Originally written for EPW Blog
The newspapers today are filled with congratulations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The nuances vary, depending on the tone, character, and attitude of the newspaper. All, however, agree on one thing: Modi is a man of stature who has already accomplished historically important deeds and faces still greater challenges. He is the kind of statesman found only rarely in India. During his lifetime, he has the good fortune not only to be appreciated and loved by the overwhelming majority of the Indian people, but even more importantly to be understood by them. He is the only Indian politician since 1947 who understood the real situation and drew the necessary hard and firm conclusions. All the newspapers agree on this. It no longer needs to be said that he has taken up work that started in 1857 and intends to complete it. There is enough proof of this even for those who do not believe, or who think ill of him. I therefore do not think it necessary for me to discuss the historical significance and still unknown impact of this man on the eve of the day on which, far from the bustle of the Indian capital, Modi completes his 64th year. I feel a much deeper need to personally express my esteem for him, and in doing so I believe that I am speaking for many hundreds of thousands of sevaks throughout the country. We shall leave it to those who were our enemies only a few months ago and who then slandered then to praise him today with awkward words and embarrassing pathos. We know how little Modi appreciates such attempts, and how much more the devoted loyalty and lasting support of his friends and fellow fighters corresponds to his nature.
The mysterious magic that he exerts on all who come in contact with him cannot alone explain his historic personality. There is more that makes us love and esteem him. Through all the ups and downs of Narendra Modi’s career, from the beginning of his political activity to the crowning of his career as he seized power, he has always remained the same: a person among people, a friend to his workers, an eager supporter of every ability and talent. He is a pathfinder for those who devoted themselves to his idea, a man who conquered the hearts of his workers in the midst of battle and never released them.
It seems to me that one thing has to be said in the midst of the profusion of feelings. Only a few know Modi well. Most of the millions who look to him with faithful trust do so from a distance. He has become to them a symbol of their faith in the future. Normally the great men that we admire from a distance lose their magic when one knows them well. With Modi the opposite is true. The longer one knows him, the more one admires him, and the more one is ready to give oneself fully to his cause.
We will let others blow the trumpets. His friends and workers gather round him to shake his hand and thank him for everything that he is to us, and that he has given to us. Let me say it once more: We love this man, and we know that he has earned all of our love and support. Never was a man more unjustly accused by the hate and slanders of his ill-wishers of other parties. Remember what they said about him! A mishmash of contradictory accusations! They did not fail to accuse him of every sin, to deny him every virtue. When he nonetheless overcame in the end the flood of lies, triumphing over his enemies and raising 5 million followers on Twitter, fate showed its favor toward him to the entire world. It raised him from the mass of people and put him in the place he deserved because of his brilliant gifts and his pure and flawless humanity.
I remember the years when — just after quitting the kirana shop — he began to rebuild the party. We passed many hours with him in his beloved dhaba in a basti somewhere in Vadnagar. Near us was the quiet dargah where his unforgettable enemy is buried. We walked through the streets, discussed plans for the future, and talked about theories that today have long since become reality. We sent him to Delhi. We gave him a difficult and challenging task of pushing our rath, and I still thank him today that he gave us the final push.
A few year later we sat in a room in a big Delhi office. The party had again been vilified by the Secular-Communist-Marxist-ISIist-Naxalite-Unnationalistic Media-types. Heavy blows were falling on it. The party was full of discouragement, bickering and quarrelling. Everyone was complaining about everyone else. Godhra ye-Godha-wo. The whole organization seemed to have given up.
Modi, however, did not lose courage, but immediately began to organize a defense, and help came when it was needed. Although he had personal and political difficulties, he found the time and strength to deal with the problems with little opportune support from his friends in the capital.
One of his fine and noble traits is that he never gives up on someone who owns his a favour. The more his political opponents attack such a person, the more loyal is Narendra Modi’s support. He is not the kind of person who is afraid of strong associates. The harder and tougher a man is, the more Modi likes him. If things fall apart, his capable hands put them together again. Who would have thought it possible that a mass organization that has only one ideology could be build in this nation of individualists? Doing that is Modi's great accomplishment. His principles are firm and unshakable, but he is generous and understanding toward human weaknesses. He is a pitiless enemy of his opponents, but a good and warm-hearted friend to his workers. That is Modi.
We saw him at the party’s two large Delhi rallies, surrounded by the masses who saw in him India's hope. In the evenings, we sat with him in his Prime-Ministerial room. He was dressed in a simple white kurt a, the same as always, as if nothing had happened. Someone once said that the great is simple, and the simple is great. If that is true, it surely applies to Modi. His nature and his whole philosophy is a brilliant simplification of the spiritual need and fragmentation that engulfed the India people after the 1947. He found the lowest common denominator. That is why his idea won: he modelled it, and through him the average man in the street saw its depth and significance.
One has to have seen him in defeat as well as victory to understand what sort of man he is. He never broke. He never lost courage or faith. Hundreds came to him seeking new hope, and no one left without receiving renewed strength.
On the day before 15 August 2014, we met in a small farm house outside Delhi. We talked deep into the night, but not about our prospects for the next day, but rather about music, philosophy, and worldview issues. Then came the experiences one can only have with him. He spoke of the difficult years of his youth in Vadnagar and Nagpur, of his Emergency experiences, of early years of the party. Few know how hard and bitterly he had to fight. Today he is surrounded by praise and thanks. Only twelve years ago he was a lonely individual among millions. The only difference between him and they was his burning faith and his fanatic resolve to transform that faith into action.
Those who believed that Modi was finished after the party’s defeat in May 2004 failed to understand him. Only someone who did not know him at all could make such a mistake. Modi is one of those persons who rises from such defeats. Friedrich Nietzsche’s phrase fits him well: “That which does not destroy me only makes me stronger.”
This man, suffering under financial and party problems for years, assailed by the flood of lies from his enemies, wounded in the depths of his heart by the disloyalty of false friends, still found the limitless faith to lift his party from desperation to new victories.
How many thousands of kilometers have I sat behind him in cars or airplanes on election campaigns. How often did I see the thankful look of a man on the street, or a mother lifting her child to show him, and how often have I seen joy and happiness when people recognized him.
He kept his pockets filled with packets of candies, each worth ana-do-ana. Every lad he met got one. He had a friendly word for every mother and a warm handshake for every child.
Not without reason does the Indian youth admire him. They know that this man is young at heart, and that their cause is in his good hands. At the last Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) meet we sat with him in his office in Delhi. A group of young men from Vadnagar, where he was born, came by for a visit. How surprised these lads were when they got not only a friendly greeting, but all fifteen lads were invited in. They got a dhokla, and had to tell him about great development in his hometown of Vadnagar.
The people have a fine sense for the truly great. Nothing impresses the people as deeply as when a person truly belongs to his people. Of whom but Modi could this be true: As he returned from Delhi to Ahmedabad, people waved in every street. The children shouted NaMo NaMo and threw bouquets of flowers into the car. The security had closed the M. G. Road. There was no moving either forward or back. Confidently and matter-of-factly, the head of security walked up to the car and said: “Netaji, an old party member is dying in the hospital, and his last wish is to see his Neta.”
Mountains of work were waiting in office. But Modi ordered the car to turn around, and sat for half an hour in the hospital at the bedside of his dying party worker.
The Secular-Communist-Marxist-ISIist-Naxalite-Unnationalistic Media-types claimed he was a tyrant. What is he really? He is the best friend of his workers. He has an open heart for every sorrow and every need, he has human understanding. He knows each of his associates thoroughly, and nothing happens in their public or private lives of which he is not aware. If misfortune happens, he helps them to bear it, and rejoices more than anyone else at their successes.
Never have I seen his two sides in anyone else. We had dinner together on the night of the Godhra fire. We talked and listened to music. Modi was a person among people. Twenty minutes later he stood in the smoldering, smoking ruins of Godhra and gave piercing orders that led to the destruction of pseudo-secularism. Later he sat in an editorial office and dictated an article.
For those who do not know Modi, it seems a miracle that millions of people love and support him. For those who know him, it is only natural. The secret of his success is in the indescribable magic of his personality. Those who know him the best love and honor him the most. One who has sworn allegiance to him is devoted to him body and soul.
I thought it was necessary tonight to say that, and to have it said by someone who really knows him, and who could find the courage to break through the barriers of reserve and speak of Modi the man.
Today he has left the bustle of the capital. He left the wreaths and hymns of praise in Delhi. He is somewhere in his beloved Gujarat, far from the noise of the streets, to find peace and quiet. Perhaps he is online and reading this. If that should happen, then let me say to him, and to all of India: My Leader! Millions and millions of the best Indians send you their best wishes and give you their hearts. And we, your closest associates and friends, are gathered in honor and love. We know how little you like praise. But we must still say this: You have lifted India from its deepest disgrace to honor and dignity. You should know that behind you, and if necessary before you, a strong and determined group of fighters stands that is ready at any time to give its all for you and your idea. We wish both for your sake and ours that fate will preserve you for many decades, and that you may always remain our best friend and karyakarta. This is the wish of your fellow fighters and friends for your birthday. We offer you our hands and ask that you always remain for us what you are today:
Plagiarized by an Indian Goebbel from Goebbels’ 1933 Speech on Hitler’s Birthday [Here]
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