Modi the PM who walks on the razor’s edge -1
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Modi the PM who walks on the razor’s edge -1

July 9, 2024

A book on Modi as a Leader tells it all

A leader must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.” — APJ Abdul Kalam, Scientist and former President of India.

The two-day Mysuru Literature Festival-2024 excellently curated by its Director Shubha Sanjay Urs turned its last page last Sunday for a grand finale. Book worms and theatre buffs, who had gathered in good strength, experienced a variety of programmes related to arts and literature — from releasing of new books to panel discussions where distinguished artistes, intellectuals and authors participated.

Mysuru being a Royal City with its iconic Mysore Palace, reputed to be the second most photographed tourist attraction after Taj Mahal, it was only appropriate the Raj Mata of the Wadiyar dynasty Pramoda Devi Wadiyar should inaugurate this important cultural event, Mysuru Literature Festival-2024.

Her presence certainly enhanced the prestige of the event and her brief inaugural address no less. Her demeanour on such occasions has always been regal sans ostentation. Her speech this time showed her as a person of humility being true to herself. Yes, the high moral precept is: Above all be true to yourself.

While introducing her, she was eulogised as global ambassador of Mysuru Culture etc. After inaugurating the Festival she, in her speech, gently clarified that she played no such role. However, her patronage of such cultural activities is well-known and is in the tradition of the Wadiyar dynasty for centuries past.

The following day I rushed to the venue to be a witness to a book release event which interested me much for two reasons. First, the book was on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “Power Within” with a sub-title, “The Leadership Legacy of Narendra Modi” by Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, the well-known good Samaritan of H.D. Kote tribals and the Founder of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) and now a Member of human resources at the Capacity Building Commission (CBC), Government of India. The book was released by Dr. Vikram Sampath, the well-known Right-wing Historian as against the Left-wing!

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The second reason was the 12 to 1 pm panel discussion with Dr. Vikram Sampath moderated by former NIE Principal Prof. G.L. Shekar on the subject ‘Ancient history and contemporary consequences’. He also spoke of his latest book ‘Waiting for Shiva’.

However, for now, I shall write about the book “Power Within”. I have read the book turning pages at roller-coaster speed. It is not a biography of Modi but all about his Leadership, political leadership. I found the book beautiful and was full of anticipation about its contents. First few pages were read leisurely as I consider them as the road map to guide me through the maze ahead. I was attracted to three pages of “Advance Praise of the book primarily intended to market the book.”

As the first person to praise  the book was Bill Gates, should I say more and should I mention other names? Others were all distinguished persons, including one Meenakshi, Jenu Kuruba Tribal and Woman Entrepreneur. After the 2024 Parliamentary election it is inevitable that one should allude to our Constitution if the subject is connected to Modi as in the case of this book. I wonder if I should call him the Prime Minister of India or Prime Minister of Bharat.

This dilemma in my mind arose after perusing ‘The Constitution of India’ book, reprint 2024 by Prakash Books India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. The preamble to the Constitution begins thus: “We, the people of India……….”. But the Part-I Article1 says: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” Do we need another amendment to the preamble or to the Article1? This was the cause for my wonderment as to how I should call my Prime Minister and which one will be Constitutionally correct!!

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To me this book, ‘Power Within’, is a mystery as it tries to project a dual personality in Modi — a Prime Minister with power within and power without. I guess the power within is divine or spiritual power and the power without is temporal or State power. And if we look at Narendra Modi’s “Poorvashram” life as a helper to his father, a tea shop owner, as a RSS Pracharak, as one who became a wandering Spiritual Seeker visiting Hermitages and Ashrams, including Ramakrishna Ashram in Kolkata and Rajkot, it is clear that deep within Modi there is a Saint in meditation.

Swami Atmasthanandaji, who later became the Supreme head of Ramakrishna Mutt and Mission, refusing to give  Sanyas deeksha to Modi, asked him, as by premonition, to pursue the Rajadharma and not Rishidharma. So it was. Today we have this Modi as our Prime Minister! It is not surprising therefore, today even as Prime Minister we see him going away to religious places like Badrinath,  Kedarnath, Ayodhya, Kashi and Swami Vivekananda Memorial in Kanyakumari for prayers and meditation. This while other leaders go abroad for holidays.

Following his journey from youth to this present, I liken him to the Philosopher-King of Roman Empire Marcus Aurelius. Modi is a Marcus Aurelius of India, nay Bharat. That resonates with our ancient culture rather vigorously after 2014 giving Hindus in India a true national identity.

[To be continued tomorrow]

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