The newspapers are playing it up - the fact that the party which kicked out Abdullahkutty 'cos he sang the praises of Narendra Modi has officially invited Amitabh Bachan, the brand ambassador of Modi’s Gujarat, as Kerala’s posterboy. MODI’S POSTER BOY, BIG B, IS AMBASSAOR OF CPM-RULED KERALA TOO, says The New Indian express of today, Kerala edition
It’s a happy coincidence for the media that the official confirmation from the Kerala government of Bachan’s role as Keralais brand ambassador should come on March 10, the day before the sensational summons were issued to Narendra Modi by the SIT to appear before it and provide answers to certain questions to which hitherto Modi’s reply had been a deafening silence.
Certain issues beg consideration here.
Ø Has Bachan erred morally in agreeing to become the poster boy of Gujarat? An answer in the positive would inhere the presumption that the entire state/population of Gujarat is responsible for the post Godhra pogrom. Cynics might say that they twice re-elected the man who engineered the genocide, and so his actions have the endorsement the people. Well, the issue is complex. Modi perhaps – at least I’d like to believe – was not reelected for his role in the post Godhra ethnic cleansing, but for the much hyped development agenda he promised his state - of which he himself has become a poster boy and a powerful symbol. So powerful that Abdullahkutty from within the ranks of CPM was swayed into praising him. But it is sad, that the people of Gujarat lost sight of the fundamental democratic principles and inalienable human rights which were pooh poohed when the Modi administration cracked down on an entire community to the punish the unpardonable act of miscreants. I would say the election of Narendra Modi twice after the genocide point sharply to the Achilles heels of Democracy.
Coming back to the Amitabh Bachan issue, I got this excerpt from his blog from the following link.
“He (Modi) lives simply and with mere basic needs and most unlike the head of a state. He speaks with affection on development and progress. He is welcoming to fresh ideas and ideals. His oft repeated phrase of him being a CM, a common man, is not misunderstood.
“He does and acts as he speaks.”
“He talks of raising the level of awareness for his state through tourism and I volunteer to participate in any activity that would help promote that,” Bachchan wrote explaining his interest in promoting Gujarat.
Well, I find this shocking and slavish – and absolutely without character. Big B, no matter what a goliath he is, cannot right a terrible wrong by showering such fulsome praise on a man who let loose horror on helpless people, on a Chief Minister, who instead of apprehending and severely punishing those who indulged in the brutal terror act of the train burning, used the state machinery to wipe out a community. And Bachan goes into ecstasy over his life of simplicity. He waxes eloquent on Modi’s mode of articulation “He speaks with affection on development and progress”. I call it a betrayal of the people that Bachan who entrenched himself in the heart of his fans as the angry young man who fought against the powerful to protect the weak and the vulnerable, should sing this psalm of praise to the man who used the state machinery to mow down a helpless community.
Shame on him!
Guess Bachan stood to gain from this association. His films have become tax free in Gujarat. It would be interesting to know the size of the pay packet he gets from Gujarat tourism authority.
Maybe we cannot blame him. The memories of his financial distress before Kwon banega made him a crorepathy must be still green in his mind. And he never claimed to be a champion of the underdog or a principled individual. It is the people who thrust that image on him.
Now that mask - the kereedam- is knocked off, we see the real Bachan.
Does Kerala need such a brand ambassador? How can the government of Kerala unilaterally decide to have a person of dubious principles selling my state?
I am angry.