India for a very long time was divided between the elite belonging to the Lutyens’ club of the national capital and the rest of the country. This self-proclaimed elite class, who took pride in going to the clubs of Delhi and trying to influence important decisions in the government, had created a closed-door arena for themselves which was not open to others. The contours for that were predefined from Janpath to Akbar Road in the capital, if at all anyone from outside the Lutyens zone ever desired to enter this club.
The protectors of this elite regime, curated by a select few in a country of over 1 billion, in their self-proclaimed supercilious righteousness, behaved oblivious to the fact that they were transcending over the thin line between keeping their pride and being adamant about their behavioural patterns.
The nation’s epicentre of political power had become practically unreachable for the common people of this nation. India has invariably taken pride in exhibiting its democratic nature. However, with this elite class dictating the navigation of power in the national capital, the concept of democracy benefiting all had become a mere phrase.
Whosoever managed to cater to the interests of this elite class could very well turn the wind of favour in their direction. The rest were only an audience who watched a story of aspirations and ambitions revolving around the same class of people time and again.
The term ‘Lutyens’ Delhi’ has great resonance with British-dominated India which had a typically English-speaking elite lobby. While we inherited a lot of unwanted things from the British, this elite class was one of the most treacherous things to have been taken ahead by some people, particularly in the limelight during the UPA 1 and UPA 2 tenures, although its roots were very deep in the country’s political circle.
The influence of a British pattern of dominance on this Lutyens’ Delhi lobby was to the extent that they outrightly rejected the basic consciousness and concept of Bharat. They took pride in calling themselves the elite English-speaking population of the new India, the boundaries of which were crafted to suit only their interests.
However, the ascent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a massive disruption amongst these cosy clubs of Lutyens’ Delhi, which, albeit unwillingly, were replaced by true intellectuals with the experience of the grassroots, who could relate to the predicament of the people outside the radius of the Lutyens zone. With this change in their modus operandi, their frustration became evident. A recent interview where this frustration could be seen was of Sanjaya Baru, media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with the forgotten voice of English journalism, Karan Thapar. Baru in his book titled India’s Power Elite has tried to showcase this change within the political and bureaucratic circles of Delhi.
In an interview with The Wire, Baru says the new elite in power is more provincial and prefers to use Hindi or vernacular languages. The old elite had been to similar schools and universities and were members of the Gymkhana or IIC. Baru added that this is the first time the PMO does not have officers who have graduated from St. Stephen’s College or JNU. These statements made by the advocates of Lutyens’ Delhi reflect their mindset on what they think of the deserving people now in power who understand the basic needs of our countrymen.
If Baru’s interview was to be decoded in an alternative perspective, what he has conveniently refrained from making a comment on is about the fact that these very Lutyens’ people failed to provide electricity for the rest of the country for over 65 years after Independence. The Lutyens’ Delhi government or the St. Stephen’s graduates as bureaucrats failed to ensure that the common man is connected to the banking systems of this nation. Perhaps they were busy issuing financial aid to future potential defaulters, the lobbying for whom was done allegedly by those sitting in ICC or the Gymkhana.
The advocates of Lutyens’ Delhi, who call themselves a highly intellectual class, could not muster their intelligence to ensure macro- and micro-level finances for the nation like that PM Modi and his team did. Be it the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code or the introduction of the GST or the clarion call for Swachh Bharat, the old highly educated graduates could not count anything like these as their achievements.
It is imperative for these self-proclaimed elitists to understand that the sentiments and the needs of the country as a whole are not confined to the walls of the privileged enclaves of the capital. The people of this nation do not require the alluring phrases of English which can vow audiences. They require concrete action on the ground as that done by the PM Mudra Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, Ujwala Yojana, PM Suraksha Bima Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana and many more.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team may not represent English-speaking people but even those English-speaking people of Bharat are strong advocates of his policies as they understand that merely speaking in English does not necessarily speak for one’s knowledge.
A matter of absolute dismay is that Baru in his interview with Karan Thapar went on to compare the impact of the cultural revolution under Prime Minister Modi to the one that happened under Mao in China. In both instances the aim was to remove, if not eradicate, vestiges of the old order which may have tried to cling on to power and office, he says.
While Prime Minister Modi lets his work do the talking, what the Lutyens’ lobby have perpetually failed to understand is that the people of this nation have no interest in keeping these vestiges which led them into the dark era of Emergency, the coal scam, 2G scam, chopper scam, CWG scam, Adarsh scam. And this list can go on.
Our fellow Indians would rather appreciate the parts of India which are registering world records for fastest road construction, ensuring all farmers are covered under the PM Kisan Yojana, ensuring pension to farmers, labourers and shopkeepers, amending laws related to matters like Triple Talaq and strict punishment against child abuse, seeing a historical reduction in corporate tax, delivering the next generation of fighter planes to the country, observing the Bodo Peace Accord and Bru-Reang Permanent Settlement, forming a trust for a grand Ram temple, deciding to revoke Article 370 and make Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories, and making the Citizenship Amendment Act. And this list can go on too.
Left with no other major controversies, the pseudo-secular left-liberal lobby of the Lutyens zone in the national capital has now resorted to decrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his developmental reforms have shattered the walls built by them to protect their own interests.
The nation under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has gathered in unison to outcast the British-influenced mindset of maintaining centralized colonies of power. Instead the nation now witnesses a free India with a plethora of opportunities and the most transparent and accessible processes.
This disruption in the system brought by Prime Minister Modi can never be supported by the protagonists of the old elite. Perhaps this is why Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be unaccepted by traditional Lutyens’ folks but is the most preferred choice of Indians.
The author is BJP Media Head, Maharashtra.