What afflicts Modi is that he is not looked at as a normal man with attendant limitations of inefficient, opaque and lethargic bureaucracy, local governments and their agencies like the police force. This polarizes us into “lovers” and “haters” – making us prone to exaggerating whatever he does, be it purportedly “good” or allegedly “bad”. There is only so much he can do working with limited material and human resources. Not to forget, challenges faced by any sincere administrator are numerous and grave – high population density; resulting apparent and disguised unemployment; illiteracy; struggle for basic resources that makes common man take recourse to ‘socially accepted taboos’ like bribery, nepotism and “cutting of each others’ throats” in any kind of competition; ignorance and gullibility of citizens that are exploited by misguiding mass media; corrupt subordinates/peers/superiors; and obligation to compensate those financing election campaigns.
Somehow Modi has started working on basics by: promoting education (specially of girls); raising public office-bearers’ accountability; efficient use of available resources; clearly separating religion and tradition from state policies (demolition of numerous temples for road works and making teaching English compulsory from class 1) and countering strife by encouraging investment in industries. He has rightly realized that it is not agriculture (largely, disguised unemployment) but other industries that should and will be major sources of employment as reflected in gradual urbanization promoted by him.
What we need is not one Modi whose power and efficiency would spread thin by becoming the Prime Minister, but many such administrators at all levels who could sincerely and with foresight try to solve India’s problems.
My admiration for him lies not so much in the results he has shown which can anyway be undone by a single year of ‘regular’ leadership, but a crack of hope he has been able to create in my hardened cynicism that “yes, it can be done”.
In response to a few comments, here.