The name is Modi. Narendra Modi.
Whatever detractors have said to demonise him, I just cannot stop admiring this man.
Narendra Damodardas Modi is not just another Indian politician. He knows how to reach the hearts of people. Who else in the political circles of India would dare to come on to Google+ and hangout with the common man? Who else would have the guts to come face to face with the citizens who voted for and against him?
Manmohan? Sonia? Rahul? Maybe Digvijaya Singh…
This was the Eureka moment of Indian politics. We would never get to know if the Hangout idea is personally his or of any one of his intelligent advisors, but it is definitely an instant hit like any of those Salman Khan movies that make 2 billion bucks at the box office every Eid. Suddenly we happen to see an interview without the drama, interruptions and imprudence of TV studios and anchors. The toughest, relevant and most intelligent questions asked by the real people who matter, and all answered in the most decorous, polite and respectable manner.
Modi knows how to get the spotlight on himself. When the media does not give him the space he deserves (of course, they feed off him, but refuse to have lunch with him), he knows exactly how to get it done. Remember – Barkha, Sagarika and all others run their shows on him, like how Modi is a monster; how Modi is a dictator et al, but every Tom, Dick and Harry except Modi takes part in these debates. The Shahid Siddiqui interview of Modi was a path breaker. Shahid was part of an Urdu newspaper and this really got the English media on the back foot. Best part was that they were doing debates on why Modi decided to give an interview to Shahid Siddiqui and not to me, as Barkha Dutt asked.
All said and done, the hangout seems to be an instantaneous hit. 1,523,944 views – just now when I checked it online. But – what about the newspapers and TV newsroom views on this? Where was the tittle-tattle there?
I opened the morning news papers at home – Mathrubhumi and Times of India (Hey, I am not a TOI type guy. I read it morning because it is the only newspaper that gets delivered at home in my part of the world, that’s why I have no choice. I prefer The Hindu or Deccan Chronicle) but did not find in any of the pages any mention of Modi’s initiative. As per CNN-IBN, the Google server had crashed the previous day for some time. They had not reported the hangout, but the news next day saw them harping on the server crash of Google. It took them a lot of exertion to underscore that this happened because a good portion of the whole world was hooked onto Modi. There was a passing by comment on NDTV, nothing much that captures the attention of viewers.
All said and done, the world is back to normal again. Modi is back to twitter, Ajay Devgn back to acting and TV channels back to discussing Coalgate and why Unmukt Chand deserves to go to 2nd semester without attending college . But it is just a matter of time before Zero Sibal looks at new ways to black out Google+. After all, that’s what he does best against media that do not bite the bait they offer. And god knows how many Income Tax evasion cases are going to be slapped on Ajay Devgn for his role here.
Modi knows best how to use the social media to his benefit. When newspapers and TV channels red tape his achievements and instead highlight his mistakes, he takes his own route to clear ahead of the bigotry. He’s a hit everywhere – on blogs, facebook, twitter and now Google+. After all this, the common man does feel that there is someone at the top who they can reach out to.
As a closing thought, I was just thinking how the media would have celebrated this if this was Rahul Gandhi having dinner at a Dalit farmer’s house or he hiking a ride in a local train? They have logistic issues only when they have to reach Assam to cover riots, but would not have any trouble sending their reporters and OB vans to any corner of Bareilly or Jhansi.
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”