In the post-independence history of India there have been few ‘departing’ events which had great impact. These ‘turning points’ have affected the fortunes of the country.
With the death of the guardian of nation’s conscience – Mahatma Gandhi, came the first turning point. The Mahatma gave absolute power to Jawaharlal Nehru (who was not a Gandhian at heart) and the country got steered into a direction which is seen by many today, to be the wrong path to development. An era of true statesmanship and undiluted patriotism in civil society ended with the death of Sardar Patel, the true designer of modern India. With the passing of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, the era of daring political astuteness was over. Yes, Smt Indira Gandhi dared to bring Sikkim within Indian boundaries and, also destroyed the backbone of Pakistan by helping to create independent Bangladesh. Her death marked the end of an era of absolute power politics; it ushered in freedom issues and also marked the beginning of an era of financial greed in politics.
But, there are few leaders since then, who made huge difference to India. Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and Narasimha Rao. Much hope was pinned on Rajiv Gandhi, but India did not embark on the road to true progress. Atal Bihari Vajpayee dared to conduct the nuclear tests, despite threats and then created the much-needed highway network and infrastructure-related development work. But, unfortunately, the past ten years is simply a tale of non-governance, scandals and scams – to benefit the elite political classes and associates.
India has been waiting for a leader, who would show that India is indeed ‘shining’. A leader who would utter the words of Swami Vivekananda – “Hero, take courage, be proud that you are an Indian”, a leader who would say in pride, ” I am an Indian, every Indian is my brother,” and that ” the ignorant Indian, the poor Indian, the Brahman Indian, the Pariah Indian, is my brother.” The world started to look at India after his 1893 Chicago speech. India needs to grab the spotlight again, for the right reasons.
Then, hope sprung as another name entered the arena – Arvind Kejriwal, who made a Gandhi-like effort to fight the corrupt polity and politicians. Kejriwal and his cohorts stole the thunder and became popular by arousing people’s sentiments. But time has revealed that he and his gang are no better than ‘anarchists’ and India deserves much better. His flip-flops on many vital issues have proved that the character of Kejriwal is no match for changing the dark side of India. We are too aware of the ruling party and its leadership. It now seems that even the hope sparked by AAP, needs to be fulfilled by a true national leader.
India is at crossroads today. India needs a leader who can fathom the pain of the poor, deprived, hungry and the downtrodden. India needs a leader who would understand what price rise really means to the ‘aam admi’. India needs a leader who perceives what sustainable development is and yes, the importance of safeguarding her ecosystem. India needs a leader who recognizes what good governance is – where corruption is curbed; someone who can head an efficient government that works for the needs of the people, and not the people in power. India needs a leader who would appreciate what it means to invest in research and development, to make India self-reliant and a global manufacturing hub. A leader who knows how to reposition India and reclaim the role of ‘Jagad Guru’.
So, if it is not Narendra Modi, at this point, then who is it?