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Updated: February 8, 2013 15:21 IST

The man who would rule India

Ramachandra Guha
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Like Indira Gandhi once did, Narendra Modi seeks to make his party,his government, his administration and his country into an extension of his personality.

A journalist who recently interviewed Narendra Modi reported their conversation as follows: “Gujarat, he told me, merely has a seafront. It has no raw materials — no iron ore for steel, no coal for power and no diamond mines. Yet it has made huge strides in these fields. Imagine, he added, if we had the natural resources of an Assam, a Jharkhand and a West Bengal: I would have changed the face of India.”(see The Telegraph, January 18, 2013).

Tall claims

This conversation (and that claim) underlines much of what Narendra Modi has sought to do these past five years — remake himself as a man who gets things done, a man who gets the economy moving. With Mr. Modi in power in New Delhi, says or suggests Mr. Modi, India will be placed smoothly on the 8 per cent to 10 per cent growth trajectory, bureaucrats will clear files overnight, there will be no administrative and political corruption, poverty levels will sink rapidly towards zero and — lest we forget — trains and aeroplanes shall run on time. These claims are taken at face value by his admirers, who include sundry CEOs, owner-capitalists, western ambassadors and —lest we forget — columnists in the pink papers, the white papers, and (above all) cyber-space.

Mr. Modi’s detractors — who too are very numerous, and very vocal — seek to puncture these claims in two different ways. The unreconstructed Nehruvians and Congress apologists (not always the same thing) say he will forever be marked by the pogrom against Muslims in 2002, which was enabled and orchestrated by the State government. Even if his personal culpability remains unproven, the fact that as the head of the administration he bears ultimate responsibility for the pogrom, and the further fact that he has shown no remorse whatsoever, marks Mr. Modi out as unfit to lead the country.

The secularist case against Mr. Modi always had one flaw — namely, that what happened in Gujarat in 2002 was preceded in all fundamental respects by what happened in Delhi in 1984. Successive Congress governments have done nothing to bring justice to the survivors, while retaining in powerful positions (as Cabinet Ministers even) Congress MPs manifestly involved in those riots.

With every passing year, the charge that Mr. Modi is communal has lost some intensity — because with every passing year it is one more year that the Sikhs of Delhi and other North Indian cities have been denied justice. (They have now waited 28 years, the Muslims of Gujarat a mere 11.) More recently, the burden of the criticism against Mr. Modi has shifted — on to his own terrain of economic development. It has been shown that the development model of Gujarat is uneven, with some districts (in the south, especially) doing very well, but the dryer parts of the State (inland Saurashtra for example) languishing. Environmental degradation is rising, and educational standards are falling, with malnutrition among children abnormally high for a State at this level of GDP per capita.

As a sociologist who treats the aggregate data of economists with scepticism, I myself do not believe that Gujarat is the best developed State in the country. Shortly after Mr. Modi was sworn in for his third full term, I travelled through Saurashtra, whose polluted and arid lands spoke of a hard grind for survival. In the towns, water, sewage, road and transport facilities were in a pathetic state; in the countryside, the scarcity of natural resources was apparent, as pastoralists walked miles and miles in search of stubble for their goats. Both hard numbers and on-the-ground soundings suggest that in terms of social and economic development, Gujarat is better than average, but not among the best. In a lifetime of travel through the States of the Union, my sense is that Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and (despite the corruption) Tamil Nadu are the three States which provide a dignified living to a decent percentage of their population.

To be sure, Mr. Modi is not solely responsible for the unbalanced development. Previous Chief Ministers did not do enough to nurture good schools and hospitals, or enough to prevent the Patels of southern Gujarat from monopolising public resources. Besides, Mr. Modi does have some clear, identifiable achievements — among them a largely corruption-free government, an active search for new investment into Gujarat, some impressive infrastructural projects, and a brave attempt to do away with power subsidies for rich farmers.

Both the secularist case and the welfarist case against Mr. Modi have some merit — as well as some drawbacks. In my view, the real reason that Narendra Modi is unfit to be Prime Minister of India is that he is instinctively and aggressively authoritarian. Consider that line quoted in my first paragraph: “I would have changed the face of India.” Not ‘we,’ but ‘I’. In Mr. Modi’s Gujarat, there are no collaborators, no co-workers. He has a chappan inch chaati — a 56-inch chest — as he loudly boasts, and therefore all other men (if not women) in Gujarat must bow down to his power and his authority.

Mr. Modi’s desire to dominate is manifest in his manner of speaking. Social scientists don’t tend to analyse auditory affect, but you have only to listen to the Gujarat Chief Minister for 15 minutes to know that this is a man who will push aside anyone who comes in his way. The intent of his voice is to force his audience into following him on account of fearing him.

The proclamation of his physical masculinity is not the sole example of Mr. Modi’s authoritarianism. Like all political bullies he despises free speech and artistic creativity — thus he has banned books and films he thinks Gujaratis should not read or watch (characteristically, without reading or viewing these books and films himself). He has harassed independent-minded writers, intellectuals and artists (leading to the veritable destruction of India’s greatest school of art, in Vadodara). His refusal to the spontaneous offer of a skull cap during his so-called ‘Sadbhavana Yatra,’ while read as an example of his congenital communalism, could also be seen as illustrating his congenital arrogance.

The most revealing public display of Mr. Modi’s character, however, may have been a yoga camp he once held for the IAS officers of his State. They all lined up in front of him — DMs, DCs, Secretaries, Under-Secretaries, of various sizes, shapes, ages, and genders — and followed the exercise routine he had laid down for them. Utthak-baithak, utthak-baithak, 10 or perhaps 20 times, before a diverting Surya Namaskar was thrown in by the Master.

I do not know whether that yoga camp was held again (it was supposed to be an annual show), and do not know either how Mr. Modi appears to these IAS officers when they confront him one-on-one. But that the event was held, and that the Chief Minister’s office sought proudly to broadcast it to the world, tells us rather more than we would rather wish to know about this man who wishes to rule India.

To be sure, Mr. Modi is not the only authoritarian around in Indian politics. Mamata Banerjee, J. Jayalalithaa, and Mayawati (when she is Chief Minister) also run their States in a somewhat overbearing manner. Naveen Patnaik and Nitish Kumar are intolerant of criticism too. However, the authoritarianism of these other State leaders is erratic and capricious, not focused or dogmatic. This, and the further fact that Mr. Modi has made his national ambitions far more explicit, makes them lesser devils when it comes to the future of our country.

Resemblance to Indira Gandhi

Neither Mr. Modi’s admirers nor his critics may like this, but the truth is that of all Indian politicians past and present, the person Gujarat Chief Minister most resembles is Indira Gandhi of the period 1971-77. Like Mrs. Gandhi once did, Mr. Modi seeks to make his party, his government, his administration and his country an extension of his personality. The political practice of both demonstrates the psychological truth that inside every political authoritarian lies a desperately paranoid human being. Mr. Modi talks, in a frenetic and fearful way, of ‘Rome Raj’ and ‘Mian Musharraf’ (lately modified to ‘Mian Ahmed Patel’); Mrs Gandhi spoke in likewise shrill tones of the ‘foreign hand’ and of ‘my enemies.’

There is something of Indira Gandhi in Narendra Modi, and perhaps just a touch of Sanjay Gandhi too — as in the brash, bullying, hyper-masculine style, the suspicion (and occasional targeting) of Muslims. Either way, Mr. Modi is conspicuously unfitted to be the reconciling, accommodating, plural, democratic Prime Minister that India needs and deserves. He loves power far too much. On the other hand, his presumed rival, Rahul Gandhi, shirks responsibility entirely (as in his reluctance, even now, to assume a ministerial position). Indian democracy must, and shall in time, see off both.

(The writer is a historian. Email: ramachandraguha@yahoo.in)

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Mr Ram Suresh of Australia

You end your comment with an ominous "Hail Modi". That precisely is the problem
with many of Modi's middle class supporters who root for and only want an able
administrator - irrespective of the other dangerous traits of the man. They do not
see parallels between the last time the phrase "Hail" was used to venerate a
demagogue and the disastrous consequences it wreaked upon Europe and the rest
of the world.

Many commentators here point out to Modi's achievements in providing electricity
or GDP growth. There is perhaps some truth in this. But good governance is much
more than generating electricity or merely satisfying middle class desires. Or the
desires of the majority alone. Or merely getting the trains to run on time as
another Italian demagogue ostensibly did. At the very least, it entails the ability to
espouse views such as tolerance, acceptance and respect for the law of the land.

Sadly, Modi's record disappoints on all these counts.

from:  V. Suresh
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:42 IST


Mr. Guha got Modi right. But, then almost all leaders in India are
egomaniacs. Was there anyone who could counter Yeddyurappa in
Karnataka? Is there anyone who has challenged Sonia/Rahul in Congress
and lived to tell the tale? leaving out pop-psychology Mr. Guha
resorts to, here is another aspect he needs to know.

No CEO of a large company made it there without being unreasonable,
difficult and egoist. Ego is the main motivator for high achievers. It
is a good thing - not bad, as long as they know when to pull back in
their own interest. I think Modi does.


from:  harkol
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 23:01 IST

When will India punish the politicians who indulge in communal riots?
Do we absolve the ministers / politicians of the cold blooded murder
of our citizens ?
Hitler also won fame from his country men for his anti jews stand and
we all know the fate !
All criminals whether politicians or underworld should be treated on
par. Just because one is chief minister or a minister should not be
exempted from facing a fair trial in a secular and democratic country
like India.

from:  abrar
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 22:24 IST

I can only imagine how Gujarat is, if we accept the author's claim that Kerala is a better state. Either he is joking or we are fools to believe him. Even a student can tell about this Kerala state and its development. I feel all these Modie praising and bashing intellects write using their imagination.

from:  Sudhakara M
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 20:25 IST

A very nice article indeed. But a few of the facts i would like to
mention. As far as I have noticed, Indians have a tendency to avoid
changes. We cant accept changes so fast. Secondly, we need a dictator
to rule us as we can not come to any conclusion no matter what may
come. This is evident from all the debacles happened in the past few
years. we just listen to the stories all day and go to sleep at night
and next day again start listening to the same stories with a new
twists without any hopes of ending the stories and begin something
new. We wanna grow to a developed nation but we cry that we don't have
facilities like education and infrastructure.
But we do have common sense, still we don't use it. We always break
all rules and regulations. For example traffic rules. we all know what
are the rules and how to follow it, but we rarely do that. Only if we
see a cop standing we follow it. Same is the situation for Mr. Modi,
he is the cop India needs to control and streamline Indians.

from:  Abhishek
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 19:37 IST

OMG! look at the no. of comments. love him, hate him, u just cant ignore
him..

from:  abhi
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 18:56 IST

The author has hit the nail on the head. Contrary to some opinions, I
do not see the author engaging in any "Modi-bashing" at all. He has
clearly dismissed the communal complaint against Modi as being his
disqualification and has stressed on Modi's "I Me and Myself" persona
as the chink in his armor. It was for this reason that BJP's
"Bhishmapitamaha" - Mr Vajpayee - was critical of Modi's rising
ambitions.
True, Modi can get things done. True, he has an enviable retinue. And
true, he has the flair that one needs to grow political stature and
influence.
However his "one-man-army" persona could prove disastrous should a
single project of his go awry. Because of his persona, the blame would
fall on him and thereon emanate to the entire administration (the BJP
and its allies). That would be a loss of public confidence they would
be hard pressed to recover from which would lead to the return of the
Congress as "the alternative".

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 18:20 IST

The whole assumption is based on the BJP and the NDA come to power. The performance of the BJP in some of the States that they now govern may not be under their control. The announcement of the RSS and Rajnath Singh on the priority for the Ram temple, may create some problems too. Even if the NDA comes to power, the BJP will have the same pressures as the present UPA Govt from its partners. Besides, with the dual control of the party and RSS will further create problems for Modi as the PM.. He will need many Ambanis and Adanis in other States to help him repeat his growth plans. Modi's performance in some other factors do not compare well with many other States. He has managed to cover up some of his failures with a very aggressive PR agency. His almost dictatorial style may not work at the Centre. The mai9n reason he seems the best candidate if the NDA comes to power, is the lack of any such leader in the opposition. Rahul is yet unproven as an alternative except for his lineage.

from:  S.N.Iyer
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 17:38 IST

I am amazed that so many readers have commented that there is no alternative - when both the BJP and the Congress have not still definitively named their PM candidates, why have the media and also the public already limited the choice to only Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi? I can think of much better leaders from these very parties like Arun Jaitley or P Chidambaram or Sushma Swaraj. Why does the media not take some effort to promote these much better alternatives?

from:  John
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 15:47 IST

Sir, enough with Modi supporting and Modi Bashing. I know about Modi is so famous online because he has hired a publicist grouping to mention about him online through fake accounts created by that group, I met one of the group members in Goa, he was organising a group called as vote for change in facebook which claimed as a neutral was displaying photos he took with Arwind kejriwal and other personalities. On digging up information about him he was a former member of RSS indulging in online campaign. These kind of people get online and provide online comments in social media and even your comments platform to get get their views online. When did RSS idealogy and Modi became different, The rift is similar like the lie of Vajpayee being Secular. whereas he was a maximist personality without any concern for minority or linguistic minority communities.

from:  derick gannon
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 15:19 IST

Rama Chandra Guha raised in this article some very important questions on the Gujrat's Model of development. GDP growth, Huge investments and fancy infrastructure project etc alone cannot be counted as development. Social harmony, equality, proper education and nutrition for children, peace, brotherhood among various communities, proper law and order situation, rule of law, corruption free governace, freedom of speech and expression, employment for all, food and shelter for all and many such things are also essential for a truely developed democratic society. And we all know that Narendra Modi failed in Gujrat on many of these aspects.

from:  Manish Richhariya
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 12:27 IST

I would tend to agree with Ram Guha's assessment of Narendra Modi. There is no denying that he has established himself as thoroughly incorruptible ( materially) but his dictatorial or assertive nature has succeeded in Gujarat. The simple dictum is "If the trader ( dalal) is allowed to make his money in his business" they do not mind who is the ruler of the State. He has created more billionaires but no allround growth. Strangely, he was compared to Jawaharlal Nehru by the VHP chief and not Sardar Patel.who would have been the better option. Ram Guha has correctly compared him to Indira Gandhi. and Sanjay Gandhi. We have had honest PMs like Lal Bahadur Shastri and V.P.Singh (as well as Rajiv Gandhi in his initial months) but they all failed politically to establish any mark by their honesty. Votes and notes which determines who wins elections. The BJP can only return to power with coalition partners and Ram temple and pro Hindu policies will cr5amp his style. His PR has done good work

from:  S.N.Iyer
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 11:12 IST

Well written analysis. I have been following this Historian for many years. He is mostly unbiased and derives character out of everything, small and big. To talk about Mr. Modi's candidature for the top post, we must first get to terms with the reality that as many as 9 big states which account for more than 330 Lok Sabha seats "do not" see BJP as a credible opposition, and this fact was established when it failed to field in a candidate for the election to the Office of President, in 2012. Narendra Modi can not win, and has not won any election on his own, just as any other candidate without the support of masses. While we talk big of his pros and cons in a useful manner, on the internet, I personally have seen many on the roads who are least concerned about future of India. The equation finally arrives here like this. "Out of all the failed in an academic exam, one who scored better marks should feel he should be given an instant exam to clear all". I opine Modi is in this league.

from:  Santhosh Saikrishna
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 09:45 IST

True to his reputation of being the best historian, Ramchandra Guha
has done a great job to find each and any small incident from the
history which can be used to prove wrongness of Mr. Modi, so Guha
can proclaim disqualification of Mr. Modi for being the PM of
India. This will be followed by more historians and social
scientists who will compete with each other to prove their point
that how India will be jeopardized with Modi at centre. They will
try to find each and every nuance, small mistakes, personal matters
and what-not to prove their point. Unfortunately, they will avoid
completely and strategically the better side of Modi which makes
him a positive and effective person what India needs at this
juncture.

from:  Bharat
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 07:58 IST

Mr Guha should use this article as a stepping stone to a wider debate on who should be the next PM of the country. Merely saying that Mr Modi has an authoritarian streak is a statement of fact that need not have been said.

The claimants for the next PM post are Nitish Kumar,Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi as of today. I personally prefer Nitish Kumar for his pragmatic politics, economic track record and soft spoken demeanour.

Rahul Gandhi is unproven, Narendra Modi yes, dictatorial. However, Narendra Modi is my third choice and Rahul Gandhi last.

What does Mr Guha have to say ? Look forward to you completing this discussion.....

from:  Saurabh Sharma
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 04:57 IST

Fear and violence are the tool kit of the Indian politician, all of them. I am from
West Bengal and election related violence there is large scale and brutal. Middle
classes are afraid of the local political leaders, regardless of party - and the
situation is the same across the country. In your roll call of political leaders, you
did not mention one CM who is non authoritarian. So now we have Mr. Modi
whose authoritarianism seems to be backed by a genuine vision of a resurgent
India. In his speech surprisingly, he talked first of agricultural development and
even the environment (water tables). He seems to grasp the challenges ahead
and yet does not seem to be intimidated. He called himself an optimist, paid
respect to tech India and its youthful denizens and denounced the idea of India
as a land of snake charmers. Which I believe is a way of telling VHP to stay in its
place. That speech was a masterstroke. Mr Modi, I hope will be India's first OBC
PM and lead us into a new era.

from:  Neelanjana
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 04:20 IST

Mr. Guha's comparison of Mr. Modi to the persona and the
authoritarian mettle of Indira Gandhi, in a way, highlights
Narendra Modi's qualities and qualifications to lead the nation.
Given the level of corruption and openly defiant arrogance of the
current ruling party, desperation and dependence on divine
deliverance will not free us from the tyranny of political
misrule. Democracy does not necessarily give us clear cut choices
or idealistic rulers but, it surely gives us the opportunity, if
it is established and proven,to throw out the charlatans,
demagogues and criminals elected with the help of vested
interests forming the current government once the next election
is reached. India has to make up its mind if it needs extricate
itself from the current morass of political abyss of coalition
governments and put its lot behind a proven and tough minded
public leader. Mr. Guha clearly indicates that Narendar Modi fits
the bill drawing parallels between Indira Gandhi and him.

from:  K C Mohan
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 02:08 IST

Nice perspective. Can Ramachandra provide his opinion in next article about Rahul and Sonia Gandhi?

No nation in secular in truth. All nations go by compelling realities of its state as on date.

from:  shiva iyer
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 00:34 IST

It is better to have one authoritarian leader than ten corrupt leaders
or a puppet leader who prefers to stay mute on every aspect or a leader
with unproven credentials.

from:  Sahil
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 00:34 IST

I appreciate the author's summary...the country needs an open and broad minded leader rather than a forceful and authoritative one

from:  Divya
Posted on: Feb 9, 2013 at 00:08 IST

" Mr. Modi is conspicuously unfitted to be the reconciling, accommodating, plural,
democratic Prime Minister that India needs and deserves." -- Sounds like the
sociologist is looking for a slightly sweeter version of the ethically and intellectually
bankrupt Congress Party. India needs a leader who is more like a Churchill and less
like a Chamberlain. But then the writer is university man, and we all know how
protected they are in their halls of books. Everything's polite, neat & orderly. No so
in the world of politics. India needs a leader with real strength and courage. Also, a
leader who is not a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats should stick to statistics (although this
is probably not the case in Delhi today) but leaders must inspire as well as back up
their promises with results. People take heart because of Modi's spunk and
optimism. He has courage, unlike the crowd in Delhi. This alone generates positive
results. But don't expect the sociologist to understand this.

from:  duart maclean
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 23:31 IST

May be for reasons of brevity, the Modi narrative is not so illuminating. When the matter in this narrative on Modi is so obvious, what author wants to speak is not so. Is he hinting us to look someone, beyond Modi, Nitish kumar, Naveen Patnaik, Jayalalitha, Mamta Banerjee, Mayavati, or sny other name he mentioned?
He should make his narrative thicker than this, make more articulations of his mind, instead of putting us in a deep speculation.

from:  Pratap Behera
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 22:56 IST

I am surprised that even this gentleman can write sense; I am also surprised that this news paper publishes an article giving a compliment (even if left handed) to Narendra Modi.

For all the show off of love for democracy the author seems to be scared of two things - that people will vote for Narendra Modi; and once elected Narendra Modi will continue to win people's confidence and win elections forever. The author does not seem to suspect that people may give Modi also one chance and throw him out unceremoniously if he does not perform or "misperforms". It is such thinking which makes us suspect that may be this historian/sociologist/writer/thinker is actually just a snob and we should grin and bear him. The current PM meets all criteria to be a PM, except that he can not win elections; how did we treat him? How did the extra constitutional authority (I do not know what happened to accountability and democracy these 9 years) treat him?

from:  Subrahmanyam
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 15:58 IST

It is better to have a dictator as a PM than one who perpetually looks like "Alice
in Wonderland".Indira Gandhi could afford to be authoritarian since she did not
of have to run a coalition Govt which advantage Mr.Modi may not have although
I sincerely hope and pray that he becomes our next PM.If he does not
deliver he could be shown the door after 5 years.Can the country become any
worse than what it is now?I think not.The country needs a strong leader now .With
all his flaws(Is there a perfect human being anywhere in the world?),Mr .Modi
eminently deserves to lead us.Those who run him down always say that Gujarathis
are hard working and enterprising and hence the growth of Gujarath is not
because of Modi.But if India's GDP grows it is not because of Indians but because
of UPA,so would our secularists want us to believe!

from:  V.SRIRAMULU
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 15:41 IST

Very sensible, informative and thought provoking article indeed. The media must stop projecting Narendra Modi for the Prime Ministership post. Media knows better than the general public, it is ardent duty of media to tell the fact and not hide the truth. This is article is an eye-opener. Thank you very much.

from:  K.J.Haroon Basha
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 15:37 IST

It seems the writer is scared of Mr.Modi's confidence, decisiveness,
focus, and sense of purpose. These are the traits that Indian leaders
have lacked which is why we still remain where we are. The writer,
unable to comprehend, such a person is scared just like most of us fear
uncertainty and prefer familiarity. Be bold, sir. All will be well. Mr.
Modi is India's destiny next. Let's welcome the destiny and him and look
at the bright side of what can happen with him.

from:  Sanjay
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 15:06 IST

I agree with the assessment of Mr. Modi by Mr. Guha. But he should also make an assessment of Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Except the fact that he has a surname, what are his views on problems being faced by the country are not known.

from:  VIPIN BHATNAGAR
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 15:06 IST

The point which is completely missed in this analysis is that given the complex problems that the country is in right now -with almost every institution either limping and barely managing to survive or threatening to collapse the need of the hour is for some one strong like Mr Modi -make no mistake about it. India should stop depending on the very old and weak type but on people like Modi who has the right blend of everything.

from:  skumar
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 15:02 IST

It would have been nice, if there were any suggestions as to who
can fulfill the requirements of a prime minister. Considering the
situation the country is in, we rather need a leader who has
decent goals when it comes to development than someone who is
accommodating. Accommodating the current crop of politicians and
the goal of development, i don't think, would go hand in hand. It
would be better not to go into the personality as nobody is
perfect, and rather what needs to be assessed are the actions and
results achieved. I guess Modi has better credentials or just
credentials compared to many others who are in the fray.

from:  ranjith
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 14:58 IST

In my opinion our country needs a dictator who is having a vision to
develop India and who looks for the welfare of Indians. In our secular
democratic country every institution is corrupted. Education,
Politics, bureaucracy, Law system whatnot every thing. This is only
because we do not have stringent laws to punish the culprits or to
stop corruption. Slowly our citizens lost faith on constitution and
justice. We are being ruled by corrupt politicians who strive for the
welfare of their dynasty and nothing else. Above all these politicians
do not have a vision about the development of the Nation. There are n
number of reasons for all this either it could be because of the
people or because of the whole system. The only solution we can find
at this stage is we need a leader who should be a dictator who can
control all the circumstances by word or stick. Rather than a vision
less Rahul I will bend towards Modi even though he is having some
qualities like a dictator at least he had vision

from:  Sanjay
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 14:32 IST

I agree with the author when he describes Modi's Characterstics. But it is this determination to get things done that is lacking among the politicians today. In a Prime Ministerial candidate a bit of arrogance with a iron will to deliver is much better than a humble persona who achieves nothing

from:  Ananthanarayanan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 14:28 IST

While I agree with Mr. Guha's analysis of Modi to a large extent, I disagree with his assessment that Modi will become an authoritarian ruler for two reasons.
1 - Unlike Gujarat where Modi enjoys absolute majority, BJP will not be any where close to absolute majority in the national elections 2014.
2 - If NDA comes back to power, Modi will have to rely heavily on the NDA constituents on all decision making which will curtail his ability to force his authority on matters of his choice.

Given the coalition compulsions in our politics, it is hard to think Modi will be successful as a PM and be able to work his magic at the national level.
Vijay

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 14:19 IST

I read the comments unfortunately their are many leaders within BJP whom we do want to ignore because we are kind of brain-washed by media and corporate houses advertisements, in short, money is being twisted to push us to love Modi and get blinded by media hype and keep standing very far from reality.... so please see thru and WE will get alternate leaders too.... change the perspective, that's all....!

from:  shobha
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:53 IST

Governing a nation as complex as India is a serious challenge and the reason we have collectively failed is due to the wrong choice of leaders since Independence ( except in 1991). If only Guha's superficial analysis of a leader on the basis of the assertive nature, masculinity, declining of skull cap ( in fact there is a message here , 'I do not believe in tokanism') is accepted as a yard stick, then this nation will be in dark ages for ever! God save this nation from such 'analysts'

from:  V.L.Narayan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:52 IST

I agree with Mr. Modi that he has done a fair amount of good work in Gujarat, but
his credo that everything in Gujarat is now perfect and all because of him and only
him, and if he were to admit on the side that there are a few things in Gujarat that
aren't perfect but the blame for that lies with his predecessors, then he is not
acting responsibly.

Polemic speeches and tirades are all fine coming from a small-time politician but
once in office, politicians need to become statesmen and work for the general
good. Needless to say, we haven't had any politicians like that, barring maybe PV
Narasimha Rao.

Maintaining the rule of law is an even more important requirement. A state cannot
let two different communities start a free-for-all slaughter. Whatever he may say
about culpability, Mr. Modi was CM at the time of riots and he failed to do his job.
One cannot with this record let him be PM.

As for the Nehru dynasty, well, we need less of them. They have done enough
damage already.

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:43 IST

Since the last decade no single party have got enough

mandate to form government in center alone, collaborative

government has become the need of the hour.This form of

government is usually unstable. The leader of the government, the

prime minister, has to become silent spectator to maintain stability

of the government. He has to be reluctant to take decision, which put

adverse effects in the implementation of the policies. This creates an idle environment to flourish corruption.Our prime minister has also shown concern over this.
Mr. Modi way of claiming responsibility, his unbiased development in Gujarat and his consecutive mandate proofs him suitable to lead the nation from front.

from:  Kumar Vimal
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:41 IST

Indian democracy must, and shall in time, see off both- fully agreed but
to clean up the mess created by various compromising PMs since 1990s,
nation need NAMO for decade or so. Which will be apragmatic solution
instead of ideal but unrealistic dream of Consensual PM being able to
massive problems. Rahul is immature and irresponsible and would be
manipulated by likee of Diggy Singh etc. and may prove disater for
nation.

from:  Atma Gandhi
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:35 IST

As a true upholder of liberal values, the cricket historian Ramachandra Guha has done a deep theoretical penetration in making a fair judgment on Mr Narendra Modi and his claims for successful development in the Gujarat state. In fact, there is no iron curtain between Gujarat and the rest of India that prevents us from seeing any symptom disproving Mr. Modi’s claims; everybody talks about a Golden-Gujarat, but nobody shows the place where it exists. That state too shares its identity with the all-India phenomena of the appalling life standard of the toiling masses. On the chosen democratic path for this country’s political journey after the independence in 1947, only the vehicles of bourgeois class wheeled on their exploiting ideologies and moral views can ply. Offers of reservations, justifications of dynastic domination, fake –secularism for vote bank, state- orchestrated pogrom, vandalism of minority religious structures, distortion of history, religious majoritarianism are all very sophisticated ideological activities to be refurbished whenever they are hungry for political power. It should also be noted that Mr. Guha, as one of prominent Indian Ideologists (as identified recently by Perry Anderson) has applied the correct parameter in judging the equal position of the Congress Party (with respect to the 1984 Sikh Massacre) to the equal state of Narendra Modi (with respect to the 2002 Gujarat violence); then the country should know that both the Parties apply the same modus operandi and continue to hide inside democratic institutions with such a denial of justice to the victims.

from:  A.Kannan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:33 IST

I appreciate your attempt of criticism of Mr. Modi here but that just
doesnt give us enough reasons to make him unfit for the highest post in
India. He might be authoritarian in nature but he gets things done,
unlike most politicians in present circle. He isn't popular amongst the
masses and in particular the educated ones for nothing. Hate him, Love
him but you just cannot ignore him.

from:  Shreyans S
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:32 IST

My faith lies in these lines "Indian democracy must, and shall in time,
see off both." I totaly agree with Guha, none of the two are fit to lead
India. we need a person who could deliver good governance through
inclusiveness. Modi can deliver governance but falls short in
inclusiveness, while Rahul believes in inclusiveness but falls short
when it comes to governance. Social science & economics should & must go
together.

from:  Asma Rizwan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:32 IST

It is commonly accepted fact by many intellectuals
in our country that there were to major incidents
which were a blot to the secular character of our state
1) 1984 Sikh Riots
2) 2002 Gujarath Riots
Guha has mentioned both incidents in this article.It is pathetic that
modi calls him self an able administrator and wants to change the face of india
and did not take any measures in time to mitigate 2002 riots.

from:  J.V.Madhav
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:12 IST

Dear Guha,

what you have missed to mention in the article is about who should
rule india then. In the present political situation where no one has
the courage or the will to take responsibility, it is indeed
delightful to see Modi using the words I, My and Mine which indicates
how much responsible he is, rather than how much authoritarian he is.
Even if Modi has achieved at least 10% of the so called 'Tall Claims',
that is indeed great and is difficult to believe that he has did this
without any collabarators or co-workers. The article could have been
at better if at least an effort was put towards trying to project a
better PM to Modi based on facts. Nevertheless to say, extremely
disappointed by this article.

from:  Gopal
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 13:12 IST

The biggest problem in India has been the penchant of Politicians
(since Nehru himself) to take a middle path for everything. They never
had a national interest in mind rather they had citizen interest/group
interest. This meant that over a period of time, all the groups would
be antagonized or all the groups start fighting for their own
rights/benefits forgetting national interest - clearly visible now. If
Modi is a dictator, it is perfectly ok and just what the nation needs.
Major difference, with comparison with Indira,is that Modi has used
his power for the benefit of the State.
It is sad that people like Mr. Guha want to base their judgement of
Modi on his refusal to accept a skull cap. Surely a person should be
judged on better parameters than that.
Mr. Guha cannot disagree that at present, any change in the nation is
possible only by a person who has the power and commitment towards the
nation. Modi has it.

from:  Hebbar
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:52 IST

You have elaborated so much about Mr.Modi and the demerits of him becoming the prime minister. so kindly enlighten us with a better option other than him that you see in the current scenario of indian politics.
we also have such a well qualified PM presently but is he able to use his intellectual skills anywhere other than what Mrs.Sonia or the congress wants.
On the other hand, the abstract of your article also mentions Mr.Rahul Gandhi but it seems you have very little to say about him. Kindly do your research again on this topic and help us further with better ideas.

from:  Nikhil Singh
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:50 IST

It's unfortunate to see biased and factually incorrect and casual
articles like this in Hindu. Guha , being a liberal and forward
thinking person failed to present his article in a logical and
rational way. The fact that he started it with both Rahul and Modi and
completed it only talking about Modi speaks volumes about it. Modi
being an able administrator with corruption free image will be a good
contender. He has to alter his autocratic style to work with respect
for different view points and ideas. Modi moved away from communal
politics to development politics is a testimony to the fact that he
will nurture every thing that is needed to be a prime ministirial
candidate.

from:  Naveen Reddy
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:43 IST

Isn't something (Modi) better than nothing (Rahul) ? Last time I
remember Manmohan Singh was brought out of nowhere to be appointed
PM.. assuring all our doubts for Congress, it didnt seem to change
much about how congress handles India. Why can't people consider
analysing ideologies of these parties? Congress clearly has never been
vocal about their visions for this country, atleast Modi is putting
forth some ideas. Gujarat riots are being used against him, but what
about the silly governance that has caused multiple other anti-Hindu
decisions through out the country under Congress? We are all up for
secularism, as long as Hindus are not pushed to minority in their own
country.

from:  Ruchi
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:40 IST

Shri Modi is the most popular national leader according to a number of
surveys conducted by many national dailies.He has proven his
administrative capabilities and popularity by winning three
consecutive elections in Gujarat.
No amount of criticism by known anti Modi writers like shri Ram
Chandra Guha would change the thinking of people who chose him as the most popular leader to lead the country as per many surveys.
It is surprising to read in media every day about the Gujarat riots
that happened in 2002 (Much bigger riots happened in Delhi in 1984 in
which more than 5000 sikhs were massecred).Nobody amongst media ,it
seems, is willing to have a threadbare discussions/investigations on
innumerable riots that happened in India.

from:  yogesh
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:34 IST

A very balanced view presented by Mr Guha, which requires a very serious thought on our part. Instead of making 2014 elections Modi vs Rahul, we should look for other candidates with a more balanced thinking and personality.

from:  Varuna
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:29 IST

mr.guha.............you are saying that although it is true that modi did some development in gujarat but still there is poverty or other problems in gujarat.....but does that mean that in all the states ruled by your so called secular parties they have removed poverty ??.....when they are doing nothing atleast he is doing something.....how can he clean the mess of 65 years manufactured by your khangress ruling in just 10 years...he is doing his best & yet u so called intellects are criticising but don not want to see that he is doing to improve & others are doing to improve their pockets by scams.....it is highly unfair........something is better than nothing

from:  mahak
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:26 IST

Is what Gujarat has turned into today only because of Modi? Gujarati's
have been hardworking entrepreneurs all throughout and are prosperous
wherever in the globe they are. With or without Modi Gujarat would not
have been much different than what it is today. Yes, except the pogrom
of 2004 would not have taken place.
Modi shows only his 'champion of development' side. Can he clarify
what his views on Hindutva and the temple and secularism are. What is the guarantee that after seizing power - democratically like Hitler did - with the administration and judiciary in Mr. Modi's pocket he does not start a Pogrom II. We need to think of all aspects before falling for the well orchestrated propaganda.
Agreed we are outraged with all hues of politicians and political parties. But that should not make us act in desperation in choosing our leader. We should seriously consider the what Prof. Guha has said in this context.

from:  Joy
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:10 IST

All successful people have attitude and thats why they are successful. Mr writer has tried to show that he is writing an independent article, unfortunately NOT.
Modi has proved it again and again in last 15 years how to govern. If Modi is a state level person than what are Sonia and Rahul Ghandhis. They have become national leaders straight from living room.
Please be fair with Mr Modi, we Indians should be proud of him. We all human being make mistakes once in our lifetime atleast. He is the true politician and I have no doubt he will give is much needed PARIVARTAN - Nationwide!

from:  Anurag
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:09 IST

The severe lack of authoritarian and result oriented leadership in India is being felt for a long time. Looking at Mr.Modi's track records in Gujrat , one can easily identify the developments almost in every sphere..Rising above the nepotism and appeasement politics, he has won the Gujrat assembly poles thrice. This proves his metal in the long run as a prime ministerial candidate. The economic growth of Gujrat is unsurpassed and all pervasive..
where as leadership of Rahul Gandhi is concerned , he has been merely proven a talking machine..even in the Jaipur session of the congress, his speech was all filled with emotions and sympathies .
So I would better say - our leaders must want to build an independent self reliant economy , for independence depends on economic strength and the capacity to resist economic and political dominance..and here Modi rightly fits the bill.

from:  BHANU
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:06 IST

It seems the whole idea revolves around one thing : Modi's 'I'
obsession. What Mr. Guha missed out is that sometimes 'I' is also a
manifestation of self-confidence and self-belief. 'I' also suggests that
whatever happens , whoever supports , whoever does not support ; 'I'
will do it. While the problems or issues that you stated are absolutely
fine , probably it is this 'I' factor that a PM needs. And I hope its
not just my wishful thinking.

from:  Vikas Nandal
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 12:02 IST

Narendra Modi is the most talented politician in India today.He is a
proven administrator par excellence and there can be no doubt about
it.He is not authoritarian as media make him to be.If he is
authoritarian Mallika Sarabhai would have left Gujarat long
ago.Gujarat has been a patriarchal society for long and Gujarati's
more interested in commerce and self business would drop out of
schools after matriculation.More over the water levels in saurastra
are woefully low as it is a water starved region.Gujarat has 20%
tribal population (one of the highest in teh country and they
experienced rampant caste oppression at hands of higher castes and
Patels)These factor were in existence much before a man called Modi
was even born.But after Modi took over there has been a qualitative
improvement in almost all spheres of life.Gujarat has clocked
agricultural growth of 10.3% while India average is 2%.SO Modi is
definitely fit to become the PM of India

from:  chinmay
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:59 IST

The ARTICLE is good attempt to show Modi Brand may work at the centre . But it is politics of coalation and people like Modi may not succeed as PM. Modi is a good state puller because as chief Minister he weilds enormous powers and less opposition having more than three fourth majority in legislation.At the centre he will have truncated majority and thus cannot measure to the hard job of making things to happen.
Rahul is equally playing safe by not opening his cards to public and press regarding his agenda after assuming PM position.The reason ,he is ot sure whether Congress wins again and so why to get into trouble of spilling the beans now.
It is wait and watch for him. Modi on the other hand is selling himself in BJP market to block others to come. Time will tell who is in the saddle finally

from:  Brij krishan kaul
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:55 IST

i appreciate the way Mr.guha delivered what he thinks and what actullay Mr modi is? he started his opinion in very meek manner and winded into a question that Is Modi perfect enough for PM post? the ideosyncharacy of dectatorship is somewhere in Mr.Modi but leaving apart this thing. i would like to ask very simple question to Mr. Guha our current PM Manmohan singh is very generous , meek all the adjective for a generous person can be used are in Manmohan singh ji, but what is the essence when a person doest have the courage to say, to direct, to their peers what to do or not, even when he delivered a speech on Delhi Rape case everyone knows how deadpan attitude he had that time.
i accept modi on some point of time a stubburn person and a leader should be like this only bcoz how courageous, sound, Wisdomful person your are don't matter if you are not able to deliver what is expected form your side.

from:  anand
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:54 IST

Mr.Guha,
I dont understand what you want to convey to the Nation of youth with
this Article.In a way Its due the intellectuals like you the country is
in such a chaotic environment. You guys think what you believe is correct n present grandly on the platform as this on Hindhu. We know that India is in such a pathetic situation n We know we need someone to do this dirty job of cleaning the system which would take few decades n will definitely not happen overnight. To do that If not Narendra Modi, Who you suggest?

from:  Siva
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:53 IST

The 1984 riots however horrific it is, did not arise from the ideological position of the Congress. The same cannot be said of the Gujarat riots though. The hindutva
agenda of the BJP is not merely an election garb as many would like us to believe. The continuing close ties of the party with its parental organsiation, the RSS ascertains this fact. Just like Vajpayee was the softer mask of the BJP, Modi is the hardliner mask who is trying to reposition himself as a moderate. Modi is the face of the Gujarat riots and hence voting for him would signify the death of secularism in the country.

from:  Ajith Padmanabhan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:48 IST

Like anybody, intellectuals now a days are more biased towards power
center now a days. It only shows intellects is more often than not used
as a mask to further one's interest.
What a waste of intellect of putting forward downside of only one side
as against to subject of article.
And analysis paralysis would lead country nowhere.
When to choose between word and action, people should choose action.

from:  ram
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:45 IST

it is definitely a authoritative opinion, though i was hoping an
unbiased one when i read headlines, about another authoritarian.he
made us believe p value is too low to not reject null hypothesis so
my point is, there must be significant type 1 error, if its too low!!

anyway, i know dr guha throgh media, and what my impression is he is
anti-feminist, imperialist. i have reason too- he had scolded a
famous woman author publicly on her writing ability and what this
article is nothing but a means to propagate congress views.
actually tragedy with our country is not only people like narendra
modi striving to come into power, the bigger tragedy is people like
dr guha, ashish nandy and so on holding a position and intellectual
status, what he doesn't deserve as narendra modi will get chance to
influence the thought process once in five year while these
imperialists influence and induct thought every moments though they
try to project unbiased but only in disguise. god bless this country.

from:  mani
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:40 IST

I think that India is still walking the paths that should be left behind 10 years ago. If this is the way one think that can be followed to achieve goal of 2020 which is to get India to be considered as a developed nation, then a humble well behaving polite prime minister is good enough, but then we can only dream the dream of 2020. I am not supporting any prime ministerial candidate or any specific party but if someone is speaking to bring change on the topics which are of prime importance and not only talking but has shown the evidence too (even if it is partial evidence considering Saurashtra and other poorly developed parts of Gujrat) then he deserves at least one chance. Unlike others who are afraid of loosing their power if they go right way this candidate under influence of his self obsession or ego or authoritative nature whatever we call it, is bound to bring development to the nation and that is what one should care.

from:  radhesh ranjan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:37 IST

An EXCELLENT,article compelled to write a deserving thanx for Mr Guha and the HINDU.By reading such ideas one still realises the constitutional declaration of a secular nation.Citing, the factual as well as the ground reality of the true picture of development at the rural gujrat completes the character.Before projection of a hegemonic,authorative leader at the national level,let every one should know the realism of the combined development and the constitutional values of our incredible nation.

from:  Sikander
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:35 IST

Very surprised to read such an article from Guha! I dont find the
mention of Rahul Gandhi anywhere other than the tall claim in the
abstract of the article. There can not be a better example of giving a
scholarly/academic garb to rampant biasedness than this article.
Very disappointing.

from:  Dr. Ramanathan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:33 IST

Modi is only a state leader, what development he is talking? he if he is
not in the seat Gujarat is known for its business culture. He is leader
with a divisive agenda which everyone acknowledges. God only save if
that happens.

from:  Naoroji
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:31 IST

So typical of all the Modi bhakts to post their incoherent responses
here (like they do for every article written about the man). I think
this is one of the best articles I've read so far - balanced, intriguing
and some serious food for thought. It's difficult to choose between
these two options. Rahul Gandhi has zero leadership skills while Modi
could turn this democracy into a scary dictatorship. We're pretty much
doomed either way.

from:  Tina
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:27 IST

Your first line says "One is an aggressive authoritarian and the other reluctant to take responsibility".
You certainly described the first, but what about the second. You tried us showing what Modi would do if he comes to power and become PM. I would like to know, what Rahul BaBa would do if he comes to power and become PM ?

from:  Kishore
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:24 IST

This analysis misses one obvious thing: What is needed for our country
now? Definitely not an accommodating PM. It will only aggravate
already widely prevailing corruption and nepotism and illegal amassing
of wealth by the politicians businessmen and higher officials. There
is no fear of punishment anywhere ! Modi is definitely a fit person
for the job to save our country from the fast spreading deterioration
in administration. MMS is accommodating every body around him just
because he received the job to his surprise and quite unexpectedly. He
is sincere to those who passed the mantle on him spoiling our country
in doing so.This article definitely focuses only unnecessary factors
about Modi for running our country in an efficient way. There is
always a next election for any PM to be brought down. In all it
narrows down to giving Modi one chance to prove his worth as there is
no other choice.

from:  jegan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:18 IST

as usual a thought provoking article from Guha...yes in terms of
effective leaders for the day is both fronts seems to failed. the need
of hour is, much more inclusive alternative on the basis of economic
policies for the this country urgent. I agree with author both Modi and
Rahul are cant provide it, people have to realise it and carefully act
in 2014.

from:  santhosh
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:15 IST

I would somewhat agree to the author. If you see the persons holding
the top post,in past 20 years, you will find that all of them were of
very humble, secular, noble and intellectual class of people
irrespective of the party the belonged. I thin that the trend will
continue as the regional parties and the coalition politics play a
very crucial role in the process of choosing the head of the
executive. The irony of the situation is that India has not got much
choices to choose from. Come next year the dance of democracy will
begin and we hope that we will get a real visionary leader who talks
of development not in just numbers but a development where there is
equity, freedom and peace. Indeed in the current situation Mr Modi
seems to be a good choice but as aware citizens we should not be in
any sort of illusion developed by the Branding and Marketing strategy
of the political parties. These days the political parties are trying
to behave as corporates!

from:  Divya Prakash
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 11:10 IST

Being decisive can sometimes be seen as authoritarian. The author says that Modi has banned books/films critical of him. I don't know of any bans by the government of Gujarat except the Book on Gandhi which was banned throughout India (which stated Gandhi was a Homosexual). Parzania was not screened because of threats by VHP and Bajrang Dal. (Modi doesn't get along very well with either of these parties). Yes, I have observed him say I more than We, but then I don't mind as long as he delivers growth and equality. It takes guts to tax the rich farmer, and is a sign that he favors equality. As for riots why only mention 1984. Gujarat has seen worse or equally bad riots even before Modi in Congress rule and Assam violence in 2012 again under congress rule. Would you prefer Rahul, who can't make up his mind as to what he wants to deliver and when he does make up his mind, he invariably fails to deliver? Or a lame and puppet PM like Manmohan Singh?

from:  Aman
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 10:59 IST

Mr Guha, its time for solutions and way finding and not criticising
every possible candidate. you may want a reconciling, accommodating,
plural, democratic Prime Minister but India does not because India
already has one called Manmohan Singh and Indians have been harassed,
raped and pushed to their limits because of a reconciling,
accommodating, plural, democratic Prime Minister. What we need is a
decision maker. if people like you think keeping the Indian corrupt
bureaucrats in line is bad, then you must be deep in corruption
yourself and God save India. Mr. Modi needs to be given a chance to
prove himself. If anybody votes for congress, then he loses any right
to complain. Mr. Modi is our only hope. Vote for him if you want a
better India.
People, we have given Congress 50 years, lets give Mr. Modi 5.

from:  deba
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 10:53 IST

I think it is a good article. Mr. Gandhi doesn't deserve as much attention as Mr.Modi as the work/claims are no comparison to the later.

Mr. Modi is definitely a good administrator, for he gets work done. This is the main reason why people admire him. But, I believe we need to have articles of this kind cautioning (not entirely opposing) the possible mishaps & pointing features of PM candidates that might not fit in a true democracy (in ideal sense).

This is necessary to bring a balance in the society between blind (some) admirers & intellectuals (more cautious ones).

from:  Raghavendra
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 10:35 IST

Ramachandra Guha’s historical perspective for some reason turns a
blind eye that the country is desperately looking for a Sardar Patel.
There is a huge mass of people that is utterly disgusted with the
persistently corrupt scenario and they will embrace anyone who is as
dirt-free as Narendra Modi, and yet effective. Those that endorse him
include many Muslims who may be somewhat upset by the 2002 affairs,
but nevertheless have faith that most persons even with average IQ
autocorrect as they realize their gaffes. And Guha cannot be serious
when he accuses Modi of authoritarian behavior just because he
instructs officials to practice stress management through yoga. In
contrast how would you characterize the despicable UPA Government in
Delhi in which the head of government has to keeping looking back for
orders, a classic case of political back-seat driving? At times like
this what is preventing the emergence of an inspiring leader in India
that a majority can trust?

from:  schar
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 10:31 IST

Author of this Article had carefully used words against Modi while there
is no comments about misrule of Congress for last 10 years. Our
economist PM has made our household budget Topsy turvy along with huge
corruption in every nook and corner of the country. Author said that
Modi more uses "I" rather than "we" which proves he is authoritarian.
But, in present day India , these "we" includes Kalmadi and others and
thats the problem. So, if "I" can do something for India which is
visible in Gujrat then let be it.

from:  Avijit Roy
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 10:26 IST

I am sorry to say that the tone of the article is highly biased
against Modi. What more do you need after the people has selected not
one but thrice as CM? Media is always under estimating the IQ of
people but they must understand that it is not the way they think it
is. Modi must be the only leader who had sat through more SITs than
any other in Indian history. He himself has said "Hang me if I am
guilty." Yet again you want to attribute him to riots rather than to
governance. Please write an unbiased article in future. In the age of
social media, every attempt to malign a genuine leader will bear no
fruit. Truth alone triumphs.

from:  Akash Nair
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 10:21 IST

Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi may have overlapping personality traits,
yet their economic thinking is poles apart. As you know one led to more
corruption and poverty. A different economic thinking needs to be given
a chance, lest we all drown in unemployment and further poverty, not to
speak of corruption. Also, is Mr. Guha a sociologist as he asserts in
the article, or a historian as you claim at the end?

from:  NG Satish
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 10:18 IST

A typical apparently thought provoking article. But does the author offer any better solutions ? Is the present flux of non governance and apathy - in name of pluralism - what is deserved and destined for our country ? Sorry to see our intellectuals caught up in this negative retarded state of mind, stuck with some utopian socialist mentality.

from:  krishnan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 09:42 IST

Sir,

A highly loaded article weighed towards Congress, albeit in the guise
of deriding Modi brand politics. While the author conveniently put a
headline inviting readers for a comparison between Rahul and Modi,
nowhere in the article, Rahul's lack of governance experience, how he
is going to run this country of 130 crores , is even mentioned.
Any day, if you want to choose between a novice who has only the
psychophantic coterie to advise him.
But, we must not forget, that we have to make a choice of the head,
not the heart.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 09:24 IST

India is developing and has done so drastically in the recent past, but a sustained development with strong patriotism is lacking, we in fact need a dictatorship rule for another decade or so, to get back the sustained development with less interference from foreign forces. There are pros and cons here, but we need to look at long-term strategy, else our economy will become more dependent on foreign forces.

from:  Rathna
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 09:24 IST

Mr Guha's rounding off of Rahul Gandhi also is not correct as his father Rajiv was also reluctant to come to politics during his mother's regime and Sanjay had to take the power into his hands during emergency. But Sanjay Gandhi had some strong views of how India should be and Rajiv also laid down some goals after becoming PM. But no one except the coterie around Rahul, knows what is the vision he has for this vast country and even Jaipur showed him as an opposition leader talking about what is wrong with Congress. May be he needs some more apprenticeship before being considered for the top post while India needs an immediate solution for its leadership crisis and Modi fits the bill because of his track record. If he fails to deliver after given a chance in 2014, Modi will be punished democratically in 2019 or earlier but Rahul has to wait till then.

from:  MVJRao
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 09:17 IST

I have great respect for Mr. Guha. However, I think he falters this one
time. It is good to talk of an imaginary "accommodating, democratic"
leader who also achieves great results. Show me one in practice. From
business leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Jeff Bezos to military
leaders like Gen. Douglas McArthur, Gen. Patton to politicians like
Margaret Thatcher to our very own Metro Man E Sreedharan, officers like
Kiran Bedi and sports captains like Sourav Ganguly have all been
accused of being dictatorial and arrogant. Guess what- they all have
also been highly successful. Leadership is not about being nice. It is
about getting results. With our large and diverse population, if
leaders start being accommodating, we will get nowhere. And that is
precisely why a man like Mr. Modi when juxtaposed against the incumbent
Dr. Singh (who is a nice, scholarly gentleman but with practically no
results to show)seems so attractive to many of his countrymen.

from:  Vaibhav
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 09:11 IST

If the article was intended to be on Modi, why bring Rahul into this? Going by the premise, I thought the article would be an analysis of why Modi or Rahul should not be the PM. But what we finally have is an entire article on Modi and two lines on Rahul.

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 09:10 IST

Dear Mr Guha,

I respect you as a historian but don't get me wrong you are absolutely prejudiced about Modi
Please do not equate Rahul and Modi. Rahul was born with a silver spoon and everything was handed down on a platter. I think you are out of touch with the ground situation in India. Most jornalists and historians when commenting on Modi tend to pull out statistics of Saurahtra and some other vague statistics to pull him down.
He has been elected thrice based on solid governance.
Who do you credit in Gujarat for providing 24/7 electricity in both Urban and Rural areas. Gujaratis are not fools to elect someone three times.
I will be happy if he can emulate Gujarat model all over India and provide electricity 24/7 to our farms and factories. Rural Children need not read under Kerosene lamps very often detrimental to their health. The good thing about Modi is there is not a single corruption charge agains him. Hail Modi!

Jai Hind

Ram Suresh

Sydney,Australia

from:  Ram Suresh
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 08:59 IST

It seems that Mr. Guha has written this article with pre-determined notion that Modi should not become PM. I think, the top most leader should be bit authoritarian especially for a large, diversified, politically vibrant country like India and more especially in the times we are in now. Please do not underestimate the feelings of people. If there had not been development in few parts of the Gujarath, he would not have won almost the same number of seats he won before. If some parts of Gujarath are still in bad condition, it may be that they were worse 'pre Modi'. I feel that, if somebody can ensure a less corrput environment, the country will progress automatically. I strongly believe smart, authoritarian leaders who ensure less corrupt regimes will do wonders. Examples - Mr. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mr. Mahatir Mohammad of Malaysia,etc.,

from:  Ilango
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 08:54 IST

I want a candidate who is willing to challenge the establishment. Someone who is
willing to promise social equality for homosexuals and is willing to introduce equal
pay legislation for women. Someone who can deliver a safety-net for the vulnerable
people, including socioeconomic protections for the underprivileged, a
comprehensive campaign targeting the institutional sexism of Indian society and a
willingness to implement the prohibition on child labour. I want someone who is
more concerned about the human-rights atrocities in Sri Lanka than they are about
maintaining India's territorial integrity over Kashmir. I want this person - man or
woman, gay or straight - to reflect the Indian ideal; not our popular prejudices.

from:  Vignesh Ashok
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 08:43 IST

Excellent and well presented article. The author should have thrown more light on Rahul's
reluctance

from:  Samson Malapati
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 08:42 IST

We have seen congress + UPA all these years.
Also seen one term of BJP.
If Mr Modi selected by BJP as PM candidate, absolutely there is chance to improve.
Less corruption, development Mantra is need of the hour.
Always the top Bosses of BJP will guide & correct Mr Modi whenever needed, than looking
India at the hands of Mr Rahul.g

from:  Gopalan Varadharajan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 08:13 IST

India desperately needs an authoritarian now. A perfect leader is only a myth. Modi is a better option as of now. The situation is highly different from the times of Indira. She had a complete control of the party and had a considerable voice around the country. But even if Modi wins, he will under the spell of Coalition and party high command. Anyone can pull the strings anytime. Eradication of corruption and positive thinking are the desperate medicine this country needs right now. Rahul hasn't shown any promise till now. So it’s better if it’s Modi, So that some AAM AADMI gets fine tuned in interim.

from:  Kumaran
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 08:01 IST

Narendra Modi evidently means business and that is the business of good
governance in the interest of all the people of the country, rich and
poor. In the context of the rudderless administration that goes for a
government in New Delhi,the prospect of someone like the present Chief
Minister of Gujarat leading the government of the country instills
confidence in the minds of the discerning people that better days are
sure to come. One only hopes that the largely anti-Modi op[nion makers
of the country will understand this.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:49 IST

The author has rightly pointed out semblance between Narendra Modi and Indira Gandhi. No doubt Indira Gandhi was the tallest national leader of the country. Likewise Narendra Modi has emerged as the only national leader and acceptability from Kanyakumari to Jammu and Kashmir. Honestly speaking, as a result of the proactive, transparent and responsive leadership provided by Mr. Narendra Modi in his 10 year long reign, development has replaced communal discord in Gujarat. The weaker national parties, stronger regions, new voter habits and corruption are changing India’s politics and political system. The aggressive posture taken by China in positioning their foothold in our neighboring countries is a threat to the Nation and only a proven national leader like Narendra Modi can only address the challenges effectively. As rightly pointed out by Narendra Modi, what the Nation requires is developmental and nationalistic politics and not vote bank politics and politics of confrontation.
In contrast the fading away of Rahul aura is not just conjectural; it is visible in the public sphere. Rahul Gandhi is one of the most assiduously built political brands anywhere in the world. The “brand promotion” package included night stays in Dalit homes, visits to interior hamlets, interactions with youth in college campuses across the country, watching sports from commoner stalls etc. etc. Any marketing professional would tell you that publicity can only help in building a brand to some extent. Ultimately, it is the intrinsic worth of a product that assures its lasting success. Rahul Gandhi seems to be woefully lacking in this respect. With the gloss wearing out, Rahul Gandhi’s political flight seems to be sputtering on the tarmac before a takeoff. It is unfortunate that young Rahul Gandhi became victim of this smashed hallucination and a pawn in the grand design, abetted by an army of self serving, deceitful, back-stabbing sycophants to secure what they consider is their Indian inheritance with the sole objective of furtherance of their interest. When Gujarat is getting loud applauds from international bodies leading business journals like international brokerage house CLSA, Economist, TIME Brookings Institution, Financial Times and USA Congressional Think Tank are praising Gujarat‘s growth trajectory, it should be our endeavor to extend a helping hand to Mr. Narendra Modi, the King of Transparent, Responsive and Good Governance to take Gujarat to further consolidate its position in every sphere. Confining Mr. Narendra Modi in Gujarat state itself even after his sterling performance unleashed in Gujarat during the last one decade and adorning the chair of CM for the 4th time will be a grave injustice and definitely not in the interest of the country. Definitely, Mr. Narendra Modi has to play a greater role in the National politics and he is destined to become Prime Minister of the country in 2014 election not by default or dynasty politics but because of his unstinted hard work. No doubt, Mr. Narendra Modi is our pride and neighbors envy including pseudo secularists of this country.

from:  ettirankandath krishnadas
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:46 IST

Well written Mr. Guha. It is fitting that only two lines are devoted to trashing Rahul, who has never raised his hand where it mattered.

from:  ashokr
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:40 IST

While Modi may not be the ideal candidate to lead our country in these times, the fact that other possible candidates do not inspire much confidence to be able to give a clean governance. Public has become tired of the bumbling corrupt & opportunistic governance and want a change. The comparison to Indra Gandhi seems less ominous if it is for the authoritative rule.

from:  Dinesh Dikshit
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:40 IST

There is a segment of population that want a "dictator to set right things" to bring a semblance of orderliness and life in India. This segment is tired of "wishy-washy" policies. At the same time, this segment will resent any privilege that they have at present. Ultimately, a government is run on public money, and how it is deployed for a common good. The clash begins there and political games and governance issues begin to clash. Dictator is not a choice. Inability to take a stand on firm governance is not a choice. Guha points out this to the voters.

from:  Hari Subramanian
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:37 IST

Indian democracy is just maturing to its pluralistic politic. Mr Modi's
Indira style Authoritarianism is the last thing it needs right now.

Rahul is politically incompetent to lead a nation like India. He has not
proved anything other than being a nice guy.

There is a lot of political talent in the country which knows the team
work ethos and I wish one them gets to lead.

from:  Ajay
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:35 IST

Well,it does seem that modi may have an authoraritarianism streak about him.india
today is different from indira gandhi times.we are far freer at least to built a
momentum against any imposition and ward it off.equally.don.t forgrt what we lack
is leadership in most positions.the lack of leadership means we kerp straying.read
break out nations by ruchir sharma.he has given empirical data on how leadership
has made the difference.look around.t n seshan was a bully at one level.but he did
make a difference. Did he not.at the home level also if well led the
communit,soceity,city,state and beyond would transform.that is where we need modi
to makthe difference.give him a chance.ee deserve it.

from:  n vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:13 IST

A fine article but biased. Rahul Gandhi has been spared while Modi is
targeted. Modi may be a authoritarian and this can never be approved of.
yet, he brought the issue of development on the forefront . Modi is
synonomous with development . Pseudo-srcuralists have created wedge
between different communities of India to rule masses .The Article
speaks liitle about them. Modi should be viewed as a harbinger of
change. If he is held guilty of pogrom of 2002 Gujarat tragedy, he
should be punished as per the law of the land.

from:  rajankapoor
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:07 IST

Both Rahul and Modi as future rulers fail to be represent people of
India and value their participation and this makes choice less options
for voters.Perhaps a third choice may emerge in due course.

from:  Rakesh Manchanda
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:07 IST

In the present conditions in which the poor of India are wailing what else than a corruption-free governance is urgently required?

from:  Satyanand Kattamuri
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:05 IST

The author grandly says"These claims are taken at face value by his admirers, who include sundry CEOs, owner-capitalists, western ambassadors and —lest we forget — columnists in the pink papers, the white papers, and (above all) cyber-space."

Are we to assume that all the above are stupid and only Mr Guha has the sense to see through Mr Modi?And yes,those claims are well justified;it appears that Mr Guha is poking fun at a lot of talented individuals who are achievers.

Coming to reality, there are many in the country who would rather have a Mr Modi with his authoritarian streak and his ability to give economic growth. Why not? When there are limited choices a pragmatic citizen has to select the best of the cast.

Mr Guha would also do well to note that the current regime under Dr Manmohan Singh has demonstrated the worst kind of authoritarian regime in recent history.

Yes, Modi is a dictator. So?

from:  Saurabh Sharma
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 07:05 IST

At least one has proved his mettle even if it is only at the state level
and with consistency. Anyone who watched his speech in Delhi apolitical
will realize that we as a nation still can turn around if only we allow
meritocracy in place of our distorted hypocritical democracy to rule.
What credentials does the other have other than that he was born into
the Gandhi family?

from:  k g mohan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 06:13 IST

Sir Well writtern Critical and Incisive.
But please show me an Non-European nation, other than Japan, that has
developed without an authoritarian leader?
Indians do not give respect if one is not authoritarian.
Sad but true.
Having said that Modi has miles to go before he can even think of Lal
Quila.He is still far far away.

from:  fransis raefael
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 06:10 IST

isn't it premature to decide the next PM ?

from:  umesh bhagwat
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 05:28 IST

days are over you cannot set aside judgement of high court and impose emergency. we
are in time of collusion politics. if your point is only authoritarian we are well cushioned
now. And definitely we need strong will person to lead our country now.

from:  kasthuri rangan
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 05:21 IST

good article, but why does the author not say much about Rahul Gandhi. he himself might not be communal, but represents a party that seeks to rule by dividing people on religious lines. the british might have left, but left behind Congress.

from:  Nitya
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 05:12 IST

Modi is a corruption free administrator who can get things done and provide a strong central
govt that is sorely lacking today result of which is for all to see in rampant corruption and an
economy on a downward spiral. I would vote for Modi for a much-needed change of stability
and growth.

from:  Suvojit Dutta
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 04:24 IST

Well, that what india wants now. Authoritarian , aggressive etc are ok
to have than the PM we currently have, who does nothing.
India needs a leader. WE have had enough weak leaders in the past, now
its time to give Modi a chance. Rahul gandhi does not have any
qualification to become PM unless if you count that he is son of ex-
PM.
Whereas Modi good or bad has enough experience ruling a state, and
have achieved few things which few states can (like electricity,
growth, etc).
And this article does NOT compare or cover much about rahul gandhi.
May be because there is nothing much to say than he is son of sonia
and rajiv !!
-Thanks......Modi 2014

Regards
Hari

from:  Hari raghupathy
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 04:23 IST

Two wrongs does not make one right, but it is bigotry to persecute one for 10 years, without any prosecutable evidence, while suppressing any action on killers of 2700 Sikhs. Despite best attempts, there are no formal charges against Mr Modi. For a person like me and you to act like judge, jury and executioner, is a slippery slope. Bottom line is that it is in interest of future of India, to focus on how to prevent this in future, and work on development youth, so that we ALL proper togeteher...

from:  Dilip
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 04:16 IST

Mr. Guha, I sincerely hope you'll follow this article with another one,
which I expect would be a dissection of Rahul Gandhi and show beyond
doubt why he is not fit to lead the country. This article seems too
heavily weighted towards Modi.

from:  Mayur
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 03:56 IST

When I read this article I ask myself is Mr.Modi only authoritarian ?.
In fact every chief minister (I can even goes to extent to say that
everyone with the power)behaves like authoritarian in their daily
life.
for example take IAS or IPS officer who has same mindset as Mr.Modi
towards their subordinates.even for SI or MRO(mandal revenue officer)
have some mindset towards their subordinates. Mr.Guha is forgetting
one thing Mr.Modi is smart man and he knows how to play politics far
better than many.
As per Mr.Rahul way too less (Even for the famous historians like
Mr.Guha couldn't write more than a line about Mr.Rahul.)

from:  Ram
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 03:41 IST

It is indeed true that Modi is remaking himself as a man who gets things done, a man who gets the economy moving. This make an eminent common sense that freedom means little to the vast majority of utterly poor, the fulfillment of basic needs has priority over political freedoms. A leader who manages to satisfy the basic needs of everyone is better than a one who respects the political rights but is unable to fulfill their basic material needs. Sadly, an impoverished people may prefer a welfare-oriented authoritarian to a democrat. If after all, a starving man is given a choice of a meal on the one hand and political freedom to be critical of the system that keeps him hungry, his choice will be straightforward and simple. Surely, the pathetically poor suffering from excessive cold or heat and starvation, cannot console himself by the assurance that he has the constitutional guarantee to be politically freely and expect to bear with a government that fails to reduce poverty.

from:  N.G Krishnn
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 03:33 IST

The fact that Congress doesn't allow the Sikh riots accused to face
justice doesn't make Narendra Modi less communal. Please have some
common sense - two wrongs don't make a right. You can say both Congress
and BJP are communal - that is another issue. But don't say because Sikh
riot victims didn't get justice, it is somehow OK or less offensive for
2002 riot victims to also not get justice.

from:  Mitra
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 02:59 IST

I agree with this article, though there is one thing I want to point
out. The difference between 1984 riots and 2002 riots is that 2002 was
the mere start of a program where Muslims were successively
suppressed. In my view Gujarat cannot be seen divorced from Babri
Masjid. It is rather a continuation of the suppression of one minority
in specific. It is going on till now and it will in Gujarat. This is
the mentality of BJP as a whole and Modi in specific. What happened in
1984 (though horrible) has not continued as a trend. Congress has not
systematically suppressed Sikhs. Also a major difference between
Indira Gandhi and Modi would be that Indira did not fire the Sikh
guards even after intel reports on them. Modi dares not to show his
compassion in such a way. Also Gujarat is in bad shape. Its interiors
are rotting. It will collapse soon.

from:  Prakhar Manas
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 02:51 IST

A great article in terms of showing different view points of Modi, backed with information. This article is more about why Modi should not be PM based on the number of words and incidents commanded by him in this article. But the article stops short on Rahul Gandhi, barely any info other than the one line that he shirks to take up responsibility. More coverage on Rahul is needed to do any justice to the premise of the article.

from:  Ashwin
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 02:45 IST

"The political practice of both demonstrates the psychological truth that inside every political authoritarian lies a desperately paranoid human being."

Amazing. Very well expressed.
The views pointed exactly what we felt but couldn't place a finger upon.

from:  Nikita
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 02:33 IST

A brilliant analysis!

from:  Maya
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 02:23 IST

Media places these two individuals as PM candidates. Are they forgetting that
we are a parliamentary system and not presidential? With passage of time
India's plural identities have found political voice and the two party system
is progressively weakening. Its very likely that for the foreseeable future
coalition government will be the norm in the centre. Given this likelihood
the choices that electorate face would not be between two candidates. The
emergence of a third front is very likley too. All this NM/RG talk gives
something for the urban middle class to converse about. The real vote bank in
the vast swathes of rural/semi-urban India might not really care about this
dichotomy.

from:  Jaga
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 02:19 IST

I Agree with Mr Guha. Good Article.

from:  Satyajit Kumar
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 02:04 IST

May be India needs a aggressive PM who is not afraid to do what it takes
for development of country.its high time we had a strong PM to lead
India.Mr. Modi is still a very capable leader,whatever his shortcomings
are.

from:  rahul yadav
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 01:58 IST

I have never before read such an unbiased, candid and factually
infallible article before. This historian deserves laurels for telling
facts to the masses, not euphemisms that they want to hear and bear, but
a rigorous researched piece that they should accept with wholeheartedly.

Thanks a lot for this masterpiece. I cannot express it's worthiness in
better words.

from:  Upasana Bose
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 01:44 IST

yes sir you are right. But at this crucial juncture India needs authoritarian aggressive face. We are bored of reluctance, inactions, corruption, laziness. Sometimes it is better to have aggressive shrewd enemy than dull friend

from:  Naina Roy
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 01:14 IST

I thought I will find something about Rahul Gandhi too here in this article (As the subject of the article "Indian democracy must see off both Modi and Rahul." ) But seems Modi dominates every mind and every news...

from:  Gaurav Tyagi
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 01:10 IST

There are enough barriers in India to prevent a politician becoming a dictator, if that is what the author is fearing about Modi. Maybe the author doen't know that many people probably more than 90% think that all politicians are authoritarian and abuse their power at will.
But one of the main difference between Modi and other politicians is that he has a vision for India's future and he dreams and talks about it. Name one another politician in the same league.
Gujrat riots are past, judiciary is there to bring culprits to book. Modi is not guilty in the eyes of Gujrat people and was elected CM many times. who are you to judge him?

from:  Yugandhar
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 01:03 IST

Nothing short of a brilliant exposition, well written with sound arguments. this was a much needed exposition.

from:  Richu Thomas
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 00:58 IST

what you have said is exactly correct ..modi resembles indira gandhi but
this not 71-77 ... india now needs some one who is so powerful and
authoritarian as mrs.gandhi if in case mr modi missues the power as
gandhi i dont think he can continue in power as how gandhi did .. he
will be removed from his post .. because now chances of protest and
new middle class fundamentalism has grown up a lot ... he will be
dethroned with the help of technology same thing which he is using it
for publicity ... so i guess we can give him a chance ..

from:  satish reddy
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 00:58 IST

Mr. Guha,

I admire your writings and views. This is wrt your piece "The man who would rule
India." I compare Modi to Obama a lot, with their sense of optimism, passion for
overall development and even their higher egos. I would like to know your opinions
on why we in India hail Obama so much and yet you suggest that we should despise
an authoritarian like Modi? Specifically, do you believe that the rampant corruption in
our bureaucracy can be solved bottom up? It is my personal belief that we need some
top down cleaning up for a few years, which I'm hopeful someone like Modi can bring
about.

Would love to know your views on this.

from:  Niket Agarwal
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 00:57 IST

Excellent analysis by Mr.Guha. The problem with Indians is that they are taught to subject
themselves to authority from a very early age. We are likely to blindly obey rather than
critically analyze and we are overawed by people whom we consider strong. Modi's abrasive
style may endear him to right wing nutters but it is a liberals' nightmare. Unfortunately we
must reconcile ourselves for his rule in the next few years, hope it does not lead to the
excessess like the emergency.

from:  Arvind
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 00:51 IST

Looks like "The Hindu" is slowly coming to terms with Mr. Modi as the
Prime minister.
Nice article. Frankly speaking, our country does need an authoritarian
figure right now. Lets face the truth. System has collapsed and it has
to be mended. We need someone who is not dependent on those "votes"
which doesn't care about nation or development. So whether we like it or
not, Modi is the need of the hour. There is no other way out of this
mess created by the Congress.

from:  John
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 00:44 IST

Finally an unbiased analysis of one of the most pertinent debates
raging in our society in current times, though certain important
metrics like crime, per capita income, employment, etc. were not
looked into. However, let's not forget that the "WE" factor does not
exist, thanks to the overwhelming mediocrity that fills the ranks of
our 'leadership'. That's partly because the moderates and the
enlightened still haven't figured out how to be a relevant part of
society and governance, outside civil society's jingoism and ranting
in cyber space. Till then, out of the options that we have, Modi
stands heads and shoulders above his cohorts as a legitimate contender
for leading the country out of the mess we find ourselves in.

from:  Harsh
Posted on: Feb 8, 2013 at 00:41 IST
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