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Shri Narendra Modi’s rise among the ranks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and his joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through the 1980s and the early 1990s coincided with a very tough period in the history of Independent India. The country faced conflict across its length and breadth and the Centre was witness to this disintegration but stood helplessly. Conflict was rife across Punjab and in Assam as the integrity and sovereignty of our Motherland were being challenged. Internally too, divisive politics ruled the roost. In Gujarat ‘curfew’ became the most common word in the household dictionary. Brother was pitted against brother, communities against communities, as vote-bank politics became the norm.

One person who rose to the occasion, living up to the vision of Sardar Patel of a united and strong India committed to values of democracy and free speech was Shri Narendra Modi. The gloomy national scenario brought out the patriot in Shri Narendra Modi, who gave his best and worked very hard for the RSS and BJP in this battle of ideals. As it is, he had established himself as not only a dedicated worker but also an efficient organizer since a very young age. It was only befitting that he would rise to the occasion, challenging the unhealthy status quo.

Shri Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad during the Ekta Yatra 

By the end of the 1980s, the country’s northern most state of Jammu and Kashmir that was once known as ‘Paradise on Earth’ had become a full-fledged battlefield. The opportunistic politics of the Centre combined with blatant subversion of democracy during the 1987 State Elections made J&K a hotbed of anti-India activities. The valley that had once been called the most beautiful place on Earth was fast becoming a battlefield as blood spilled on the streets. Matters reached such a low that even the hoisting of the tri-colour had become taboo in Kashmir. Rather than taking remedial action, all the Centre did was to watch helplessly.

Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of the Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had been kidnapped by the same anti-national elements in 1989. But, instead of taking a tough stand, the Government in New Delhi took the easier way out to quickly release known extremists with anti-India sentiments, thus giving a long rope to such anti-national elements.

The BJP could not remain a mute spectator to this systematic denigration of India’s sovereignty. It was during a visit to Kashmir that Shri Shyama Prasad Mookerjee had given up his life and decades later, thus it fell on the BJP to speak up for the cause of national unity. As a response to the unprecedented situation, the then party President Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi decided to embark on an ‘Ekta Yatra’ advocating national unity. The Yatra would begin from Kanyakumari, the place where Swami Vivekananda found the purpose of life and end with the hoisting of the tricolor at Lal Chowk in Shrinagar.

The task of preparing for the Yatra lay on Shri Narendra Modi’s shoulders keeping in mind his well established organizational skills; Putting his mind, organizational strength and sweat into the responsibility, he made elaborate arrangements in a very short span of time braving the huge risks that came with it. Without any fear, he visited every place that the Yatra would cover, meeting party workers.

He galvanized and inspired party workers, created a patriotic fervor among them, thus laying the ground for the Yatra’s success. In this process he had not only shown that he was a master organizer but he had also exhibited the ability to deliver in any circumstances at a remarkable pace, a rare virtue in public life today. Shri Modi came across as a quick decision maker even in adverse circumstances and someone who had the ability to implement what he had decided.

Shri Narendra Modi during Ekta Yatra 

The Ekta Yatra commenced on 11th December 1991, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Subramania Bharti and the ‘Balidan Diwas’ of Guru Tegh Bahadur. The prominent issues raised across the country were opposition to divisive and violent politics and an end to the menace of terror in Kashmir.

Wherever he went, Shri Modi echoed the message of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, saying that the unity of India came above everything else, and that he did not believe in different yardsticks for different sections of society. A fitting reply to anti-national elements was the need of the hour and when the time came, Shri Modi led from the front! The Ekta Yatra received rousing welcomes virtually wherever it went. Dr. Joshi stressed the need of national regeneration, which found an instant connect with the people of India.

There couldn’t have been a better eye-opener for a blind Congress Government in Delhi than the Ekta Yatra. Needless to say, the success of the Yatra was a milestone for Shri Narendra Modi, whose organization skills proved invaluable as the Yatra progressed. Shri Modi himself urged the people of India to strike the death-knell of pseudo-secularism and votebank politics. An emotional Narendra Modi watched with joy as the tricolor was finally unfurled in Srinagar on 26th January 1992! The successful completion of this rare national mission amidst the most challenging circumstances was a tribute to Shri Modi’s ability to give effective replies to the anti-national elements with unparalleled courage, vision, skill as the power of Bharat Mata yet again demolished the folly of anti-India elements.

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How seven years of Modi government has transformed India: Akhilesh Mishra
May 31, 2021
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second government has just completed two years in office. Overall, he has now been in the Prime Minister’s office for seven years. It is a long enough time to take stock of the hits and misses of an incumbent head of government. So, how should we assess PM Modi’s tenure so far?

One obvious way is, of course, through the list of achievements, most of which are quantifiable. As an example, the numbers reached in flagship schemes are quite extraordinary. Banking the unbanked through the Jan Dhan Yojana — 42 crore bank accounts — and thus taking financial inclusion to every home in India. Funding the unfunded through Mudra Yojana — 29 crore loan sanctions and Rs 15 lakh crore disbursals — and thus seeding an entrepreneurial revolution. Digitising the undigitised through UPI — 25 billion real-time transactions in 2020 — and thus making India the largest digital payments ecosystem in the world.

However, beyond these remarkable numbers, there is one other way to assess the success or otherwise of Modi — the changes in our national character. What are some of these changes?

First, Modi has fundamentally altered the way central governments used to understand economic policy-making. Before Modi, they almost exclusively focused on macroeconomics and the glamour associated with it, while relegating microeconomics to the background or at best to state governments. That is why even after more than 66 years of Independence (in 2014, before Modi took over), the country was still struggling to electrify all its villages, leave alone homes, or ensure proper sanitation coverage in every village, or make healthcare affordable to all.

Modi has corrected this imbalance. So, ensuring that every house gets a tap water connection is now as much a priority as framing a policy framework for privatisation or creating a new paradigm for the agriculture sector with the new farm laws. To his credit, Modi has been able to make stellar progress in these domains.

Second, Modi has forever changed the mindset of only expecting “second best” delivery from central governments. The people of this country will no longer be satisfied with being laggards or followers. If the world develops an efficacious vaccine to combat Covid-19 in less than a year, then we now expect India to be leading that race with not just homegrown vaccines but also administering it at a pace that is amongst the fastest in the world.

Third, Modi has changed our acquired character of the last 70 years, which backed down when faced with a powerful adversary. China, used to having its way from the One Belt One Road initiative to the South China Sea, was stared down into retreating from Doklam and Pangong lake. From climate change negotiations, to free trade agreements, and from large multinational corporations used to bulldozing their way to global think tanks pretending to sway Indian discourse — everyone has realised that this India of 2021 is not the India they knew pre-2014.

Fourth, one of the most significant changes has been in our foreign policy. It is no longer about moral science lectures but is now driven purely through the prism of hard-core national interest. Realpolitik, divorced from grandstanding, is now part of the arsenal.

Fifth, respect for private enterprise and legitimate profit-seeking is no longer taboo. The defence that Modi himself mounted for entrepreneurs — terming them as nation builders — in Parliament is already getting translated into policy and in time may become his most significant economic contribution yet.

Sixth, the work done in empowering women and freeing them from clutches of societal constraints may, in time, become Modi’s most significant social contribution. From administering India’s most important union ministries to permanent commission in the armed forces and from establishing crores of small and micro enterprises to corporate boardrooms, and from freedom from the regressive instant Triple Talaq to legitimate rights in ancestral property — almost all the hidden glass ceilings have been broken.

Seventh, and perhaps the defining and the long-lasting contribution of Modi, would be the way he has managed to fuse our glorious civilisational heritage with our modern impulses. This nation now celebrates the construction of the Ram Temple as exuberantly as it rejoices in the success of the ASAT mission or awaits the launch of Gaganyaan.

The PM Modi-led government is the only government in decades to have been re-elected with a full majority. As the nation battles through the second Covid-19 wave, the appropriate way for the Modi government to mark its seventh anniversary would be to rededicate itself to the seva — service — of the people of this country. This would not just be in tune with the current national imperative but would also be a fitting tribute to the people who voted in this government. After all, would not permanently changing the role of governments — from ruling to seva — be the most stellar achievement of Modi?