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Fitting Example

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The first phase of the ‘Shri Mahakal Maharaj Vikas Yojana’ launched by the Madhya Pradesh Government was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ujjain on Tuesday. It is yet another step in the ongoing BJP programme to revive India’s ancient heritage in a manner befitting its self-image and future aspirations. In the immediate context, these projects not only provide employment to a large number of skilled people, but also infuse capital into an area in a manner much better than just mere giveaways in make work programmes. And, of course, each of these projects – be it a grandiose redo of past glories at some ancient temple, or the reimagining of a secular space like the Central Vista in Delhi – provides an enhanced source of income for the local populace. India’s secular and spiritual tourism is on the rise – but there are not enough destinations with the required capacity, certainly not those that have been revamped to meet the needs of present day visitors. Uttarakhand’s attractions are an example of this – the required infrastructure has been grossly lacking. It has required vision and a grand design to arrive at the present stage where the travel is worth the trouble.

And, of course, the political message is very clear – present day Indians should be self-confident, assertive and seek nothing but the best as their destiny. Grace, dignity and the pleasures of life should not be the monopoly of a privileged few. By establishing standards in particular domains, the people will wish them extended to all aspects of their lives.

This approach has posed a major challenge to the established politics of self-interest. The opposition is struggling to catch up, but the impact is being seen among some parties – particularly those that are in power in the states – as they seek to emulate Modi’s example. Nothing better for their people if they can outdo Modi in this effort! This does not mean that negativism and election-specific populism has disappeared. It is for the people to realise the choices they have to make – similar to the one that faces delegates of the Congress in that party’s presidential election. Choose wisely and see India prosper. Otherwise, live on the handouts of political masters and be expected to be grateful for it.