Narendra Modi is like Batman

Ayushman Jamwal

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi

Anyone who is an avid fan of the Batman Universe will understand how the modern day adaptations of the character are grounded in human complexity. The current Batman of the DC animated world is unlike the ones a decade ago. His character has evolved from a man completely trusted with protecting the interests of society and defending its police machinery, to one cutting through a flawed law and order system by his own means to serve society. He is someone loathed by the ‘civilised’ of Gotham city and chased by the police for working against the status quo, but celebrated by the same for delivering results as the system upholding that status quo fails.

In the current political narrative of India, Narendra Modi fits that profile. He is the perceived anti-hero, branded as being against a notion of ‘secular and democratic’ India, chased by the CBI and SITs, but he delivers governance with an iron fist while those who profess to uphold the ‘ethos’ of India, fail in the face of corruption scandals and poor administration. Moreover, like Batman, while the world curses Modi, accusing him of all sorts of crimes and immorality, he remains silent carrying on his mission to serve the people, unperturbed by the mudslinging by his detractors.

The people of India are like the people of Gotham city. We are divided over the idea of Modi as a capable and just leader for India, where a major camp says he is dictatorial and dangerously ideological. Yet we whisper his name with admiration in drawing rooms across the country as we measure the past to see how he can shake the system to deliver strong governance.

Batman

Batman

Graphic Novelist Frank Miller, one of the many famous artists of the Batman Universe once said in an interview that the character of Batman is grounded in a realistic world where “everybody’s crazy”. He said, “Batman and Bruce Wayne are both characters who believe in a sane world, but they believe that it only makes sense when you force it to. So there’s a touch of the fascist in them.”

Democracy is a strong system of governance but in our heart of hearts we all know that the bureaucracy that functions with it needs an authoritarian hand to guide it and make it deliver. Batman is nothing more than a citizen who has embraced the authority every citizen possesses to deliver justice to his fellow man. Similarly, Modi has embraced his authority as a Chief Minister to not let the administrative bureaucracy be an impediment to good governance. Fictional and real citizens have faith in both characters because they apply their authority where it is required. That is why the people of Gotham feel safe at night when the bat signal is on, and that is why Modi has been elected Chief Minister of Gujarat three times in a row.

We live in complex times and every famous figure brings pros and cons. Only by weighing them can people make the right choice, even if it is hard to swallow at first. But this approach is even more prudent now that the political weight of names and history has significantly reduced in comparison to administrative results. While the fictional Batman may never run for mayor of Gotham city or the Chief of police because he wants the system to prevail, this Batman from Gujarat has entered and consolidated his position in the system. Looking at the past eight years, the people of India will have to make an enlightened choice.

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