Thursday, February 5, 2015

An Open Letter to: Sh. Narendra Modi

Respected Sh. Narendra Modi,

First of all, kindly allow me to congratulate you on becoming the Prime Minister of India, world's largest Democracy, also being the world's second largest country in terms of population, and seventh largest in terms of area. This in itself is quite an achievement, as has been hailed by the entire world. Though, I know, I'm quite late in doing so, but, a common man, like me, the ALL POWERFUL COMMON MAN, whose powers come down to a grinding halt the moment he presses that button on that EVM. His powers are captured and stored by the EVM, till someone from the Election Commission comes and collects all the powers collected in those EVM's throughout the constituency or state or the country, and transfers all the powers of all the common and the not so common men and women to one of you people, and make you the ALMIGHTY! Yes ALMIGHTY! Someone who's been vested with power of half a billion population irrespective of the religion, race, caste, creed, colour, language, ethnicity is bound to be ALMIGHTY! Even mightier than the ALMIGHTY, whom, we have so fondly divided by religions, and regions and languages and castes.

A question must have come to your mind, why now? Why am I writing this letter to you at this moment of time, had I not got the time to do that earlier? I would say, sir, I could only gather the courage, and will to do that now. Adding to it, since I can't see a platform where I could have done this earlier, and since it is now that I chose to create a space for myself, using a social media platform, a blog, to do that, I am doing it. I, a citizen of India, a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic, chose to reach out to the prime minister of my country, at a time, I found suitable.

While I heartly appreciate a few initiatives, unique to you, the topmost being your willingness to reach out to the people of the country, you are the head of the state of. Something, you've been doing, since you held office in May, last year, is indeed a quite appreciable an initiative, one that no other leader, atleast in my short span of life since I started to understand political things and the socio-political aspects of a democratic republic like India. Short span? Why? Because the elections, that have happened since I was legally allowed to formally choose whom I found the person fittest enough to rule my constituency, state, or the country in itself, haven't been many. Two General elections and one assembly election is no big a time span to claim myself to be a veteran in this arena of electoral process. But whoever I have chosen to represent myself, among the thousands of others, I am quite proud and I don't regret whoever I voted for, irrespective of whether he/she won or lost.

When I'm talking about the initiatives you and your government has taken, one of them being your Mann Ki Baat, aired over the All India Radio is one appreciable initiative. While we missed any kind of communication from the heads of state of the previous governments, this initiative of yours is quite a welcome one. With this, people come closer to you, and you come closer to people, sharing your thoughts over the radio, a medium, which reaches even to the farthest of the  corners of the country, and even the poorest of  the people can stand by somewhere and listen to your Mann Ki Baat, (ofcourse, if they understand it. I'm not sure whether AIR has made any arrangements to translate it into the native language for the people to understand it.) I am yet to listen to one of those, (except the one you did with President Barack Obama). However, I feel, this initiative has become sort of an oratory discourse, where you speak out whatever you have to and that's it. For what I understand, partnerships, the level at which we intend to create between the government and the public, to bring about a change in the country, and transform it into a better place to live in, has to be two way. And, unless, all the parties involved in are not heard of, unless an elaborate discussion doesn't take place, it is not possible for everyone to work with the same understanding. I hope I'm right.

Again, I saw some efforts being made to take feedback of people too. The site of the Government of India's E-Governance Initiative (, says a lot about the plans of the government to bring in technology into governance, again, quite an admirable effort. But, somewhere, being a citizen, I find myself, a bit cut out of the loop, which the government is trying to create, a loop of information sharing and gathering, one, that the government, finds, an indispensable tool to help it form policy decisions, based on the input of the masses, the activity, organizations like NSSO have traditionally been entrusted on with the task to complete. There were loop holes, as afterall, the people who surveyed too were like other humans. At times, they might have fudged the data, for reasons, well attributable to the human nature. I know this because this has happened in the 2011 Census of India as well, the media highlighted it, the government ordered corrections, and overall, I myself encountered it. So, the traditional ways have been a bit prone to mis-calculations. But, somewhere down the line, I see this new e-governance initiative too not very effective. Infact, this effort, to invite suggestions from people is online, one has to create an account to be able to put forth their suggestions, opinions. How does this new e-governance initiative take into consideration the not so well to do populace, those who do not have access to proper education, sanitation, food and water, let alone going online to share their views on stuff that's greater to their own self. For example, you say, you used to be a tea seller. How do you expect the other tea sellers to make their sentiments reach you? Atleast I am unaware of a way for them to do that. If there is one in place, and is functioning properly, I would like to know of one. In case it isn't there, I would like to ask, isn't it their right too to give their inputs in the process of policy making, so that they too could reap the benefits of living in a democratic country, which is sovereign, secular, socialist and a republic too? I would further like you to kindly take steps to include these not-so-well-to-do masses to be able to give their inputs in building the country.

Now, I think it'll be better for me to try and talk about a few highlighters, a few points, I thought worth discussing here.

1. Secularism: Just because the very nature of the masses India as a country is comprised of, we here, have people of almost all walks of life, ethnicities, religious beliefs, and as far as I understand, it is the responsibility of the government to protect the interests of people and their fundamental right, a right imparted to us,  by the constitution, to freely practice our religious beliefs, without any fear whatsoever. Bharatiya Janata Party, maybe because of it's parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), has always been seen as a pro-Hindu political party. Whatever the reason be, now since the party is in power, ruling a secular, socialist, and a democratic country, it's responsibilities have increase manifold. Just when I see you sitting in the Prime Minister's chair, after what happened in 2002 in Gujarat, and what all you were accused of, I am forced to believe that people have forgotten and forgiven the Gujarat incident. They have moved on, which is quite visible from the fact that your party won with shattering numbers. Now, since they have believed in you, I guess, it becomes one of your moral responsibilities to justify their belief in you. While I do not have any complaint with you, as you've been projected as someone, who's been trying to be in control, doing what a Prime Minister should do, and I do believe, you are doing that sincerely.

However, I fail to understand how one of your ministers, and party leaders, sitting at quite prominent positions, always come up with quite controversial statements; everytime controversy on one of the previous statements subdues, one of your ministers or party members come up with a new one. With your position being quite prominent and given the control you are supposed to have inside the government, and given the fact that the remaining party leadership seems to be standing in your support, it baffles me as to how is it that any of your instructions and/or suggestions to your party members and ministers to try not to make any controversial statements, seems not to be having any effect on any of them.

As visible is the situation created by RSS and other similar organizations, which, of late have been involved in quite controversial actions, which clearly is against and in clear violation of the fundamental rights of to every citizen of India. The Ghar Wapasi programmes to "re-convert" people from other religions is a clear indication of what I am talking about. Just like a few incidents, that have taken place here in Delhi have left me thinking. In the last two months, there have been five incidents of damages to chruches, and the Delhi Police, which directly comes under the Central Government, i.e. under you, fails to solve all but one. Additionally, the recent unnecessary situation created by the actions, in the past few days, the one related to the Constitution of India's Preamble, the 42nd Amendment, which, is said to have done during the Emergency period by the Smt. Indira Gandhi government. I mean what is the problem if the constitution of a democratic republic and sovereign country assures all of its citizens of an absolute impartiality in providing them a piece of land, a place, where they are free to live, worship, as their religious preferences, and will. Why has one to create a situation out of a non-situation? There are lots of bigger issues to solve.

2. Delhi Assembly Elections: Everyday, we are moving closer to the day we will be out pressing that button in front of one of the election symbols, and transfer the powers we have, to one of the people standing out there who will rule us for the next five years, treating us like shitheads, making us wait in long traffic jams because he or she is a VVIP and the Delhi Police and Delhi Traffic Police have to ensure that this VVIP doesn't get to see even a single minute of traffic jam, and in the process, ensuring hours of traffic jams for us, powerless people. You don't believe me? Please ask one of the incharges managing the Traffic Departments, as how really you get that sparkling clean and clear roads, at the peak time of traffic movement on a Monday morning. I guess the traffic police doesn't care keeping a record of that. We understand that at times it's quite important, but isn't it possible for a single person, or a delegation of 10-15 people to adjust their schedule to save thousands of not-so-important persons, hours of long traffic snarls, on a Monday morning.

Coming back to Ms. Kiran Bedi, who has recently been announced the Chief Ministerial candidate of BJP for Delhi Assembly Elections, 2015. Even after being a prospective voter in Delhi, I do not know much about Ms. Bedi, except a few things, which are in public domain about her. But, as the whole of media is already saying, your party did respond to the situation quite late, and hence, this seems to be quite an ineffective step in your campaign to the Delhi Assembly. A lot of these media houses and political analysts have gone on to say that this (introduction of Ms. Kiran Bedi as the Chief Ministerial candidate) has turned out to be a favour in disguise for Aam Aadmi Party. Just a few days back, I happened to watch an interview of Ms. Bedi with Mr. Ravish Kumar, one of the journalists I believe in quite much, owing to the topics he deals, and within him, I can see an honest person, with whom, I can connect with in a much better way. I am sorry to say that the impression Ms. Kiran Bedi had on me, during and after that sub 20 minute interview, wasn't quite good. Not good enough to turn me, as a voter in Delhi, in her support. The strictness I could hear in her voice, her attitude while talking to such a senior journalist, honestly speaking, I was pretty much intimidated with her personality. I guess, her tenure being an IPS officer, has left quite an irrevocable mark on her personality. An ideal person, in my view, for being a Chief Minister, or any other person, responsible for public administration, needs to be soft at heart, and understanding, which, I regret to say, I can't find Ms. Kiran Bedi having any of such qualities. Maybe, I am wrong, but, being a common man, I guess, I have got the freedom to be wrong.

Further moving towards the election campaigning your party has been doing, I have a few things to say to you. Just when trying to compare a few of your promises with the ones your opponents like the INC and the AAP, I fail to find any of your promises to be outdoing those of your opponents. More than that, since AAP was the one to jump in election campaigning first of you all, it appears that most of the points raised by one of the two opponents of AAP are mere extensions to their's. Maybe, this is just what I am thinking, as most of the matters are common, like electricity, water women security and such issues. Just like, in my last open letter to Sh. Arvind Kejriwal, I would like to know how are you going to go ahead implementing those promises, if your party is voted to power? Women Security, a much heated issue, one that has turned out to be a game changer in the recent elections, isn't an issue which can be solved by merely installing CCTV security cameras throughout the city, or even in the entire country. Just similar is the situation when it comes to unchecked growth of traffic in Delhi, the city, you and your party has been portraying to be made a smart city. Smart? Really? Entering Delhi from one of the entry points from Ghazipur Near Delhi-Ghaziabad border, Ohkla, near Delhi-Faridabad border and the third one at Bhalaswa, near the GTK Bypass, greet the visitors visiting Delhi with mounds of stinking garbage, the city generates everyday, and the hundreds of dumper trucks plying to and from the city carrying this waste and dumping it there. Though, there is nothing you could have done to prevent that, a smart city needs to have its own ways and methods of waste management, power generation, and fulfilling most of the requirements of its residents. The situation brought about by the introduction of Grameen Sewa, by the previous government, and the introduction of E-rickshaws, and subsequent approval provided by your government, with the introduction of the special E-Rickshaw Sewa Scheme, your government introduced in Delhi, ahead of the Assembly elections, to tackle the stay put on by the Hon'ble Delhi High court on plying of these rickshaws. Actually, that was something that should have done after proper discussions and expert opinions should have been sought on this topic, and a systematic implementation plan should have been thought out to properly implement introduction of such vehicles.

3. Easing Inflation: In a few hoardings, put up for the purpose of campaigning for the party, I saw that alongside your picture, your party claims to have effectively eased out inflation. I do not know where the governments get their data from, because, for a common man like me, inflation has only risen. Like for example, if I consider prices of vegetables, we had summer of '14 under your government. And at that time, we were forced to purchase potatoes at Rs. 40 a kilogram, with the vendors threatening us of further rise in prices. Same was the case with onions, tomatoes and other such veggies. Talking of the current times, i.e. winters, the veggies, particularly green peas, cauliflower, cabbages, etc, are always at Rs. 40 a kg. I mean what's the point of having winter vegetables when you are forced to buy them at almost the prices these are sold off in summers? Gone are the days when we could buy green peas, and other such winter veggies at Rs. 20 per kg, same is the case with other grocery items, be it flour, sugar, pulses or anything else, but your party still claims to have eased out inflation. Atleast they should consider the fact that, in the eyes of the common people, you've got some credibility, which they are tarnishing with such false claims, along with your photo. Why is it that you have to make tall false claims to win you votes, instead of your work doing that for you? With Inflation numbers, I am forced to consider the game of price change of Petroleum products. The world, by far has seen the decline in the global crude oil prices by almost 50 percent. The previous government, while giving a clarification of roll out of a market controlled regime for sale of petroleum products, at a time crude oil was at its peak, had said that this was done so that the prices we pay for the petroleum products are controlled by the global crude oil prices, which clearly means that we were to pay higher prices if the global crude oil prices surged. What happened too the other side of the coin. Your government took over around 10 months back, and almost since then, the global crude oil prices saw a steady decline, so much so that in prices were recorded at their lowest levels for as many as 5-6 years. We paid higher prices if the crude costed more, what happened to the lowering of the costs in tandem with the lowering crude oil costs? Why was the government in a hurry to fill their pockets with increased VAT on the sales of petroleum products instead of passing on that benefit to the consumer? Shouldn't the prices of petrol and diesel we pay for in retail should have fallen in relation to the fall in the global oil prices? Then why should we pay more when the prices are higher and shouldn't expect to pay less when the prices are lower?

For my readers, I have taken out some figures on the global crude oil price, (as shown by Brent Crude, an index most widely used, the world over for benchmarking the global crude oil prices) and the figures of Petrol and Diesel, we had here in Delhi.

Comparision of percentage change in prices of Global Crude Oil, Petrol and Diesel in Delhi

* While utmost care has been taken for generation of this comparative analysis chart, we claim no responsibility for any error in the figures, and the resulting graph.
Methodology followed:
Brent Crude, an important benchmarking index used for sale and purchase of Crude Oil globally has been considered for this comparision.
Retail Petrol and Diesel Prices in Delhi has been taken into account for generation of this comparative analysis chart. The prices as on the revision dates since January 03, 2014 till February 05, 2015 have been taken into consideration.
For calculation of Percentage Change, the prices (for crude, petrol and diesel) as on January 03, 2014 has been taken as a base.
Prices of Brent Crude has been considered as per the dates, revisions of Petrol and diesel have been notified by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. In case the prices of brent crude are unavailable for one particular date, the Brent Crude price index for the immediate previous date for which it was available has been taken into account.

So, as is visible from the above illustrated graph, In the last one year, starting January 03, 2014, the prices of crude oil have fallen globally by around 50 percent, with the highest fall being recorded in January 16, 2015, a fall of 53.07 percent, taking price as on January 03, 2014 as a base price. The price has increased a bit and the latest revision of petrol and diesel prices the crude oil was 49.33 percent lower than the January 03, 2014 base price. This being said, the prices of Diesel and Petrol have not seen the same amount of change in the price cuts, as is evident from the graph. While, for Diesel, till around October 15, 2014, the Diesel prices were still being decontrolled from the government controlled pricing regime, Petrol, which was decontrolled with immediate effect, way back in 2013 too didn't see the amount of change it should have seen.

Cutting it off, I would like to move on the other point. During my graduation days, I once happened to visit Gujarat, on an educational excursion, that was part of our undergraduate programme, and this was in late 2007. The itinerary of the trip needed us to do a socio-economic survey in one of the remote villages. And, even though, having quite reservations about you as a person, was quite impressed with the development you and your government did in such remote villages. With the villagers claiming to have access to electricity around 20 hours a day, with satellite TV (cable) connections in most of the households, it was can eye opener, when I compared my native village in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, which still can't manage to get even 4 hours of electricity properly. This makes me move on to another question, which, I happen to ponder over, at times. Please allow me to take that in the next point.

4. Socio-Economic Development: Why is it necessary to have government of the same political party in a state, as is there at the centre? What do I intend to say is that, who else can be a better example against this stereotypical notion than you? You did a great job in Gujarat during your tenure there as the Chief Minister. Most of this tenure was during the UPA regime at the centre. If what you did in Gujarat can be done with a state and the union government of different political parties, why have you been claiming that having government of the same political party ensures better socio-economic development at the state level. Agreed that it is beneficial, as governments of the same political party works in tandem, in co-operation towards a common goal, and thus, chances of differences within the state government and the union government are supposed to be minimal. What I understand as an ideal situation is, once a government is formed, it becomes the government of the state or the country, and its responsibilities towards the state heavily outweigh that towards the political party that formed it. Am I wrong? If I am not wrong, then why two governments of two different political parties can't work with mutual understanding towards a common goal, I.e. growth and prosperity of the people who voted them to power? Why has it to be same political party's government throughout the country for all the regions to grow and prosper uniformly?

5. Other Initiatives: A few of your other initiatives like the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, the renewed E-Governance Initiative, the initiative for the girl child, and a bunch of other initiatives, are quite great ones, in the sense that previous governments have mostly neglected most of such issues. The Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, for instance, was quite a novel idea, since it is important for each one of us to give out contribution towards a cleaner surroundings for ourselves. The scale at which this mission was launched last year, drew attention of lots of people, and the chains you started by nominating personalities from Sports, Cinema and other areas, had it really going. I however find that the ambitions mission which started off with such a fanfare has gradually died. Most of the netas who got themselves photographed holding the broom are missing. Things are not being taken that seriously, as they should have been, after a couple of months of start off of such an ambitious programme. The biggest problem is, as I have always maintained, it's not just the government's sole responsibility to do this. The government can work as a facilitator to help people do that themselves. The initiative has to be taken by people, and as we, the people of India, normally do, we forget our responsibilities, just remember reminding others of theirs. The save  the girl child initiative too is a great one, with you officially starting it from Haryana, where the sex ratio is dangerously low. This is just not about making people aware of the situation. It's about enforcement of laws too. When we have a law prohibiting pre-natal sex determination, why do we still see so many cases of female foeticide? There are people working behind the scenes, that make that possible. The government needs to put up a check on these people, who, out of their sheer greed for money, are doing this heinous crime. Tall claims related to measures taken up in the name of women security have turned out to be jokes, in the light of the sustained graph of serious crimes against women. Doesn't this by far, open up the government's claims in this regard?

A few days back, a newspaper headlines carried news saying CCTV cameras to be put up in trains. Sir, first please make the trains safe enough to run properly and on time. What would the CCTV cameras do? catch criminals? save women? What will the police do when a crime has been committed, and the accused absconding? The case will go in cold storage and then, the CCTV cameras and evidence will go wasted, and the victim, broken. In the 68 years since independence, we have not been able to stop armed dacoity of entire trains, in parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, and we talk about CCTV cameras for women security? Have one of your ministers tried travelling in a reserved train coach, without using the VIP quota, after trying to book a ticket himself? Once one of them try that, they'll come to know the ground realities. Just do a visit to one of the railway stations in the capital city, which, you have envisioned as a smart city, and three of the city's many railway stations, as "World Class" railway stations. Just take a look at how people get stuffed in general class coaches, and also the sleeper class coaches get stuffed by those who can't fit in in the general class coaches.

6. Dying Plans: As many a plans you have announced, most of these plans are appearing to be dying a silent death. Be it the plan to clean up the Ganga river, the matter of bringing back black money back to India, or some other schemes. No concrete result seems to be coming out of any of these plans. I know it's too early for me to say anything, or for much of a progress to show up, but,  atleast something should have come up, when works on these plans are going on? Be it the promise to bring back the black money stashed abroad, depositing the sum of Rs. 14 lakh in each Indian's bank account, a claim you did in one of your public meetings during your campaigning for the General Elections, things seem to have gone silent.

Finishing this off, I would like to say, a lot of policies of your government are great, no doubt. We infact had the President of the United States of America to be the Chief Guest for our republic day celebrations this year, one of the many firsts, one of our governments haven't been able to do in some past years. Your term started off with beginning of a new era of forging better relations with countries of the world, which is good for the country in the long run. But when I try comparing the things you and your party opposed as an opposition, in UPA's regime, and the things you have carried forward, of that of UPA regime, I become doubtful. Why doubtful? Because, a number of things which have carried on for decades altogether, have been scrapped, like the Planning Commission, for example. The Aadhar Scheme, which, as I've heard, you had some of your reservations with, has been adopted. The DBTL initiative of the UPA government has been taken over, implemented, though after a change of it's name to PAHAL, and I guess some other things in its working too. Sir, Gajar ka Halwa doesn't need LPG connection as the utmost priority. It needs gajar (carrots), which, due to inflation are retailing at around Rs. 40 a kg. How will a daily wage worker, who earns just a 100 or 150 rupees in a metro like Delhi (and believe me, there are thousands who are earning that much, even less), be able to purchase the Gas Cylinder paying a 1000 bucks, and then waiting for the subsidised amount to be refunded back to his bank account?

Having a 56 inch chest isn't something absolutely necessary to make one a great leader, that 56 inch chest should have a 4 inch heart too inside.

I hope, being an ordinary citizen of the country, I have my right to come forward and share my views with the prime minister of my country, on his governance. I appreciated some of your initiatives, I criticised some of the things I found worth criticising. I sincerely believe in you. I sincerely believe that you will take us to new heights of development, and hopefully, I will be out there, on one of the polling booths, in 2019, to vote for you, assured that whatever the result may be, I chose the right candidate to represent me, and the billions like me, to the whole world, to show them the India of the Future.

Jai Hind.


  1. All other points aside, Modi (if he happens to read this letter) will surely be hurt by this particular line -- "that 56 inch chest should have a 4 inch heart too inside" :D :D

    1. Thanks for your visit, Amit. Whatever he thinks, if he happens to read this, it doesn't matter much. What matters is that I felt so, and expressed it here. :P