When people throw stones at me, I convert the stones into a flight of stairs, a staircase of growth and progress of society- this is what Narendra Modi has said not once but often. Look back at the past eleven years and the words that have come out from the mouths of the various Modi baiters are intense and extremely unbecoming for a democracy.
From being called a ‘Merchant of Death' by the most powerful woman in the country to be called ‘monkey' or ‘rat' by her minions, there is hardly any abuse or adjective that has not been showered on Modi. Yet, despite all this, Modi has always displayed a certain calm...a mind that is not bothered by such mindless abuse but instead a mind that has borne all pain just so that the people of Gujarat live in peace and grow at spectacular heights.
Even on social media, Modi is the subject of a lot of abuse, most of it sponsored by vested elements. Despite that, he has not blocked a single person on Twitter, which is a rarity in this day and age. The sponsored propaganda does not stop at Twitter. It spreads to Facebook and even emails full of vitriol but that has never deterred Modi from showing his kinder side!
Among the many instances that bring out the kind and compassionate side of Modi, two of them stand out in my mind. These two pertain to Modi's compassion towards two Muslim youngsters who wrote threatening mails to Modi in 2002 and in 2006. Both these mails were filled with the choicest of abuses against Modi. Now, if any youngster would have dared to do the same against Kapil Sibal or his masters, he or she would have 66A waiting for him or her. In a land where sensibilities are hurt even at the slightest of provocations, I must say Modi's behavior with these two youngsters came as a breath of fresh air.
The first instance dates back to 2002. Modi was hardly a year old as Chief Minister but the last year had been difficult. It is, after all not easy to bring a state that had little semblance of a government with tremendous political instability back to the path of growth. The constant media onslaught did not help either. In such times, a 30-year-old youngster from Mumbai Razzak Nasir Qasim wrote a hate mail with a threat to kill Modi.
The consequences for Qasim were disastrous! He lost his job with an IT firm and was booked under various sections of the IT Act. For about 15 days Qasim was placed under judicial custody. This is when Modi got involved. When he heard about this case, he decided to do something that few others do- forgive the youngster.
Seeing his record, education and no history of crime, Modi rightly understood that this is a case of misplaced emotions and thus invited Qasim's parents, grandparents and other family members to his residence and told them about his decision to have all cases against him withdrawn. Modi did not stop there, he also urged the IT company to hand back Razzak Qasim his job. Modi had termed it as a matter of his conviction.
On his part, Qasim acknowledged his mistake and promised to comment on anything without prior knowledge of the accurate facts. Here, it must be noted that the charged Qasim faced were very serious and could have landed him in prison for five years with a heavy fine of Rs. 1 lac (this in 2002). Thankfully, it was Modi's statesmanlike approach that saved the day for a Muslim youngster.
The other instance took place in 2006. In January that year, a youngster Omar Farooq Siddiqui was arrested in Delhi for sending a threatening and abuse filled mail to the Gujarat CM. When this case reached Modi's attention and he promptly pardoned Omar's actions considering the impact it would have on his life and career.
One would expect a lot of other public figures to learn from Modi. He is arguably abused the loudest by vested interest but that has clearly not rattled him. Instead he has adopted the Gandhian path of forgive and forget with the aim to create a developed Gujarat.
(Kishore can be followed on Twitter- @KishoreTrivedi1)