‘Beware of an old man in a hurry’


“Beware of an old man in a hurry.” People in our country in general and the leaders of the ruling BJP in particular, would be wise enough to keep this English maxim in mind. The 66-year-old Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not so old as far as politics is concerned, seems to be went into overdrive to portray himself as the ‘supreme leader’, just within two-and-a-half-years of coming into power.
Replacing Mahatma Gandhi, Modi placed himself on the calendar and diary of 2017 of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), which did not go well in the society.  The image of Gandhi in a loincloth, sitting cross-legged at a charkha (spinning wheel), is one of India’s most iconic and has long been used to promote Khadi. After the controversy raged, the PMO, as expected, clarified that KVIC did not seek permission from the Prime Minister’s Office for using the PM”s picture. The PMO has also sought an explanation from the ministry concerned.
This incident is not an aberration as it’s not for the first time that the PM’s photo has been used by public or private entities without seeking permission from the PMO. They claim that the use of Modi’s photograph in advertising campaigns of both Jio, a telecom company promoted by Reliance Industries, and Paytm, a mobile wallet service and e-commerce marketplace promoted by One97 Communications, was without official authorisation. The PMO sees this as an instance of someone walking the extra mile to impress the Prime Minister or to show their association with him.
We have never seen anyone in the past walking such an extra mile to either impress prime ministers or chief ministers in the states, hence it’s very difficult to digest  the PMO’s contention. Did the PMO issue a circular, asking all the government departments not to use the PM’s photograph without permission and advising private entities not to use them for commercial campaigns?
One may argue that Mahatma Gandhi’s existence is not so fragile and superficial that it can be decimated by the change of a picture or even a change of guards and this controversy should be ignored with the full contempt it deserves. But Haryana minister Anil Vij’s reported statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a bigger brand name than Mahatma Gandhi for Khadi – just cannot be treated that the minister was walking an extra mile to please his super-boss.  Otherwise, the BJP minister must have been dropped like a hot-potato from the Haryana ministry for making a comparison between brand Gandhi and brand Modi.
Apart from this controversy, there were numerous decisions and actions that indicate that Modi is in a hurry to usurp the entire “political space” muzzling up his way within his party, marginalise own party leaders and decimate other parties. One thing he has to realise that there were sycophants during the era of all rulers, who tried to impress and appease them. It’s easy to fall into their trap.
During the 1975-78 emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, there were many people who used to praise the discipline that had brought into our country. Almost all the trains were running on time, all retail grocery shops had the price list, all habitual late goer government officers and employees reporting for duty well before the official duty time and so on and so forth. Then the powers that be, backed by inputs provided by sycophant intelligence officers, called for general elections, which triggered a Janata Party wave.
Like in the corporate sector deal makings, the dynamics of politics has also changed. At a time where everything seems to evolve faster and faster, it is easy to get stuck feeling that we need to hurry. But the mantra in this fast world is “if you want to go fast, you’d better go slow.”



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