Lessons Narendra Modi can learn from Indira Gandhi

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Lessons Narendra Modi can learn from Indira Gandhi

    Barring dramatic developments, Narendra Modi's further ascendance is inevitable. Whether he becomes prime minister or not is subject to several imponderables but indications demonstrate that the wind is favourable.

    For instance, the spectacle from Andhra Pradesh: arch-rivals N Chandrababu Naidu and Y S Jaganmohan Reddy outbidding each other in staking claims on a future Modi bandwagon. Coupled with J Jayalalithaa's cordiality with Modi, these statements demonstrate that he is no longer politically untouchable.

    All-New Modi

    Few parties would rush into pre-poll alliances, but over the next few months, we are likely to witness many regional satraps looking at only the positive attributes of Modi. There is already a palpable shift in the tone and tenor of the intelligentsia: busy for the last few weeks trying to perceive "softness" or "toning down" of the Modi persona. His decision to stay a safe distance from Muzaffarnagar, not join the ill-judged VHP's Ayodhya Parikrama and the "toilets before temples" remark have been cited as evidence of change of heart. But is it a change of heart or shift in tack?

    People, who are now willing to give Modi a chance because they consider him as the only viable political alternative to the moribund UPA, want to believe that Modi has changed. They would like to think that the divisive strategy adopted in the wake of the Godhra carnage was a momentary aberration. But for this to be true, Modi will have to initiate steps to ensure that social prejudices in Gujarat are not deepened further and schism between communities is reduced.

    Hate, it must be remembered, is the by-product of the two, and Modi has electorally thrived by pursuing politics that encouraged such sentiments.

    Erased from Dirty Picture

    So far, Modi has not opted for an overtly communal strategy because this would not have succeeded in wooing the likes of Naidu and Reddy. It will also act as a bulwark against further support from big business and urban middle classes, especially the youth.

    Growing polarisation and subsequent developments in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar demonstrate that Modi doesn't need to resurrect the phraseology he used in Gujarat in 2002 and 2007. There are others people and factors to do the "dirty job" — be it lesser leaders of his political clan or just accumulated prejudice in society.

    For now, Modi can limit himself to campaigning that in his belief, Bharat is rooted in the culture of the majority, which, in turn, is based on Dharma. This persona of Modi is acceptable for neo-converts because anything short of provocative phrases like "Mian Musharraf" and "baby factories" means he has turned his back on the hate diatribe of 2002! But this is also an opportunity for Modi to escape from his narrow singular image and become more broad-based.

    Without diluting the extreme Hindutva image, he can present a more palatable persona like he did in Gujarat and outside since October 2008 after Tatas set up the Nano car plant. Modi can continue his prime ministerial campaign by projecting an image of Development Man without jettisoning the likeness to a mass murderer.

    This gives one set of Modi supporters a choice: believe that the veneer is the new character, the "bad dream" is over. The other group knows that the development mantra is just another Modi mask — the core remains as divisive as always.

    He won't Caste his Vote

    Modi has taken the pole position in the electoral race, and this has generated signs that it has the potential to be a game-changer. Modi's future and the fate of the Congress party along with the "family" will be shaped by the parliamentary poll. But, more importantly, it will determine the extent to which a single individual and the issues he brings into the fray will dominate the proceedings.

    Since the 1990s, the final verdict of most Indian elections has been aggregates of hundreds of polls, at constituency and even booth levels. Will this trend get reversed and will it result in the emergence of BJP as the primary pole in Indian politics once again?

    Caste and other local factors are important but Modi will want to underplay this if he has to increase his national presence. He has an advantage: despite being from an OBC, Modi transcends caste and is India's first "casteless" political leader after a long time. But he cannot completely eschew identity politics as it is part of the political core. He may face a challenge from "the family" provided someone dons the war paint.

    Modi has similarities with Indira Gandhi. No identity, barring being a woman, stuck on her — not even the fact that the Gandhi surname came to her from a Parsi-born husband. But Indira did not play her innings when sub-identities were multiplying. She also played no role in subverting social harmony like Modi. She usurped power, became authoritarian and lost because of this. Modi will have to remember this and change these basic traits.

    It's a long haul ahead and personal moderation will benefit Modi greatly.

    Lessons Narendra Modi can learn from Indira Gandhi - Page2 - The Economic Times

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    Does he really have any semblance with the Iron Lady of India?

    Or is this mere hype?
     
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  3. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    Indira Gandhi was a spoiled brat born with a silver spoon. She had no intuitive feel for common Indians and no idea how to deal with people. A big part of her popularity was her being PM during '71 war. Though the war was won by armed forces, people associated her with the victory. It was '70s, this is the present. India of today is not the India of '70s. Indians don't see Congress as the only national party. Modi was born in a lower middle class family and worked his way up in the organization over many decades. He has been consistent in his performance in the face of rabid opposition and countless smear campaigns. Modi is not Indira Gandhi and neither does India need another Indira Gandhi.
     
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Perhaps on authoritarianism and willingness to use brute force. There are major differences too. Being an avowed bachelor, Modi is less likely to practice nepotism. I recall one of our fathers (in a Catholic missionary school) explaining that why they were required to remain bachelors. He said that since he has no children of his own, he could treat every child as his own, equally. There is a certain holiness about bachelor leaders, at least in my view. It is the same reason I like Lindsay Graham.

    Please share your thoughts @W.G.Ewald about Mr. Graham.
     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Well, actually being with encumbrance has its own advantages.

    I am not too sure if a person without a family would understand the joys and travails of a family, the understanding that would help in addressing the aspirations and issues that effect the common man..

    Just off the cuff thoughts.

    Modi is fine for the Nation given the rabble that has brought the Nation to its dismal state.

    We require someone who is incorruptible and who can bulldoze through the various obstacles that are endemic to the game of governance.

    However, given the nature of Indian politics, there is always the danger of lotus eaters jumping up on the bandwagon and spoiling the broth.

    And what is more important is that one should eschew communal politics and think of India and being Indians.

    Lastly, one should be a leader who has a benevolent and yet a no nonsense attitude towards our neighbours, to include China, and tell them when to back off.

    India must regain her pride.

    Bharat abar jogoto shobhaye shresto asano lobe!



    This nationalist song was written by my granduncle Dwijendralal Ray.
     
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  6. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Ray Sir, in the above lines quoted from the original post, very clearly mentioned how Modi has managed things in Gujarat. While India would certainly benefit from "a Modi with a Changed heart", it is in danger of going into internal turmoil because of "a Modi with a shift in tack".

    As said by @dhananjay1 above, India certainly does not need a Modi who is like Indira Gandhi.

    AFAIK, Modi does not have any semblance with the Iron Lady of India. He has neither usurped power nor is he authoritarian. Also, he is not subverting social harmony. In fact he has made good use of different issues which has given him a brand image in Gujarat.

    IMO the only problem he faces is over hype over his abilities which can backfire like the 2004 India Shining propaganda of BJP.
     
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  7. Dinesh_Kumar

    Dinesh_Kumar Regular Member

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    IMHO, this was quite difficult war for India, with no funds like today and hostile US and Chinese presence. Stellar role played by Armed forces was because Indira listened to her Military Commanders like Sam. I give her credit for the victory.

     
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  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    While I am not commenting on her character qualities as a whole since there were many weaknesses, yet one cannot deny that she had resolute steadfastness and total lack of fear of adverse situations.

    No military can win a war without resolute backing of the Govt.

    While, it is correct that the military brought the victory,.but Indira Gandhi's handling of diplomacy, turning the international opinion against Pakistan and backing the military by making up deficiencies and allowing it a free hand, went a long way to ensure that the military could give the Nation want it deserved.

    Same was the case with Kargil. But for resolute political leadership, it may not have happened as it did. The whole Nation also was galvanised to support the military and that support gave confidence to the Army to deliver, which it did.

    But check it out today!

    The lacklustre feeble leadership, under the same Nehru Gandhi Dynastical control and guidance is dithering. confused and letting Pakistan and China get an upper hand and watching, even if not with glee, as our soldiers die on the frontier unsung unheard or uncared for, while they play the fiddle as India burns and its prestige sink below that of Burkina Faso.

    So, the same genes of Indira Gandhi prevails, but her resolute leadership has escaped the genetic makeup the the Nehru Gandhi Dynasty to the ignominy they sink India to!

    In short, resolute and determined political leadership alone is the key to success.

    I can say, without hesitation, that as far as courage to take on an adverse situation, there are few like Indira Gandhi! I respect her for that!

    And I miss her too!

    she had her faults, but I would like to remember for all the positiveness that she enthused amongst Indians and give them back the pride that her father stole from the Nation with his false statesmanlike attitude over Indian history that he presided over!

    But on the issue whether Modi can equal Indira Gandhi, I really don't know.

    But given the gaggle of politicians around, who are actually fallen angels,. claiming to be leaders, what is the choice?

    At least Modi does not look so dirtied and he seems to be resolute in leadership.

    And if Rahul Gandhi is the alternate, then God help!

    India wants action and not Ram katha and meaningless homilies and mealy mouthed pious platitude or having a bank of clapping and cheering sycophants to add to the muddled headed and mutton headed directional mess!
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  9. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Overall neutral, and I did not think Senator Graham needed to go skipping off with Senator McCain to visit insurgents in Syria not long ago.
     
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  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I wasn't aware of that. Hmm, interesting. I agree with you on that.

    Interestingly, McCain has been acting rather anti Republican lately. He seems to have lost his sanity.
     

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