An artist’s open letter to Narendra Modi

Courtesy: dnaindia.com

Courtesy: dnaindia.com

Dear Sir,

I am writing this to you because the other day a fellow electorate asked me if I would go ahead and vote you the Prime Minister of this country in the upcoming General Elections. To tell you the truth, I would be inviting a lot of trouble for me if I do that. This letter concerns my personal ramblings and insights that have led to this fear of oncoming trouble pouring over me from you and your allies. I would call them followers.

I am an artist: an Indian artist to be precise; more to be ‘different’ than to be ‘precise’, and I belong to the smallest and most neglected minority in this country. I can be anyone, in case you are concerned about my identity, my name, or profession. I suppose you should be more concerned about my demands as an electorate of this country, which all of you deem very proudly ‘the world’s largest democracy’, where often freedom of speech and expression is caged from time to time on the altar of the pseudo, make believe, forcibly deemed ideology of right wing activists, clerics, and even some leaders: democracy is complete freedom: speech, expression, religion, art.

Well, there is not an iota of doubt in the fact that you represent a conservative Hindu Party; though you have successfully distanced yourself from them or their conservative allies or ideology till now, making a very neutral stand, or rather a discreet soft stand, which in itself is a hypocritical gesture from a powerful and influential leader who is the face of the party touted to form government at the center. I doubt it. I am not into believing the fact that you cannot come out and voice against the Middle Ages ideology or actions from fanatics within your party. If you support their actions, then come out with your assumptions publicly, and if not then stop them, Sir.

What gives you, a proprietor and leader, a proponent of democracy, the complete freedom of speech everywhere: in your rallies, speeches, interviews, on paper, in taped conversations, denying me, an electorate, an ardent democrat, that very same freedom in my works, my profession? How is this even acceptable if you call India a democracy, and stand for a representation of this country on the highest platform, the Prime Minister, denying the very democracy to me and to thousands like me?

I try to live by the highest standards of life, by doing what I believe in and in doing so not only do I immortalize my country in my works but also make it proud, and in return I ask you, at this turn of the twenty first century, to grant me my freedom of expression which is a foundation for the very same democracy that you stand and adhere to, but every time, here and there, your people, your allies, your party fundamentalists try to cut off my freedom wings and you purportedly remain silent, remain neutral. Why? Do you also second their ideology and actions? Do you believe in the Hindutva form of democracy and governance? Answer these questions, Sir. Elections are near and I am dead scared.

I guess you believe in granting modest development to many in this country who are deprived of it which is the right thing to do and need of the hour. The Congress has failed terribly at it and if you can deliver the same, you are on the right path. But why create an illusion of cage surrounding my life, which is quite well off and free from the influence of religion and communalism? Give them a better life but do not come out disrupting the vibrant life of our cities and culture and freedom. This would be disastrous in the long run. This would be either an act of soft communism or soft fascism that stands as catalysts in the process of poisoning the very essence of democracy.

What is it that you want to do after coming to power? – Your Development model followed by a conservatively ruled society staged by the party hardliners? Corporate freedom to big corporate, while a denial of my freedom of expression? A blatant nod to the violation of environment (that is happening in Gujarat) by a fuzzy capitalist model and a blunt no to my artistic freedom for the violation of the Party’s Hindutva ethics. Is this where everything is heading post May 16th?

I look forward to hearing from you soon before the elections kick off. You do not necessarily have to reply to me. You have innumerable platforms from where you can make yourself be heard. I had only this.

Yours sincerely,
An Artist.

  • Aviral Kapoor

    If I may, my two cents– The real fear in my opinion is that he may not be the The Great Dictator, people are so eager to portray him as. A hardliner won’t be able to run a diverse democracy like ours, so whoever comes to power will have to move to the center to be a successful leader. If he fails to rule from the center and deliver he will be out in 5 years. I say this with a humble confession that I have very limited understanding of Indian politics. PS. Artists in general have been vilified, demonised, attacked, exiled, assimilated and commercialised to the point of becoming irrelevant to their art in India in the last 65 years, and this man has not been in power (nor his rw party) for Most of that time.