In late 2013, Modi’s magic had gripped India as Narendra Modi transformed himself from a chief minister into a mass leader who held the key to a bright future.
This political change had a personal echo — I wanted a role for myself in politics. For over two decades, I had worked in the financial sector, my last assignment was managing director, Deutsche Bank, India. My time at the Aligarh Muslim University and IIM Ahmedabad had helped me understand India’s micro problems in the financial sector.
I approached a few political parties, including the Congress. I met some senior party leaders. I was thoroughly disillusioned: Missing was the dynamism and a sense of direction. There was little there except lust of power.
And then the unthinkable happened. I had a chance meeting with Modi. He greeted me warmly and invited me to join him if I was interested in his project of nation-building. He said if I was a ticket-seeker then I was not the right man for him.
Modi stirred my spirit in several ways. His rise to the very top from a humble beginning found a resonance in me. Being the son of an ordinary man from a small town, I was well-placed to appreciate this because I had achieved the kind of success in my profession, which was unthinkable in my semi-rural society.
African author Idowu Koyenikan’s words inspired me: “Your pride for your country should not come after your country becomes great. Your country becomes great because of your pride in it.”
I was drawn to Modi’s mission of building a new India. There was conviction in his mission, a ramrod assuredness in his steps and clarity in his vision. He appeared to me like one who had devoted his life to this noble cause.
I joined him, so did many others from the corporate world, driven by our dream of being an integral part of a new India, happy to be led by Modi.
My story is not just another story of the millions of his followers or that of a man swept away by Modi mania.
I was impressed by his mission and his unending stamina. If you love your country you won’t dispute the need to be with the prime minister and his mission of “sab ka saath sab ka vikas”. Who can disagree with his drive of cleaning politics of corruption? Who would disregard his yearning to kick start the ailing economy?
After joining the BJP, I had the most difficult task of informing my family and friends. I was trying hard to summon my courage to let them know I had joined the BJP.
Quite expectedly, my decision sent shockwaves in my family and the Muslim community. They felt I had betrayed them. They made me feel that my decision was like blasphemy. The Muslim neighbours saw me as a Juda.
I don’t blame them, I knew they had apprehensions about my decision. Like millions of Muslims, they, too, were prisoners of the ruling Congress’s mantra of keeping the minorities in a climate of fear. I believe the lack of knowledge of the BJP’s philosophy also contributed to their overreaction.
I am happy to say that now they are on my side. They see the BJP and Modi in a more positive light today and they believe that the BJP is well-equipped to build a new India.
Today I am one of the BJP’s national spokespersons. Outside office hours, I spend time reaching out to the people, especially the Muslim community. I talk to them about the vision of the PM and tell them if I can be a part of the BJP why can’t they? Changes are already taking place.
The progress we have made so far in four years is enough to convince them to spread the PM’s message. The local Muslims in my area are not hostile to the BJP. I have come across many young Muslims who now support the BJP and the PM who is responsible for creating equal opportunities for everyone. Indeed, in my neighbourhood, many are not averse to being close to the BJP.
That is a fitting tribute to the Prime Minister on his birthday today. Many happy returns of the day to country’s pradhan sewak.