Prime Minister Narendra Modi must have burned the midnight oil to think up his five pledges to turn India into the country of his dreams by 2047, independent India’s centenary year. And the ’5 Modi Pledges’ appear to have limped away from the basic goals of education, health, jobs, and shelter. The word that comes to mind is ‘esoteric’. Modi confirmed that he is distant from the lives of ordinary people, abstruse and mystic. An alternative would be the phrase ‘dream on’. Modi dropped his ‘5 Pledges’ one by one on the heads of the invitees to the ID-extravaganza fit for a developing country of India’s standing – an emerging economic superpower, except for the rupee which can’t stop itself from plumbing the depths in its showdown with the dollar. Of course, in Modi-lingo the five pledges are five keys to unlocking the life-saving potential of India’s demographic dividend in the next 25 years when the majority of the demographic would be in the 50s, and Modi himself in the 100+.
The exact words spoken by successive Prime Ministers without a comma and semicolon were misplaced. The iconic Red Fort, witness to more empty words than there are loaded ones in the dictionary, would testify that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ninth I-Day address was not much different from the eight that preceded it. Except that the dreams have become loftier. Such that one could be excused for being Kafkaesque! Franz Kafka left a body of work that spelled ‘failure’ in its essence. The greatest Kafkaesque was that the human being was bound to leave things incomplete; it came naturally to man. The irony is that the incomplete phrase applied to Franz Kafka as much as it applies to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Unless you’re a literary genius, you would miss the woods for the tree in the Kafkaesque. Much like so many of us missed the economics in the Modinomics, which at least had a pakora at its core, something tangible to hold.
The ‘5 Modi Pledges’ – Work for India’s development; Eradicate slavery/subjugation, and all forms of colonial baggage; Display pride in India’s heritage; Achieve unity among 130 crore Indians; All citizens, including PM and CMs, be model citizens; do their sworn duties. And to round it all, Modi bound them with “we have to keep India first… paving the way for the nation to be forever united”. Modi’s Pledge No 1 is “work for India’s development”. The thing to note, however, is that Modi as usual was talking in election stump generalities. Nothing in India’s development over the past eight years was worth spelling out. Talk of ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ and the world’s most extremely poor wouldn’t have a roof over their heads to fly the tricolor was a given! Ask Franz Kafka and he would say how ‘Metamorphosis’ is more than ‘paanch praan’ told in a vacuum. In the story, the protagonist is deserted by everyone because, in ‘his’ insect state, he could no longer be the provider to the family—his presence was no longer required. The moral of the story is a country of extremely poor living in stark sight of a minuscule number of powerfully rich can also tire of a deficient provider.