Modi has shown the country how to dream big and believe in itself and that there is no contradiction between owning an ancient civilisational heritage and becoming a 21st century technological power
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo: AP)
AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT ON AUGUST 15, 1947, as bells of prayer and gratitude tolled everywhere, the new nation of India came into being as a free country. An ancient civilisation had thrown off the yoke of slavery and subjugation that had persisted for hundreds of years imposed by the British. And before them, by the Mughals. It was a milestone that after decades, even centuries, of struggle and sacrifice marked by blood, sweat and tears—individual and collective—the bells finally rang in an era when the people of the subcontinent would govern themselves. In those centuries of being in thrall to foreign invaders, they were forced to not just survive and sustain themselves but also safeguard the unique identity of their society, itself a product of the region’s richness and diversity in culture, language, religion and way of life. It was an unparalleled moment of triumph and celebration.
India had arrived as a nation, in its own right. On the world stage, the Indian people would have a voice of their own, at last. But it was political freedom that was achieved. There were a billion other freedoms that still had to be fought for and it would be no mean battle. Economic freedom, freedom from casteism, from the incredible dreariness of being a subsistence economy, from being a country on the fringe of the world’s consciousness despite an ancient and glorious civilisation, remained unaddressed. Steps were taken that were significant and there was noticeable progress from the morass of deprivation of every sort that persisted. However, these remained baby steps and completely inadequate to the challenge of pulling ordinary people out of desperate poverty and unemployment, to restore their self-confidence and self-respect. Centuries of occupation and colonial domination had left the people battered and distressed. Relentless waves of Islamic onslaught prior to British colonialism had already left a self-assured people burdened with a near-terminal inadequacy and a big inferiority complex, one that was accentuated under colonial oppression, cultural devaluation and denigration.
These feelings persisted even after August 15, 1947, after decades of British rule steeped in the worldview of Lord Macaulay that prioritised Western civilisation and turned up its nose at all things Indian in culture, language, society and civilisation as primitive and even uncouth. The bitter aftertaste of cultural and civilisational subjugation continued to overpower newly independent India. The homegrown leaders who took the reins after the British left, miserably enough, were also completely steeped in the colonial worldview which believed that there was something inherently flawed about the Hindu way of life. And that, unless Indians overthrew this completely and embraced the “best of the world”, that is, the Anglican way of life and its worldview, India would not realise its full potential.
That the Himalayan challenges of poverty, unemployment, hunger, ill-health, debilitating social evils, and lack of development would need massive commitment and determination from the leadership— and not merely goodwill, eloquent speeches, playing to the gallery and lip-service—to be overcome, in order that democracy and freedom were sustainable, was evident to the man who scripted the Constitution of the newly independent nation, Bhimrao Ambedkar, even as early as in 1950. He told the Constituent Assembly, “On the 26th of January, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic life, we will have inequality. In politics, we will be recognizing the principle of one man, one vote and one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny this principle of one man, one value. How long shall we live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.”
An unsure, if politically free, India failed to meet the aspirations of a people who had achieved freedom at heavy personal and social costs and took faltering and hesitant, not firm and strident, steps towards the future, choosing to be under the shadow of the Soviet Union. Without taking lessons from the struggles of the people, India became completely tethered to the Soviet model of economy and remained so even after its inadequacies had become clear. As a result, a country which was known for putting the individual above and for celebrating individual creativity and genius laboured for decades under an economic model where the state became supreme and controlled key sectors, virtually choking individuality. Even after structural adjustment, as directed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and economic liberalisation, the state failed the challenge of instilling confidence in the public and asserting, through both policies and putting ease-of-doing-business structures in place, that it had the ability and the drive to release entrepreneurial potential. And to unshackle the country from the chains imposed on it by the British. The new dispensation, in fact, re-imposed the shackles in a far more ruthless way post-Independence.
The wheels of growth rolled on, but at a pace so slow that collective frustration grew exponentially, too. As did criticism. The slow growth proved completely inadequate to the task at hand. And disdain for the nation’s ability and determination to make something significant of itself showed up time and again, both within and outside the country, in attacks on “the Hindu rate of growth”, which was basically a reiteration of the worldview that something was grossly flawed in the Hindu way of life and society.
There were glorious moments, too, both big and small. India defeated Pakistan’s nefarious designs in 1965, a development which helped the country, to an extent, to overcome the sense of humiliation it had been smarting under after the defeat in 1962; then, there was the Green Revolution and the achievement of food self-sufficiency in 1967 which helped the country break away from the ship-to-mouth existence. That significant development stopped India’s dependence on foreign grant and PL 480, exorcising the spectre of the famine in Bengal under British rule in a major way. India also formed centres of excellence, established world-class IITs and IIMs and nodal referral hospitals, such as AIIMS, and laid the foundation of a successful space programme.
That the challenges of poverty, unemployment, ill-health, social evils and lack of development would need commitment and determination from the leadership to be overcome was evident to the man who scripted the Constitution of the newly independent nation, Bhimrao Ambedkar, even as early as in 1950
In 1991, it seemed that India’s eureka moment had finally come. The nation realised that not addressing the follies of the socialist licence-permit-quota raj would doom the country and reduce it to a subsistence economy terminally, that it would remain in abject dependence on IMF and the World Bank. A vocal middle class finally validated the views of stringent licence-permit-quota raj critics, whether they were industrialists, of Jana Sangh persuasion or a small but committed band of economists. A good start was made. But the advantages of this were neither uniform to all sections of society nor at a pace that was heartening. The government failed to build trampolines to protect the livelihoods of marginalised and weaker sections and handhold them through the structural economic and social changes.
Over time, the environment engendered by economic liberalisation allowed rapid growth in some sectors like IT, putting India on the world map, but solely powered by the drive of the private sector. Reforms in the primary sector to align it harmoniously with structural economic changes to protect the livelihood of thousands of farming families were ignored, even as other sectors began to thrive, pushing them into poverty and internal migration in search of jobs. Worse, any progress made in other sectors were frittered away in the ten years of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) under Manmohan Singh, a time in which he performed the duties of prime minister as Sonia Gandhi’s chosen regent. Farm suicides grabbed headlines and thousands in the sector went into terminal debt.
The spring in their step that people had begun showing with the dismantling of state controls post-1991 dissipated rapidly in direct proportion to the rise and rise of populist decisions, such as huge one-time loan waivers, crony corruption, unabashed appeasement politics, and even the indulgence of terrorism, which would result in controversial theses that argued that minorities had the first call on the country’s resources. Widespread and practically institutionalised corruption triggered deep despair with the government and its inefficient policies, and grindingly slow implementation, among the public. With a view to buying insurance cover against being kicked out of power on account of corruption, policy paralysis and a noticeably slowing growth rate, the UPA government led by Congress proactively promoted an NGO culture and doled out subsidies and freebies big-time. That, though, proved to be a dubious gamble that failed to work and UPA was kicked out of power in 2014.
IT WAS NOT UNTIL MID-2014 THAT A RADICAL NEW chapter and an energised era began for independent India, with the arrival of Narendra Modi on the scene as prime minister, thwarting dozens of legal and other hurdles placed in his way. Staring at certain defeat, the Congress-led UPA, called out for its pusillanimity on policy, crony corruption and dithering vision for the future prospects of the nation, was aware that once Modi triumphed at the hustings, the Nehruvian “Idea of India” drilled into the collective consciousness of an entire nation would be challenged and dismantled. With Modi ensconced in the prime minister’s chair, the stalled engines of growth and progress were oiled, and were up and running again, giving ordinary Indians hope and drive. His government put an end to corruption and worked hard at instilling faith among them in a civilisation that ought to have had pride of place but was routinely denigrated by Muslim invaders, colonial masters and then—the unkindest cut of all—by the Indian legatees of the very mindset and worldview that had dominated the subcontinent’s society prior to Independence.
The goals that Modi set were a curious but heady cocktail of persisting with the good of the past and building upon that and striking out in uncharted territories, unconventional directions, but along well-thought-out trajectories. Simultaneously, he tried to bring the country in sync with the breathtaking changes happening in the world economy and in technology, a move that left even developed economies gasping for breath at the swift pace of growth. As rapidly as words and phrases such as startups and unicorns and gig economy became an intrinsic part of the entrepreneurial lexicon, policies were tailored and implemented with effective monitoring. Public sector undertakings (PSUs), which had become synonyms for slackness and resource-wasteful white elephants, were forced to slim and trim and prove their efficiency. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017 transformed India’s 29 states into one market with one tax. Public sector banks (PSBs) registered an 81 per cent year-on-year net profit in the last quarter on higher net interest incomes and reduction in provisions for bad loans. Several persistently loss-making PSBs were merged with the State Bank of India (SBI). Banking legislation ensured that depositor confidence in the system grew exponentially. Based on the roadmap that Modi gave the economy, investments increased, GDP grew and every Indian was linked to a bank account to avail of subsidies transferred through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
Defence has witnessed a sea-change. If there was still any doubt that the new India meant business, it vanished after the Balakot airstrikes. The contrast between Balakot and Kargil could not have been starker. This time, there was no restriction on crossing the LoC
DBT and Digital India got a massive boost in the aftermath of the demonetisation of large currency, with an unprecedented number of people switching to cashless payments through homegrown apps. Hundreds of unorganised units were registered, bringing employees within the fold of employee welfare measures. Procedures were simplified (laws struck off roles), clearances were fast-tracked, government was made to retreat from areas that it had continued in despite decades of liberalisation. The foundation was being laid for a modern society and economy which would take care of its people, hold its head high on the world stage, and prepare itself for the tectonic shifts happening in the global economy and polity. Overnight, the Indian political economy was under a significant process of transmutation, altering the old order and making place for the new. “India is now ready, raring to go and impatient for development and palpable progress. India is impatient to realise its dreams and turn them into resolutions to be achieved. India today believes in itself and its own potential,” the prime minister said in a recent address, capturing the changes being charted under his baton.
While embracing modernity across sectors, Modi also ensured that Indian society rediscovered and celebrated its civilisational moorings with pride and pomp; he became the first prime minister in free India to openly own his Hindu heritage, stripping the polity of its hypocrisy and shame over India’s glorious past. Modi, as prime minister, triggered a widespread feeling of gratification, fulfilment and achievement in the subcontinent’s Hindu past by directly linking it to its future, without compromising on either. Modi’s efforts have extended beyond the material dimension of recovery. These have extended to helping the country renew, after centuries, its self-respect, self-worth and belief in itself.
As with other spheres, Modi’s vision for India on the socio-economic front was also radically and fundamentally transformative. His concept of equity transformed the state from merely acting as “mai baap sarkar”, within a feudalistic structure that interacted patronisingly with ordinary Indians through the delivery of subsidies, to one that empowered the individual by making him/her an active stakeholder in India’s progress and development and by giving them a sense of dignity. The boldness was reflected in the very image of the country, once a synonym for an entity which would stoically take insult and hard knocks, including terrorist attacks—its only reaction to it all being hanging on bullishly but foolishly to an elusive mirage of a better, more rational world.
IZZAT IS A WORD THAT IS AT THE CORE OF INDIAN society. The poorer you were, the more precious the concept of izzat, or self-respect and dignity, became. It acquired dimensions that went way beyond its mere translation and struck a receptive and very human chord in Indians. With the advent of Modi on the national scene and his transformation of the welfare state as one that instilled dignity in the individual rather than patronisingly throwing crumbs at him and seeing him as a burden on the nation, in village after village, the izzat ghar came to symbolise an essential concomitant of modern existence, even in the poorest households in dusty, far-off hamlets. The phrase izzat ghar was not coined by the government. It emerged in villages after schoolgirls began painting the words on the walls of toilets in Uttar Pradesh. The izzat ghar, which became part of the mainstream discourse across India as part of Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, instantly conjured up images of revolutionary changes in the psyche and self-respect of women. Today, 10 crore toilets have been built under the Abhiyan across India. The steps taken by Modi appeared small but they were huge in terms of imagination and what they achieved. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was derided by critics as a gimmick. Even neutral observers believed that it would be an exercise in futility that would be overpowered by poverty and a sore lack of health and hygiene awareness—and by the humongous nature of the task at hand. Modi was determined to make it work, even hand-picking tried and trusted technocrats to make the programme a household name in India in a timebound manner. Even when the results started coming in and figures confirmed that the Abhiyan was a major success, people were not ready to believe that the claims were true. But they were all proven wrong. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is now a central part of the political discourse. It has turned out to be a yardstick, a key criterion on which Indian society is today judged. What the Abhiyan has achieved socio-culturally was unimaginable.
From “Har Ghar Nal ka Jal” to affordable homes for millions to free-gas connections and electricity to every village, India has transformed itself from the “snake charmer and the elephant and rope-trick fakir” image of a people and their civilisation to a modern nation that respects its traditional moorings, its cultural heritage. And Modi targeted welfare spends for the neediest in Indian society even while slashing wasteful expenditure in the usual suspect sectors like food and fertiliser. The savings meant the government could bankroll the food needs of 80 crore people through two long and hard years of the Covid pandemic when livelihoods were lost. On the fertiliser front, where off-Budget accounting to accommodate the subsidy claims of the industry were accommodated without question through bonds and so on, the government slashed subsidies overall by over 30 per cent, making way for innovations in research being adopted on the ground more rapidly. Whether it is the MUDRA scheme (launched in 2015 for small loans of up to `10 lakh for non-corporate, non-farm small and micro units development and refinance), the Jan Dhan Yojana, the PM Kisan scheme, enrolments have grown exponentially. The last is a 100 per cent Centrally sponsored scheme where an income support of `6,000 per year is given to all land-holding farming families in three instalments through DBT after identification by the states. Each of these faced criticism, scepticism and cynicism and was dissed so that the schemes would fail significantly in implementation, if not conception. But they worked to change wholly the concept of India as it stood. And that is what Modi represented: bold imagination.
Procedures were simplified, clearances were fast-tracked, government was made to retreat from areas it had continued in despite liberalisation. The foundation was being laid for a modern society and economy which would take care of its people, hold its head high on the world stage, and prepare itself for the tectonic shifts happening in the global economy
Indoctrinated into believing that India could never rise above the decrepit and the disastrous, that the country could never challenge its destiny to be poor, that it would always feed on the alms of the rich and the powerful in the world and never come into its own, Indians aspired for nothing better but the worst. Dirty train toilets, train stations, paan-pocked corridors of government offices, pothole-ridden roads, mountains of piled garbage scavenged by the barefoot poor. A nation of swarming flies, poor hygiene, nil infrastructure, dirty public spaces, health hazards, superstitions, poverty and rampant unemployment. With Modi at the helm, all of that changed overnight. Railway stations were spanking clean and compete with each other to top the list of the cleanest and the most modern. Modern health infrastructure, including key referral hospitals such as AIIMS were set up in multiple states, public money was invested in modern government hospitals and basic health facilities, schemes such as Ayushman Bharat allowed affordable health insurance to thousands, the education of girl children was prioritised under the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme. When Ayushman Bharat was first launched, even the most generous critics only called it “baby steps towards social security.” Many maintained that no hospital would enrol under the scheme. Now, though, there is intense competition among hospitals to empanel, especially given that the payout is assured. The National Health Protection Mission and Health and Wellness Centres are the two major initiatives started under the scheme, providing an insurance cover of up to `5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary-care hospitalisation.
Similar was the case with crop insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), launched in 2016. In 2021, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told Parliament that the number of crop insurance claims rejected by insurance companies under PMFBY multiplied ten times in two years, from 92,869 in 2017-18 to 9,28,000 in 2019-20. The entrenched culture of nationalised insurance companies forking out huge handouts to claimants as crop insurance year after year with political motives had changed, once and for all.
Modi expanded the scope of what was possible, across the spectrum. Far from being relegated to the realm of rocket science and the esoteric, the changes impacted ordinary people in their everyday lives. People who once marvelled at credit cards and were scared of using plastic money—not because they were unfamiliar with the concept but because they were suspicious of whether it was safe to use—were now even paying for a pack of cigarettes digitally and every street vendor, even the smallest redhiwalla, now sported a placard announcing digital payment through apps was possible at their outlet. Jokes reflect current realities and comment on them wryly. One joke in wide currency today is that even beggars at bus stations now demand payment through Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay if anyone tries fobbing them off with “I have no cash.” That has happened not in a generation or a decade. It has happened in a period of two to three years. That is the scale Modi has achieved. Contrarians and nawabs of negativity will find fault but Modi has shown that what was considered desirable was also attainable. The gap between dream and delivery, between imagination and implementation, has been compressed. That’s the biggest achievement.
New India is today open defecation-free in every village. Electricity has last-mile connectivity to every habitation. Most of India’s villages are connected by roads. More than 99 per cent of its people have free gas connections for cooking. Every family is connected to the banking system, even the poorest, to avail of subsidies under various schemes for which they are eligible, through DBT. There is affordable health insurance for the asking. A unicorn is formed, on an average, every ten days in the world of startups. India today manufactures modern railway coaches every month for both domestic use and export. Eighteen lakh homes are connected to piped water every month. India accounts for 40 per cent of the real-time digital payment transactions in the world. Fifty lakh sellers are associated with the government’s e-marketplace GeM. Today, 12-15 lakh Indians book online tickets to travel, drones are mapping land and houses. India is the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones.
While embracing modernity across sectors, Modi also ensured that India rediscovered its civilisational moorings; he became the first prime minister in free India to openly own his Hindu heritage, triggering a sense of achievement in the nation’s Hindu past
The banking sector has seen the biggest change. What was euphemistically called the biggest underestimation of a scam was the double balance sheet problem. That has now been completely done away with. If India is afloat with hope in the turbulent waters stirred by the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine today, it is because of the health and resilience of the banks. Banks are now being cleaned up with determination and political will, something that even China has been unable to do, with the real estate bubble waiting to burst and threatening to bring the banking system crashing down with it. The sector has already begun stunting China’s growth, alongside slowing demand for its manufactured goods worldwide, which in turn has impacted domestic demand.
Defence is another sector that has witnessed a sea-change. Officials who occupied key positions in the UPA government maintain that after 26/11, the government should have done “something irrationally insane” against Pakistan. Modi did just that with the post-Uri surgical strikes and then with the Balakot airstrike. It was there in the realm of the imagination in the past as well but was never acted upon. Some believed that when Pokhran II happened, India had squandered her options after Pakistan went for tit-for-tat blasts. After those blasts, India, it was felt, could not retaliate since both nations now had the nuclear option. There was no alternative but a stalemate. This meant that India could not respond stridently to the many terrorist attacks launched by Pakistan since doing so would mean escalating tensions between two nuclear nations. The consequence was that India could only appeal, futilely and repeatedly, to the international community to black ball Pakistan. Other than that, it could only suffer.
Modi changed that. It was a raid in retaliation for setting an Army camp at Uri on fire, but in terms of derring-do, it was far beyond what anyone would have thought India was capable of, especially in view of the image of India until then, an image whose faults it failed to address. Under Modi, though, India threw away the restraints, the fear of nuclear retribution and the jihadist generals in Pakistan unleashing nukes. If there was still any doubt that the new India meant business and would not be cowed down by terror from Pakistan, it was banished after the Balakot airstrikes on Pakistani territory. The contrast between Balakot and Kargil could not have been starker. India fought that war on its side of the line. Group Captain Kambampati Nachiketa went down on his Mig21 because of the strict instructions given to him in 1999 to not cross the Line of Control (LoC). This restricted his space for manoeuvre and he became a vulnerable target. This time, there was no such restriction. The defence personnel cared little what China would do because Beijing and Islamabad were in a tight geostrategic embrace. The US had its own issues and Russia was ambivalent. Most importantly, they were confident that the political leadership was clear on the objectives and completely supportive of the action they chose to take on the ground. And it paid off for India.
On the climate front, too, India has transformed itself from a country which would constantly complain about the tough tasks demanded of it to one that now sets tasks and targets for others, acing the climate diplomacy game. From being part of the problem, India is now seen as part of the solution. From the International Solar Alliance to “Panchamrita”, India has not just been able to deflect attention from the new ayatollahs of green activism but its commitment is being applauded as well. No one can now accuse India of being the errand boy in the room, along with China. No one is today accusing India of being spoilsport. The country now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of the solution providers.
All this has engendered a new confidence on the global stage. It would have been a nightmare even for a Henry Kissinger to balance relations with Russia (which has been a source of support for India through decades) and the concerns and expectations of the US which has lately become much more than a strategic partner. Modi had to take into consideration so many competing considerations and contradictory goals in the context of the Ukraine-Russia war. Yet, he managed a commendable balancing act, keeping India’s interests as priority even while batting on the side of peace. India, while condemning the attack on Ukraine, did not join the evangelical chorus of the West against Russia. And the world appreciates our position despite the doomsday predictions made. In fact, not just the Biden administration but also several EU nations and the UK today openly and enviously laud the position taken by India, especially given the fact that it is the among the biggest markets in the world.
The izzat ghar became part of the mainstream discourse as part of Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Even when the results started coming in and figures confirmed that the Abhiyan was a major success, people were not ready to believe that the claims were true. But they were all proven wrong
WHEN NARENDRA MODI TOOK OVER AS prime minister in 2014, India was a wounded civilisation. His task was cut out: restoring civilisational glory and instilling pride among a people burdened by an inferiority complex. The wounds from the deep cuts to the nation’s body delivered, first by the Mughals and then by the colonial rulers, had festered. They did not disappear even after August 15, 1947. The worst cut came from the post-Independence Indian leaders who were as guilty as their predecessors in making the people reel under that sense of inferiority about their way of life, their worldview, their civilisation. What should have been celebrated as a unique example of diversity, syncretism and tolerance was, instead, derided. Everything that represented India before the Muslim invaders came, especially the Mughals, was seen as worthy of derision. Whether it was Sanskrit, the glories of the empires of southern India, all of what represented a rich civilisation was rubbished. Emperor Ashoka was among the few Hindu rulers who were celebrated but that, too, on account of his role in the spread of Buddhism in other parts of the world.
The world seethes with rage at the injustices meted out to Palestinians daily for decades. Here, in the subcontinent, was a place where a billion people were forced into subjugation and made to feel unequal for centuries by invaders of every kind, so much so that the sense of failing, of falling short, of being unable to meet expectations, became a natural extension of their collective consciousness. That, today, is a thing of the past. The discovery of India may have been a slogan for its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, but it was a mission for Narendra Modi. In its name, Nehru’s overzealous supporters only perpetuated stereotypes, the tropes and myths of the alleged ills of Hindu society. Modi made it a point to prove by demonstration that there was so much in India’s civilisational heritage to be proud of. Not a single meeting that he chairs goes without a quotation from Sanskrit slokas that reflect the essence and worldview of our ancestors: worship of nature, concern for the poor, brotherhood with the rest of the world and respect for other cultures, honouring women—most of these form the basis of Modi’s “Idea of India”.
Modi challenged the “Idea of India” espoused by Nehru, who echoed the worldview of the colonial rulers. Modi re-instilled the sense of self-worth in every Indian that had been taken away. Nehru’s Idea of India had engendered a platoon of second-generation deracinated and entitled citizens who celebrated all that was treasured by the colonialists even while looking down upon India’s own rich history and traditions. Modi regenerated a civilisation that was multi-dimensional, multi-hued, many splendored and dynamic.
As a result, we are now close to living the much-mocked “Vishwa Guru” slogan. Modi’s critics failed to realise that it was his way of challenging every Indian to reach his or her peak potential. The big tech revolution, the strides taken towards the formalisation of the economy, even the anticipation of an impending war over chips and semiconductors (Modi prepared the country with the Performance Linked Incentive, or PLI, scheme at the height of the pandemic and when the Ukraine war was not even on the horizon) and developing capabilities—all of this has put India on a sound footing at a time of global uncertainty. India, as the nation steps confidently into the 76th year of freedom, has moved very close to becoming a world power in its own right. Much of that is thanks to the fundamental structural changes in every sphere of life rung in by Modi, who has forced Indians to rediscover their civilisation, to dream big and to triumph at both.