Yuva - India

Narendra Modi’s accession to power changed the way the youth feels about politics

Narendra Damodardas Modi took oath as India’s Prime Minister for the first time on 26th May 2014; a feat he repeated in 2019. I consider his accession to power as a revolution.

It may sound strange, considering revolutions are usually characterized by mass upheaval, bloodshed, anarchy- before a change is brought. But I continue to consider it a revolution because of the way it forever changed India’s political landscape- especially the way an average Indian youngster views politics.

I was 15, when Modi came to power. The slogans “Main Desh Nahin Mitne Dunga (I will not let my country be annihilated)”, “Abki Baar, Modi Sarkar (This time, choose Modi)”, etc. were everywhere. While I was not his fan, my parents were awestruck. They were always unhappy with Congress; my parents are hardcore nationalists, highly aware people, with a thirst for political and historical knowledge. Therefore, they voted for Modi hoping that his government would bring some much-needed changes which would do justice to an entire civilization that was vilified for 70 years.

Modi has always been seen as a polarizing figure; his opponents have continued to mark him as a communal, bigoted criminal, who has no business running a government. His supporters, on the other hand, have deified him as the savior of a country shredded apart by dynasty politics, warrior for a much (unfairly) maligned community and a rising global leader.

One can have any opinion of Modi, BJP and the leaders heading our government at present. But no matter which side one is on, they have to agree that it was his accession to power which awakened India’s youngsters. At the age of 13 I decided I wanted to be a politician; at 15, when I saw Modi take the oath, as much as I hated the fact that a communal bigot was going to be our Prime Minister (yes, I was one of them!), his story inspired me. A party Karyakarta, a Pracharak of the Sangh, had made his way to the top; if he could, then I could too!

After 2014, the Hindutva rhetoric gained prominence- for both right as well as wrong reasons. This is where it started.

While the likes of JNU student leaders (read: middle-aged rioters), were always actively voicing the agenda of the Left, those youngsters who were far removed from this ideology, and never spoke up due to their fear of their activist peers, found their voice.

Youngsters started taking pride in their religious identity, which had hitherto made them uncool. People could debate in universities without an excessive domination of the Left. The fact that BJP has many, many vocal haters, allowed a lot of new social media handles to come up to counter false narratives. Those who had been heavily influenced by distorted history, started reading new material and opened their eyes to the reality of India, that is Bharat.

Primarily, the biggest change which came about was that people who were unhappy with not having a chance to enter the political ecosystem, finally saw an opportunity- it was the BJP’s cadre-based system which had allowed a chaiwallah to take over as the head of the world’s largest democracy; students with political aspirations saw hope.

Indian youngsters have always fawned over Western leaders: their impeccable English, their prim and proper outfits, their tall promises.

Narendra Modi made giving speeches in Hindi at International stages cool; Narendra Modi made doing pooja cool; Narendra Modi made Khadi outfits, handmade artefacts and traditional items cool; Narendra Modi made nationalism cool.

The way he addresses college students, the way he hands over the responsibility of carrying forward the nation to us without saying it in so many words, instills a sense of national pride and duty in every young Indian. Even those who don’t care much for politics otherwise, are open to learning, debating and spreading knowledge. Just the act of voting makes people feel proud because it is Modi who constantly reminds us that we are one- even the simplest act will create ripples that can change the course of our country.

I was an adherent of different ideologies at different points of time. I became pro-BJP at the start of 2019, when certain events in my college life changed the way I view things. Same year, I voted for BJP in the general elections. However, I was still not the biggest fan of Narendra Modi. I personally felt there were other leaders who could head the Government.

But the way he led our country through one calamity after another, introduced radical reforms in the midst of the opposition’s cacophony and called upon every Indian citizen to serve their motherland in every speech, has made me his fan. And not just Modi, but all BJP stalwarts have pushed the average Indian student to try and inculcate at least a tenth of the charm, dignity, leadership skills and magnetism they have.

Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani are absolute gems; while Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar, left us with the message: serve Bharat Maa till your last breath. Most of these leaders got associated with the party during their student days, then climbed the political ladder with a lot of struggle- pouring in their sweat, blood and tears. It was Modi who gave them their chance to shine, thereby making it clear that it does not matter who your grandparents were- if you are a devoted nationalist, willing to work for the nation, then you will eventually reach where you deserve to.

My article may sound like a Narendra Modi fangirl on a glorification spree. And it may be true to an extent; my admiration for this leader who I hated 3 years ago grows with every passing day. I hope there comes a day when I can express these thoughts to him in person. Till then, this article should suffice.

I still have political aspirations and feverishly long to someday reach where I want to. Modi gives me hope that I can.

Coming back to why the change of government in 2014 was a revolution: amongst all the things that Narendra Modi made cool for the youth, he made Bharat and being Bharatiya, really cool.

Bhavya Jha

Intern, Goa Chronicle
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