The Modi Amusement Perk via WSJ

...The CM on beauty consciousness, milk, democracy, makeover-ing out

Dear Wall Street Journal:

Those of us who are derisively referred to as Modi-baiters – which means he is a vulnerable fish – have called him devious, callous and such. But you have done what we failed to do – made him look rather foolish and, therefore, irrelevant.

Just for that, I thank you from the bottom of my soles. It’s been a long journey, and despite the declaration in your introduction that he is “widely considered a top contender for prime minister”, without any reference to the widely, we have had the delightful opportunity for a chuckle or two.

Let us keep a straight face for a while, like observing a moment’s silence, and read the sheer poetry as he weeps for the power grid failure in July that affected large parts of the country:

“The situation was immediately compared to Gujarat. The world saw so much darkness that even a flicker of light caught their attention.”

Who better than Mr. Modi to know that what flickers are also flames? But I am going into the fire before the frying pan. Here he is in Mother Teresa mode:

“Villages (in Gujarat) didn’t used to get power at dinner time. They’d eat in the dark. Kids didn’t have light to study for exams; if mother was sick, there was no electricity…It disturbed me. Then I got involved. God helped me. He gave me a technical solution…”

He is messiah and geek combined. God, obviously, helps him in matters technical.

If any of us thought that things on wheels were a technical matter, you have made us see another side, which says:

“I will not spare a single second for the auto sector – it is already over…What I am looking for is the next generation – and that is, we want to focus on defense equipment.”

He is so far-sighted that he is already preparing for future paranoia. Picture this: the young generation is cowering in a corner, wondering who will save them and, hey, dude CM of developed state says, no worries, be heppy, I goat gun, you soot.

Please do not for a moment misunderstand and accuse me of poking fun at an accent. I find regional accents charming, and it just goes well with the amusement you have so kindly provided with this interview with Narendrabhai Nero.

And now, we reach that moment when the world is a ramp. You asked how he would combat Gujarat’s persistently high malnutrition rates. A man of less intellect might have flashed figures, but the CM seamlessly became agony aunt:

“Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state. And secondly, Gujarat is also a middle-class state. The middle-class is more beauty conscious than health conscious – that is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they’ll have a fight. She’ll tell her mother, “I won’t drink milk. I’ll get fat.” We will try to get a drastic change in this. Gujarat is going to come up as a model in this also. I can’t make any big claims, because I don’t have a survey in front of me yet.”

I knew Gujarat was making great strides, but little babies pinching their own bottoms and feeling the tautness of their bellies comes as a pleasant surprise. I should hope that WSJ ensures that the CM is awarded the Padma version of Vanity Fair or Marie Claire.

You want to know if he is doing these interviews as an image makeover. It is unfair to ask loaded questions about his new hair, new clothes, new attitude. Naturally, he said:

“I haven’t done anything wrong that I need to make up for. I am what I am in front of the world.”

For a moment, he came across as transparent:

“In the Emergency we came to know what it means to not have democracy. And it shook me. This played a significant role in making me what I am.”

Yes. We’ve heard about childhood trauma affecting adults.

Then you posed the predictable one about seeing himself as the prime minister of India, as opposed to, say, PM of Fishbowl:

“I don’t carry the burden of the past or the madness of the future. I live in the present. My present is my Gujarat, the 60 million people of this state, the villages, the poor farmers, the children – to change their destiny. I can’t think beyond that.”

Here Sophocles meets Martin Luther King meets pragmatism.

Finally, you conveniently ask a question by firing from the shoulder of those who do not agree with him. “Your critics say you should apologize for the 2002 riots. Why won’t you?”

The answer you get is a tunnel of semantics:

“One only has to ask for forgiveness if one is guilty of a crime. If you think it’s such a big crime, why should the culprit be forgiven? Just because Modi is a chief minister, why should he be forgiven? I think Modi should get the biggest punishment possible if he is guilty. And the world should know there isn’t any tolerance for these kind of political leaders.”

The fun is over. He does not realise that some people want him to apologise not for the crime, but for letting the crime happen when he was and continues to head the government.

Note: He is referring to himself for the first time during the interview in the third person, a sign of removing himself from the ‘scene’. Or, he thinks he is the Queen of England.

In either case, we are not amused. Anymore.

- - -

On another note:

To show just how clever Modi’s gang is, after a special court pronounced 32 people guilty in the Naroda Patiya riots in Gujarat, including Dr Maya Kodnani who has been a BJP MLA since 1998, this is what we get:

The Gujarat government distanced itself from Kodnani saying an MLA is not a govt functionary, nor was Kodnani a minister when the incident took place.

The Legislative Assembly is not part of the government? If she was not a minister in 2002, and took active part in the riots in her individual capacity, it only means that anyone can do what they want in Gujarat. Very democratic type, one must say.

And this video of Babu Bajrangi of the Bajrang Dal, which of course has nothing to do with the BJP or Modi except that it often comes to their rescue, gives a chilling account:

End Note:

The only way for closure is not apology, but when the people of Gujarat do not re-elect Modi.


  1. Hey you practicing proud Muslim,
    each of you claim that even Quantum Physics lessons are hidden in simplistic Quranic verses, so you better not mock anyone on technicalities and divinity. Same goes for human rights records.

    to put it bluntly, you guys are proud of Moghuls (including Aurangzeb), who ruled India but 'allowed' Hindus to exist. Similary, we are proud of Modi, who will rule India and 'allow' Muslims to exist.

  2. FV,

    How about this?

    The only way for closure is when Muslim community as a whole apologises for immense atrocities heaped on Hindus over centuries in the name of faith.

    One set of voters are as accountable as another.. agree?

  3. The courts have pronounced the sentence. Maya Kodnani gets 28 years and Babu Bajrangi a life term.

    These riots took place in a secular democratic country. The verdict is from a court of the Republic of India.

    Criminals who make Hindus suffer NOW in our country should be meted out similar sentences.

    - - -

    Following the sentence, which is not the end of the road, incidentally, IPS officer Sanjiv Bhat who had some dirt on Modi, has written two open letters. I believe these take away from the serious nature of the communal crimes and add a 'human' touch. I guess even the secular lot feels the need to give it a soft focus:

    To Modi:


    To Maya Kodnani (I find the rearing of the gender issue here off):


  4. Speaking of closures, us hindus of India will get a closure for all the atrocities perpetrated on our ancestors by your Auranzebs and your Ghaznis and your Ghoris ( who is Farzana's favorite of the 3 gents, I wonder ?)..... only after Modi becomes our prime minister and rules our country for at least 2 decades.



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