By Kishore Trivedi
Think of an ‘India's Most Wanted List' and the few names that would come to mind are Dawood Ibrahim, Maulana
Masood Azhar or Tiger Memon.
But, these days a new ‘Wanted
list' has sprung up that consists of a leading international magazine, America's oldest think tank, a Communist leader, a
Congress Chief Minister, arguably India's most popular cinema actor, a senior IAS officer, a Muslim cleric and a retired IPS
officer. Their crime - they ‘dared' to praise Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat state of India.
We have been taught to praise what merits praise; give the good its due. But, recent
history has also taught us that those who have dared praise Modi have not only been taken to task but also been ostracized
in every possible way and had their credibility come under question.
This is a glaring example of how selective we have become in our notions of free speech and liberal democratic principles.
The people that drive this sort of hate campaign are a very small syndicate of committed nuisance mongers who have become
well entrenched in the media and some social groups. Instead of waking up to the realities around them, they continue with
their shameless vilification of a performance-oriented mass leader.
anyone or any body praising Narendra Modi risks losing its intellectual credibility was exposed very recently when TIME magazine
of America, put him on their cover page in their issue of 26th March, and when Brookings Institution wrote a wonderful piece
on Gujarat's development. After this, their intellectual repute did not prevent them from being trashed in Indian TV studios.
One eminent journalist even said he would have been happier
to see Modi being covered with ‘The Economist'. He was clearly oblivious of the fact that Modi's Gujarat has featured
in that magazine not once but thrice in one year!
Brookings have been the most recent but, not the only victims. The most horrendous example remains that of Maulana Vastanvi,
a moderate Muslim cleric form Gujarat who was chosen to head Darul Uloom, Deoband, the most reputed Muslim seminary in India.
But, luck did not remain on his side when he said that Muslims do not face discrimination in Gujarat and that they should
forget 2002. This paved way for a lethal witch-hunt and Vastanvi had to lose his job. Today, he sits on the sides facing obscurity.
Vastanvi has since changed his stand, but it is too late.
found a company with AP Abdulakutty, a Muslim leader from Kerala. In 2009, he was a sitting CPI (M) MP when he declared Narendra
Modi must be given "full marks" for development. This was enough for his party to demand an explanation leading
to his eventual removal from the party. Ironically, the Congress that stoked the fire behind the scenes gave Abdulakutty a
ticket in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections that he won. Nonetheless, praising Modi did take a toll on his political career.
Even popular actors have not been spared. Today, the entire nation, is talking
about Amitabh Bachchan's stellar efforts in showcasing Gujarat as a tourist destination but things have been not so easy for
the veteran actor. No sooner did he agree to become Gujarat's brand ambassador than the dirty tricks began. Matters reached
a boiling point when the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan refused to share a platform with him in Mumbai.
The moral of the story- forget Modi, even if you endorse Gujarat you will have
to face the music!
Modi bashers have shown that when it comes
to Modi, even the judicial process and government officers won't be pardoned. Unhappy with the process of justice in Gujarat,
they demanded that the Supreme Court set up a SIT (Special Investigating Team) to probe matters.
When the SIT was finally appointed they showed their true colors - till the SIT arrested one of Modi's ministers.
It was a just, fair and secular body but today it has become the butt end of an orchestrated smear campaign against Modi only
because they have not found evidence that comes as music to these people's ears. It seems even the Supreme Court will not
be forgiven to settle personal scores.
The head of the SIT,
RK Raghavan (a former IPS officer) has gone through tremendous personal slander, as well. He has been accused of everything
from being ‘soft to Modi' to cutting deals with corporates with interests in Gujarat. Another senior IAS officer Shankar
Aggarwal was instantly transferred from the post of Additional Secretary IT when he lauded Modi's IT initiatives and leadership
skills at a seminar in Gandhinagar. The otherwise policy paralyzed party and their cohorts took no time in reading the riot
acts to these officers.
When even the services aren't spared,
one cannot but lament at the sad times we are living in.
much is this small group's clout that even Anna Hazare didn't escape their watch. When Anna called Modi a ‘model CM'
asking others to emulate him little did he know what was coming his way.
‘Conscience keepers' from his own team such as Medha Patkar began to attack him aided by a pro-active media
forcing him to backtrack. If anything, he has also begun taking swipes against Modi.
There are also a variety of people who cite memory lapse when it comes to acknowledging Modi's good work. It took
minutes from the NIC to prove that Mehbooba Mufti, the opposition leader from Jammu & Kashmir, had praised Modi's ability
to lure businessmen from other states to invest in Gujarat. Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dixit said Modi worked and thus
got elected, but the rigid Congress structure made her also backtrack her statements.
In conclusion, one must say that criticism if constructive is fair. But never before has a completely discredited
minority of people that keep active links with the likes of Ghulam Nabi Fai been allowed to wreck such havoc in minds of free
That Gujarat has developed under Modi cannot
be disputed but the negativity by a few people is sometimes overshadowing it, leading to anyone praising Modi being treated
like a virtual pariah. It's high time we let Gujarat develop in peace without any fear.