Remember The Silence Of The Lambs?
It was a 1991 film where an FBI agent seeks the help of a serial killer in prison in order to deal with another serial killer roaming free. This article is not about the film. However, it might sound similar.
This piece is about a man who projected himself to be an alternative to his ‘mute’ predecessor but has ended up being muter.
It has been over 35 days since the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed in the Parliament by the Amit Shah-led (errr?) government. Incidentally, the protests against it began a week prior to that in parts of Assam, Tripura and the northeast. Also, it has been 30 days since the Delhi Police opened fire inside the premises of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
It has been over 25 days since the casualty figures of 17 from Uttar Pradesh surfaced on the internet, and 12 days since masked men and women entered Jawaharlal Nehru University and brutally attacked the students, teachers and vandalised public property. And lastly, 9 days since the Hindu Raksha Dal claimed responsibility for the attack.
All this and the Prime Minister of the biggest democracy is silent. Of course, he has spoken at various rallies ever since but his silence continues to remain the loudest voice in the country. Ironically, Modi was a vocal critic of Manmohan Singh’s similar silence.
To be honest, the country doesn’t expect him to speak up or stand up either. Instead, they expect him to go around the country, blame the opposition, play the victim card, shed some tears, win an election, tweet about the importance of dissent and finally impose Section 144 to crush it. In that regard, he scores well.
When it is about evoking sympathy for himself, he is a notch higher than the best actors in the country, say like Irrfan Khan. While it is about showing sympathy for the plight of farmers, the rampant rate of lynching or the never-ending atrocities on women and the Dalit community, he seems to embody a performance like that of Tusshar Kapoor’s. One might argue that Tusshar is not a bad actor. I agree that Modi is also not a bad actor.
It is indicative of both his weakness and arrogance; weakness of being called an able orator and yet lacking the ability to engage with protestors and the arrogance of believing that he truly is an able orator.
The common argument from his supporters is the lack of time.
“He is the Prime Minister of the entire nation! How can he talk about everything?”
And this is the reason that he has stopped talking entirely?
Narendra Modi sure does have time to tweet birthday greetings and New Year greetings but he is supposedly too busy to reach out to the protestors in Assam, Shaheen Bagh, Azad Maidan, JNU, Jamia or anywhere else, it seems.
Unfortunately, for him, the truth is that it is never about the time. It is always about courage. He knows he cannot have a discussion. He knows he cannot engage with dissent. He just knows he cannot.
The truth also is that it seems he has finally come to terms with his incompetence. The problem with his incompetence is that it is a proud one. The pride of it is fed to him by millions of his blind supporters who celebrate mediocrity in the name of leadership.
The missed call service and the political use of a religious monk to reaffirm their policy clearly shows the existence of a tremendous urge to prove themselves as the righteous one.
As each of their policies kept receiving backlash, their insecurity began eating them up and hence the urge kept multiplying – so much so, that today it is plain stupidity.
I believe both Narendra Modi and his government lack empathy, are high on ego, and if not anything else, need to break away from silence and engage with dissenters with humility. That is, only if they have a spine and courage. It is now or never for the lamb to speak up.