I am in NY this week on vacation with family – except for one day that I had to show up at work to host the CEO of a partner company .
Modi , India’s Prime Minister, was in NY when I landed here . And he was literally the talk of the town . I have lived in US for quite a few years and have practically never noticed when an Indian leader has landed here . Modi was on his campaigning best – everyone noticed , whether it is the Manhattan Cabbies or the CEO I met . And they are all his fans . I did not expect that in the least .
There was the unfortunate incident of Rajdeep Sardesai being pushed around and heckled outside the garden . Then I saw another video of Sardesai pushing a guy in the crowd as the beginning of the fight that ens . Either way -manhandling is a poor way to settle differences . What was interesting is there was hardly any support for the journalist other than a few fellow journalists . Modi fans are everywhere !
Modi no doubt is a top notch politician and a gifted speaker . But I also think that a good part of this grand welcome was that the decade long UPA rule have driven a lot of people nuts . Their craving for solid leadership is what Modi is delivering now through words and I hope that will turn into action .
I won’t hold my breath on Modi changing much in Washington . And to a large degree , that doesn’t matter . If he captured the imagination of the business leaders in NY – that is more than sufficient . Politicians eventually need the business behind them – and will actively support Modi if American businesses believe in his reform agenda .
Another category of people Modi seems to have impressed is the NRI population in US – who are generally affluent and can make tangible investments in India . I really hope that NRIs step up and form an organized VC/Angel culture in India to back the Desi companies .
Then there is Jayalalitha , who had to go to jail and resign her CM job in Tamilnadu . I did not expect this to happen at all . She might still win her appeal and go back to work as CM . What worried me is the sheer number of suicides in TN , people resorting to violence on the streets and film stars protesting her conviction and sentencing . On one hand – rule of law prevailed and the other hand a large section of people believe she is above law . It was also weird to see the new cabinet swear in with tears in their eyes and photos of Jayalalitha held by them . Who are they pledging allegiance to ? The people of TN or their convicted leader ? I admire the loyalty – but I do worry if the state will get into a lame duck mode of governance till she comes out of jail .
And finally there is the case of the poor Indian boxer Sarita Devi . I am seriously outraged by what happened in Asiad semi finals . I am less worried about the host country being favored by the judges – I just can’t figure out what the officials in indian delegation were thinking about not supporting Sarita’s appeal . It’s despicable that the poor lady had to borrow money from others to file the appeal . Modi talked a good game on empowering women – now it is time to walk the talk . I am waiting to see him fire the officials who didn’t support Sarita . Such a huge shame .
Between the news on Modi, Jaya and Saritha in matter of three days – it amazes me how much India has changed , and how much India refuses to change . It’s such a fine balance between hope and despair .
3 thoughts on “Modi, Sarita and Jaya – Hope and Despair for India in equal measure”
On the suicides – Most of them are natural deaths due to age/ poor health (occasionally coupled with shock) and the families get money (Rs 2 Lakhs or so) as compensation provided by the party. This happened earlier also when she went to Jail and later compensated them.
I tend to disagree on Jayalalitha. While I accept no one is above law, please look at the mandate she had got. She swept the polls. The people are with her now and are supporting the good things she has been doing. Even though I am not from Tamil Nadu, I too got hurt when I heard the judgement. You all remember Emperor Ashoka for the Good things that he did during the latter part of his life. If the judgement had come 18 years before, may be every one would have accepted. But knowing the metros in India, and observing Chennai in the last 3 days, I feel things would move on. And trust the new Government performs as well as it was.
Mandate she got doesnt place her above rule of law . Judiciary provides a much needed check and balance to our society . 18 years happened mostly because she delayed it by all kinds of tactics . She might be a popular leader and I wish her well – and hope the OPS government can continue the good parts of Jaya govt . If she did no wrong – I am sure she can get out of jail via appeals to higher courts