Through E-mails, Tweets and telephone calls, I have been in receipt of strong words of criticism regarding my article on Shri Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, which was uploaded in my blog on April 15,2011, and which was simultaneously carried by rediff-com and the South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG).
2. Some of the criticisms have been very personal and hurting. One senior journalist, working for a left of centre daily, has called me amazingly naive. I have an impression ( I hope it is wrong and a figment of my imagination) that some people who were very close to my mind and heart and whose friendship I valued more than anything else in life have suddenly grown cold to me and have started marking a distance from me as if I have committed the mother of all sins by endorsing Modi's development model and by criticising some so-called secular elements who are trying to keep him quarantined in his past and prevent him from playing his due role in the present and in future. I have even been snubbed by some of them.
3.Some critics have been seriously worried by my call for the assertion of Youth Power in support of Narendra Modi. I have been accused of playing with fire and encouraging irrationality by writing such an article and by voicing such views.
4. Frankly, I have been surprised by the negative reactions against me expressed by some secular elements whose opposition to Modi is well-known. I have been writing about Modi off and on since 2003. I wrote in detail on the issue of the cancellation of the visa issued to him by the US. I wrote why he is so popular in the Hindu community. I also strongly criticised his ideas relating to counter-terrorism and wrote positively of the record of the Congress (I) in counter-terrorism.
5. I have been a strong critic of Modi the Hindutva ideologue and a strong supporter of Modi, the administrator.I have never hesitated to use very strong language to criticise his ideological demagogery. I have never hesitated to use very positive language to support his achievements in the field of development of Gujarat.
6. It has been my view that one must encourage his transformation from a demagogic ideologue to a benign politician and administrator and that he should be given an opportunity to play his role for the development of not only Gujarat, but also India as a whole.
7. It was this view which found strong expression in my latest article on him which appered on April 15. I have been taken aback by the kind of negative reactions it has evoked among some sections of the so-called secularists. I respect the views of my critics and have carefully thought over them the whole of last night when I did not and could not sleep.
8. I have come to the conclusion that there is no reason why I should have any second-thoughts on my wisdom in writing the article. I stand by whatever I wrote in that article.
9. If, as a result, I become the bete noire of some sections of the so-called secularists, so be it.
10.If I become persona non grata in the world of the Indian media, so be it.
11.If I lose some precious friendships, so be it.
12.If I lose readership of my future articles, so be it. ( 16-4-11)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )