Modi and the art of the sell
- Pakistan covets territory of others and uses terrorism as state policy: India
- Arunachal verdict: Law on Nabam Tuki's side but not numbers, Congress has Plan B
- With VK Singh onboard, two IAF aircraft leave to evacuate Indians from South Sudan
- Kashmir protests: Another person succumbs to injuries, death toll reaches 37
- Two women commit suicide in a day inside IIT Madras campus
His consumer, the Gujarati voter, needs pride, self-esteem. He is delivering it through his product, economic success. The Congress has no real counter offer
Why we call this occasional series from diverse zones of India, often during the elections, 'Writings on the Wall', needs repetition, particularly in times when even soundbites have been reduced to no more than 140 characters. So many years of training as a reporter have taught me that one of the more interesting ways of checking out what is going on in our country, what is changing, for better or for worse, or not changing at all, is written, literally, on our walls. So if you go to the most prosperous zones, take Punjab for example, you will find Mercs, credit cards, housing loans and easy visas and immigration to the US, Canada and now New Zealand. You go to a flourishing green revolution zone like Andhra Pradesh and the walls will be selling you tractors, fertilisers, gold loans. In Nitish's Bihar, even the boom in branded underwear, sold mostly on the walls, tells a story of small new household income surpluses and, of course, aspiration. Go anywhere in India, including the unfortunate villages in the Kosi devastation zone of Bihar, and you will see saria (iron rods) and cement selling on the walls, underlining the construction boom, and the fact that the days of "kuchcha" housing are rapidly ending. We have noted through our travels in recent years (find earlier writings in this series at http://www.indianexpress.com/news/writings-on-the-wall/713872) that the one big change sweeping the country, and written on the walls, is the desperate clamour for modern, English-medium education.
Truth to tell, at first glance you might think this theory no longer works in Gujarat, as many other postulates of Indian politics, including anti-incumbency, don't. Having built this idea over so many years, it is a bit startling to search the walls for that one message that tells you a story of change, aspiration, something, and yet find nothing. And then the penny drops. The story of Gujarat is indeed written on its walls. Or rather, these blank walls tell you the story.
- ‘Strangeness’ of SC Arunachal verdict lies in its upholding of constitutional morality
- Bangladesh urgently needs to overhaul its anti-terror strategy
- New Delhi’s reverie is rudely interrupted by Kashmir reality again
- India’s population stabilisation: Three states hold the key
- The bully is bad news for the victim — and for himself
- In the Northeast, an uneasy new alliance