'Veer Bhogya Vasundhara': Decoding the Optics of PM Modi's Visit to Leh Amid Stand-off With China

Anand Narasimhan
·7-min read

Sri Krishna in his address to his Parth (friend) Arjuna right in the middle of the battlefield had spoken of ‘Only the Strong Survive’. Only the strong can bring peace because you negotiate only with the strong. He also laid down the path of Dharma (justice & duty) in ‘The Song of God’; push for peace at all times, go to great lengths to avoid conflict but if battle is the only way to peace, then do not shirk your duty or hesitate in fighting for your Motherland. In the Srimad Bhagawad Gita, Sri Krishna in Chapter 2 implies that “Veer bhogya vasundhara”, which means that only the brave rule the land.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Leh quoted this verse from the Srimad Bhagawad Gita to inspire not just the soldiers present there but every single Indian, for the time has come to stand together as one against a bully. The time has come to unite against those that want to destroy our land, our culture and our people.

PM Modi has asked the people of Bharat, the soldiers of Bharat to rise and get ready to defend what is ours. We can do that only if we are strong, self-reliant and infused with self-belief. He stood there in Nimu and told the world that the entire region is the ‘Mastak’ of Bharat.

He then visited the soldiers injured in the Galwan clashes. Their faces covered under virus protocol also shielded their identity. Many had injuries that were masked. The cameras only caught a few casts in their hands and feet. The world saw survivors, not victims. The message was of intent and resilience. Every angle, every frame, every move was turned into a psy-op.

PM Modi’s emotions were raw but both at Nimu and at the Army Hospital, he chose his words very carefully. Each word defined not just the strategy of Bharat as a nation going forward (that of offensive defence) but was also intended to psyche the enemy. He spoke of the valour of our braves, of how the world has sat up to take notice. He spoke of how every expansionist in history had perished, either had to turn back or ended up disintegrated. He pitched ‘Vikaasvaad’ again and told all that the only the strong survive.

He quoted from the Tirukkural, just like he quoted Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. He pitched Bharat as a nation that wanted peace for all and progress for all but is capable, willing and ready to punish those who thought they could get away with bullying. He smartly and ably pitched Bharat as a nation around whom other nations could rally to take on the bully and its cronies. He sent the bully a terse message while not even taking its name. And the bully reacted. From The Gita to Gabbar Singh it is rightly said, Jo Darr Gaya, Samjho Mar Gaya! It was evident that the other side was rattled.

Let us look at why PM Modi’s visit was a masterstroke in Psy-Ops:

• It caught the other side napping. The visit was kept under wraps till the 11th hour. Preparations were made for Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh’s visit who cancelled his trip late evening the day before and the word circulated was that only the CDS will be going.

• PM seized the psychological advantage as soon as he touched down in Leh. His walk was confident, the chants of Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai ensured that immediately the Josh was High!

• PM Modi made the bully react despite not taking its name. They clearly were rattled as they were not controlling the narrative

• Modi-ji energised the soldiers not just in Ladakh but across our borders by his presence there. He also erased any tiny bit of self-doubt by hailing the valour and skill of our armed forces.

• Standing there not far from the LAC, he told the world that Bharat will no longer watch its territories being ‘Salami Sliced’ and was willing to take the lead in standing up to the bully.

• The Chinese brow-beating and intimidating will not work as the political will and military will of Bharat are firmly and truly aligned.

• Most importantly, the bully reacted. Rattled, it resorted to brow-beating.

The entire nation saw this and respected this. Differing ideologies may exist but love for our motherland and the need to defend its borders at all costs is a unifier and that emotion was seen across an entire nation. Except, among an MP from Wayanad and his motley crew.

Frankly, not all within the Congress agree with the line and approach taken by Rahul Gandhi. His actions, more his words, are bringing to disrepute and causing huge damage to the image of the Grand Old Party which gave this nation such tall leaders in its first 100 odd years of existence. This is the party of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sardar Patel, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Maulana Azad and so many more leaders who dreamt of a strong, self-reliant Bharat. In fact, if we dive into history and read the thoughts of the early leaders, they largely mirrored what PM Modi has spelt out as his vision for Bharat, 73 years post-Independence.

What has the erstwhile Congress party come to in its blind following and obsession with one family? An appropriated surname and a compromised vision that has blurred the lines between personal hatred for PM Modi, ideologically opposing BJP-RSS and working against the interest of the country? How can projecting scion of a family and desperately trying to re-instate him as party president take primacy over Bharat? Sadly, it seems selfless devotion and service to the nation has been replaced by selfish devotion and service to a dynasty.

This is the same person who was inking an agreement with the bully at a time when the PLA was destroying our posts and damaged the Zorawar fort in Demchok. This is the same party that wanted to give away Siachen to the bully and its Vassal State who were already squatting and occupying the crown of our Motherland. This, at a time when Pak-backed terror attacks on Indian soil were at its peak.

Did they not see what the bully’s machinations were over a decade and a half? Or did they take to heart what their family patriarch said back in the 60s -- ‘Not a Blade of Grass Grows there’ -- and forgot about it? Who is he to ask questions without telling the nation the compromises he and his party made with his family member as UPA chairperson when in 2013 the Chinese came within 30km of DBO? Will he tell the country the truth about the IAF landing an aircraft in 2008 and a top minister having no clue about it and actually apologising in private to the Chinese? Will he and his motley crew tell the nation why he and his party lied about him wining and dining with the Chinese ambassador at the peak of Doklam conflict? How does a party that projected itself at the forefront of our nation’s freedom struggle find itself in bed with the ‘other side’ these days both along the LOC and the LAC?

Perhaps they are so far down the rabbit hole that there is no turning back. Perhaps that is why they resort to the kind of dirty tricks that play into the other side’s narrative. The tweets by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and his loyalists over the last two days indicate that he is being poorly advised. They also indicate that there are some who are so consumed with their hatred for PM Modi that they have lost sight of everything else. Or maybe like Jaichand, Mir Jafar, Ambhi or Jai Gopal, their personal ambitions have blinded them so much that they are willing to compromise a nation and its people just so that they may gain. Their machinations stand exposed.

Many of the rational, nationalist Congress cadre are quiet, confined to the shadows, mourning the fall of their great party in silence. Few who are vocal about the party’s misplaced priorities and focus find themselves sidelined or ousted. The dynasty that was perceived to be the nucleus of the party has today become a millstone around its neck. Seems even the ‘Darbaris’ realise that. ‘Vinashakale Vipareeta Buddhi’ i.e. idiocy abounds when the end is near or like Sri Krishna said in the Bhagawad Gita, ‘krodhādbhavati saṁmohaḥ saṁmohātsmṛtivibhramaḥ, smṛtibhraṁśād buddhināśo buddhināśātpraṇaśyati, which means anger (blind hatred) leads to bewilderment, from bewilderment comes loss of memory; and by that the intelligence is destroyed; from destruction of intelligence, he perishes.