Dr Vandana Sharma
Modi @ 20 is a comprehensive study of the socio-political, cultural and spiritual evolution of India as a nation and civilization underpinning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s career as head of a democratically elected government – twelve and a half years as Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat and seven and a half years and running as the Prime Minister of India. With a Foreword by Lata Mangeshkar, Bharat Ratna Awardee, an epitome of the musical glory of India, wherein the nightingale of India makes a proud declaration ” I consider myself blessed to be born in a nation that is as timeless and glorious as ours”, the book begins with a right tone wherein Prime Minister’s exemplary resolve to turn ” India’s development journey into a mass movement” has been juxtaposed by Lata Mangeshkar with Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution in freedom struggle and his resolve to turn freedom movement into a mass movement.
A riveting exploration of Prime Minister Modi’s Journey, the book is divided into five sections, “People First”; “Politics of Unity and Development”; “Jan Dhan: An Economy for Everyone”; “A New Paradigm in Governance”;” Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: India and the World” wherein the Prime Minister’s reach to all sections of society and the growth of India as a nation and civilization have been convincingly crafted by icons from diverse fields. Sportsperson, writer, policy maker, institution builder, politician, bureaucrat , spiritual guru, economist, diplomat and many others are the discerning minds who are eminent people in their respective domains have written on their subject matter academically analytically. What makes the anthology a must read for any enlightened Indian is the way a group of eminent people who have expertise and credibility produce an evocative work
Broadly speaking, the topics covered in the book encompass social and political impact of Modi; the economic policy; a new paradigm of governance brought about by Modi and India’s positioning in the community of nations. A noteworthy feature of the book is the interspersing of anecdotes by writers who have worked with Modi which gives an insight into the Prime Minister’s mind. In the very first chapter, PV Sindu writes on youth connect and elucidates Modi’s approach to youth by sharing her personal experience during Tokyo Olympics when she writes, “For a sportsperson, there is nothing more than the Prime Minister of the country addressing him/her online or meeting him/her in person , and nudging each one of us to do better.” She further fondly shares PM’s incentive to her for an ice cream on return, which was later fulfilled.
In the Section 2, wherein political impact of Modi has been dealt with, Amit Shah illustrates how dreams have been delivered. Further, an overarching discourse pertaining India’s cultural revival has been mapped out by Amish Tripathi, known as India’s first literary pop star. Tripathi in his stellar storytelling style resplendent with mythological undercurrents uses a phrase, Bhagirath-prayas to describe formidable, paradigm-shifting task, much like the word Herculean in the West to illustrate Prime Minister’s effort for Indian civilization. Sharing the honour of meeting Modi on various occasions, he remembers the Prime Minister quoting a couplet from Vishnu Purana:
Uttram yat samudrasya, Himdreshchaiv dakshinam,
Varsham tad bharatam nama, Bharatee yatra santatihi
( North of the Ocean, and South of the Himalaya
Is the country of Bharat, and there in live the Bharatee)
This couplet from Vishnu Purana which was written around 1,500-2,500 years ago establishes that Bharat has been a thriving civilization since ancient times. Amish Tripathi makes a potent analysis of post-independent rejection of our civilizational memory and supports his argument with the words of Czech writer, Milan Kundera who has said, ” The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history… before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was”. Hence , negating despicable practice of historical nagationism Tripathi highlights Prime Minister’s accomplishments as far as cultural revival is concerned by showcasing India as the land of pilgrims; heralding reforms in education system and rejuvenating our heritage abroad.
Section 3 is on the economic policy of Modi wherein India’s Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageshwaran analytically discusses unique ability of Modi to think big and then execute it at a scale. Section 4 deals with a new paradigm of governance brought about by Modi wherein a seamless narrative has been build by Ajay Mathur, Anupam Kher, Dr. Devi Shetty and many other highly credible personalities. Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev in ” Demonstrating Democracy” makes the reader alive to Modi’s potential to harness human spirit and the astounding impact of Trust begets Trust. In the wide array of disparate developments, Sudha Murthy’s , “Then came the Winds of Change” and an inspiring SARALA’S STORY establish Modi as a banyan tree who is entrenched in ground reality with an aim to transform the destiny of the country and her people.
Section 5 encapsulates India’s unique diaspora and Modi’s potential in mustering this strength and linking India to the rest of the world. Admittedly, the book is at first sight a quick read-through. But one ought to return to it for a more sustained engagement which makes it an academic literature. Dr. Jitendra Singh, one of the most profound thinkers and outstanding political figure of the century, in a Panel Discussion on the book Modi@20 organised at the Central University of Jammu in his usual discerning style advised academia to see the book as a research study as it exhibits the success story of a governance model which has been sustainable and has every time grown stronger with every challenge, right from devastating earthquake to unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. I conclude by citing Ambassador G Parthsarthy, a towering diplomat and Chancellor of CUJ who said, “We are living in a period of history where the whole world knows that here is a country which can deliver”. Admittedly, Modi ji’s impeccable record as a politician, his unquenchable quest and his long hours of introspection and innovation have amplifed Indian electorates’ unflinching faith and confidence in the governance of Prime Minister.
( The writer is Head, Department of English, Central University of Jammu)
Dr Vandana Sharma