In life, I believe that what makes you a better person is to be honest enough to alter your opinion when needed and have the courage to share your changed views with others. It does not demean you in anyway; on the contrary it makes you a better person. A few years ago, I would have bet my bottom dollar that I would never see the day where I voted for the one who is our Prime Minister, and yet I did. At that time it may have been thought that, for anyone whose heart beat for India and who carried a legacy in the shape of her father’s last words: Do not loose faith in India, could not have voted for the party she had always supported. So the vote could have been a TINA (There Is No Alternative) one! Maybe it was, but the disenchantment with the Party I had supported for so long, had let India down in too many ways. The India my mother fought for was not safe in their hands.
Perhaps, had I not decided to walk the road less travelled in the summer of 1998 and remained shut within the four walls of my home as I had for six long years, I would remained ‘faithful’ to the Party that bore the name of the one that had brought us freedom. But that was not to be. With every minute I spent in the dusty lanes of Delhi’s slums, I realised how the people of India had been let down. And one did not have to be a rocket scientist to realise who had let them down. Be it water, sanitation, electricity, schools, hospitals, roads, you name it, nothing had percolated to the millions who remained faceless and voiceless. What was visible was the exponential increase in the amounts diverted in scam a after scam. What was unbearable was that things seem to be worse for the poor. The figure that made my blood run cold was the one of the children dying from malnutrition: 5000. Any self respecting State would have done something but everyone seemed jaded. I could not extend my support to such people anymore.
Recent scams, rapes of women and children, lawlessness and the abysmal condition of the poor made you want to hang your head in shame. The fact that sixty years were not enough to provide drinking water, three meals a day and a roof on every ones head was a cause of immense pain. And the question that haunted me mercilessly was how had we come to that.
The past decade was probably the darkest. India needed to regain its pride and place in the world. Somehow our new PM seemed to be the right person and any respecting Indian had to give him a chance. I did as many others.
I am not a cynic and understand that no one can conjure miracles. His detractors can split hair and find fault in any and every thing. Those with a modicum of wisdom know that he needs time. But one began hearing the right things: sanitation, housing, jobs. I guess this sounds strange for a country who has been independent for many decades, but is the reality, a reality we need to address and not shy away from. It was music to my ears to hear our PM talk about these issues at the UNGA and also when he addressed young people at central park.
But the biggest gift Prime Minister Modi has given to the voiceless children of India, is to dare to dream, and deem big. Till now everyone believed that the hallowed portals of high positions were only for those who spoke the coloniser language to perfection and had studies in ivy or similar institutions. Mr Modi has changed all that. Today any child can aspire to become PM.
For me his speech at central park, delivered in good but accented English, freed millions of Indian kids from the stranglehold of the Queens language and opened new avenues for them. What a gift. I hope it will motivate our project why children to aspire to greater heights.
Our new PM had rekindled a sense of nationalism in each one of us as was amply proved by the ovation and chants he received in New York.
If he delivers his promise of sanitation, drinking water, housing and I hope education to every one in the country he would have done more than all his lofty predecessors.
Once again, I am proud to be Indian.