Editorial: Politics Of Modi’s Meditation

Editorial: Politics Of Modi’s Meditation

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2024, 08:26 PM IST
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The Vivekananda Memorial at Kanyakumari | Wikimedia

Silence has overtaken the political campaign in the country, as voters in 57 constituencies, including Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, prepare to go to the polling booths for the last phase of voting on June 1. Leaders of all political parties are taking a rest after spearheading a campaign that lasted over one and a half months for the 18th Lok Sabha elections. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not given up his campaign. No one had as gruelling and almost punishing a campaign schedule as he had. There is hardly any constituency he has not covered, yet he is not willing to stop. He should have known that, according to the Bhagavad Gita, maun (silence) is about training our minds, not just our mouths, to be silent. If he found virtue in a cave in Kedarnath to meditate during the penultimate days of the 2019 elections, he chose the Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari for that purpose this time.

At the confluence of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea, and where India’s eastern and western coasts meet, Modi is imitating one of the greatest monks of the 19th and 20th centuries, Swami Vivekananda, who saw everyone as his own “brother or sister,” not as Hindu or Muslim. As in Kedarnath, so at the land’s end, images of a meditating Modi will be carried to tens of millions of homes and they can sway a section of the voters whom Modi has been primarily targeting. He even claimed to be the “chosen one” to accomplish a divine task. Small wonder that parties like the DMK and the Trinamool Congress have objected to the meditation, calling it campaigning “by other means.”

Modi knows that such protests will come to nought as the Election Commission is not headed by the likes of the late TN Seshan. Meditation or prayer is simply communion with God, best accomplished away from the floodlights and flashlights and in solitariness. When Swami Vivekananda swam across the gulf to meditate on the rock for three days, he wanted only to be in communion with God. The meditation helped him dedicate himself to serving humanity. He did not inconvenience the local fishing community and the general public, who visit the tip of the country to see the spectacular sunrise and sunset. But then, the Swami had no ambitions to influence the voters as Narendra Modi has.

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