The BJP completes its 37th year this month and continues to exude a robust index of growth and self-renewal. It has succeeded in building and articulating a narrative which is getting increasing acceptance across the spectrum. The successful articulation of a political and governance account is indicative of the positive health of a political party and movement. The BJP, in the last two years or so, is in a constant process of self-renewal—which is multi-directional and ideologically re-invigorating.
Prime Minister Modi’s narrative is the dominant one now. It is a story that has seen ceaseless reiteration, re-calibration and re-statement with the singular objective of boosting self-faith in ourselves. What strikes one is Modi’s indefatigable affirmation, his conviction that within us lay the potential of achieving a civilisational status. It is the articulation of the vision of a “New India.”
It is interesting that at a time when most political formations are fumbling to articulate a credible and futuristic narrative, Prime Minister Modi has come up with his vision of a ‘New India’. Seven decades after Independence, having experimented with various isms, a number of models and frameworks, we have before us a new vision that is at once liberating and full of possibilities. The ‘New India’ is to be defined by us, it is about our place in the larger world and articulating ourselves in the global context.
Prime Minister Modi’s ‘New India’ is young, is looking for opportunities, and does not believe in crutches, as he said, in his remarkable and fascinating victory speech after the Assembly elections: “A new India where the poor do not want anything by way of charity, but seek opportunity to chart out their own course. I see this change happening.”
For him, India is young, it is this young India which responds and seeks to internalise and actuate that narrative of ‘New India’. In this ‘New India’, he perceives a distinct transition away from false narratives. The Uttar Pradesh election was mainly fought on the development slogan, there were no emotive issues, Modi pointed out, and yet “the huge voter turnout” showed “the transition happening towards creation of a new India.”
The hesitation to address the dimensions of “development” was overcome; and the focus was on progress, opportunities and possibilities. This, Modi argues, has to become the norm; politics of self-alienation has to give way to the politics of performance and of progress.
The fundamental components of this ‘New India’ is the dream of its, as he termed it, “Yuva Shakti”. “A new India of the dreams of its Yuva Shakti is taking shape” but it was not limited to that young dimension, ‘A new India’, for him, is “about giving opportunities to the poor” and the gamut of wider opportunities was “taking shape” through the drive of his own governance vision and action.
Modi’s exhortation for self-renewal has a deep ethical dimension to it. He calls for a purification of our national life and one saw how the commoner, the marginalised responded. He is unequivocal that the ‘New India’ can only emerge out of a collective “shuddhikaran” (purification), “An India that is driven by innovation, hard work and creativity; an India characterized by peace, unity and brotherhood; and an India free from corruption, terrorism, black money and dirt” can eventually transmute itself into a New India.”
New India is about a collective penance, a collective struggle, a collective will and determination to dissolve self-serving narratives of the past that have hitherto held back our future.
The writer is director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation
Follow him on Twitter @anirbanganguly