Here is an open letter from Senior Pakistani Journalist Naila Inayatwhere she throws some light on “Modi Wave in Pakistan”. The article was published in DailyO. We may or may not agree to every point which she stated but it’s definitely worth a read.
Few weeks back, on an election trail in Bihar, Indian journalist Shivam Vij in an article for Huffington Post India reported that in Darbhanga, north Bihar a Rajput told him that “there is a Modi wave even in Pakistan! Even in Lahore they want Modi…”
Thousands of miles away from Lahore a certain Rajput knows about the Modi wave in Pakistan and the pulse of the Pakistanis.
“No other Indian prime minister has had such an impact on India-Pakistan relations before. The day he was elected I predicted that he’ll create problems for Pakistan,” screams a TV news show host.
“Modi is a household name in Pakistan, he’s more popular here than in India,” tells Naveed a local shopkeeper in Lahore. “Why should we be against him? In fact he can bring in good business for us as well.”
We, the people of Pakistan and Narendra Modi — the politician and the Indian prime minister — are in a turbulent relationship. As much we dislike the idea of Modi being called the “most powerful prime minister in the history of India”, we still consider it important to keep a close check on his activities.
We’re well aware of who he’s taking selfies with, his yoga regimen, which designer suit he wore when he hosted Obama, which ‘friendly’ Muslim countries he’s been visiting (what information he got from them and used against us), hand how he became teary-eyed when he spoke about his mother’s struggle.
Actually, we’re like that desi pesky mother-in-law who keeps record of all the wrongs of her daughter-in-law (read Modi), yet pretends she doesn’t care about her activities anymore and has no strings attached.
We essentially don’t have an argument when it comes to politicians. At home we’re used to of blaming our politicians with charges of corruption, treason, incompetency and nepotism. We, the urban middle-class, don’t like the idea of a powerful politician calling all the shots. Let’s say we are accustomed to seeing a toothless political prime minister struggling to make his presence felt.
Our disdain for Modi essentially stems out of our bias towards politicians and democracy. Our jealousy for the guts of the Indian democracy, where even an erstwhile tea seller, goes on to occupy the highest seat of power in the country. Our frustration over how the mandate of the majority political party is accepted and no one works through the judiciary or dharnas to derail the system.
While the political Indian prime minister gets to decide whether he wants to be friends or enemies with Pakistan, the political Pakistani prime minister finds it hard to sell home his idea of being friends with India.
In the run-up to the 2014 elections, section of the mainstream media and the Pakistani liberals wanted Modi to become the prime minister for they believed that only a powerful man on the top could take forward the dialogue process. Unlike, Manmohan Singh whom Pakistanis thought was too weak for the purpose.
Similarities were drawn between the two ruling Right-wing parties, PMLN and BJP, and the two head of governments, Modi and Sharif. How like any other man from subcontinent, both the PMs loved their mothers and both had an eye for business and trade. But the contradiction was seen in the powers of both.
It seems the obsession with Modi will continue in Pakistan till the time there is a powerful political prime minister (like Modi) who is permitted to work on his policies.
Till then, here we are in Lahore “waiting for Modi”.