By Ravi Nitesh,
Dear Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Damodardas Modi,
I am writing this letter to you as citizen of India, who is witnessing the leading media reports about the ‘auction’ of your suit. It is also said in these reports that the suit is controversial one as it attracted criticism for its high cost, while you wore it during your meeting with USA president Mr. Obama. However, I am not worrying with these criticism or media reports, reason of my letter is something else. I had seen the division of thoughts on this action of auction , people supported and opposed the move. Even, I found such an action of auction is inappropriate and I opined it in social forums with my right to constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression. I found people who threw logics in your favor as a comment in oppose of my opinion. They also did with the same constitutional right that I enjoyed. Even these things of ‘for and against’ opinion are common and healthy for any democracy, so there is nothing to worry about, not at my end atleast. But, the reasons of my worry is about the logics of these comments and the whole action of this auction.
You know that wearing such a suit is not difficult for you as a prime minister, you also know that you or your supporters can give logics behind it from a personal choice to at extent of necessity of wearing it in virtue of being a prime minister of biggest democracy and ‘strong’ nation, but still I don’t find it suitable. I think, you as a prime minister of India, represent a country and a constitutional post. Being a prime minister, you represent a country that mean a population, a society, a culture and that range around more than one billion people. When you wore a suit of a kind that cannot be even in dream of more than 95% of your people, I cannot say it a suit worth to wear. Also, it doesn’t mean that you have to wear suits of only worth for hundred or thousand rupees , I cannot demand or claim that, because on such things, it is very difficult to draw a line of limit before and after which it can be said acceptable or not acceptable in limit, but it is true that a suit of Rs. 10 lakhs, and making it a sensitive headline for its cost, cannot be said justified with millions of people, instead it was an insult to those who represent India, most of them are poor and economically weak sections. You represented a class society with this suit, that is of corporate, high salaried urban mass. The same stamp on which your opposition speaks about, being a corporate over-friendly politician.
With the controversy, it was cleared that suit was gifted to you by an admirer. Even if it was, it cannot be said right to have such a high cost gift from someone for a person like you who is holding a high constitutional post. Also, it was asked by people if the suit length was gifted or the stitched suit that is completely fit in shape upon you. It was also hoped that as financial year is reaching to end, a gift tax will also be included in your tax return this year.
But now, you suddenly decided to have its auction for a cause of ‘clean Ganga’. I doubt that though Ganga is polluted, but it can get cleaned with this suit. Also, the auction was done under the supervision of district magistrate, as district collector of Surat Mr. Rajender Kumar described about auction bids and accepted qualification/ disqualification of bids. So, it is also clear that another person of constitutional post, a civil service officer paid by government is involved with the auction of suit that was wore by you.
If the suit was taken at personal level as a gift, then how and why a district collector is involved with its auction in anyway? Also, even though it should not have been accepted as a personal gift, it is clear that this personal gift was only because you are prime minister of India. In ordinary life, we as a citizen of India don’t get such gifts from anybody. As the gift was given to Prime Minister of India, therefore its auction is again a misuse of post that prime minister of India holds. Businessmen are ready to buy it for that reason only and suit goes high in cost for that reason.
It is also seen that how, you have become responsible for increasing the actual price of suit from Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 4.31 crore in one month time. It can be a fun business or a serious business of celebrities who are not paid by government, but for a prime minister, I seriously think that it should not be a business to favor. You know well that those who are buying it are not buying for the cause of clean ganga, as if they would, they pay the donation even without buying it and on your appeal only. It is the first time when I feel that prime minister must have other important business and decisions to do rather than doing business of auctions, regardless of the purpose. Even increasing the price of something in this way, cannot be said right on your level.
Also, on personal level, I wonder that if this suit can really help in ‘cleaning’ Ganga. Till now we had heard that Ganga can clean everyone but now if we can hope that this suit of Rs. 4.31 crore can clean Ganga, despite the fact that it wore by you, who already had allegations of ‘communal’ politics from Gujrat to Delhi and the fact that even thousands crore rupees could not prove well in Ganga cleaning till now.
I feel more pity about a particular section of people, who pretend to be your supporter and justify auction of your suit by comparing it with auction of celebrities (actors and sportsmen) and even with belongings of Mahatma Gandhi. I hope that atleast you do not think like these supporters and do not favor them. I hope that you can understand the difference between being a celebrity through acting or playing and being a constitutional post holder of government of India and people’s representative. I also feel that you already know the reasons and difference between auctions of your belongings and of Mahatma Gandhi’s.
Through this letter, I just wanted to convey you my regards that all those who are actually supporting your move of auction, are nowhere supporter of you or the country and its people, instead they are just pretending it and want to say good about it to satisfy their own thoughts , ego and affinity with a person like you. But as a Prime minister of India, you must see what is real on all these things. I hope you will amend and improve your actions.
Regardless of my support or oppose to your policies and persona, as a citizen of this country, I do accept you as prime minister who represent us and therefore it grants me right to convey my feelings , regards, objections and to share my thoughts with you.
I hope that in coming days, you will definitely take steps to be recognized as prime minister of India in real sense, where you can come in media with your acts and policies that represent your population who still dreams for an average food, water, clothes, education, health and roof.
(Ravi Nitesh is a Delhi based civil rights activist and runs the organisation Mission Bhartiyam.)