Published: 28th May 2019
Slow Clap: Why you should consider naming your newborn Narendra Modi
The elections are over and the course is set — at least for the next five years. Our love and respect for our politicians and the Supreme Leader will only grow from now on
An Indian couple named their newborn son Narendra Damodardas Modi, as an honour, they said, to the Indian Prime Minister's victory in the recently concluded general elections. But you can't help but imagine that it might be odd for the kid when he grows up, goes to school and says that his name is Narendra Damodardas Modi but his parents are Mustaq Ahmed and Mainaz Begum.
Apparently, Mainaz was adamant about naming her son after the PM and the family, from Parsapur Mahraur village in Uttar Pradesh, after their attempts to make her change her decision went in vain, has filed an affidavit seeking the registration of the name. Such examples of almost rabid fan love and worshipping our political figures aren't rare. We have seen Bal Keshav Thackrey's photographs being kept alongside idols and pictures of gods and goddesses, Amma being worshipped like a goddess — there are examples aplenty. We Indians have a very peculiar god complex — we love worshipping, be it our political leaders or film stars or animals (I mean real animals, not the ones sitting uncomfortably in their chilly offices in the middle of May and doing the arduous job of keeping their seats warm).
When Rajas and Maharajas ruled this country people would take their newborn to the village elders and ask them to name the kid. It would be a great honour to have your son or daughter named after someone important. There are places, I am sure, that still uphold the tradition. They understand the importance of sanskar and don't try to turn everything into a meme. We need to adopt these practices across the country.
Modi has emerged as a larger-than-life figure — he is a celebrity, a leader and something (no disrespect meant, I simply do not want to restrict him to the confines of a human being) beyond human. But it's not just about Modi. We have always seen our leaders as something more than what they are — the MPs are not just our representatives, they are more than the Avengers or the Justice League. But we need to distinguish the ones we need to worship wisely.
Even though their numbers are dwindling fast, there are people who take it as a personal insult if you criticise Jawaharlal Nehru or Indira Gandhi. Marxists, the reasonable ones, agree that they have axed off their own foot very skillfully but will end the sentence with "...but whatever you say ...". Aldous Huxley once wrote, “So long as men worship Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.” But who is an English author and philosopher to tell us what's right? We want Made In India.
The year 2019 has made India secular. Would any of us have ever thought a Muslim man, working as maintenance staff, would name his son after a Hindu Gujarati? If he has acquired the sensibility and the courage to do it then that is what Modiji was fighting for. We need a shield to protect us. NaMo is that shield, harder than Vibranium.
(The writer is an ardent fan of Chacha Chowdhry, Shaktimaan and Captain Vyom. Even though the views are his own he would love to see you follow the same path)