The most powerful ‘political statement’ ever made in independent India

By: Shreepal Singh

“I am a Fakir; I have nothing but a mere bag! What am I to lose (nothing)! I will pick up my bag and go away (from the scene)”, said Narendra Modi.

It was said by him at a public rally recently after his demonetization move. And people in India have seen political activists – particularly of the nationalists and Socialists brands – keeping such bags hung on their shoulders.

India is a strange country; here people worship the ones who renounce the world and its enchanting riches. In contrast, in the West the people take it granted that there is nothing immoral in enjoying the pleasures of this world. If you become the rich and turn into a showy arrogant, it is a normal part of human personality; if you can afford, and love it, you may marry, divorce, re-marry, re-divorce and marry again … perhaps ad infinitum. There is nothing wrong with such behavior. But in India it is not so.

In India people worship those who make it their business to control their desires; subdue their ego while still in power; renounce the world, while they are king; express their humility, while at the top of the world. They hold him in high esteem who has the courage to become a ‘Fakir’ (mendicant), while he is in a position to remain and enjoy as the king. Gautama Buddha was the son of a king – and was entitled to be anointed as a king – and he renounced the world. It required the courage to control his desires – a normal human weakness – and detachment for something that is higher than becoming a king. Buddha is worshiped in India for this courage (and of course, his spiritual achievement in the form of ‘Enlightenment’).  Same thing applies to Mahavira (he was also the son of a king), Vivekanda (he was the son of a renowned father), Sri Aurobindo (he studied in England and qualified ICS, which was equivalent of IAS of today), Mahatma Gandhi (he was a Barrister, almost professionally settled in South Africa). India is an endless store of such great personalities who had all the opportunities to enjoy life but had the courage to willingly renounce the alluring riches of this world, which were at hand.

Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India and is a ruler, a king in the modern democratic context. If he chooses – and becomes a little accommodative not to challenge the status quo – he can continue enjoying his position undisturbed; but see what he is up to! Challenging the powerful ones who hold black money; trying to make this country’s economy transparent like a glass where nothing can be hidden; turning things up side down for those who have the power of money in India.

Naturally, he cannot go unchallenged at the hands of those who are going to suffer by these measures! He has touched the hornet nest; and, these stingy powerful persons, in league with each other like a virtual swarm of hornets, will do whatever they can do.

The opponents of Modi are already doing, whatever they can do. The crest-fallen powerful persons – who hold huge unaccounted money – are shedding crocodile tears by standing in the queue to change a few hundred old currency notes! Getting no favorable response from the public, such people have climbed down in their attack saying, “Demonetization is right, but its method is wrong, which we object to”.

Narendra Modi said, “I am a Fakir; I have nothing but a mere bag! What am I to lose (nothing)! I will pick up my bag and go away (from the scene)!”

It is a public knowledge that Modi has his mother, dearest of all in his life, but he doesn’t bring her to his Prime Ministerial palace, to which he is entitled without any blemish. He often goes to the village where she lives in a nondescript house and seeks her blessings. It is a public knowledge that he has a brother, an equally dear one, who carries on his simple avocation of running a shop in a small town as before as if the Prime Minister of India has no connection with him. These facts are within the public knowledge; there may be many more – the ones who are not so loved-ones or distant relatives – but none of them has been given an access to the most powerful place in India to reap the undue benefit of their connection. It is called detachment; it is called controlling one’s desires and normal human weaknesses. India loves such quality. When common people in this country contrast this feat of Modi with an equally known political fact – debasement – of his rivals where these mighty bigwigs have already anointed or doing their best to anoint their sons, brothers, cousins, daughters, daughters-in-law, relatives – near and distant both – to the high public offices, these common people feel enchanted with the greatness of this man called Modi. It works like mesmerism on the public psyche in India.

In political arena today no bigwig can dare to say what Modi has said; because no bigwig can dare to say that he or she is a ‘Fakir or mendicant’; because no bigwig can dare to say that he has nothing to lose; because no bigwig has courage to say openly that he is ready to go away from the political scene.

In Indian political arena today, most of these bigwigs are not ‘Fakir’ but – far from it – self-indulgent petty personalities. Most of them cannot afford to say that they have nothing to lose because they are politically nursing their progeny and near-and-dear loved ones. And none of these bigwigs can ever say that he or she is ready to go away from the political scene because they do their utmost to cling to the power.

Modi has said it, people have heard him saying it and, as if an amplification by resonance, Modi has emerged a taller leader than before.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Santanu Dey
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 17:11:03

    Though Indian philosophy is utterly different from the Western hemisphere so far as the definition of a ruler is concerned with diametrically opposite lifestyle and goal in life prescribed for a ruler. In the West also there were sayings like “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” meaning the life of a ruler is by no means a bed of roses but they skimmed the hard parts of life away from the lifestyle of a ruler concluding that a ruler’s life must be comprising of all the human comforts and all the luxuries that can be imagined. But in India it had never been like that except for a small section of our politicians for whom ‘Angrazyat’ got so much saturated in their blood stream that there were not much Indianness left in them except for their skin color, where too a select few were very close to resembling the Westerners. Unfortunately it is such kind of political leaders who grabbed power in India after the British left or rather it would be more appropriate to say that British saw to it that only such people came to power when they left. That is why the main opposition party and to a great extent their other cohorts (majority of whom grew up under the tutelage of the main opposition party of the day) cannot tolerate Narendra Modi questioning what sort of a man is this, how can India’s destiny be left in such a man’s hand even for a day, and if such a man is in power for some length of time what would happen to us if at all we come back to power maybe after a gap of 25/30 years? There wouldn’t be any juice left in the corridors of power for us to make our fortune when we would be needing it so badly after so many years of dry run.



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