“Aa bhraa aithe bau.” (come bro, sit here) The Sikh boy with rustic looks and wearing a pant which looked more like a pyjama gestured to his friend in rustic village type heavily accented Punjabi, as I stood at the bus stop in Chandigarh. He had just come out of his college and was headed to the bus stand (probably for his village) and was a physics student. “yaar o thermo-dinaamic (thermodynamics) da question ki si?” He looked quizzically at his friend who was equally rustic. And then these two guys went on to discuss thermodynamics in detail with even the equations thrown in for good measure.
This is India. Real India.
Rustic. In your face. Uneven on the edges. But brilliant and resilient.
Many of us who have studied in hostels for higher studies have seen those who come from small town and villages with rustic accents, flawed language, unkempt clothes ace the subjects and tests that very few can.
We all have also seen how women who look like regular housewives drive the greatest of space innovations at ISRO that could make mincemeat of the best of NASA scientists.
That is India.
When Narendra Modi became the PM with his rather rustic sense of communications and edgy Hindi accent, he was so very different from the propah accents of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
You see we had been led to believe that expressing ourselves in a certain way in a certain language was the only way to be. That was the right way as Universe had ordained. Anything else would make us ashamed.
No matter what the content. Or the intelligence. Or the effectiveness of the speaker.
Substantive content did not matter to us English education bred with our brains hanging in Greenwich time zone.
Modi changed all that. He not only stuck with his style of communication but he successfully navigated the world of geopolitics, intrigue and machinations the world over.
IN an era where ISIS would never return any prisoner, rather execute them on TV for public viewing, his team was able to free Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Vatican priest from Kerala and Indian nuns from ISIS captivity. In a world where Iran and Saudis, Russia and EU, Russia and US (establishment), Israel and Iran, US and Iran are at each other’s throats – they all can work with Modi comfortably.
That is no small achievement.
Yes, his speeches will not be cited in the “Hall of Fame” of some speech museum or history as probably “Tryst with Destiny” may be. But unlike how that suave speech masked a trail of hundreds of thousands of dead and uprooted people, Modi’s speeches lead a way for prosperity and a stable world.
And, that is what matters.
If we were looking for suave orators then we should all have studied in some English literature and communications club and hoped to become the greatest leaders. But words don’t get things done. Actions do.
You need to get work done. That is why Modi is successful. And a great champion at connecting with the masses.
Wherever he goes huge rallies of people follow him, eager to hear one word from him. Those, who have been given the suckers of falsehoods and mistrust, here is one guy who gives them hope. Because he executes things that work and make their lives better.
And, in good measure, he does not leave the push back to the vile few in the country whose only job is to undermine him. No other agenda, no other goal, no other vision. Just anti one man who makes things happen for the masses.
Modi connects therefore and how!
So when many wearing their jeans and Polo tees get all riled up at Modi’s accent and poking at Rajiv Gandhi after years, heck decades, of unmitigated abuse, one wonders – how deeply enslaved is Indian mind to the British ways that were institutionalized for over 250 years?
Many have said that this is the first time that India has an Indian government. Until now it was brown sahibs and sepoys ruling India after independence.
And nothing can be more correct.
“Aithe bau” rustic ways are what India is as a majority. Not religion, not caste…. just the way to be. Rooted in ground, of the soil, yet wisdom of the Universes and beyond.