women/youth
Jeans & Modi Tees
Why Modi is a powerful magnet for young men and women
COMMENTS PRINT
gujarat polls
The Gujarat strongman does it thrice in a row. More modest than he’d have liked, but he’ll no doubt make a play for India’s top job.
Saba Naqvi
gujarat polls
Will the Congress finally ask itself tough questions now?
Cover Story
The hill kingdom was only cause for cheer for Congress
Prarthna Gahilote
opinion
The Congress is left to count its gains; Modi’s success infuses a certain piquancy into the choices the NDA has to make in the run-up to 2014
Harish Khare
rss and modi
Modi’s big bang victory has neutralised, at least for now, the Sangh’s opposition to him
Prarthna Gahilote
Interview
Once a force to reckon with in the BJP, the man who called Vajpayee a mukhota
Panini Anand
opinion
By plotting a development course, Modi created pro-incumbency
Nirmala Sitharaman
victims
Amidst all the cheer for Narendra Modi, dissenting voices—not just Muslims, but Gujaratis of all backgrounds.
Panini Anand
muslims
A climate of fear combined with Congress ineptitude drove Muslims to Modi
Pragya Singh
Interview
The director of Final Solution, a searing documentary on the 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat
Namrata Joshi
women/youth
Modern, city-dwelling women of Gujarat adore Modi and seem to think he can do no wrong
Neha Bhatt
opinion
Only one voice in Gujarat, said the visiting prince. How wrong he was.
Shiv Visvanathan
the middle class
Arch-deliverer of progress: Modi fits the bill. The middle class wants nothing more.
Debarshi Dasgupta
Modi & india inc
Big industry, Modi feed off each other in win-win relationship
Lola Nayar
MEDIA
Modi made it impossible for the media to ignore him
Anuradha Raman
Cover Story/ opinion
Anti-Modi crusaders run their rabid campaigns blindfolded
Madhu Purnima Kishwar

In Gujarat and outside it, for politically active, upwardly mobile youth of a certain worldview—aspiring, consumerist and yet traditional  in a middle-class way—Brand Modi just rocks. “He’s that rare leader with a mind of his own. And his credibility speaks for itself,” says Amar Govindarajan, a young IT professional from Coimbatore. Modi, it must be conceded, has crafted an effective strategy to sell himself, and his hyperactive propaganda machine has succeeded in building him up as a Dabaang-style hero.

Social scientist Ghanshyam Shah  says Modi appeals to middle-class youth because what he offers matches their aspirations. They brim with aggressive defiance, self-centredness, chauvinism and a love for fast-paced development. This is what powers their confidence and enterprise. This is what Modi has carefully learnt to charge them up with.

Niranjana Narayanan, an IIM student, says, “He’s quite unshakeable and uses that spark of modernism to get his policies across and create manic patriotism.” It’s not just urban youth; even those in the villages are impressed. In urbanised Gujarat, the city influence permeates the smaller towns and villages. “At Ahmedabad’s malls, you’ll find that almost one-fourth of the visitors are from the towns and villages,” says Achyut Yagnik, a noted social scientist. “Modi knows just how to rope them in.”

For Tejasvi Surya, a law student from Bangalore who runs the Arise India Movement, the Modi model is the only way. Good education, well-paying jobs and security, he says, are the prerequisites for national success. Fed up with Mayawati, Laloo and Mulayam, he sees Modi as a game-changer of sorts.

 
 
It works to Modi’s advantage that young voters haven’t seen Gujarat under any regime other than the BJP’s.
 
 
To what does Modi owe his overwhelming influence? The absence of an alternative surely plays a role. Equally so, young people seem in thrall of a leader who’s markedly different in speech and action. By projecting himself as a no-nonsense authoritarian, Modi has pitched himself in contrast to the usual image of the Indian politician—corrupt, and ineffective, says Subrata Chakraborty, managing director of Brand Curry Communications, Delhi. “His out-of-the-box thinking of possibilities is what the youth define as creative.”

Many are unable to explain Modi’s appeal outside Gujarat. Rajeev Bhargava, a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, says it’s only those youngsters who see no merit in democracy, who are simplistic or individualistic and see social diversity as an impediment who see relevance in Modi’s policies. And Shah points to the deception in building Modi up: “They haven’t seen the Gujarat of the 1980s and have been brainwashed into believing that everything in Gujarat has been achieved by him. The poor, the welfare state—these have never been part of Modi’s vision.”

The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995. Those who started voting in recent years haven’t seen Gujarat under any other regime. The Modi model is all they know; they say it works. His  young fans outside Gujarat think the 2002 riots are unpardonable, but it’s time to move on and Modi is helping Gujarat do just that. “The last 10 years in Gujarat have been prosperous and riot-free. Which other state has recorded such progress?” asks Manohar Sitaram, a design engineer from Bangalore.

After Modi’s victory, analysts speak of the need to assess him afresh, without demonisation. Modi should be assessed “correctly and dispassionately”, says Angshuman Sarkar, who teaches sociology at Presidency College, Calcutta. But is it possible—and is it right—to forget a horrendous communal riot and focus only on the developmental present? Prof A.S. Mathew, who teaches humanities at IIM Kozhikode, diagnoses why it doesn’t seem to matter to the young: “The young have no idea of history, are becoming overtly religious and have stopped thinking critically.”

COMMENTS PRINT
gujarat polls
The Gujarat strongman does it thrice in a row. More modest than he’d have liked, but he’ll no doubt make a play for India’s top job.
Saba Naqvi
gujarat polls
Will the Congress finally ask itself tough questions now?
Cover Story
The hill kingdom was only cause for cheer for Congress
Prarthna Gahilote
opinion
The Congress is left to count its gains; Modi’s success infuses a certain piquancy into the choices the NDA has to make in the run-up to 2014
Harish Khare
rss and modi
Modi’s big bang victory has neutralised, at least for now, the Sangh’s opposition to him
Prarthna Gahilote
Interview
Once a force to reckon with in the BJP, the man who called Vajpayee a mukhota
Panini Anand
opinion
By plotting a development course, Modi created pro-incumbency
Nirmala Sitharaman
victims
Amidst all the cheer for Narendra Modi, dissenting voices—not just Muslims, but Gujaratis of all backgrounds.
Panini Anand
muslims
A climate of fear combined with Congress ineptitude drove Muslims to Modi
Pragya Singh
Interview
The director of Final Solution, a searing documentary on the 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat
Namrata Joshi
women/youth
Modern, city-dwelling women of Gujarat adore Modi and seem to think he can do no wrong
Neha Bhatt
opinion
Only one voice in Gujarat, said the visiting prince. How wrong he was.
Shiv Visvanathan
the middle class
Arch-deliverer of progress: Modi fits the bill. The middle class wants nothing more.
Debarshi Dasgupta
Modi & india inc
Big industry, Modi feed off each other in win-win relationship
Lola Nayar
MEDIA
Modi made it impossible for the media to ignore him
Anuradha Raman
Cover Story/ opinion
Anti-Modi crusaders run their rabid campaigns blindfolded
Madhu Purnima Kishwar

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