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India first!

India first!
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Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said nothing new when he told the Indian Diaspora that no matter where they were they should put 'India First'. ...

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said nothing new when he told the Indian Diaspora that no matter where they were they should put "India First". That is what the average Indian has been saying for ages. Yet, the media and intellectuals alike have pounced on poor Modi as though he has committed some apostasy! As I have written in this column many times, whenever I am puzzled by some development (it is another matter that I am always puzzled by every development) I go to my scholar friend for enlightenment. "What is there to clarify? Isn't his statement as clear as daylight?" asked my friend rather testily. "That is precisely my question," I submitted. "What has he said that was not said before? After all, have we not all been putting India first in all matters? Then why this public debate on what Modi has said?" I asked. My friend looked at me as though he were looking at some noxious insect. After a few seconds, as he was about to open his mouth, his grandson studying in a local college barged into the room, surveyed his two "grandpas" cap-a-pie and settled on the sofa set. The boy who, unknown to us, had been following our conversation, addressed me: "It is all very simple, really, Grandpa". That instant I cursed myself in a variety of patois for my failure to see what a teenager could see. I looked at the boy quizzically. "Grandpa! There is a sort of sting in the tail!" the boy said looking amused. "Now, that is going too far afield. Who is talking of heads and tails that you talk of a sting in the tail?" my friend and I fumed in unison. The boy went on nonchalantly. "Why can't you two see the logic of Modi?" "What logic are you talking about?" my friend sounded furious. "Very simple, Grandpa! There cannot be a first if there is no second!" the boy said meditatively. Before we could demand an explanation, the boy had blurted out: "Only modesty, or Modisty if you like, could have prevented the Gujarat Chief Minister from saying who is second if India is first." � M V
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