So Be It: A Response To Criticism Of Narendra Modi Article – OpEd


Through E-mails, Tweets and telephone calls, I have been in receipt of strong words of criticism regarding my article on Shri Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, (India: Assertion Of Youth Power In Support Of Narendra Modi – Analysis) which was uploaded in my blog on April 15,2011, and which was simultaneously carried by rediff-com, the South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG) and Eurasia Review.

Some of the criticisms have been very personal and hurting. One senior journalist, working for a left of centre daily, has called me amazingly naive. I have an impression ( I hope it is wrong and a figment of my imagination) that some people who were very close to my mind and heart and whose friendship I valued more than anything else in life have suddenly grown cold to me and have started marking a distance from me as if I have committed the mother of all sins by endorsing Modi’s development model and by criticising some so-called secular elements who are trying to keep him quarantined in his past and prevent him from playing his due role in the present and in future. I have even been snubbed by some of them.

Some critics have been seriously worried by my call for the assertion of Youth Power in support of Narendra Modi. I have been accused of playing with fire and encouraging irrationality by writing such an article and by voicing such views.

Frankly, I have been surprised by the negative reactions against me expressed by some secular elements whose opposition to Modi is well-known. I have been writing about Modi off and on since 2003. I wrote in detail on the issue of the cancellation of the visa issued to him by the US. I wrote why he is so popular in the Hindu community. I also strongly criticised his ideas relating to counter-terrorism and wrote positively of the record of the Congress (I) in counter-terrorism.

I have been a strong critic of Modi the Hindutva ideologue and a strong supporter of Modi, the administrator.I have never hesitated to use very strong language to criticise his ideological demagogery. I have never hesitated to use very positive language to support his achievements in the field of development of Gujarat.

It has been my view that one must encourage his transformation from a demagogic ideologue to a benign politician and administrator and that he should be given an opportunity to play his role for the development of not only Gujarat, but also India as a whole.

It was this view which found strong expression in my latest article on him which appered on April 15. I have been taken aback by the kind of negative reactions it has evoked among some sections of the so-called secularists. I respect the views of my critics and have carefully thought over them the whole of last night when I did not and could not sleep.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no reason why I should have any second-thoughts on my wisdom in writing the article. I stand by whatever I wrote in that article.

If, as a result, I become the bete noire of some sections of the so-called secularists, so be it.

If I become persona non grata in the world of the Indian media, so be it.

If I lose some precious friendships, so be it.

If I lose readership of my future articles, so be it.

B. Raman

B. Raman (August 14, 1936 – June 16, 2013) was Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies.

3 thoughts on “So Be It: A Response To Criticism Of Narendra Modi Article – OpEd

  • April 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    The interesting part about the whole debate on Hazare’s praise to Modi is the role media has played in it. I rarely read about Malika Sarabhai getting covered by media for any story. The name of other activists of Gujarat who criticized Hazare were not even known to anyone.

    Somehow media was interested in covering them in this specific instance. Intertingly, media didn’t seem to have any interest in any activist who might have disagreed to growth story of Bihar.

    I wonder why media gave differential treatment to Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar?

    Like Mr. Raman rightly pointed out, the riots are huge blot on Gujarat and Modi’s administration but that doesn’t take away the truth that he has played a major role in transforming Gujarat.

    So I want to reaffirm my stand, Mr. Hazare I am with you.

  • April 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Dear Sriram
    I admire your decision to stick with the blog . Greatest people in the history did not modify their views depending on which way wind is blowing, that is integrity and conviction.
    A handful of loud and noisy people cannot decide the fate of a nation. They have been exploiting the pathological urge among many Indians to look good and be in the good books of some loud mouths who will otherwise tear you down.
    As far as the readers are concerned probably you sir will have more readers than ever.

  • May 5, 2011 at 7:39 am

    How can anybody praise Modi, for whatever reason- you praise a farmer for good harvest ignoring ‘he’ watered his field with blood – you are looking at the developement of Gujarat – is Gujrat new to development or has Mr Modi instilled the intelligent in the gujratis – I don’t think so – Gujratis are known to enterprising people Modi has done nothing he has created a false demon for them in the guise of Muslims and then he kills this demon and becomes the hero of the Gujrati “Hindus” – quiet sad, ask any Hindu why he/she hates a muslim so much, I am very sure they will not have any concrete answer except for some misinterpreted excerpts from history !!


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