Where is Rio’s future with Modi?
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]orget the money used to purchase your miserable vote, sold without any dignity. Forget the litanies of unfair polling, usual pangs of sore losers. Forget the manufactured consent, by pretending to be above propaganda’s influence. Forget what we ever know about development or governance, by lying that things are actually not so bad. Forget everything, as of now, until result day.
Forget it. For—Neiphiu Rio will surely win 2014’s lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland. No bets for losers, including NPF’s candidate in Manipur. And only for the record, can Rio outshine his party’s earlier winning margin? That is, if that was the party workers’ committed love! Other than that, forget everything. No consolation prize exists in elections, even if one is the runner-up by a split second.Instead, let us look at Neiphiu Rio’s majestic calculations. Why is he contesting Lok Sabha, despite being the Chief Minister of Nagaland for the third consecutive term? Is MP > CM, to use a basic algebraic equation? Why is Rio risking his own successful kingdom, given the nasty Mughal-like fratricide amongst NPF princes fighting to inherit an alive father-king? What is the challenge beyond Nagaland’s borders, that excites a 64-year-old politician to seek new frontiers of adrenaline rush?
Certainly the answer is not redemption for success. Partially it could be philandering with populism, a manifest of distress. But, cent-per-cent, it is definitely idolatry.
Simply put, it is unqualified idol worship for an individual: Narendra Modi. Rio has well-timed the moment to reveal his true leadership, with open gratification for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. One does not commit support unless there is conviction. Similarly, one does not follow a leader—blindly or juristically—unless there is conviction of hope. To declare absolute hope for a lifelong Hindu maniac does not augur well for a religiously different Nagaland. Politics is not an end in itself. Power is. And, Rio rocks.
Characters such as Modi are found in history’s textbooks. Adolf Hitler’s meteoric ascend is a big bad example. He aggressively manipulated the system to wrest power. Modi is no different evil and Indian democracy is no foolproof good. First, senior party leaders within BJP were purged or thrown-out. Second, fanaticism spread its wings to cultivate on the insecurities of ordinary lives. Third, a larger-than-life image was invented to cheaply ingrain a popular status of a saviour (sic).Fourth, well-manicured hatred was rhetorically camouflaged into angry statesmanship.Fifth, all parliamentary decencies of wits were exposed as the campaign unfolded—but as Machiavellian desperations. Modi, clearly, knows his time is short. It is a do or die, now or never, where the means to an end matter more than the end as a means. Abhorrently and immorally hungry for power, it uses religious fervor. As a cradle snatched RSS pracharak, Modi lacks refinement other than bigotry tutorials of a Sangh Parivar.
Modi is not an unexpected type. He is motivated. He has already proven himself. A majoritarian democracy like India is all about social engineering, implanting or exploiting emotive despairs. Everyone also knows BJP is ideologically Hinduvta (or Hindu Raj as a way of life). RSS, Sangh Parivar’s religious wing, has, for the second time since 1977, blatantly mobilized its cadres, this time to support Modi. As mentioned earlier, one does not follow a leader unless there is militant conviction of chauvinistic hope. The fundamentalist writings are already on the wall: conform or perish. India has not seen a more sectarian election year, not that BJP has not been in power earlier!
Are we expected to believe that development and governance can come about only through religious jingoism, through idol worship of an individual? The Modi-wave, found in urban areas and English-medium channels, found in corporate-funded full-front-page advertisement, seems to have totally paralyzed the Hindi heartlands. Other than that—which regional party, not necessarily flourishing on Congress anti-incumbency, has not spoken the demonic in Modi? Only power-obsessed opportunists will rush in to woo an NDA-government. NPF is already there, much before the groom’s arrival. ‘Fools rush in,’ predicted the 18-Century English poet Alexander Pope, ‘where angels fear to thread.’
Is NPF’s leadership revealed, then? Who created Rio? Were I a congressman, I would have advised NPCC to let Rio win uncontested. Allow Rio to win not only with a feel-good factor of invincibility, but also plead him not to join BJP. Alas! The mandate with which NPF may have religiously won election—Rio has unilaterally decided to toss it all for a pagan rite. The Naga voter crowd doesn’t even have a face; it has neither intelligence nor purpose. With only one message, Rio depersonalizes everyone: Read my Forehead. Even Christian leaders, who ought to pronounce strong moral positions, are simply lazing away, maybe foolishly pretending to believe that politics and religion are mutually untouchables.
Perhaps Narendra Modi will become India’s PM. We will know the answer on 16 May. Most anxiously waiting will be Neiphiu Rio himself. One does not expect Rio to be glued to the TV the whole day, unlike the other CM-hopefuls, or even one Kaito Aye who was branding my factual concerns last October as ‘wild imagination.’ Maybe Rio will have a quick breakfast, or relish his favourite homemade pudding, and go on with his day as if nothing unusual is happening! Maybe Chief Minister Rio will already be at 29-Arungazeb Road, Nagaland House, New Delhi, impatiently waiting to celebrate or condole with the high command! By evening, whether Rio gives a direct courtesy call to Narenbhai or not—it will all depend on how much Rio has personally doled out to the BJP Central Fund: the access price that comes alongwith idolatry!
Will we get to see Modi and Rio sitting cross-legged, celebrating BJP’s version of what Angamis calls peli thekrahe (age-group solidarity feast), both being 1950-born? Will the problems of the Nagas be automatically resolved now, given a wild messianic promise that propelled Rio to power 11 years ago? Or, will the history of a regional party be rewritten—the disruption of the NPF garden party?
Nagaland has a historical reputation of trading MP positions as retiree reward. Or, upai nai appeasement trophies. Naga legislators and parliamentarians have selflessly remained illiterate about the important process of decision-making at central level, which sadly exhibits the mentality and quality of our leadership. Our legislators are very much local heroes, but with zero influence at the national level. If Rio’s guerilla politics is a clever attempt to make best use of the One Lok Sabha Bullet, which is the current justification, why did he choose to embrace only Modi? Is this an answer that we are becoming smarter in politics? Why, being the riddle, is there no real answer for such idolatry except in the cautious words of the Apostle Saint Mark, 8:36: ‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ Period.
Finally, off the record, a piece of personal advice for our soon-to-be MP, Mr. Neiphiu Rio, which, as usual, comes with the disclaimer of take it or leave it. Let us begin with a human story.
Also 1950-born, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal is an Indian and one of the world’s richest. Mr. Neiphiu Rio, your wealth is nothing compared to his. But, by Naga standards, your status is like Mittal’s ranking. That is a blessing, 100% genuinely felt, apart from being silver-spooned, which is 50% frank talk. It is said that Mittal is more popular than any Presidents of Kazakhstan, including the present one. Were he to stand for presidential election, it is said, Mittal would have easily won. People love Mittal, despite being a foreigner, because of the numerous jobs and wealth that he has generated through smart investments in the country. Kazakhs remember him for transforming their joyless lives, economically.
Mr. Rio, you have proven beyond doubt that you can easily win any type of elections, although you lost your first one. Politics is nothing, but petty Freudian transformation of Id into Super-Ego. We know how some former Chief Ministers of Nagaland ingloriously faded away—unfortunate will be a word of perfect calamity to describe the honey politics that also became the graveyard for an ant that does not know the distance to maintain. Only NDA can reward you, for the Faustian pact you sold your soul for.
As an excellent opportunist, you have somehow landed in the wrong party. As a public leader, a wrong party can lead to political suicide. For, as a politician, one does not represent oneself but the people. Your sweet popularity should not drag the people along to affiliate politico-religious parties. How much can you create or aspire for the people through such self-serving politics? Change your career! You have reliably shown that you are interested in business; given your shares in the real estate (including speculative investments in foreign trade with South-East Asia or Railway to Kohima) and the hospitality sector. You are a successful person, almost without any competitor. There is no envy, but admiration. Don’t let your Midas touch freeze our people.
Spend the rest of your earthly life by dedicating your wealth into creating more wealth, jobs, and opportunities. You also don’t have to read Lakshmi Mittal’s story just because I mentioned him. The politics meant for you have marginally succeeded, rest be assured—it can continue, without your worrying over it. General observations worldwide show that the public does not appreciate wealth created from crony politics, by monopolizing public funds. The business talent that runs in your blood will be cherished longer, not your current politics based on business model. Teach those Indian bankers, who, until recently, assumed that any local business loan exceeding Rs. One Crore, is beyond Nagaland’s DNA. Proclaim yourself as the CEO of your family company, mount an offensive by listing it with Bombay or Tokyo Stock Exchange, and take our people’s imagination to new heights of economic prosperity. You need not act humble. Indulge freely, if necessary, like a Richard Branson, if your lifestyle is meant to inspire maverick tales. No public audit will fault you, at least, unlike Italian Silvio Berlusconi. Expand the kingdom of the heart and not the liver, or the brain! It does not suit you at all.
Finally, please do not repeat that baniya story that every person’s destiny is written on the forehead. So distasteful it is, especially with a (wannabe) Gujarati as PM! This is however no Baba Ramdev, or Paul Coelho, offering palm-astrology or self-help lessons for you to feel good. Nor a political vendetta or a religious decree. No consultation fee is required either. This is a scroll of Neiphiu Rio read as future history. Not yet available in libraries—and, no offence given, or taken.