but, at PM Modi’s Bandhgala. They focus the valuable zoom lenses of their SLRs on something incredible they just spotted. Really!? Is that true? Zoom a bit more, a closer encounter… oh yes! Unbelievable… the suit has his complete name (Narendra Damodardas Modi) stitched in pinstrips. Huh? Arrogant and how!
Scene 2: The media personnel dump their expensive cameras, take to their cell phones and assiduously make frantic calls to kith and kin and theirs to pass on this implausible news. And it starts doing the rounds, the grapevine (no longer a grapevine) at its best!Date: February 10th, 2015 at the Chaurasia residence, Mumbai
Scene 1: Delhi election results being declared on TV
Take 1. Action!
Enter Kejriwal (wife included) sans the muffler and minus the hideous cough bouts, now beaming in front of the camera, people going nuts and applauding non-stop. Somewhere in the background Kumar Vishwas is serenading and other lesser known mango people dancing away to the dhols. Suddenly the scene changes, as someone flips channels and PM Modi’s suit (portraying arrogance and narcissism) is being blamed for the ghastly loss of the BJP, by some popular god-forsaken journalist.
Oh well, gayi bhains paani mein!Date: February 17th, 2015 at the Chaurasia residence, Mumbai
Scene 1: India TV’s Rajat Sharma enlightening the country about the Modi suit going on auction the next day
Take 1. Action!
Enter Archana with her Ipad, playing her favourite jewelmania; disinterested in watching TV, however listening to Rajat Sharma in the background. Suddenly she takes note of what Rajat was saying and the information he was freely giving out. Modi being her favourite, he managed to grab her attention.
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And these scenes made Archana (me) think!
Just like cricket, I have hated politics in the past. I always thought politics wasn’t my cup of tea (secretly also told myself that the elite don’t get involved in such petty matters). It’s a different thing that I grew up in a household where the men took active interest in politics and there were heated debates and discussions on every small political move and where we were disciplined into voting for each election that took place. Naturally from being totally disinterested I started taking some interest before elections especially. I despised being told whom I should vote for (considering that I was a grown up and needn’t be told) and hence decided it was best that I read up a bit myself, apart from the information learnt in various debates. So from neutral ground I had reached a place where I suddenly had a political opinion of my own. Time flew, things changed and I married a nationalist, who was known for his contrarian and strong political views, a man who had predicted Modi’s ‘ascent to power’ as the Indian PM years back (prediction link), and was sure beyond a shadow of doubt that the BJP would rock in the 2014 elections. I have evolved and have come a long way; and today I am shocked at my own self while writing my first article on politics.
It’s the hullaballoo around PM Modi’s suit that enticed me into writing about the hue and cry around it and the criminal waste of time it has unfortunately caused. Since the day Modi adorned the Bandhgala, he was christened a self-declared narcissist. Who else would dare to wear style on his sleeve like this and that too a public servant, totally unheard of! And to think of it, after Modi’s masterstroke of auctioning his suit and donating the funds to the Namami Gange Trust Fund, who but the flamboyant, stylish and charismatic PM could have done something like this.
What shocks me most about the criticism and public outrage over Modi’s suit is that we Indians have so much time at our hand to waste on such useless bickering. Whilst Mr. Modi will have the last laugh thanks to his auction idea (despite his big loss in the recent Delhi elections), it appals me to think of how the leaders of the other national parties have gone berserk over the suit. Rahul Gandhi being one of the main characters in question here! Just because he makes public appearances in his famous white kurta pyjama and black jacket, I wonder if the same set of people question his numerous trips to London, what he does there, what he wears and the women he hangs out with (have I also heard about he being a rapist… umm… well). Ofcourse the Gandhian heir has all the right in the world to speak anything against anyone. So what if his family of politicians have raped our beloved country of its wealth and transported it to other unnamed nations, which are rolling in money now and their economies being powered by ‘our’ monies. But he’s a Gandhi afterall! As an aside, he also figured the price of the suit and went into frenzy in front of the cameras declaring its value at 10 Lacs. Did I hear PM Modi tell someone that the minimum bid price was already decided by RaGa… ROFL!!
The wonderful new CM of the capital, our famous mango man also made every possible effort in ensuring that he cashed in on the outburst against Modi’s suit (and being new to the politics scene, I am told a little credit also has to be given to the unfortunate decision of choosing Ms. Bedi as the BJP CM candidate). He also repeatedly tweeted that the suit was gift from the Ambanis. Perhaps Mukesh/Anil called Kejri and gave him first hand information. And ofcourse the fact that he was thoroughly upset at not being invited for the 26th Jan R-Day parade and that he could have been a part of the ‘aam janta’ and deliberately chose not to do it, has been forgotten by our dearest Delhi-ites. But yes, like all others, I agree, he wasn’t being egoistic at all. No way, a mango man doesn’t even have the word ego in his dictionary.
What makes me sad at this much ado over a suit is the fact that productive time of an entire nation has been wasted, mis-informed people have used it against the PM and mis-led people. Tweets flew thick and fast, including comparison with former Egypt President Hosni Mubarak who is known to have a similar outfit. Also, the calculations of the 10 lacs figure was very weak.. and based on an article in the UK paper.
And we the people of this great nation choose to close our eyes and keep swaying from here to there. I am in agreement with my co-writer on our blog – Amit; who recently wrote about how all we are interested in is ‘jugaad.’ (Read: A Jugaad revolution). Someone comes along, makes up stories, makes bigger promises; and we, the opportunists that we have become, jump at it and forget the good that we have seen even in the recent past. And why am I saying making up stories? Just today I read that suit wasn’t paid for by Mr. Modi, but was a gift from an NRI business man Ramesh Kumar Bhikabhai Virani who presented it to Modi while extending an invitation for his son’s wedding. Is accepting a gift a crime or is it a sign of humility that the PM wore it on the day of Virani’s son’s wedding which unfortunately happened to be January 26th! Ofcourse, Congress leader Ajay Maken did not stop short of passing a nasty remark: “How can such an expensive given to the PM be private? What did this person get in return?” Shameful! I don’t blame him; isn’t this what his party mates in power have always been doing? This morning I also heard some Congress leader speak about the satirical remark President Obama made about how Modi’s dressing style is more popular than Michelle’s, in the US. Well, our esteemed politicians need a little bit of education in the language – especially the difference between satire, humour and jest. If you ask me, during Obama’s visit – charisma was met with equal charisma and flamboyance with equal flamboyance. Obama and Modi are worthy of each other’s friendship – not because of the expensive suits they wear but because of their similarity of thought!
All I really want to ask is – irrespective of the fact whether the suit is worth Rupees 10 lacs or 10,000; does a man lose his individuality just because he has become a public servant? Does his flamboyance (something that he has been known for) become a punishment for him? Does the Indian constitution say that the PM doesn’t have the right to be stylish and has to be the epitome of the Gandhian dress code? Whilst I am not a narcissist who believes in wearing arrogance on her sleeve, I am a believer of individual rights. I happen to live in a democratic country which boasts of freedom of thought, and apparently Mr. Modi lives here too! 🙂 Surprising isn’t it? Yet, I get to be as stylish as I want to but poor Mr. Modi becomes the butt of jokes of the likes of leading writers like Shobha De (who went on about how idiotic Modiji’s pankhe wala turban he wore on Jan 26 was); a victim of the mainstream media and social media who have spun the choicest of fairy tales about the price of the suit (also called him a megalomaniac); and prey to the likes of the Gandhi’s, Kejriwals, Yadavs and many more!
As I write this, I have just read that the bid for the Modi suit has already hit the one crore mark, and I don’t doubt that this auction will gather millions with the help of other gifts received by the PM and the CM of Gujarat. It’s a pity that we choose not to speak about the goodness of this man and how he has been auctioning gifts received by him since his CM days in Gujarat. The same people who have spoken against Modi would be better off researching on the exact number of crores that he has already accumulated in this manner and given away as charity for the education of the girl child.
Today, I am reminded of my favourite poem by Rabindranath Tagore –
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
If we believe that it was the Father of the Nation who led us to freedom and; that even one man has the power to make a change in the nation, then I believe that you can free us of the many shackles that have held us back Mr. Modi; and you can lead us to real freedom that we deserve! And if this means anything to you at all Mr. Modi, I am proud to unabashedly call myself your supporter and an ardent fan. I am happy that just like you; I am also ‘unique.’
Image Source: Flickr