By Aditya Aamir
Time was when a newspaper and a spot of shade under a tree was all that was asked for in the name of luxury. Time itself was in no hurry. Lazy and languorous in the passing. But those were not the ‘Achche Din’ Narendra Modi held out to become Prime Minister. And we’re talking of the 1920s and 30s, not of an age lost in time. For sure, there were horrible things happening, but that did not affect the overall atmosphere of well-being. Jihad was a fine persuasion and people did not strap and bomb. Nor did Kashmiris get thrashed for selling dry fruits, pista and almond.
There is this 1930 black & white video in the net, of a British couple traveling through Kashmir, having travelled to the Valley from Rawalpindi by automobile, there being no road or rail route from Jammu to Srinagar those days. It was tough going, with landslides and rock-falls blocking the rudimentary mountain roads with their inevitable twists and turns, a retinue of subcontinent-types doing all the hard work of clearing the roads. They pass through Uri, which the caption in the video says is a “hill station” on the route to Srinagar. Hill Station!
Now, in the Modi era, which can end or go on with a cast of vote, Uri is about militaristic josh and ‘Ghus Ke Marenga.’ Modi’s promised ‘Acche Din’ never arrived, not just for Kashmir and Uri but also to the rest of India including Delhi. To date, most Indians do not have an idea of the kind of ‘Acche Din’ Modi promised. Manufacturers of cisterns and ceramic toilets found ‘Acche Din’ and so did those who supplied LeD bulbs. LPG cylinders took the smoke out of the eyes of millions of rural housewives.
‘Acche Din’ is also about ‘Prime Minister Awaas’ and ‘Ayushman Bharat’ and just when farmers were again in distress, ‘PM Kisan Yojana’. The BJP expects these to convert to votes and even if development is a key election issue for the party, nobody saffron will paint ‘Acche Din’ on posters and election hoardings anymore. ‘Acche Din’ as a vote-catcher has met its expiry date. Scratch the surface and ‘Acche Din’ never came.
Walk into government hospitals and the eyewash runs from government hospital labs to patients being carted off to private labs for colour-doppler tests and CT-Angiography scans. Hire an auto-rick and the auto-driver quotes his price or it’s ‘I’m going home, want to come along?’ It’s frustrating. This country is going to the dogs and we’re barking up the wrong tree. Much of the 60 months given to Modi has gone to finding out what the hell he was up to? The man spent so much time travelling to foreign shores, it was difficult to pin him down on domestic issues.
It was only when he mentioned ‘Pakora’ at the WEF that jobs or the lack of jobs was questioned. What good GDP growth if the unemployed cannot even think of ‘Acche Din’, ever? Pakora to Mudra loans to Start-up India. LeD bulbs lighting up the way, but in the dark corners and shadows, lynching. Modi and his party have been going from election to election, and for all the talk ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ is only a metaphor to capture 2/3rds of the states and a majority in both houses of Parliament to significantly alter the Constitution to make a ‘Hindu Rashtra.’
And that is no joke, to be trifled with. Yoga and a diet of alleged imported mushrooms will keep Narendra Modi in good health. A couple of more terms and he’ll have contributed his mite to the cause. It doesn’t matter whether a Ram Mandir is made at “the spot” or not, with or without mediation. That can be made to wait with ‘Mandir Wahin Banayenga’, for forever and ever. ‘Acche Din’ for the Hindutva will come only when Parliament and the state assemblies are drenched in candescent saffron. The sort of ‘Acche Din’ the majority of us, probably, do not want. (IPA Service)