Modi too prefers to remain silent like his predecessor

Silence is the virtue of fools, counselled Sir Francis Bacon. Throughout the long, silent era that was Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's time in office, one longed to hear the good Dr Singh speak extempore, for once without consulting his script and holding his audience's eye. It never happened.

Silence — enigmatic, often confounding and exasperating silence — defined the ten years, especially the last few years, of the Congress-led UPA rule.  But silence is hardly golden when people are looking for answers and explanation from their leaders. The ubiquitous, ever talkative, ever verbose, ever tweeting, ever sharing and Facebooking Modi appeared as a gift from above to a bite-starved nation. Especially when an overwhelming majority of the country is young and compulsively communicative.

Like the young elsewhere, they spend most of their time in cyberspace or glued to their smartphones, sharing every tiny nugget of their exciting lives online every minute of the day.

How a 62-year old semi-literate man was able to establish instant rapport with this information-hungry, communication crazy young generation while the young, Western educated Gandhi scion failed to connect is something that still remains a mystery for the Congress wallahs. But is it really a mystery? During the long and gruelling campaign, Modi was virtually everywhere, travelling the length and breadth of the country, and earning himself a record of addressing the largest number of public meetings. His face was perpetually plastered on our television screens and leapt at you every morning from newspaper front pages.

As a friendly journalist noted, it was finally great to have a leader who could speak and connect with the people. A militant follower of Modi who obsessively trolls me has convinced himself that his hero is the greatest world statesman and communicator the world has ever seen.

But why has the great communicator and world statesman abruptly fallen silent since he took office though? He was totally and embarrassingly out of his depth at the recent BRICS summit in Brazil, almost shaking and perpetually shuffling feet during his uninspiring speech.

Within days of Modi's grand, imperial style inauguration, watched around the world with keen interest, Mohsin Sheikh, a young Pune techie, was bludgeoned to death by BJP's allies. We did not hear a single word in condemnation from the prime minister.

There has been a surge in crimes against women across the country. A BJP MP and minister in his own cabinet is accused of rape. Uttar Pradesh, from where Modi was elected to parliament, has been repeatedly rocked by communal riots thanks to the antics of BJP lawmakers from the state.  Another BJP leader from Kashmir, a minister in Modi's cabinet no less, has outraged the already alienated Kashmiris by promising to abrogate the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir.  There are others who have been clamouring for the imposition of Uniform Civil Code and building of Ram temple at Ayodhya, the issues that the BJP was supposed to have put on the backburner.      

But we are yet to see the Prime Minister, who promised "good governance and development for all" ad nauseam throughout his campaign, discipline these loyal soldiers.

The latest incident of a bunch of Shiv Sena MPs force-feeding a fasting Muslim staffer in Delhi has outraged the entire country. What does the prime minister think of this exemplary conduct of his allies, members of parliament no less?

All these incidents point to an emerging pattern. Clearly, this is how India is going to be 'governed and developed' now.

Ashok Singhal of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, BJP's ideological twin which paved the way for the party's rise and rise through its long and sustained Ayodhya movement in the 80s and 90s, offered a peek into the shape of things to come in an interview with Hindustan Times. Describing the BJP victory as a "big blow to Muslims" he warned the community that it was time to learn to behave. Hailing Modi as an "ideal swayamsevak" who would deliver on the Hindutva agenda .

He advised Muslims to give up their claim on the Babri Masjid and mosques like Kashi and Mathura that the Sangh claims to be temples. "If they don't accept it, they should be prepared for further Hindu consolidation. It has happened at the centre, it will happen in other states."

Talking of the unprecedented mobilization by the Sangh Parivar during the polls, Singhal declared: "We worked because it was our duty. The important thing is the agenda must be fulfilled."

Yes, the Agenda. How could we ever forget it? And who would stop the Parivar from pushing through with it when it has all its chosen men in the right places.  

So whether Modi speaks now or chooses to remain silent, the actions would speak for themselves. 'Ache din' have finally arrived.

The author is a Gulf based award winning journalist. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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