No wonder, Modi is judged by his critics based on half-facts and cliches instead of a deeper dive, which would bring out the actual reason why Modi has become what he is today. 

Political punditry in India works on the basis of set patterns. Narratives are made, debunked and re-served on the basis of either access or pre-conceived notions. For good or bad, Narendra Modi has never fitted in these conventional theories of branding leaders. His style and substance are unique, one that has no parallel in India’s political history. 

No wonder, Modi is judged by his critics based on half-facts and cliches instead of a deeper dive, which would bring out the actual reason why Modi has become what he is today. The Modi phenomenon is a combination of various factors, each of which makes an important contribution to his persona and style of working.

First and foremost is direct contact with people. There are very few leaders with such extensive mass contact. The Modi way of solving problems is not to sit back in an air-conditioned room, closeted with officers but to take the bull by the horn, be among people and find solutions that are practical. Those who worked with Modi in Gujarat recall how he attained success in solving a major problem the state was facing when he took over as CM — that of girl child education.

He made his entire team from ministers, MLAs and senior officials visit the villages of Gujarat to mobilise parents to educate their girl child. In the gruelling summer months, the entire state machinery was among people, in the remotest areas, explaining the benefits of educating women. This movement, called Kanya Kelavani had two positive impacts — enrolment increased and dropouts reduced. 

During the peak of the 2014 poll campaign, Modi critics pointed to the below-par social indicators in Gujarat, including girl-child education numbers. But none of that cut ice with the voters because they saw Modi working hard on the ground, initiating a credible mass movement. Before assuming chief ministership, Modi had spent a night in almost all districts of India. After becoming the CM, he had toured all districts of Gujarat and during his first term as PM, he had been among people of all states and UTs, something no Prime Minister has done previously. 

During the pre-Covid times, PM Modi always had some or the other public programme across India on Friday and Saturday. When Parliament session is on, he is among the earliest to reach and last to leave. MPs cutting across party lines drop in, bring delegations from their constituencies and school children. PM Modi meets them all, happily obliging for an occasional selfie, too. The second factor is Modi’s quick response. The speed with which he reacts to situations, particularly unplanned emergencies, is worth learning from.

Recently, parts of West Bengal and Odisha were ravaged by rain and floods. The Covid threat was obviously looming large but the PM said it is essential to visit the two states and consult with the chief ministers on rehabilitation works. PM Modi’s hard work can be seen in the area of politics too. Old timers of Gujarat BJP and Congress would often joke with him — ‘You have ruined everything; earlier, we never had to work this hard to win. A rally here, another one there, name in the newspapers and we were home’. Modi, on the other hand, would work at the block level, engaging with as broad a spectrum as possible. 

Delusional Modi critics have always attributed Modi’s electoral success to Hindu versus Muslim politics. But that is not his style. His speech analysis would show that he has the most positive discourse compared to his opponents, who only spew venom against him. During the 2017 UP polls, political pundits made it seem like the entire election was about ‘Shamshan versus Kabristan’ when the truth is Modi uttered that merely once. Political commentators argued that he was communalising the election due to an underwhelming performance in the initial phases, covering western UP. When the results came, it was clear that the BJP sweep in those regions was overwhelming. 

The same happens regarding the Ram Temple. There is disproportionate space given to the Ram Mandir and the BJP’s politics. The Mandir does find a place of pride in the BJP manifesto but there are several other points as well. None of these self-proclaimed intellectuals have even bothered to look at that! 
People who have worked closely with Modi describe him as a powerhouse of ideas. On one day it could be about making a government initiative more effective.

On the second day it could be about how to make the BJP organisation stronger. His desire to do more in less time makes it difficult for both colleagues and opponents to keep pace with him. There is always a premium on hard work — it keeps one grounded, endears the person to others and brings sincerity. By being hard-working himself, Modi has been able to have a positive impact on millions of others, who will remain eternally grateful to him for everything he has done for them. 


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Why the PM commands an audience
April 09, 2021

His core remains rooted in ground realities. His practical knowledge emanates from the earthy wisdom that forms the bedrock of Indian civilisation.

One wonders how one of the most powerful men in the world, dealing with numerous important decisions at any given point of time, still finds time to share a piece of his life’s collected wisdom with children. He has, in the truest sense, been a guide and a mentor, giving booster shots of confidence, year after year, to students preparing for exams.

Pariksha Pe Charcha has become a breath of fresh air for students. With everyone around them in a deep frenzy about exams, results, and a career, Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes across as a man with a sense of balance and farsightedness. The life lessons he distils for children come from his lived experiences.

Be it the PM’s memory hack of involving, internalising, associating and visualising a lesson than just trying to memorise it, or his formula for parents to not only stay young but also reduce the generation gap — these are things he has observed in his vast experience of living all across India. It seems simple but is actually the result of a lifetime spent observing human behaviour. The way Modi is able to observe routine interactions and bring out such insightful lessons from them is extraordinary.

During Pariksha Pe Charcha 2021, in order to allay the fear of a student regarding difficult subjects or questions during exams, PM Modi took a leaf out of his own book. He said instead of running away from tough topics, why not take them head-on first thing in the morning? As chief minister of Gujarat and now as prime minister, he applies the same principle to his daily routine, he said. Anything that requires extra effort or seems complicated, he picks up first thing in the morning with a fresh mind. What he finds easy and has a marginal scope of error, he leaves for later. This goes against our usual instinct of picking up what is easy first and then moving on to difficult parts. But it could be because we are instinctively scared to deal with hard tasks and are more likely to procrastinate or sit on them indefinitely.

The examples he quotes give an insight into a man who has risen to the top, but only after going through his fair share of struggles and disappointments and eventually finding a way through. This is the reason there is an instant connect people feel with him as he dissects human behaviour and motivations at a deeper level.

Take, for instance, his answer when a seemingly distressed parent from Punjab asked PM Modi how to ensure that kids do what is expected of them without having to run behind him. This is, in fact, a common refrain among parents, often leading to children withdrawing into their shell or acting out in a way that bewilders parents. But the PM’s reply to the question gave enough food for thought to parents regarding where the problem emanates from.

Instead of realising a child’s unique potential, parents try to box them into pre-existing societal norms and structures. He rightly pointed out that we tend to neglect an extremely important step — training the mind towards self-motivated action. Training cannot take place in isolation. It is part of a child’s daily experience at home. By introducing children to the benefits of inculcating a habit in creative ways instead of constant nagging, parents can lay the ground for moulding their mind in a certain way. This opens up the possibility of a child feeling motivated enough to make it a part of his routine. This would not only save parents’ energy but also create a positive, more open environment for children to engage with parents without feeling stressed or threatened.

Often, to have such insights into a child’s mind, one has to be a child psychologist or someone who has children of his or her own. But PM Modi does not belong to either of these two categories. Yet, his knowledge is not derived from books, but is earned through a lifetime of lived experience, especially from his pre-CM days, when he travelled extensively all across his state and the country. His discernment of human behaviour is reflective of having spent a considerable amount of time studying families closely.

Despite holding the highest office in the country and enjoying wide-scale popularity that is achieved once in a century, PM Modi does not indulge in impractical grandstanding or complicated jargon. Even after being at the centre of the most powerful circle of people, he has a rare ability to think like a person who’s a part of every family in India.

His core remains rooted in ground realities. His voice is the voice of a common man. His values are reflective of the best values of any average Indian family. His practical knowledge emanates from the earthy wisdom that forms the bedrock of Indian civilisation.