Jagdish Sewhani is a founding member of Friend of BJP in US and the President and Founder of The American India Public Affairs Committee. Mr. Sewhani lives in Long Island, New York.
Narendra Damodardas Modi, the 14th Prime Minister of India, will go into the annals of our history as a leader who laid the foundation of a “Sarva Shaktimaan Bharat,” an all-powerful India that is respected by all, feared by none, except for the demons.
At the crux of this India is the social reforms he has quietly unleashed in the last six years of his reign. These critical reforms have been implemented at a scale and speed that has not been seen in our country for hundreds of years.
Be it the triple talaq issue, women’s empowerment, girl education, the nationwide cleanliness drive or poverty alleviation, Narendra Bhai, as we fondly call him, is the first Prime Minister in independent India who has carried out such large-scale social reforms. Unlike several of his predecessors whose social reforms were merely driven by slogans like “Garibi Bhagao” or “Roti Kapra and Makan,” or simply politicization of reservation to come into power, Modi has done walk the walk. He has let his actions do most of the talking.
Not many prime ministers would have the courage to talk about building toilets from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the very first Independence Day address to the nation.
Every step of his prime ministership only shows how much he cares about the common man in this great country and his dedication to their livelihood. The results of opening bank accounts for the people in a matter of months, soon after he was voted to power in 2014 is there for all to see. The poorest of the poor are not only receiving money directly into their bank accounts, they are saving money and using it judiciously to better their and their families’ lives for generations to come. The massive corruption in the distribution of subsidies is now a thing of the past.
I have had the privilege of knowing “Narendra Bhai” from the days when he was a BJP leader and used to visit the United States. What always struck me the most was his passion for the common man and his care for the poor. He was always curious about Americans’ living standards and societal structures, probing for answers to improve the lives of the last man on the street.
He understood the importance of cleanliness— “Swachhata” —on both the inside and outside. Thus, was the genesis of Swachh Bharat Mission. Millions of toilets were built in the first term of his prime ministership. Billions of dollars have been spent on cleanliness and creating awareness among us. Yes, we have a long way to go, but the mission has reached a level that would have been unimaginable before 2014.
His singular focus on the common man is evident in every initiative, such as in providing subsidized gas cylinders in rural areas across the country and access to electricity around the clock across India. Because of him, millions of lives are better every single day.
Now he has embarked on another mission of providing housing and clean drinking water to all. These initiatives, along with access to skilled education, ample employment opportunities and fiber optics internet is going to propel India’s growth story for decades to come.
His health care plan, the largest ever in the world, is a cornerstone of his social reforms. Unless Indians are healthy, we cannot be a healthy nation. And as we all know there is no wealth without health.
There is no doubt that Modi has transformed India for the better. For example, a huge swath of women in India were suffering for decades because of triple talaq. But no more. They have now been given the dignity and respect they deserve. This is what Modi has been working toward from day one of his prime ministership. He wants to give dignity and respect to every Indian and ensure his or her health and wealth.
At a time when our economy is experiencing a record contraction due to the coronavirus pandemic, the social reforms being carried out by our popular prime minister would have a multiple impact on our economic growth. I am sure our gross domestic product will reach a new high.
Narendra Bhai, who considers the 1.3 billion people of India his family, is the only leader in independent India who has successfully carried out such mammoth socio-economic reforms in just a short span of six years. He is not only a social reformer, but also a protector -in-chief.
As someone who is based in New York, the global financial capital and home to the United Nations, I know India is blessed to have finally a decisive leader like Modi. India is safe and secure under his leadership. I believe this decade and century belongs to India. Under his leadership India will emerge as a global power – Vishwa Guru. And in this his socio-economic reforms would play a big role.