Democracy of the emotions

Narendra Modi MiG

This text has been doing the rounds on Indian Whatsapp groups and elsewhere since Narendra Modi Independence Day speech this year:

I don’t say ‪‎Modi‬ is the best pm, but its the first time i watched PM’s speech other than that on 15th august

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its th-e first time i know my country is safe

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time 20k indians gathered in for a politicians speech on a foreign land

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time every NRI is proud

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time 80 countries are listening to indian pm

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time when pakistan is totaly screwd up and china is scared

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time USA knows it not the soul power

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time Obama realised, he is not the most famous politician

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time INDIA seems a superpower

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time The World Knows WHY WE ARE THE WORLDS LARGEST DEMOCRACY

I don’t say Modi is the best pm, but its the first time i know I AM A PROUD INDIAN !!!

It’s generally attributed to Naryana Murthy, something which is frankly improbable, but the source is nevertheless less important than the content.

Nationalistic, typo-laden and open to dispute though its claims may be, I have yet to find a better summary of Modi’s success. His charisma works because it simply overpowers all quibbles. As the text says, Modi’s precise ranking on the list of India’s Prime Ministers is effectively immaterial: having him in charge of things feels good now.

Moreover, it demonstrates why India’s growing liberal middle class has had such a difficult time fighting Modi’s rise. They niggle away at the details of his policies, saying “Ah, but Gujerat’s agricultural growth was actually two percent higher under the previous government” or “The nuclear power investments that he likes to brag about were actually a hangover from the previous government” or similar. Their criticisms may well be true, but it doesn’t matter: you can’t destroy magic by nitpicking.

It’s interesting that when we went to Modi’s rally in Singapore, the other leader that many of his supporters expressed a liking for was Vladimir Putin – someone who has achieved much the same effect in his own country (though minus the barnstorming speeches). In times of uncertainty, it seems, a leader you can have faith in is more important than the technocratic details of policy implementation.

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