Given the kind of humiliation the American establishment heaped on Narendra Modi while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, most supporters of Modi and even many opponents had assumed that he would remain cold and aloof towards Americans after becoming Prime Minister. By cancelling his US visa, the American establishment had treated him as a virtual criminal even though not even an FIR had been registered against him anywhere in India. There was genuine suprise and even disappointment among Modi fans when he took no time to accept the invitation of President Obama to be his guest and address the US Congress.
But anyone who knows Modi even cursorily would understand that Modi doesn't let his ego come in the way of pragmatic politics. For all his "desi" thinking Modi shares some essential traits with Americans - the most important being his fascination for and understanding of power - how to achieve it as well as how to deal with power wielders. He knows very well that to appear a tall leader, he must be endorsed by other tall leaders. If he was seen sulking vis a vis the unquestioned super power of the globe, his stature would be diminished. By contrast, the sight of the American establishment reaching out to him to make up for all the insults they heaped on him, raises his stature both at home and abroad. The fact that he did not have to woo the Americans, it is they who wooed him adds to his charisma.
But most important of all, with this one stroke, all the Modi's-Baiters at home and abroad are stumped. It is an open secret that the campaign to demonize Modi in particular and BJP in general was led by NGOs funded by American and European donor agencies with the full backing of their respective governments. Even the evangelical groups which portrayed Modi as a full blooded fascist, as a "mass murderer", did so in coordination with the political establishment of America and European countries. South Asian studies departments of American campuses became the hot beds for Hate-Modi campaign. The Anya Loombas and Teesta Setalvads could mobilize a whole network of Modi tormentors because the American establishment was behind that campaign. Modi understands very well that even Medha Patkar could create havoc for him and Gujarat over Narmada issue not because she had mass support in India but because she had the backing of American campuses, powerful donor agencies and evangelical groups. Whoever America decides to spotlight at once gets catapulted into international limelight. If The New York Times treats you as a star or a messiah of the downtrodden, how can The Times of India afford to ignore you? That is how Medha Patkar and Teesta Setalvad captured the media in India.
Even as an ordinary citizen, if you have an American visa in your passport, no country denies you visa, Likewise denial of US visa to Modi while he was CM led to several European countries also treating him as a persona non-grata.
With this one invitation all of Modi's tormentors have been silenced. 'Sabki bolti band'. All those who ran virulent campaigns against Modi's entry into the US, all those who worked to have even his video lecture cancelled for an American university are now subdued. There are no blackflag demonstrations greeting Modi in the US. No one is screaming at the American government for having invited him. The Indian community in the US is so charged that he is being treated as a rock star. This is perhaps the first time that a Prime Minister of a country is addressing a mass gathering in a foreign country.
Even the mighty Amartya Sen who had at one time led the campaign to have Modi's US visa cancelled, has had his lips sealed. He knows that compared to the lakhs of Indians dying to attend Modi's public meetings, his baiters cannot gather more than a 100 people for a protest demonstration, unless they rope in Islamic jehadi organizations for the purpose. And if Amartya Sen is silenced, how can a Teesta Setalvad or even Arundhati Roy indulge in histrionics?
Since Modi now has gained great legitimacy in the eyes of the American establishment which has been acting as the mai baap of human rights community in India, those who had made a lucrative profession out of running hate campaigns against him, feel orphaned. Their sources of funding may also start drying up.
Thus, Modi's ready acceptance of American Presidents' invitation has managed to defang all those who made his life hell, moved heaven and earth to nail him as the prime culprit of 2002 riots. As long as the UPA was in power, they were confident of achieving their ends through means fair or foul. Even though the Supreme Court appointed SIT cleared Modi's name, even though they did not succeed in getting one FIR registered against Modi, they tormented him through relentless defamation campaigns with the backing of their funders in the West. After the UPA lost power and Modi became PM, their hate campaign lost much of the media support. Yet, Teesta Setalvad & Shabnam Hashmi Gang did not give up their smear campaign. But now with the American government having befriended Modi, they seem as shell shocked as they were at the stunning defeat of Sonia Congress.
The sudden silence of the self appointed guardians of human rights in India reveals their true political worth and weightage. Their lung power, their political clout is all borrowed. The moment they lose foreign funding and foreign patronage, they begin to fade into insignificance. Most of the leading NGOs claiming to be defenders of human rights and minority rights are hot house growths. They have hardly any roots or support base in Indian society. Their clout is largely based on the clout of their handlers and financial backers.
Without having lifted a finger to discipline Indian NGO's who created hell for him, by accepting Obama's invitation Modi has effectively struck at their roots. Even the Indian media which had made common cause with Hate- Modi Campaign, is giving ga-go over Modi's US visit.
Finally, Modi also realizes that good relations with America will give him additional clout vis a vis Pakistan and China. That will lend strength to his efforts to put an end to boundary disputes between these two troublesome neighbours. Most important of all American help will be crucial in solving the chronic Kashmir problem.
And if Modi can solve the Kashmir problem once and for all - which he seems determined to do - who know the man the American establishment hounded and derided as Hitler Mark II, as a genocide perpetrator - may even get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!