Manmohan Singh’s self-inflicted silence was the talk of the town in his last years as Prime Minister. It was the bane of his existence. It was half the reason Narendra Modi was chosen as his successor – after a PM who, no matter how strong the provocation, wouldn’t open his mouth, what a relief it would be to have one who couldn’t close his.
But when it comes to the really important things, Modi is no different.
The thing with Modi is, you can’t make him talk. Not with his mouth, not with his keyboard. It doesn’t matter what is expected, or even required, he will only talk when it is convenient to him.
It doesn’t matter if students are taken in on charges of sedition, or beaten up outside the RSS office, or if men are killed for storing ‘beef’, it doesn’t even matter if his own party members are on a verbal rampage, the PM will speak when he wants to.
Meanwhile? He’ll pretend the problems don’t exist.
Modi, it is impossible to deny, is a powerful orator. You may not like his style, or even the content of his speeches, but the impact he has on his audience is undeniable. He uses his oration skills to connect with people, and he uses social media more effectively than most men and women in his field. Yet, when he needs to talk, when people – minorities or otherwise – need reassurance from him, he is nowhere to be found.
Manmohan Singh’s silence became a burden for his people, so they chose Modi as his successor – a man who was as loud and talkative as he was fashionable. But soon after taking over, the latter’s silence became just as heavy a burden as his predecessor’s, if not heavier.
But what do I know; I’m just a pseudo-intellectual/secularist who can’t digest the fact that a chaiwallah became PM.