The Narendra Modi interview on NewsX2 min read . Updated: 11 Apr 2014, 07:45 PM IST
A few thoughts on Narendra Modi's epic interview on NewsX, being telecast over many episodes
* It isn’t really an interview so much as stenography in the sense that there is no examination of the politician’s actions or any challenging of his assertions.
It is a sermon, whose sacred utterance is being recorded.
* Interventions from the interviewer come primarily as excited giggles, approving moans, and enthusiastic repeating of Narendra Modi’s words (exactly, one imagines, as in Modi’s Gandhinagar cabinet).
* When he is shown at his first swearing in, Modi holds the paper up but doesn’t read from it. He had rehearsed his oath.
* He loves narrating details of stories that reveal his honesty: I booked a room without the MLA discount, went for swearing-in in a Maruti 800, only use a friend’s car etc. (And all this is only the first 5 minutes).
* He mistrusts journalists and thinks they are all out to get him. He says “media ka kaam Modi ko neecha dikhana hai". More worryingly, he says he actively plans stratagems to ensure they cannot do their job the way they want to.
* The interviewer violates Modi’s trust by showing portions of him boasting about his innocence, while he specifies “Yeh likhne ke liye nahin hai".
* Modi loves talking about his first days in power. How he knew little and how the bureaucrats, those mighty IAS figures, coached him. He didn’t know anything about government at all. But then, Modi turns the story around. It is all an act. Actually he knows everything. Nobody can have conducted meetings with such genius as he did, he says.
* Modi says he doesn’t read files. This I find scary in someone who is so decisive.
He says he cannot govern through “academics studies (sic)" and instead asks his officers to summarise all issues for him, and brief him orally. They tell him, in his words “yeh masla hai kya".
* He is brilliant, according to himself, and was able to figure out the delicate contours of these issues without reading about them. This is because “mera itna grasping tha". It doesn’t seem to occur to him that he is dependent and can be fed as much or as little as the officer wants him to know.
* Modi says he has changed Gujarat’s work culture. Chief ministers before him reported for work at 12. He comes at 9:45. He has abolished all inefficiency through his personal diligence.
* His idea of empowerment is to empower bureaucrats reporting to him, not the elected. There is no mention of the work of any other minister. It would be interesting to count how many times he says “main", “mera" and “meri sarkar".