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On the Eve of Formation of New Government

The long dance-duel of democracy has finally ended. The rulers and wanting-to-be-rulers have now decided to rest after a no-holds-barred battle is over. The unapologetic political parties and apologetic, righteous neutral commentators, jumping in and out of the discourse. In fact, the case for the commentators was the most curious, under the thinly wrapped veneer of neutrality and forward-thinking lurked the opportunity to shoot and scoot.
 
This was a campaign which made people see through the charade of intellectual bourgeoisie, who pretended to be neutral but treaded the thin line between the public and private. Thankfully, the campaign ended and hopefully we are left with few things still left to believe in.
 
Narendra Modi has a task cut out for him. Swearing-in happens tomorrow evening. My view he has things to do, new paths to tread.
 
He has invited the SAARC countries, all of them to attend. That to me is a good beginning. It begins the relation a new level of equity among all the countries. He is post-partition PM and should presumably be free of nostalgic affection our erstwhile leaders had for Pakistan. He is not so likely to be delving into a pre-independence past.
 
He brings a new thought of unapologetic faith to the majority community who had long had started believing allegiance to their religion as a since of communalism. The biggest mistake that, to my mind, last government made was to make their spat with the principal opposition and the opposition PM candidate, now the PM-designate, not only very, very public, even international. Since the time of swearing in, the past PM started lamenting domestic concerns in other countries, guess that began with Indonesia. Today, their public spat makes our positions as a country so very difficult. On that count, I guess, it is best for Modi as new PM to begin with a new start and with a possibility of deciphering new friendships. Friendship is a complex thing. Many great friendships are never explored and die a silent death for the reticence of both the concerned parties.

Last I attended a session by an Industry body in which the new party sent in the representative. It was so different than the usual representatives. He was holding a doctorate in technology. That man had got his hands dirtied and had not merely fought cases for them. I have my own issues with lawyers, for they are men of words. Many of them use those words to get others to act in their stead, and sometimes use them to masquerade their own sloth and incompetence. We have suffered lawyers for long. They are needed to bring thoughts and ideas, but they must not suffocate the corridors of power. Another breeze of fresh air was the way Mr. Modi was referred to by the party representative. Plainly, Modi, respectfully but not slavishly.

Another advantage Modi will be having, will be of crushed opposition of a belligerent intelligentsia, crushed but keenly observing. It is always good to have watchful enemies. He has been hated by the oft-termed champagne drinkers of Lutyen's Delhi. They had long feared the fafda-boys of Gujarat. Modi was too rustic and too plain for their taste of hyperbole. They will watch him closely on economy. Modi can not be expert in everything, He need not be. He should be getting relatively free hand, now that a Kremlin-like 10-Janpath is not hanging over his head like his predecessor. He will probably also not be getting helping hand from Ms Radia in picking up his cabinet, nor will media be helping carry messages to coalition. His more than mandatory 272 seats makes it quite unnecessary. That also, at the same time, makes it necessary for him to make audacious decisions in Finance. 

The worst performers can be his best indicators- like Infrastructure, defense, telecom and railways. Another segment which we have almost long given up on is Education. Between the Apostles, joggers of Sydney and great beaches, one thing that stands in my memory of Australia is a mid-way stop we made a village to see the country-side. While the parks were manicured, roads wide, what I most remember is the school. It was a school with basketball court, broad fields, so well-maintained. We don't even have such schools in Delhi, unless you are ready to bleed through the nose to pay for them. Courts are still struggling to settle on the right interpretation of Right to Education. If government schooling can be corrected, a lot for the future can be amended. It is in the schools that the nations are built. He needs someone for education, who is not only eloquent like the predecessors, but is will to travel wide and who has high standards. Mediocre and barely there will not do any longer for Government schools. Those schools need to have basketball grounds, Gymnasiums and libraries. Libraries anyways now almost non-existent. Why can't we have a scheme of each village with a library with some minimum number of books, aligned with quality schools.

 

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