Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gujarat: Breaking Rules - Part 2 - An old post

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gujarat: Breaking Rules - Part 2

True story: Nutcase-1 draws a triangular route on the back of a cocktail napkin at a restaurant and says “Let’s start an airline”. Nutcase-2 responds: “You’re crazy, let’s do it”. That’s strategy for you. That’s how Rollin King and Herb Kelleher started Southwest Airlines. It was the start of the low-cost, no-frills, no-tickets, no seat allotments and no-food, no-appeasement airline. All they served in-flight was Peanuts.

It’s the most cheerful airline and the only one to make profits over a long period since starting early 1970s. A story about the airline is, naturally, called NUTS! Their aircrafts were painted as sharks, whales or the American eagle. They broke every established practice and rule of the airline industry. A mission can be shared by many people, Vision is usually of an “individual” nature; it’s rare that two people share the same vision. What does Southwest deliver; just low fares? That’s the tangible part. The intangible, non-visible part is the joy, the “experience”. That experience is what endears an organisation to customers or endears even a politician to citizens. People go back to the same restaurant not just for the food but for the ‘experience’, customers return to the same stores, airlines for the experience.

These people are reading newspapers. That’s not very hard to tell, is it? I can tell you what they’re reading. They’re reading all the poll analysis and predictions. You know, like the ones by Rajdeep Sardesai, Yogendra Yadav, Prannoy Roy or India Today and many other pundits. They are also analysing the GDP figures of all the states, poverty figures of all states. Why all this? Of course, they have to decide who to vote for! That’s what normal people do, don’t they? They sit around and analyse all the figures, manifestos, claims and other stuff put out by the govt and media before they decide who to vote for. No? Well, all that stuff is good for debates and policy making. Ordinary people know it in their gut. Whether the economy is good or bad, they know it in their gut. The same “experience” that draws them back to a restaurant or airline also draws them to a politician or makes them reject him. People feel good at visible development and experience it but they also vote based on the intangible, non-visible experience. The more connected a politician is the better the experience. Narendra Modi knows to connect.
Vision is usually an individual’s or at the most a few. It is therefore unique that a politician could get a good part of the population of his state involved in his vision and mission. This is what Narendra Modi has managed to accomplish. Even the best CMs deliver results but in this century none has managed to get people so involved in his adventure; that of making Gujarat a great state in many respects. How does he do it? Like I said in Part-1 there are two kinds of development; one that is very visible and one that is not. The visible one drives pride and participation, the non-visible one drives experience. Anyone visiting Gujarat is going to talk about the great roads, power supply, Sabarmati river-front and so on. An exception is bimbos who pass for editors of news channels who might also talk about food that has a “religious divide”.

Let’s talk about Sabarmati. People used to once call it Sabar-Matti (Mud) since there was never water in it except monsoon. Now there’s water all year round and that itself is a sight. But did Modi stop there? No... He wanted to paint it like whales and eagles like Southwest. He envisioned a massive river-front project that may now have hotels and other buildings and a great place for people. If not a sea-front, Ahmedabad can have a river-front. This much circulated image of the holy Yamuna and Sabarmati on the net says a lot about the vision of two CMs (Expense figures not vouched for). That’s visible. Sabarmati also provides water for Ahmedabad and other towns. What is not visible is that it has shut down many bore-wells in many towns. Earlier the underground bore hard-water was salty, contained arsenic and in many places had TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of over 2500. The areas which got municipal water had TDS below 600 which is within permissible levels for drinking water. Yeah… you’re not going to hear about this. This water supply is visible to only those who use it. Even more, the improved quality of water is only experienced and not visible.
I talked about the English language usage being an issue in Part-1. It was poor in Gujarat and affected higher studies, technology and global transactions. Ever heard about action on it? I doubt it. SCOPE (Society for Creation of Opportunity through Proficiency in English) is a project created by Modi. It teaches functional English to students even in Gujarati medium schools, colleges and other institutions, even commercial organisations. The programme is partly paid for by the govt and partly by the participants for students. It is delivered by private partners. Even Rajasthan was considering implementing this. This is not visible, it is experienced. It is felt in the gut! The MSM may have never noticed it but it took the Supreme Court to applaud the PDS system in Gujarat. That’s not visible, that’s an experience. It’s felt in the gut.
There is no free power supply. Farmers too have to pay, at a lower rate. Instead of bleeding the state with free power Modi had sent Babus and teams to various farmer-groups to educate them on better use of power; to use power-saving devices and machines. While the media propaganda machinery will harp on farmer suicides you won’t hear of this. Farmer suicide, when compared to other states, is not that severe and all suicides aren’t farm-related. It’s true, even one suicide is one too many. But the other work is not visible. It’s experienced in the gut. There are many others, the list can go on and on. Vaanche Gujarat is a reading program. Vanbandhu Kalyan is a programme for forest dwellers. Vibrant Gujarat is seen and also experienced. Vibrant Gujarat is a path-breaking initiative that invited visitors and investors. It’s now emulated by many other states. Despite the size of the venture, the last Vibrant Gujarat 2011 wasn’t even covered by media. The haters in the media are like that guest of Mullah Nasruddin.

Mullah Nasruddin had a friend from Delhi visiting him in his small town. He gave him a guided tour of his town in the evening. Mullah showed him the biggest river in town and the guest said: “That’s a river? Any gutter in Delhi would be bigger than that”. A stunned Mullah then took him to the biggest temple where 90% of the people in the village prayed and the guest said: “You call that a temple? Silly! You should see Birla Mandir in Delhi then you’ll know what a temple is”. Dejected Mullah decided not to show him anymore and they went home and had an early dinner. But as they sat outside on the cots Mullah couldn’t help pointing at a big bright full-moon to his friend. The friend from Delhi sniggered: “You call that a moon? You should come to Delhi, you’ll see the largest moon of your life and it shines for everybody not just 90% of people”. Mullah smiled and said “Yes, maybe one day I’ll come to Delhi” and went to bed. So you see, for the Rajdeeps, Barkhas, Sagarikas, Arnabs, Ashotushes, Wagles, Kanwals, Aakar Patels and many others the moon in Delhi is far bigger than the moon in Gujarat. Their blinkered vision cannot and need not be altered. People feel it in their gut.
To the luxury airliners of Delhi this ‘Chaiwalla’ from Gujarat was unacceptable. That he is far more skilled and talented than other politicians is unacceptable. So Modi had to break another rule. He decided to fly low cost. He took to the internet like no politician in Indian history has ever done. He communicated his vision, thoughts, problems of the state, achievements and every issue with people. He took to creating websites, he took to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus and 3D campaigns. Before they could even say ‘NaMo’, he had built a vast army of followers on the net in India and abroad who spread his messages far and wide. They combated the lies of the MSM and exposed those frequently. MSM could get away with spurious stories for a while in 2002-03 but not later. Every LIAR in the media, NGO and his political opposition today stands exposed. Nobody knew if Modi was Brahmin or ST or OBC. Both NDTV and CNN-IBN made sure everybody knew after the 2007 elections with their special stories on him. Nobody cared. The People of Gujarat showed they cared for a performer and not for which caste or community he belonged to. Modi has made the MSM redundant for his political pursuits.

The MSM, beaten at its game of 2002 riots, now has a new line: “Modi is a regional leader and unfit for PM”. They seek confirmation of this from every possible idiot. The Social Genius, before a trip to Gujarat, sends out a subtle message about having tea with the Chaiwalla. Some may have missed the viciousness behind the subtlety but it exposes the filthy mind behind it. We need to start realising and treasuring the fact that performers from ordinary backgrounds can aspire to high offices in this land. To Modi, Gujarat is ‘One people under one roof’. The road ahead for India has to be ‘one nation under one roof’. Anything else is a deception that is bound to fail and bring more misery to the poor and backward. Does Modi have weaknesses or flaws? Maybe! But those pale into insignificance when you consider the heads of GOI stumbling from one problem to another; from defending one scam to another.

Edward De Bono, a prominent writer on thinking skills, said it best. You can analyse the past but you have to ‘design’ the future. Right now, Modi is the only one dealing with the present and still designing the future. The road ahead for India needs more such daring leaders, not mindless appeasers. It is December 6 today. I can predict the media morons will use the occasion to run more stories on Babri and attempt to divide Muslims and Hindus on the eve of Gujarat elections. Some of his fans tend to call him “Mahatma Modi”. There is no need for such dubious titles. Let’s not have any more mahatmas who become beyond question by the ordinary man. India will have to break a lot of rules in the road ahead. Gujarat and Modi have only shown the way.
Published in media crroks by Mr. RaviNar

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