If one were to think of one word to describe Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s persona, that word would be ‘determination’. If one were allowed to add another word, that would be ‘compassion’.
One can think of many other qualities of the most popular mass leader of independent India. But, in this limited space I will talk of only a few. I have not read his biography, nor have I met him personally. My analysis is based on observing him closely, studying his public engagements and the persona he projects.
Modi’s Determination & Perseverance
We all know that Modi ji comes from a humble background. His determination to do something big was evident since his childhood; his urge to get out of his humdrum existence got him involved in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) activities as a young boy. This is the prime reason why Modi is so closely connected to Indian civilisational values and roots.
It is possible that he found his purpose in life as an RSS prachaarak which transformed into the determination to do something meaningful for the nation.
Those who have known Modi since his early days vouch that even as a prachaarak, he was restless and hard working. Modi always wished to do something more. This urge led him to being delegated to the BJP for organisational work. These years of close connection with the average rural and urban Indian has given him deep insight into the issues concerning the masses.
His single-minded determination to excel in whatever he did saw him becoming one of the key figures in the Gujarat BJP. The secret behind his being at equal ease with common people and global leaders lies in his desire to excel and achieve new heights in whatever he does. If he didn’t have an ambition to rise beyond Gujarat, he would not have learnt English.
Braving Every ‘Agnipariksha’
There is no doubt that Modi’s intelligence made it easy for him to hone his skills. Anybody who meets him comes back wonder-struck at his knowledge of practically any topic under the sun.
His determination to be a leader, and not to be led, was clear in Gujarat itself. With patience for the long haul, he did not sulk when he was removed from Gujarat due to factional politics and sent out of the state. He didn’t lose heart. This self-belief saw him return to Gujarat as the chief minister. His determination to overcome every obstacle saw him create a new Gujarat out of a Gujarat devastated by an earthquake in the very first year of his stewardship. Any other leader would have run to Delhi to get support, but not Mr Modi. He found innovative ways to convert destruction into an opportunity for wealth creation.
Any chief minister, that too with just about one year of administrative experience, would have crumbled under the weight of the fierce riots.
The way he was pilloried on cooked-up narrative would have resulted in the person becoming a persona-non-grata in public life. But, Modi’s determination not to be dislodged from his path saw him through this agnipariksha. He faced insults, calumny, abuse – but he kept his cool.
This dignity and steely resolve saw Modi rise in popularity and also launched him into the orbit of national leadership.
A People’s Person
Modi is a man who uses bricks thrown at him to build castles. Gujarat and his subsequent rise shows this quality in ample measure. Not only this quality but his ability to sense an opportunity and grab it is illustrated well by his determined bid for national leadership.
This opportunity came when the BJP leadership of 2004-2009 could not decide on the next line of leadership after Atal ji retired from active politics and Advani ji lost his chance in 2009.
The demise of Pramod Mahajan saw an indecisive top leadership unable to take a call about who would be the next generation’s leader. Nature abhors a vacuum. But a Modi was needed to identify this vacuum and move in swiftly to fill it. And the cadre loved this drive.
Modi ji’s style of leadership is ‘direct contact’ with the people and the lower cadre, bypassing the middle leadership. This makes him a people’s leader. He did it in Gujarat and he did the same at the national level. This is what makes him hugely popular. His use of the radio is another example of his innovative outreach as a leader.
The other outstanding quality I mentioned is compassion. All his actions, whether in Gujarat or at the Centre, are tuned towards the most disadvantaged classes. This may be due to his training in the RSS and his thorough understanding of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay’s Integral Humanism, which advocates reaching out to the last man in the queue.
His insurance programme, his improvement in crop insurance, his new health programme, cooking gas for the poor, need for dignity and inclusiveness for the poor, leading to Jan Dhan Yojana – are all the outcomes of a compassionate person.
However, Modi’s detached way of looking at the world even while being engaged with it, is quite close to the definition of ‘drishta’ or the ‘observer’ we read about in the Bhagavad Gita – to be active in your field of duty, but look at it with the detachment of an impartial observer. This is the secret of his health and energy. This is what makes Modi click with the masses.
(The author is an RSS ideologue. He can be reached @RatanSharda55. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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