By Sushil Kutty
The human body is 80 percent water. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s is 80 percent hubris, the remaining 20 percent hot air for ballast, also called ‘bombast’! Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma and qualities to inspire are garnished with enough narcissism to sink INS Vikrant! And his breadth of vision matched only by the tall talk he indulges in and was given his social media nickname for.
Most recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘I, Me, Myself’ syndrome kept the nation hooked for two straight days, half of India mesmerized and engrossed, the other half wondering where persuasiveness ended and where foolhardy took over. In some cases people also call this “self-confidence”.
Reckless self-confidence! The effortless risk-taking takes us to the days of the ‘Tughlaki-Farmaan’. Signs of leadership on a grand scale. But the charisma and the charm offensive cover something else, too. A whole lot of something else, loosely labelled ‘I, Me, Myself.’ Such individuals are impetuous. Also reckless. A consensus building on and about Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that he is difficult to convince once he takes a decision, however topsy-turvy the decision’s outcomes might be.
Strangely, such despotic behaviour, which is prone to end in disaster, is overlooked and dismissed by fawning followers of the cult figure, whose often madcap pronouncements are left to correct themselves with the perfunctory “he’s just making a mistake” while the rationalist recognizes the madness. Prime Minister Narendra Modi lost it when Rahul Gandhi stood up in the Lok Sabha and asked questions Modi had never expected from, of all the people, Rahul!
But the Congress MP’s words struck home, and how? The Prime Minister, the next day, came armed with enough ‘I, Me, Myself’ to drown a duck while trying rather unsuccessfully to establish that Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Modi-Adani’ accusations were nothing but water off a duck’s back.
And Modi took the impetuosity to the Upper House, where the ‘Modi-Adani’ sloganeering of the Opposition MPs kept the aisles dumbstruck even as the Sansad TV recorded for posterity Modi’s ‘I. Me. Myself’, the very same ‘ live TV’ which knocked off, “expunged”, Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Modi-Adani’ questions with impunity.
What the tonnes of viewers got a glimpse of on February 8 and February 9 was narcissism tied up in huge bundles of hubris; Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exaggerated pride clothed in self-confidence, and morphing into open contempt for everybody including his flock of clueless and hapless MPs.
Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha, outshouting the sloganeering Opposition MPs with ‘Ek Akela Kitno Par Bhaari Padh Raha Hai’, with his left hand palm thumping the 56” chest, was ‘I, Me, Myself’ narcissism at its zenith, a leader whose hubris took into its contemptuous embrace everybody including his own roll-call of MPs, each one of them mindlessly hysterical, not realizing that the Prime Minister had just that moment referred to the whole lot of them good for nothing luminaries!
History is full of events and evidence that the emasculation of equals is the most necessary ingredient for the establishment of a cult figure. And the emasculated are the last ones to acknowledge this manifestation of calf-love. That said, for the BJP MPs serving Narendra Modi’s self-love and narcissism it is an occupational hazard.
The Prime Minister countering Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Harvard remark’ with his own rendition of the Harvard singsong was another instance of ‘I, and I alone’. And, in the process, the Prime Minister dismissed even Harvard as another example of ‘good for nothing’. Predicting the death of the Congress with a “Harvard study” to boot was Modi proclaiming himself Messenger of God, the Almighty Himself!
Most of Modi’s two speeches were rhetoric, more election-like than statesman-like. And contrary to what Modi might think or Modi’s flock of sycophants must be thinking, they did not give a clean-chit to Adani. Neither did they absolve the Prime Minister. If anything, Modi’s self-aggrandizement established once and for all that hidden in the debris of Modi’s theatrical eloquence was the lost cause of the Modi-Adani friendship which Modi wouldn’t acknowledge for the love of Gautam!
For very obvious reasons, Adani was suddenly persona non grata. The pictures of Modi in the company of Adani flaunted by Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha flushed down the toilet as if they did not belong, or exist. The next time Narendra Modi and Gautam Adani share a flight it will be in the flight kitchen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi refusing to take Adani’s name is damaging for the both of them and hints that there must be something fishy in the menu that Modi didn’t want the hoi polloi to get a whiff of. This is not narcissism, this is suspicious behaviour. This is evidence there exists a can of worms.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘I, Me, Myself’ motivated by a craving for unbridled power is a hazard for the nation. His self-aggrandizement is not lost on anyone. Of course, it cannot be thought of in medical terms. Not in ‘by-polar’ terms, or ‘paranoia’. This is pure and simple grandiosity. A level of hubris that could leave the high office of PM hobbled. The danger of impulsivity replacing clear thinking is a real and present danger.
The Prime Minister’s extended cameos in both the houses of Parliament haven’t reassured anyone. On the contrary they are proof that ‘Mr. Invincible’ is after all a political mortal like every other politician. His taunt at the Gandhi family for not using the ‘Nehru’ surname shows where lies the crown.
Human beings rarely believe that heavy doses of hubris is a mental disorder. Not even the medical community thinks so. And forgetting the name of a dear friend is quite in order. Happens. Except it is getting hard not to believe that the ‘Man who cannot be Named’ is nobody other than ‘You know Who?’ (IPA Service)