The youth of today have been conferred with several accolades from the IT Industry, my 8+ year experience in this field has not only earned me a big fat paycheck but also an acute cervical pain. The reason why I must mention this is that, economical cab rides through Uber provides people like me the relief of getting almost 30 mins of extra sleep on many days, if I decide to give a miss to my office bus. Last Friday and Saturday have been no different and I had to book Uber cabs to reach my office in Shollinganallur (Chennai).
For news buff like me, going by such cabs has an additional benefit. These cab drivers are the “eyes and ears of the city” and will most likely provide you accurate information of happenings in and around the city. What I generally do is to strike a conversation with the driver inquiring about his home town and once that is the done, the magic starts. “Anna, yendha ooru na neenga?” (Brother which city are you from?) will probably make his day and my local news source as well.
The pre-dawn strike in Uri which saw the cowardly killings of 18 our of India Army men and the retaliation provided by Indian Army through Surgical Strikes has been the talk of the Nation for the past few weeks. Unfortunately Tamil Media houses have always had their priorities different, they have been constantly bickering about the death of Ram Kumar and its caste complications. Although the Uri attacks did not make much of a coverage in Tamil Nadu, the retaliation by India Army had made quite an impact in the minds of the people.
During my trip on both Friday and Saturday, I had the opportunity to discuss these issues with two drivers who coincidentally were Muslims as well. Contrary to the usual phenomenon, the drivers were aware of the Surgical Strikes but little in the dark on the complete details. “Sir, yenna Kashmir la nadakkuthu? Namma Army yedho strike pannagalame, adhu unmaya?”(Sir, what is happening in Kashmir? Heard our Army did a strike there is it true?).
I filled in the blanks for them, explaining how Army Camps in Uri were earlier attacked by Pakistani terrorists and it was probably the biggest attack on India soil. In retaliation the Indian Army managed to avenge its brothers in Uri by attacking several terror pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The next question from them were even more interesting, “Sir, Indha madhiri terrorist thakkudhal munnadi nadandhirukke, Ippo mattum yen ippadi react pannaranga Center Government?” (Sir such terror attacks have happened before but how come there is a sudden retaliation from Center Government?)
Again I did my part here explaining the role of PM Modi / Defense Minister / Indian Army and how they have given a free hand to the Indian Army. Both drivers had surprisingly similar views on BJP and PM Modi. The summary of their responses were quite similar, they were in full praise of PM Modi and his courage to take on terrorists from Pakistan. Infact they went on to talk about local Tamil leaders who were purely interested only in power and family rule, while the need of the hour was the presence of leaders like PM Modi in Tamil Nadu.
This experience that I had with these drivers might be easily dismissed by many as a one off case scenario. But to my surprise in today’s morning paper “The New Sunday Express” dated 2nd October 2016, a very detailed comprehensive survey statistics was conducted. The stat survey conducted by Express Survey team collected data about the views of people hailing from South India and Odisha pertaining to the recent Surgical Strikes.
Contrary to the rants by pseudo liberals and crony intellectuals, a thumping majority of Indians (88.5%) feel that this move by PM Modi is right. Also a majority of those Indians (66%) feel such retaliations will not result in a war with Pakistan.
Assuming the survey does reflect the mindsets of the middle class of this Nation. Can we now at least conveniently say that PM Modi has transcended the lines of caste, creed and religion and by far has been the most acceptable leader in Indian history?Although many might still wait for 2019 LS elections, for me the driver’s acceptance of PM Modi has defied all 2002 attempts by his infamous critics.