Say No to PM Modi
M Hasan Jowher
Dear Mohan Bhagwatji
This may be coming too late, but better now than never; better that you hear this today than say no one told you. Within days you – and at your behest the BJP – are expected to publicly propose Narendra Modi as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate.
For right or for wrong an overwhelming number of India’s 180 million Muslims – and at least thrice as many Hindus – strongly oppose this gentleman assuming the nation’s leadership. They dislike him unlike anyone else they did.
India’s Prime Minister represents the nation’s consensus and broader acceptance. He is supposed to unite, not divide and command an average Indian’s loyalty and respect.
If Modi were elected India’s PM he would in the nation’s history be the most unpopular and the least acceptable leader. No, please do not count merely the positive votes; do reckon the negative ones. Good nations are led not by mob leaders but by statesmen. They don’t have to be the most popular ones but must be necessarily be the least unpopular ones. Didn’t BJP propose Vajpayee when the true vote-getter was Advani?
Modi is India’s most unpopular leader, by a huge margin. The proportion of his adversaries to his admirers is alarmingly high. In addition to the official opposition, a large population of India will oppose PM Modi. The nation will face serious strife and discontent, and will be grievously weakened within. Internal security will far outweigh the external vigil. Added peace keeping costs will further drain our sagging economy and lower international standing.
Some of Modi’s erstwhile closest aides have questioned his personal integrity, virtually accusing him of opportunism. Like Vanzara, many Hindu rioters now languishing in jails feel that he used them for his personal growth and popularity. Party leaders find his style too autocratic and dictatorial, threatening BJP with internal dissensions. Almost certainly Modi will be vulnerable to blackmail by sundry cops, bureaucrats, political workers – those who connived with him in Gujarat – and will naturally clamour for their slice of the cake.
Many Indians will never respect this man, even ceremoniously. Indeed, some will refuse awards than accept them at his hands. Heads of civilized states who have presently denied him a visa may try to avoid meeting India’s Prime Minister, with their press openly deriding visiting Indian leader.
Modi’s past will inevitably focus violence in the teachings of Hindu religion, thus negating the legacy of Vivekananda and Gandhi, and dismissing the celebration of ahimsa as a major tenet of India’s dominant faith.
And then there is the looming danger of adverse judicial verdicts in cases related to Gujarat’s 2002 riots, and fake encounters. What if the judiciary – or the Nanavati or the Bedi Commission – find him guilty? Will not India’s prestige grievously suffer if a HC or the SC convicts and unseats India’s Prime Minster - or even summons him as an accused?
Muslims are NOT opposing the BJP per se; many are okay with several other leaders. But they are arraigned like one man against Modi. Can’t you find another Hindu amongst India’s 1000 million for the sake of your country’s Muslims? Are you not signaling the nation’s bankruptcy of talent?
Since you claim to be first an Indian, and only then a Hindu, surely Hindu rashtra cannot be your conscious goal. Modi’s elevation may work to bolster the chauvinism of a section of Hindus, but it will decidedly hurt India. The drooling youth on FB is not the barometer; please consult the wise of India. Indeed, please invoke the patriotic Indian within you and consult your own conscience.
Will it serve India’s interests to rub a community constituting 25% of global and roughly 15% of India’s population? Demoralizing, distancing and insulting a hundred and eighty million Indians and rubbing salt to their wounds cannot empower India to face 21st century challenges.
Fanned by this exclusion and marginalization, inevitably voices of discontent clamouring for revenge will emerge. Reviving the ugly, pre-partition saga of religious politics and communal assertion, anti-national forces will raise the spectre of separatism, proportional representation, and even partition. Terrorism will have found raison de’tre. And history will blame you for initiating this.
I beseech you to find a less controversial person to lead BJP, someone who can unite, inspire and motivate all sections of Indians. In the name of India I ask you to subordinate your Hindu identity to your national identity and patriotic duty, and thereby strengthen nation building. Please let Modi be the party chief but not India’s PM.
Imagine the enormous goodwill and patriotism you will generate by announcing that in deference to the sentiments of the largest minority you counseled Modi to wait till the judicial process is concluded!