Now that the Modi raj is officially in place, pundits in the West have been left scratching their collective head in their efforts to provide some insight into the real Narendra Modi and what to expect in the years ahead. He could be a Ronald Reagan or a Richard Nixon or even a Deng Xiaoping. Maybe, going from being a tea seller’s son to a strongman on the cover of The Economist is a journey that parallels that of a grocer’s daughter who became Britain’s Iron Lady, in which case, he is surely a Margaret Thatcher. In the absence of any meaningful analysis and without much of a breadcrumb trail to follow in India, Narendra Modi has become a victim of analytical laziness. The real Modi seems destined to be caricatured by competing canned — and false — analogies.
Ironically, more so than any leader in modern Indian history, Modi is already showing signs that he is intent on writing his own narrative. In fact, we should prepare for several parallel Modi narratives. He has already defied predictability. Consider this: he choked up on his first day in Parliament’s Central Hall, suggesting that beneath that singularly robust exterior may lurk more than just a singular Modi; he bypassed the “Hindu nationalist’s” hard power playbook and opted for a decidedly soft power photo-op with Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.
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