Rajarshi Guha Roy
While the country has been swept over by Tsunamo, painting almost every nook and corner of this great country saffron, it’s time to speculate, analyse and expect how India is going to be transformed in the next five years. Modi’s public appeal finds a match only in Pandit Nehru and Mrs. Gandhi. My bone of contention is, how will he be able to deliver in the face of such huge expectations from an aspiring electorate?
While we know the watch-making company HMT has passed into oblivion, another wave of HMT has started conquering India. I mean, Hindi-medium types. Traditionally, we hold an idea that the premier of a nation must belong to blue-blood origin and he or she must have graduated from the haloed corridors of some great institution. This elitist notion is so deep-rooted in our culture, literature and economy that even in Tagore’s stories, we will find romantic Barristers who opinionate on the progress of the country. And over decades, this has turned into a typical culture propounded by the Congress Party. I have heard terms like ‘upmarket’, ‘downmarket’, ‘vernacs’ at urban coffee shops and bars. But don’t make this mistake anymore. The smaller India, the deprived India has started to come to the fore of social and economic transformation. Narendra Modi symbolizes this emerging trend. Look at the new-age advertisements. The word ‘Thanda’ has almost eclipsed the word ‘soft drinks’. The vernacs will inevitably write the history of post-2014 India.
Ignoring vernacular prowess is a direct fallout of colonial hangover. The recent elections have proved that this is going to change for ever. India has embraced a ‘Chaiwala’ to transform herself. For all my Leftist friends, isn’t this a thumping victory of an enormous class struggle? Or, a chaiwala with a hammer and sickle would please you more? The Congress party, which has always been an agglomeration of academic stalwarts and doyens of economics, has always propounded the ‘Right-of-the-centre’ economic policies. Policies which harp on entitlement and not on aspirations. A country which still rattles with poverty needs food as a matter of natural choice. But, merely doling out food to the deprived millions doesn’t guarantee you electoral victory because in modern India, entitlement is seen as a natural claim and not a final solution. Well, in the corridors of the big elephant of Indian politics, these policies are made while the doyens strive hard to play by the rule book as to how to handle the soup spoons and forks. Hence, they are so disillusioned. They forget the real India. And that’s where Modi has triumphed.
I presume elitist talibanism will stop ruling the economic policies of India. I hope Modi will come up with policies which generate jobs. I am almost sure that the infrastructure sector is going to get a huge boost. More infrastructural development means more jobs, resulting into an improved Per Capita Income, pertaining to World Bank Standards. Here’s an example of how intelligent this man is. While he was rejected by the West as the main conspirator behind the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat, he went on to campaign in the South-east Asian Block like Singapore, Hong Kong etc. to garner investments from these sovereigns in Gujarat. This appears to be so realistic that this can be the cornerstone of Indian foreign policy in the next five years. While we should never forget nor forgive our immediate neighbouring country for any atrocity, we must also look for new trade relations whenever we are deliberating with any nation. Improved trade relations mean infusion of foreign capital into the economy by way of exports, resulting into shrinking of Current Account Deficit. In very simple terms, I expect him to leverage Indian exporters with new Industrial policies. Shrinking Current Account Deficit will inevitably make Indian Rupee dearer. Thus, expect the INR to come down to sub 55-levels in the next two or three years.
It’s been a blessing for Modi that there is practically no opposition for him in the House. This is the best thing that has happened to India since 1984. So, no coalition compulsions, no ally blackmailing and no backtracking on bold policies. Though, it will be worth watching how he tackles the issue of FDI in retail. Overall, the secular culture of doles is expected to be vanquished by the ‘Vernac’ culture of New India, the culture of aspiration endowed with an everlasting spirit of go-getting.
What he will do on the social front is a matter of great curiosity. My limited perception says that the great economic boom this country is hopefully going to see under his leadership will automatically translate into social upgradation of the deprived. Let the progressive policies of the erstwhile regime continue, for example, NREGA. But I would like to see him improve upon NREGA by turning the scheme into a machine for creating rural assets and empowering the Indian villages. I would like to see him do more on the security aspect of women, throughout the country. People say that he relies more on bureaucrats than ministers and if he does likewise in South Block, I am sure India is going to change.
The Sensex has responded to his ascendancy with a bang. For all his critiques, let me confess that I have been his biggest critique over the years. But when the country and when most importantly, the majority have reposed their faith in this man, let us not be intellectually dishonest and let us be ready to be a part of the second big revolution in India since 1991. I will always remember Dr.Singh for 1991 and I will want to remember Modi for something similar.
“Achhe din aanewale hai!”