Dear Prime Minister Narendra Modiji,
Now, you are not very dear to me but you are dear to many of my friends who are very dear to me. They don’t like that I don’t like you very much. They insist that my failing to see any good change in our country since you became Prime Minister of India is my failure to see any positivism in life. The sky is not falling, they tell. They could be right. May be I criticize impulsively. You see, I was very critical of Congress too. Every one said Congress is bad but Manmohan Singhji is a good man. I didn’t think for a Prime Minister this was good enough a quality. I wrote disapproving blogs then too. But unlike now, my friends thought that I have a way with words and saw my fragile word blows and Lilliputian efforts with great adoration. It’s really a different kind of a fight when a friend shuts you up by accusing you of spreading negativity. Much tougher than the imaginary fear of becoming a state offender. Here, you end up with strained relationship and bruised confidence.
Since your topic is not open for discussion with many of my friends anymore, I don’t know what they have to say on your recent divisive statements during Gujarat Elections. The statements weakened arguments of my friends that you aimed for only development of the country. Though, when one gets defensive of a person they favor, reasons and logic fail. They understand it is election time and they understand you need to win. They overlook the methods you choose. By the way, most of my friends are not bigots when it comes to dealings in their personal lives. Some of them may harbor minor prejudices, but you cannot ever imagine them to be comfortable in company of Gaurakshaks, Karni Sena, Bajrang dal… Just that they don’t see a direct threat to their way of life by these groups. Not yet. You see, my objection is about this willful overlooking of them at any act of you that they would have strongly objected if it weren’t you. I worry that it makes them accomplice in your deeds. Ignoring your tactics as necessary evil, they sacrifice their democratic and secular rights willingly and also compromise rights of others for which they are not authorized!
Yesterday, I and my cousin went for a day-out for a change of milieu we both needed very much. Being a busy Prime Minister, now this letter must have started to disinterest you. But stay put please! In any case I’m just imagining you to be reading this— So we both , I and my cousin, are going through tough times in our life. I needed to inhale some fresh air and she wanted to find some solace by visiting holy shrines nearby. I’m not overtly religious but yeah, I like visiting shrines especially the quiet ones in small places. My cousin wanted to visit a Shiv Mandir and a Church. One of her friend had suggested her to pray in a church. We started at a wrong hour, at noon, when both the Temple and the Church were closed. Gods were resting. Although, we enjoyed the beautiful scenic views on our way. The rikshaw ride took us on a Narrow curvy road that passed from middle of the green landscapes with ponds on either side, a large lake, old rounded trees, patches of banana farms etc. There was also uncollected garbage near these eye-soothing water bodies…but you can skillfully take a snap by avoiding it in the frame and the pic looks cool on Instagram. I could have posted some pictures here but they can distract you from the point that I want to make.
So we had a hard luck as we stood before the closed doors of shrines and went for a movie instead. But my cousin was really determined on visiting a Church. In the evening after the movie we could visit a Church nearby. It was very soothing in there. I took a look at the people sitting in there. It would have been hard for me to segregate them as a different community if I had met them at any other place. My sister said her prayer in there and we left after a while.
You may think my cousin is looking for a religion change but she is not. She is a hardcore Hindu and intends to remain so. But this is what we Indians do in times of trouble, we look forward to whichever God that might come to rescue us in that dire need of the hour and bless us. We may be hesitant of each others religion and various customs but we have absorbed each others Gods. We have been softened on fear about offending our Gods by varied saints through time immemorial who assured us that Sabka Malik ek hain. Votive offerings are made at Ajmer Sharif darga, Shirdi Temple, Churches, Gurudwaras etc. by people of all communities. They take various religious souvenirs from there with them to their households and place them beside their Gods.
What do you need, a Mandir or a Masjid- you asked people in the election fervor. I don’t know. But I know we need all the Gods. We need all Gods we can have because life is difficult. People need Gods to overcome mental depressions, financial stress, loss of loved ones, for better life, to travel safely in local trains and survive through over crowded railway bridges, to fight inflating tomatoes, onions and LPG gas cylinders, to see their kids well-placed, to fight Cancer, Chikungunya and Ebola, to survive through earth quakes, tsunamis, and famines, to be granted with adequate rains and incomes. Many of these issues can be solved with good governance but we resort to Gods because politicians have elections to win. God, at the least, is a good listener they say.
So here is a start of my Man ki baat to you, PMji. It’s not entirely your fault if you don’t know what people want if they don’t tell you. The way you try to reach them people should try to tell you their man ki baat too. Like I just tried telling you mine. Thank you for reading or not reading but just letting me write.
A God-needy Indian Citizen