Modi in tears: Does it weaken or humanise his image?
Big boys don’t cry. Well, that’s an old adage which doesn’t hold anymore.
I see Prime Minister Narendra Modi crying, as an expression of angst. Possibly an expression of a deep-rooted frustration even. Sum of it all, I see it as an expression. Nothing more. Nothing less.
This expression is all about letting go. It is all about saying—I am human also. It is about saying all of us are. It is about saying that I am no robot, no automaton, no machine. I work hard. I work long hours. I have no family I go back to. My family is really this country. I have feelings as well. And when I feel something, I express. And I feel for the nation.
When men cry, it tends to jolt many around. Sadly, when women cry, in a gender-skewed society, people tend to say its okay. They always cry. This gender-painting that exists in Indian society is now being challenged. Look around at advertising of the last year. Brands from across the spectrum of garments, watches, accessories, washing machines, and even banks, have tried pieces of advertising that aim to gender-correct, and in the bargain, gender-connect.
Modi’s crying will connect him more umbilically to the audience at hand, which is the Indian populace that watches him keenly. Yes, there will be some who will paint this out to be a piece of carefully practised drama. But then, no one knows better, right? Neither do I.
Whatever it is, a tough prime minister crying actually humanises him. It helps make a connect with a people who possibly cry due to different reasons day in and day out. The Indian farmer who is going through the toughest days of his life, for instance. The jobless youth who hunts every day, and possibly sits in parks the whole day, before returning home in the evening to tell his/her parents that nothing materialised. The hungry and malnourished in a country that is polarised in its riches and in its poverty quotient.
When big boys cry, it becomes a rallying point. The women of the nation will emote with it that much more than the men maybe. Rural folk will emote differently on this than urban. And among the urban, those with jobs will emote with it differently than those without. The hungry will emote with this differently than those who have just had delicious and piping hot Momos for lunch just now.
Harish Bijoor is a brand consultant based in Bangalore.