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Reviewed by Probir Chandra Das

Published : Saturday, 30 March, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 828



The Book that makes us dream big...

Being selected a member of the Bangladesh Youth Delegation 2023, I had the opportunity to visit India from February 25 to March 4, 2024.  During the weeklong visit to India, we the 100-member delegation explored various aspects of Indian culture and development. In the farewell ceremony arranged by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Delhi, India we were given a book titledModi@20 as gift. I could not but started reading the book and sharing my insights. Narendra Modi took office on October 7, 2001, as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, marking the beginning of his elected tenure.

By 2024, he had completed an unprecedented 23 years in continuous leadership, serving twelve and a half years as Chief Minister and over nine as Prime Minister of India. This longevity in elected positions is a remarkable occurrence, not only within the context of Indian politics but also globally, with few comparable instances in democratic systems worldwide.
However, at the age of 68, Narendra Modi is reportedly considered a youth icon by the largest democracy in the world, a testament to his ability to resonate with and inspire people across different age groups.

The book consists of five sections and twenty-one chapters, with each chapter authored by a distinguished expert in the respective fields including politics (Amit Shah), sports (PV Sindhu), arts (Anupam Kher), economics (Arvind Panagariya) and religious and spiritual thinkers (Amish Tripathi). These chapters delve into their specific topics comprehensively, spanning the entire twenty-year period relevant to each subject, presented in a fluid narrative that seamlessly connects the dots.

Interestingly, its five main sections too represent the pillars of governance - People First, Politics of Unity and Development, Jan Dhan: An Economy for Everyone, A New Paradigm in Governance and Vasudaiva Kutumbakam: India and the World.
In the opening chapter titled "Why Modi is the Undisputed Youth Icon," Indian badminton champion PV Sindhu sets the tone by elucidating the essence of "Modi magic." Through personal anecdotes, she illustrates how Prime Minister Modi has catalysed a shift in attitude from asking "kaisehoga" (how will it be done) to asserting "hogakaisenahi" (how can it not get done).

Shobana Kamineni from the Apollo Group delves into the topic of womens empowerment. Prime Minister Modis initiatives, such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, are highlighted as significant steps towards empowering women and girls education. Modis focus on promoting women entrepreneurship through initiatives like Jan Dhan, MUDRA, and Stand-Up India is highlighted.

Economist Surjit Bhalla employs an academic lens to examine Modis policies, assessing their reach to marginalized populations and their effectiveness in poverty alleviation. Modis tenure has been marked by a focus on development and programs aimed at uplifting the poor.

In his chapter titled "Modi, The Bhagirath Prayasi," Amish Tripathi articulates that Prime Minister Modi is spearheading the construction of a future India deeply anchored in its historical roots. Drawing inspiration from the countrys rich civilizational heritage, Modi emphasizes Indias standing not merely as a nation-state but as a civilizational state.

Home Minister Amit Shah, providing unique insight, navigates the political journey of the BJP under Modis guidance. The chapter extensively discusses Modis leadership and his impact on Indian politics, particularly within the BJP. It highlights Modis deep connection to the partys manifesto, which he views as sacred, and his transformative leadership in Gujarat, which he later scaled up to the national level.

Pradeep Gupta, a trusted Psephologist, who illuminates how Modi has fundamentally transformed the landscape of Indian elections through empirical data and statistical analysis.

Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran examines Modis capacity to envision ambitious goals and implement them on a large scale. The Indian government has developed many digitization initiatives, including BHIM UPI, CoWIN, and RuPay card. These initiatives have helped India improve its competitiveness index scores, broken through data silos, and enabled the formation of multi-stakeholder ecosystems.

Professor Arvind Panagariya, a highly esteemed economist, delves into the process of economic reforms under Modis leadership. The author worked as the first vice chairman of NITI Aayog during his first term and believes that India has substantial scope for growth through existing technologies.

Dr Shamika Ravi employs data analysis to explore microeconomic aspects and Modis efforts to empower the underprivileged. Uday S Kotak concludes this section by discussing the importance of respecting and fostering wealth creators in Modis economic philosophy. Under Modis leadership, India has witnessed significant improvements in its Ease of Doing Business ranking and Global Innovation Index, reflecting efforts to create a friendly environment for investment and growth.

Ajay Mathur examines the seamless balance between development and environmental conservation characteristic of the Modi era. India under Modi has been active in climate change mitigation efforts, with significant investments in renewable energy and efforts to reduce emissions.

Anupam Kher articulates why Modi, despite political scepticism, emerges as the most trusted figure in times of crisis. It highlights his proactive approach, personal involvement, and efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of Indian citizens, both domestically and abroad. Modis leadership style is characterized by swift action, cooperation between the central and state governments, and prioritization of national interest.

Dr Devi Shetty analyses the governance response to the COVID-19 pandemic from a medical perspective. Amidst grappling with the repercussions of a pandemic that has claimed nearly 5.4 million lives worldwide, Indias vaccination campaign stands out as one of the largest on the global stage. As of the end of December 2021, over 817 million individuals had received at least one vaccine dose, with more than 601 million people fully vaccinated.

Sadhguru Jaggi elucidates the role of mass movements as force multipliers in governance. The text you provided reflects a viewpoint on the current state of democracy in India, particularly under the leadership of Narendra Modi, and outlines aspirations for the future. His ability to connect with the aspirations of the people, particularly through initiatives like "Development through Public Participation," is highlighted.

Sudha Murty eloquently narrates the transformative story of the "Winds of Change" during the Modi years, offering insights into the societal shifts. The chapter mentions several initiatives spearheaded by Prime Minister Modis government, such as the vaccination program, success in the Olympics, promotion of start-ups and unicorns, distribution of smokeless gas to rural areas, and the Jan Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval provides a detailed and comprehensive account of national security matters under Modis tenure. Modis foreign policy prioritizes Indias national interests while fostering strong diplomatic relations with key partners globally. He emphasizes economic cooperation, defence collaboration, and strategic partnerships with countries across various regions.

Indias External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, outlines Modis foreign policy achievements since 2014 and presents a vision for Indias position in the global community moving forward. Modis Neighbourhood First policy aims to strengthen Indias relations with its neighbours through enhanced connectivity, development cooperation, and diplomatic engagement.
Modi seeks to change the global perception of India by showcasing its capabilities, contributions, and potential. Initiatives such as Make in India, Start-up India, and the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme aim to enhance Indias economic relevance and attractiveness for investment.

Naysayers and critics may hastily dismiss this book as propaganda, a common tendency for any party in power. However, it is imperative for such individuals to reconsider their stance and engage with the book in its entirety. Doing so will enable them to grasp the depth and diversity of information presented, appreciating the anecdotal nature that adds richness to its content.

Probir Chandra Das is an Assistant Secretary at the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh (UGC

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