That Prime Minister Narendra Modi is endowed with a split personality is by now well known. His speeches fluctuate from the lofty to the absurdly low depths. He strives to be thoughtful in his Mann Ki Baat, he attempts at being humorous while addressing students and his speeches acquire a shrill, hysterical quality during election campaigns. He is not averse to making outrageous claims or utter outright lies even though he has been called out during his pre-election speeches in Gujarat and Karnataka. He did not think twice before accusing a former Prime Minister, a former army chief and a former Vice President of conspiring with Pakistan to destabilise Gujarat. And even when an apology was demanded, he offered none. But even by his own low standards, the Prime Minister plunged to a new low while speaking in Parliament when replying to the debate on the President’s address. Never before has a leader of the House, a serving Prime Minister, delivered a reckless, political rant in Parliament as Narendra Modi did this week. In the process, he reduced the dignity of his own office and arguably made a laughing stock of himself. Rather than address issues of national importance being raised by farmers, the unemployed youth, academicians, business and industry, he chose the easy way out by delivering a political speech, blaming the Indian National Congress for Partition, the economy, the banking crisis, the farm crisis and indeed for everything that may have gone wrong in this country since independence. Such a juvenile, childish rant would have been acceptable in an inter-college debate but coming as it did in Parliament, it must be deemed to be a blot on statesmanship. The Prime Minister is clearly oblivious to the difference between statesmanship and brinkmanship.
Bitterness appeared to blind Prime Minister Narendra Modi to both history and to the dignity of his office. If his words are to be taken at face value, the opposition has done nothing right and the Prime Minister himself has not done anything wrong. His reading of history has always left much to be desired and in this particular speech he betrayed once again his colossal ignorance. Had he been alive to history, he would have known that Vallabhbhai Patel, the country’s first home minister, had serious reservations over Kashmir acceding to India. As a Muslim majority state, he felt, Kashmir should have gone to Pakistan while Junagadh and Hyderabad should have acceded to India. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who was keen to help Sheikh Abdullah, who wanted Kashmir’s accession to India. But then the Prime Minister’s knowledge of history appears confined to what he learnt in the RSS. That would explain his low-level rant denying the role of Jawaharlal Nehru, who, if the PM is to be believed, neither deserved to be the first Prime Minister of the country nor needs to be feted for building a modern India. Nehru’s role in building India, the PM declared, was negligible.
The astonishing display of ignorance tinged with arrogance is something we have come to accept from Narendra Modi. Despite being caught out being economical with the truth almost every day, he determinedly pushes himself to plunge to lower depths of despair. His attempts in Parliament to drive a wedge between the two great sons of India, Nehru and Patel, must rank as the crassest the Indian Parliament has witnessed. With every passing day it becomes clear that Narendra Modi is the meanest, rudest, the most ignorant and the most arrogant politician to have had the good fortune of serving as the Prime Minister of this great country. But he neither has the broadness of vision or the greatness of the mind, neither any intellectual ability nor any honesty of purpose to leave a legacy that future generations may recall.