Dear Modiji, after your recent statements you are no longer the ‘public servant’ PM

Prime Minister, I urge you to be careful and constructive in the political discourse you engage in or encourage.

Written by Ujjal Dosanjh | Updated: February 22, 2017 1:08 pm
Modi, Modi speech, Modi rally speeches, Modi Opposition, Modi news, Modi parliament speech, parliament speech modi, modi in parliament, india news Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Dear Prime Minister Modi,

I have no partisan interest in Indian politics. I only wish to see India prosper and progress as a country that cherishes democracy and exudes inclusion, compassion, equality and justice. Since there are over a billion Indians, there may be over a billion ideas on how India could become that country that most Indians dream of. But most Indians would agree upon one thing: that democracy, freedom and free flow of ideas and debates are essential to building the India of their dreams.

WATCH | Samajwadi Party’s Rajendra Choudhary Calls PM Modi, Amit Shah ‘Terrorists’

It is about the Indian democracy and the pivotal role and responsibility of the Prime Minister in nurturing healthy, vibrant and freest debates and exchanges of ideas. I have been reading some of your speeches. You have a tremendous gift of the gab. You are a master of words and master manipulator of language. An ease of the political idiom is not something all politicians are blessed with; but you are. As a Prime Minister you have the responsibility to be a role model for other Indians. I understand politics and particularly election campaigns can turn nasty. As Prime Minister one can’t ever afford to be nasty.

It was absolutely improper for the former PM Manmohan Singh to intemperately call demonetisation “loot”, “plunder” and “scam”. Demonetisation was not necessarily the best or the best executed initiative of your government. But only a much lesser mortal like me may be forgiven for using such language as was used by Manmohan Singh. Such interjections in important debates only serve to drag them into the gutter of ad hominem attacks.

Evidently you have been recently making many statements including the one about the “raincoat” that do not behove a Prime minister either. While most of your statements diminished the important debates of the Indian democracy, you could be forgiven as given to hyperbole, particularly in the election campaigns.

But your “janampatri” statement was extremely shocking, authoritarian and unbecoming of the Prime Minister of the largest democracy of the world. It was crude, pedestrian and dangerous. You belittled free speech in an election campaign–threatening dire consequences for the opposition if it criticised you. For context your core massage was:

Mein Congress ke logon se kehta hoon: jabaan sambhaal kar rakho, warna mere paas aapki poori janam patri padi hui hai (hold your tongue, I have your entire horoscope),” shows an authoritarian streak. “Mein vivek aur maryadayein chhorna nahin chahta hoon, lekin agar aap vivek, maryadayein chhor kar ke anaap shanaap baaten karoge to aapko aapka itihas kabhi chhorega nahin, aapke kukarm aapko chhorenge nahin, aapka paap aapko chhodenge nahin (I do not want to abandon reason and propriety, but if you abandon reason and propriety and speak nonsense, your history will always chase you, your evil deeds, your sins will always chase you),” he said.

Coming from the Prime Minister of India these remarks felt absurd. They appeared to belong more in the mouth of an astrologer from Haridwar than on the lips of the Prime Minster of India; more the words of a dictator than a democrat. They severely cheapened the office of the Prime Minister.

The weirdest thing about them was the threat you made about exposing the Congress’ past misdeeds from the Janampatri that you allegedly have. It was a most vacuous declaration. Firstly, the Janampatris are predictions about the future, not journals about the past. Secondly, it is impossible to expose something already suffering from overexposure. The Congress’ past, including the recent inglorious past, is already well known to today’s India. That is why the Congress Party is fast losing what little remains of its feeble presence in India. Thirdly, in an unprimeministerial fashion you warned and implied that if the opposition keeps speaking nonsense you too “will abandon reason and propriety” and respond in kind. A Prime Minister has no business threatening to “lose reason and propriety”, let alone actually lose it. It makes me sad not for you — because Prime Ministers come and go — but for India; that its Prime Minister in making that veiled threat had actually lost all “reason and propriety”.

Worst of all you warned the opposition, “Jabaan sambhaal kar rakho, warna –“. Such ominous words coming from a Prime Minister struck with me a frightening authoritarian chord. They must have sent shivers down the spines of Indians who still vividly remember Indira Gandhi’s draconian Emergency of 40 years ago. “Warna” is the word most used by the powerful and arrogant — or rather the arrogant powers. You became at the moment of using “warna” the arrogant power. In making the statement you were no longer the “public servant” Prime Minister. You became a dictatorial politician and a potentially dangerous Prime Minister.

In a democracy the zabaan, written or spoken, is the most important, powerful and the only acceptable tool to challenge power — in particular the power of government. When you asked the opposition to “zabaan sambhaal kar rakho“, the thoughtful and democratic India heard you telling the opposition to shut up –“warna“. Your words reeked of despotism. They carried an implicit threat: Opposition, shut up…warna. Those are not the words, nor the sentiments that would ever build a greater and fairer India.

Prime Minister, I urge you to be careful and constructive in the political discourse you engage in or encourage. Democracy is a delicate institution that requires tender loving care from its highest guardians such as you the Prime minister. Let the freest flow of ideas reign. Let robust debates happen. But always debate with patience, love and respect…warna you and India may be at the risk of deviating from the egalitarian, inclusive and glorious dreams of Indians and India’s founders. That would be a real tragedy.

Views are personal.

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First Published on: February 21, 2017 1:43 pm
  1. A
    Feb 22, 2017 at 4:09 am
    Haathi Chale Bazaar bhoke hazaar. Dhuki Atmao.
    1. S
      Surendra Kumar
      Feb 21, 2017 at 6:23 pm
      This letter is a must read.aop
      1. M
        Feb 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm
        Twisting of words of PM done by author due to scarcity of subjects it looks. PMs sentences are well thought and if take it in the right spirit nothing wrong. Yes for the sake of argument it's ok you can twist either side. But there are many stupid remarks raised by the so called high calibr opposition none noticed including this Gentleman....
        1. A
          Abu talib
          Feb 22, 2017 at 11:56 am
          Every arrogant politician should learn from Mayavati, despite bitter opposition she addresses her rivals with 'shree' . Well-mannered lady !
          1. A
            Feb 21, 2017 at 6:11 pm
            Need a powerful PM like Modi who should deal Opposition with Iron hand.Remarks werent bad in taste if you see what congress did the previous day.Fully justified Mr.PM..I salute
            1. A
              Feb 22, 2017 at 3:47 am
              Mr Ujjaji..And Indian express team...If some one like VIP commited mistake why ur r eloborating it...If u publish or write this kind of articles what values ur up holding to the society..This is my humble request neither former or present PM should used these words..But it's all what legacy we carry from all the politicians..U tell me who is the PM or leader..Even MK hiji also have opposition..That's means they are bad...This is the right to speech which is ammended in the consution..What is good and what is bad it's all the people thinking..From your write-up its should n't been happened..But TIE has given a space for ur write-up so that page for better articles instead of arguments like this.
              1. R
                Feb 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm
                Manition is necessary but for constructive purposes.
                1. A
                  ASIF Nizam
                  Feb 22, 2017 at 2:18 am
                  This khlisthani has gone completely nuts in his blind hatred of the Prime Minister. No wonder, stani Express has become his favorite platform and mouthpiece.
                  1. N
                    N R
                    Feb 22, 2017 at 2:51 pm
                    Most stupid article. Author tried to show that he is impartial. For no reason he is sensitive to election speeches. PM is also a party leader and he is playing that role diplomatically. What is unbecoming in that? Author should experience the 12 years atrocity from politicians/media as faced by PM. He should stop just pen an article.
                    1. A
                      Ajay Dharmadhikari
                      Feb 22, 2017 at 9:39 am
                      There has to be a balance. Where were you when Congress men called Mr. Modi, khoon ka Sakal, Maut ka Saudagar. Unfortunately Mr. Singh was a proved weakest PM during his tenure as well as he helped his party men to loot the property of our own country. Still you want Mr. Modi to be polite? Why?
                      1. D
                        Feb 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm
                        Har Har midi
                        1. E
                          Feb 22, 2017 at 10:57 am
                          When Mr. Manmohan Singh doing scams had any one told any single word. No cause he is dignified. So having decency in speaking and saying is OK for all. That is not juumla as per scamsters. Only pointing them is jumlaa and this type of people will have patience to accept them as scams term PM. But don't have patience who is working day and night for 365 days in PMO and taking bold decision which will benefit our bharath desh
                          1. G
                            Gul Daryanani
                            Feb 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm
                            Wait and see when Modi looses UP. Then he will be humble. At present he is facing the failure of demonitization and trying to hide behind his abusive and threatening oration.
                            1. H
                              Feb 22, 2017 at 12:44 am
                              Looks like you does not understand demonetization
                              1. M
                                Maharaj K
                                Feb 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm
                                Congress the main opposition of the country can use all abusive language against a PM who has shown a Will to change India towards betterment.By and large Indian people are with him.These articles can never be believed by common mes.
                                1. K
                                  Feb 22, 2017 at 8:12 am
                                  Its so biazed, just because this news paper / article writer calls our PM so he will not become. We have special place for him in our hearts . Not only me lots of others have the same view. IE please stop printing these foolish articles.
                                  1. K
                                    Feb 22, 2017 at 12:54 pm
                                    Yeah! In the most sarcastic manner possible 🤣
                                    1. M
                                      Feb 21, 2017 at 4:30 pm
                                      If opposition says something against govt, Modi threatens. We are used to see this many a times. Opposition mainly congress did lots of scams so Modi is going to use those as trump cards. Opposition said against demonisation, Modi brought out augusta westland scam. But now that investigation is calmed down. Show all janampatri and investigate all scams and punish the guilty. Don't use it for political benefit. By doing this PM is destroying democracy.
                                      1. M
                                        M c
                                        Feb 21, 2017 at 3:28 pm
                                        Sorry to say, auther is really secular as we are seeing since last 70 years. We expect auther should be atleast balanced in expreesion of his views in writing his article in already biased newspaper
                                        1. M
                                          Feb 21, 2017 at 9:15 pm
                                          60 years produced only slaves and second rate intelligentsia who likes only l i c k i n g for survival! lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Old habit di hard!
                                          1. V
                                            Feb 22, 2017 at 10:37 am
                                            Horrible stupid article.Such a biased one.horoscopes can also tell ur past and he is biased abt horoscopes as well
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