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BW Businessworld

Whose PM Is He Anyway?

In fact, by January 2016, it would be best to ask the people of Switzerland what they think of Narendra Modi. Because if it wasn’t for his photographs on government ads, who in India would even remember?

Photo Credit :

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In the days before the good days, India longed for a prime minister who would not make us ashamed of being Indian, of a prime minister who would prove India’s glory to the world, who would make every Indian who did not want to live in India really proud of having once been Indian.

This is, in fact, the most important part of being Indian and being a prime minister: to travel the world and allow Indians who do not want to live in India (is there an appropriate name for this category of Indians?) the chance to sing and dance and cheer. And Good Lord, don’t these Indians who do not want to live in India love to sing and dance and cheer! Singing and dancing all the time is, as all of us who live in India know very well, an essential part of being Indian. Or don’t we? The last time I looked, even an opulent baraat party was skulking past, probably trying to calculate the effects of the Swachh Bharat cess on the wedding bill.

But cost…who thinks about cost now that we have got the prime minister of our dreams, the prime minister of the good days, the prime minister who speaks. In the past year alone, the Indian prime minister has spoken in The Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Singapore, France, Germany, Canada, China, Mongolia, South Korea, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgizstan, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Malaysia, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking: That I’ve forgotten two appearances at the United Nations, one in New York and one in Paris. But that’s only because my laptop thought it had turned into an atlas and I had a hard time getting it back.

We in India are of course thrilled that so many patriotic Indians who don’t want to live in India now live in so many countries across the world. I know that there are some highly unpatriotic people in India who keep calculating how much all these foreign visits cost. I have seen figures from Rs 37 crore to Rs 41 crore from June 2014 to June 2015. Anyone with any mathematics knows that this is a tiny figure compared to the great benefits we have got from these visits. When I say “we” I mean the people who sang and danced at Madison Square Garden in New York and Wembley Stadium in the UK and so on.

Of course, it would be unfair to only focus on the 189-odd days of 2015 that Prime Minister Modi did not spend in India. He gave speeches in India as well. He speaks on the radio about things on his mind. Of course, because not everyone in India listens to the radio any more (singing but no dancing), Indian television news channels also telecast the things on Modi’s mind.

The things on Modi’s mind are often fascinatingly different from those on the minds of Indians who live in India. This is because when you are listening to cheers in Wembley Stadium, you do not really hear much about inflation, floods, communal unrest, disappointment and losing elections. These are matters which only unpatriotic Indians who live in India think about. And sadly, the truth is that these miserable Indians rarely in fact ever see their own prime minister. The last time he was really seen by some Indians at least was in the run-up to the Bihar state elections. And er, the less said about what happened there, the better.

In fact, by January 2016, it would be best to ask the people of Switzerland what they think of Narendra Modi. Because if it wasn’t for his photographs on government ads, who in India would even remember?

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 11-01-2016)