I was born Jain and grew up in a Gujarati Family. Growing up, in the late 80s – early 90s, I heard stories about Gujarat and how it is a dry land and how people have to walk from miles to fetch water. I imagined Gujarat to be endless carpet of dry, cracked land punctuated with one semi-dry tree in a 10 miles radius and with one semi-drying well in an a 20 miles radius.
In 2008, I visited Gujarat for the first time. It was during Navaratri. I saw roads and rail-lines and rickshaws. I saw Colleges and Churches and Chaiwalas. The Navaratri Festival was magical. If Gujarat is Vibrant, it is the rigour and the passion with which the festival of Navaratri is celebrated that lends the vibrancy to the state. People Danced. The circle which I attended was of 24,000 people. All 24,000 of revelers dancing bare feet around the folk band that played devotional songs. The way people decked up for Navaratri would put the best couture designers to shame. There was only one Circle. The muddy ground was wet. The music was live; the beats of the drums pulsated through the soil and through the people. And People Danced into the night. The energy was high and energy was limitless.
Liquor is banned in the State of Gujarat. But if the culture and its festivities can help you achieve high spirits, who needs smelly water to keep you lifted.
I visited Gujarat again in 2011. I could feel the change in the infrastructure. The roads were wider, the rail-lines were broader, and rickshaws were still honest.
BJP won the recent Lok Sabha elections. And unlike its previous victory, BJP this time gained the dreaded 272+ (285 out of 543) seats to form the government on its own. It is a dawn of new era, both in Politics and the entire Indian System. This clean sweep win of BJP ended the 25-year-old trend of coalition government. Coalition government set-up is the most prominent hindrance to the development of the nation. With the party forming government on its own and without the help of its friends, BJP can do what it feel is right and need not be worried if the decisions would upset its friends and that the friends would pull-out the support. Because the support of Dadas and Didis and Ammas and Mayas doesn’t matter any more: BJP stands tall on its own two feet. This is Power. Raw, unadulterated, unconditional Power.
With BJP’s PM Candidate, who happens to hail from the vibrant, yet, dry-state of Gujarat, most of my friends seem to be worried that Liquor would be banned thought out the Country.
It would be immature to think that Modi would be that narrow-minded a person who would not understand that what applies to and in Gujarat would be applicable to and in the rest of the Country.
I was not a big fan of Politics; I did not really understood it. I thought that much of Political stuff happens behind closed-door for me to invest my time in understating it. I am neither pro-Congress nor pro-BJP. My impression was Congress had member who were more well spoken, more restrained, more polished, where as BJP had earthly sons-of-soil: unabashed, unapologetic, brute, and blunt.
I never heard any of Modi’s Campaign Speeches. I only know that he held Campaigns is about 450 locations in a little over 6 months. That’s about 3 Campaigns a day.
Today, Modi, with his relentless efforts, did to Indian Politics what Linus Trovalds did to the world of Computer Operating Systems in 1992 ? he opened it up to the general public. Before Linus Trovaldas gave us Linux, Enterprise Operating Systems were predominantly under the control of profit centered, high-nosed, and proprietary-oriented corporations. Today Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. along with rest of the 99.9% of Internet run on Linux?A free and open-source software(FOSS); Free for Use, Free for Distribution, Free for Modification. Imagine if Linux were not free. Imagine if you were asked to pay to read this. Imagine Google charging you for every spelling you Google for correctness. From the most complex super-computers to the most entry-level android phones to the digital displays in your scooty, all run on Linux. It is the world most advanced Operating System that is collaboratively developed by thousands of people around the world for free.
Thanks to Modi, today a lot of us know about a little about how the government is formed in the center. It is no secret that Modi is not media shy and that he intends to involve media and hence the people whenever and wherever possible.
One cannot fathom the possibilities of opening a closed circuit system to public. It might bring in a sense of security in knowing what my government wants to do and how it plans on doing it. It might give a sense of satisfaction that I am informed, though I might be involved, in what’s happening in the Capital.
I heard Modi’s first victory / thank you speech that he gave in Baroda. He spoke about inclusive growth. He spoke about overall development. And most importantly he said, though in not the same words, what John F. Kennedy, 35th US President had said in his first speech as the President, ?… ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.?
Hope is a very addictive thing. Perhaps the most addictive thing. It is Hope that gives Love its Luster. It is Hope that give Dreams their Vividity, Nostalgia. Modi gave Hope. Modi gave Hope of a better Country. Hope of a better time. Hope. He also established that he, too, is only human for he is hopeful too. He expects things as well. Modi summarized that he as a leader of this country, Hopes that you as its citizen become the best you can be, for you being your best is what is going to take this country forward. Truer words haven’t been spoken.
While I visited Gujarat, both times, friends of mine wanted to drink. A few local friends procured the liquor, with some difficultly. I was told that the liquor, though sealed, was diluted. But it severed its purpose. I am sure it did for it took some effort to procure it.
The ground is still, stable. The dry, cracked, and ever-developing land of ours is being sprinkled with water. And our feet bare. The Drums are tight and we are all decked up. The energy has been mounting. New Sun Rise seems a little more colourful.
About the Author: Dhaval Kolhapure is an alumnus of the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration. He Blogs at Nomadic Peeps.