‘thank you!’ THE pain and plight in the words of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi were obvious to all when he sought the nation’s forgiveness for having imposed on the people tough decisions as the Government braced itself to deal with the coronavirus challenge. As he verbalised these feelings in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, the nation was moved. There was no question of any forgiveness. Much to the contrary, the nation was thanking the Prime Minister for having led the battle against the deadly virus from the front and standing before the people time and again to assure them of the good intentions of the Government. In these past some days of the grim battle against COVID-19, the Prime Minister kept thanking people for extending the fullest possible cooperation to the Government despite the difficulties they faced due to lock-down. In that sense, there was no question of forgiving the Prime Minister.
For, what prevailed in the country on such an unimaginably massive scale was an atmosphere of mutual gratitude that India was handling the challenge quite successfully and effectively. The country had not seen and sensed any likeness of this atmosphere for a long, long time. Yet, the Prime Minister’s voice was weighed down with emotion when he sought the people’s forgiveness. Of course, he also expressed confidence that the people would forgive him.
That confidence stemmed from the innate faith he had in the rightness of the measures the Government has taken. That faith also stemmed from the innate faith in the people’s goodwill. And the people in general understood all those emotional nuances immediately. Very few countries around the world would have had such an atmosphere of togetherness in such critical times when emotions are generally frayed and mutual distrust dominates common mood. Yet, India has demonstrated its innate collective strength in the past few weeks -- the credit for which is shared by both the people and the leadership. It is in such an atmosphere that gratitude is the most dominant emotion governing the people’s mood and the leadership’s might. The most benevolent facet of the Prime Minister’s effort to seek forgiveness from people was the response the people gave to his transparent honesty. Most people who heard the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on Sunday felt that seeking forgiveness was totally unnecessary. That feeling is actually the foundation of India’s social democracy.
That feeling is also the core value of Indian polity. ‘Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, you did seek forgiveness -- especially from the poor people who are suffering more. But there is need for that. In fact, we thank you for all the effort, for all the candidness with which you are dealing with the situation’ -- was what people felt! There is yet another emotional facet of the situation. Responding positively to the Prime Minister’s appeal for donation, citizens leading various fields have opened their purse strings and crores of rupees are pouring in, making people from other countries feel surprised with the altruism that India’s elite class is demonstrating. Media reports also have us believe that intellectual classes in some neighbouring countries are grieving that such an atmosphere is missing in their respective societies. Of course, this internal emotional dynamics of India is being appreciated the world over.
India has been immensely successful in restricting the numbers of affected persons and deaths due to coronavirus, attracting praise from world leaders. In this entire effort, the entire Government is acting as one man -- led by Mr. Narendra Modi and his team. This show of unity, this willingness of the nation to extend full cooperation (minus, of course, a small section that is showing an inexplicable adamance) to the Government, has only one overriding emotion -- THANK YOU!