People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 25, 2011


Fast Banaiga Pradhan Mantri?


G Mamatha


Modi bhai,


Some people’s fasts are costlier than many people’s full belly. Others had tried to prove it with their humble efforts, but as always, you took upon yourself the onerous task of decisively proving the validity of this statement through your fast. Conservative estimates suggest that it cost around Rs 18 crores for those three days you had fasted, while an NGO alleged that your government spent at least Rs 60 crores on the fast. With that amount, my back-of-the-slip calculation shows that 60 lakh to 2 crore people could have been provided with two satisfactory meals (Rs 15 per meal) for a day. That was not to be, you may argue, in Swarnim Gujarat, because according to you, people are 'prosperous, happy and riding the wave of growth' – 11 per cent per annum. There are no poor and hungry in the state, you may claim.


Unfortunately, numbers, as always, contradict you. Recent statistics show that the number of unemployed in the state are growing officially at the rate of only 4000 per month or 400 for every three days. So while you were fasting in air-conditioned comfort, 400 youth have officially joined the list of unemployed. And mind you, 90 per cent of them are educated young people, majority of whom are 12th standard pass-outs. Hope they too understand that your fast for harmony is for their future. As of now, they too are entering the 'fast lane' – not voluntarily – but under duress.


We have to accept one fact. Unlike you, they are not the trail blazers in this 'fast lane', because they are only joining the lane already inhabited by many others in the state. Nearly 32 per cent of the population of Gujarat are poor according to a report of the Planning Commission. Poverty line for Swarnim Gujarat is, “monthly expenditure of Rs 501.58 per person in rural and Rs 659.18 in urban areas”. This translates to Rs 16.71 per day, per person in rural and Rs 21.97 in urban areas and this money includes their 'nutritional, health and educational expenses'! Fast, they should everyday, with this 'royal pittance'!


Some friends of yours are really fired up by your dynamism and prompt responses. Your fast in itself is a fitting example of your fast thinking, calculating brain. It seems that you do not take much time in taking decisions about the investments coming into the state. According to a version, it took only half-an-hour for you to take a positive decision on investment. Dynamic, really indeed! Not many are agreeing to this assessment. Many thousands of people in the state displaced by the 2002 riots (sorry I thought of not mentioning about them, but alas your chequered career cannot be complete without a mention) are waiting for nearly ten years now for returning to their houses. Many of the workers there are still not getting their rightful dues in spite of making repeated representations and demonstrations.


The facts mentioned above give an impression that your are dynamic, innovative, efficient for the rich and the elite. The same, it seems is not true for the poor. But the poor are in majority in the state (32 per cent BPL alone)! So please do not say that all the six crore Gujaratis are behind you. They might be behind you in terms of wealth, but certainly are not in support of you. Unless of course, you consider that the poor and downtrodden are not humans!


Now, coming from the economic to the social aspects. However best we try our hand in camouflage, try to hide our spots under layers of coating, we get caught acting on symbolisms. Don't worry, even the best con artists get caught. This is not your fault; how can a personality like yours have any 'blemish'. It is the fault of the fire called truth, with which we get burnt, unless we really are true. Moreover, old habits die hard. Your refusal to wear the skull cap offered to you by an Imam, has, in fact, warmed my heart. It really brought your true face, naked, without make-up. May be, three days of fast may have had tired you that you let your guard slip at that moment. Or was it that you were so carried away by the 'tremendous response' that you really did not care even for 'that symbolism'? Whatever be the fact, I am really happy because this incident made the people who otherwise would have got carried away by your affective propaganda, sit-up and take notice.


Here, I should bring to notice one another important dimension of yours. Your comment that people are in the profession of manual scavenging because of the 'spirituality' they derive from it. This really shows your depth in the realm of spirituality and also your social awareness and concern. I sincerely believe, the very thought that carrying night soil of others is for deriving spirituality is itself a great innovation that expands the boundaries of both social sciences and theological studies. Who else but an 'innovative genius' like you, can produce such gems of thought. Of course, I will not stoop down to such a level to recommend you to try attaining a similar spiritual experience. Manual scavenging is inhuman, a profession not for any human beings. And we still believe, despite of what all you hand done, that you are born a human being. I stand for correction if you prove any of the above mentioned facts on manual scavenging or you as otherwise!


With the owner of India's most famous baritone voice as the brand ambassador for the state, you are really trying to hard-sell your brand. You are invoking the pride of Gujarat. The more you speak of pride and development the more similarities we find between you and one famous personality in history. He also in the early decades of the 20th century, invoked the pride of the Germans and promised growth and development for the country. But as history shows, his German pride, which really meant Aryan pride, for which you too might not be having much objections, led to the worst ever genocide in the history till date. His war preparations might have had provided the stimulus to the German industry and led to economic growth. But what it resulted for the rest of the world and even the poor and the working class in that country itself, is deeply etched in the annals of history. You may refuse to learn but an 'intellectual' of your stature certainly requires no further elucidation.


Some say that if you apologise you can be atoned for your guilt. But who wants your apology, which is not offered in sincerity but with an eye on a 'prize'? If you are really sincerely sorry, write down a confessional statement, surrender in the court of law, let the law really take 'its own course' and serve your term in the jail. This can be the greatest service you can do, not only to our country, which you claimed now you are ready for, but to the entire humanity. Remember, your hands are 'full of blood' which can neither be washed away, nor can 'all the perfumes of Arabia' sweeten them.  “Here's the smell of the blood still”.


Your fast is nothing but a drama in the reality game show going on in your party – Kaun banega pradhan mantri! One thing is for sure – you have really pulled a faster one on the rest of the participants in the game show. You might win in your party's game show, but do not expect it to happen in the general elections. No sir, not even in the wildest of your dreams. “What’s done cannot be undone”!