The man. The energy. The spirit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking to workers as he inspected the construction work of the new Parliament building in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
By Vijay Phanshikar :
Such energy! Absolutely beyond the common reach -- and common comprehension. In sixty-five hours in the United States and the United Nations, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi had the energy and enthusiasm to have as many as twenty high-power meetings -- upon whose outcome depended the well being of a big chunk of global humanity. And within moments after his return to New Delhi on Sunday afternoon, the Prime Minister had all the time and energy and sense of purpose to hold a two-and-a-half hour meeting with two of his ministerial colleagues, a one-hour meeting immediately afterwards with Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah -- all high-octane encounters, of course! And before the people around came out of that sense of amazement at his insatiable energy, Mr. Narendra Modi got ready in the evening and made a surprise visit to the site of the construction of new building of India’s Parliament, as part of the iconic Central Vista project.
There, he roamed around the site strewn with construction materials, talked to engineers and supervisors, took a close look at the maps that showed the progress of the project work, did not miss meeting with a dozen of workers engaged in various tasks at the site. Donning a white helmet, wearing a mask, and adorning a youthful enthusiasm, smiling, asking incisive questions, waving at crowds of workers, the Prime Minister who completed 71 years of age exactly ten days ago, roamed the place -- inspiring people (and the nation). Such energy! Such enthusiasm! Such commitment to the cause! Even on a normal day, such a schedule would unnerve anybody. But that was hardly a normal day. For, the Prime Minister had just returned from a highly demanding diplomatic tour and gruelling international flight across time-and-datelines. The so-called jet lag did not matter.
The so-called well-deserved rest also did not count in his thought. What mattered was the tasks he had laid out for himself. Of course, things were never simple in the US and the UN. Every word he uttered was heard with rapt attention -- and dissected mercilessly. Every move was watched with a magnifying glass in hand. Every break of his eye-brow, every wave of his hand, every eye-to-eye connect he had with world leaders, every handshake with countless numbers of members of the Indian diaspora was under strict and severe and no-nonsense scrutiny. Naturally, as he did all that -- and held a new light of fresh ideas of multilateralism to the world -- Mr. Narendra Modi had only a few hours of sleep to snap up in the hectic schedule that spanned two-and-a-half days. But his energy was boundless, his enthusiasm was infectious -- in the process winning a Joe Biden accolade of ‘Champion of Earth’. But such accolades matter only incidentally for Mr. Modi, as those who know him closely assert. He is often unmindful of both -- praise and criticism.
But the world -- and also India -- did not miss the sense of pride in the strength of India’s credentials as Mother Of Democracy in Mr. Narendra Modi’s tone during his United Nations General assembly speech. He said, in effect, ‘I need not tell you much about how democracy is ingrained in the Indian consciousness. For otherwise, a little boy who helped his father selling tea at railway station would not have been Chief Minister of a State for a long time and then stood here on as many as four occasions as India’s Prime Minister. ...’ That statement drew big applause from the otherwise frigid gathering of diplomats, and tears from every Indian eye across the world. And that applause, and that outflow of tears, were a tribute to the spirit of India -- and also to the spirit and energy of the man who said those words.