Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to the ramparts of the Red Fort to address India on its 73rd Independence Day. The triumphal speech, given less than 10 weeks after his Bharatiya Janata Party secured a massive majority in Parliament for the second time in five years, reflected the optimism the prime minister would like to project for the nation – even though, quite expectedly, the global community and many naysayers within the country don’t share his positivity.
Over the last week, some members of the Indian media were taken in an Air Force chopper above the city of Srinagar and given a birds-eye view of how normal the city was, despite the major disruption caused by communication lines being cut and the special status of Jammu and Kashmir being revoked. The visuals were so normal that, despite being it a major festival day in the city, no one seemed to be out and about on the streets. Republic TV, one channel, ran the footage with the caption, “A picture of calm and normalcy.”
This piece is inspired by all of that coverage.
Here is an aerial view of India under Narendra Modi. You can imagine the correspondent sitting on an Indian Air Force plane looking out at the vast expanse of the nation (which may or may not be photoshopped into the picture).
- The people of the country have become more honest after Modi came to power. So honest, in fact that, never mind dealing with black money, they have cut down how much white money they spend. That’s why the government is pulling in much less tax than it expected.
- Hindus, Muslims and other religious minorities around the country are living in perfect harmony. The government is refusing to discriminate between communities and indeed doing everything to lift up the oppressed. The BJP has, in fact, been so committed to equality, that it didn’t even discriminate against a terror-accused, putting up Pragya Singh Thakur as a candidate for Parliament and insisted on allowing the court to examine her case properly
- Even when carrying out complex exercises that could alter the fates of millions of people, such as the National Register of Citizens in Assam, the government has treated residents of this country with compassion.
- The economy is roaring along, with India remaining one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies. Double-digit Gross Domestic Product growth, as promised in Modi’s first term, is just around the corner. Just.
- The government has shown that its democratic credentials are unimpeachable. It altered the special status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Union of India by first consulting the people of the state (even though technically it did that by letting Parliament speak for them) and then preparing the political ground for such a move (by snapping the phone lines).
- With global warming endangering us all, the government has put the environment front and centre, examining every policy on the basis of its impact on nature – meaning that India needs to be a lot less worried about floods. And heat waves. And pollution. And drought.
- The caste system has been obliterated. Modi promised sabka saath, sabka vikaas, taking everyone along, and indeed, has done so by giving reservations even to the economically weaker sections of the upper caste.
- India has made great advances in dealing with its cow population. Cows are already expected to be responsible for an entire tourism circuit with hotels and lectures and much more. Other cows, as they wander the streets, are even ambling into educational institutions.
- The scourge of unprincipled politicians has ended. Unlike other governments in the past, the BJP’s leadership does not spend money to lure leaders into its fold. Those that do join it, after a short trip to a resort or two, are simply moving out of the goodness of their heart. As in Goa. And Sikkim. And Karnataka.
- The government has brought utmost transparency to political funding. By introducing a system of electoral bonds, citizens everywhere don’t even need to know who is donating giant amounts of cash, primarily to the BJP. They can simply trust that the government is being transparent about it, somewhere.