Though the question is quite hypothetical, there is no doubt over the fact that Modi has made the people of the world’s largest democracy see a dream. Modi has promised to build a nation, which would be people centric and have everything for everyone.

The country, which withstood the beatings of policy paralysis and economic stagnation for several years, is now looking for a quick-fix solution and Modi, being the Prime Minister designate, carries an enormous amount of responsibility on his ‘56-inch’ chest.  

India, for long, has often whined and cried about the plight of common man. This issue of common man is always discussed but no political party has been able to fulfill the aspirations of tens and thousands of them. The Congress, which has ruled the nation for almost six decades, failed to leave an impact on the masses who are still groping in the dark.

Even a political party led by an IIT-passed bureaucrat was able to leave a momentary impact on the minds of the people on this particular plank. But do we ever try to look and delve deep into the life of common man?

Who is actually a ‘common man’ in India? Someone who works in a 6x6 office cabin or cubicle, leads a monotonous life without anticipating any dramatic changes, has got single-minded responsibility to look after his family and fulfilling all their needs or pushing back his own priorities. Instances are many and a continuous introspection would lead to more yardsticks.

In India, the term ‘common man’ is looked upon with much ‘interest’ and is ‘deliberately’ neglected as well as debated upon. A majority of Indians consider themselves to be ‘poor,’ as they feel they still lag way behind the western style of living. Now, the question is what actually a common man confesses when he sits down with a cup of tea, lights up a cigar or sips whisky. It should not be a tough guess, considering the fact they weather almost a vista of storm without much hue and cry. They rue about the attitude of government, inefficiency of administration, discrepancies of bureaucracy, loopholes in law and order, soaring prices, domestic issues and so on.

Features of a common man in India are quite simple. They live a modest life, never fascinate too much about spending an evening at a coffee shop or a restaurant and never go out with his peers and friends too often.

He is more of a family man who hardly socializes, devotes a considerable amount of time to his family. He prefers to buy stuffs from simple roadside markets rather than taking a stroll in and around chic and swanky malls or departmental stores. He is not concerned about the quality of food in a road side ‘dhaba’, does not hesitate to drink water from running tape. Can we call him ‘poor’ or ‘compelled?’ Of course, not! Then what? Is he shy or just loves to lead a simple life?

The most possible ‘truth’ could be the sheer pressure of providing a close to ‘upscale’ life to his family. And in order to do so, with passage of time, he subdues his own dream, fascination, imagination, desires and all. To meet the demands of his wife and children, he loses his sleep night after night, works over time year after year, and tolerates filthy language and abusive behavior of his superiors.

He compromises with life, accepts everything, no matter in which and what form it comes. To get his son or daughter admitted to a good college or institution, he invests his lifelong savings to fulfill their ever increasing demands. In addition, he floods their wallet with enormous amount of cash. While back at home, he leads a modest and simplest life. He might skip a day’s meal but makes sure that his wife and children never sleep with an empty stomach.

Still, he manages to sport a smile, when he notices everyone having a good time on the dining table. Throughout his life, he might have never cared about travelling in first class coaches, availing flight could have been beyond his imagination, but to make each and every wish of his family come true, he spills some extra bucks, yet never complains.

This is happening in almost every Indian family. These can’t be directly termed as ‘problems’ of a common man but it is true that it exposes the economic disparity prevalent in our country. These ‘common men’ form the workforce, rather the backbone of each and every sector in India, be it private or public. They work harder and longer than anyone else but rarely gets any ‘reward or gift’ in return.

While those who are lazily ‘seated,’ they are making fast cash through ‘immoral and unethical’ ways, while indulging in an act of corruption is like a ‘grave sin’ for a common man. Honesty and integrity are hallmark of their work ethics. Values and principles are something that they have been upholding since long and would continue to do so.

With Modi promising to bring an ambience of economic equality, the nation in general and the common man in particular is waiting for so called ‘acche din’. From a leader, whose development model in Gujarat has received applauds; the common man can expect to see positive change. Whether or not this happens, only time would tell.

Pankaj Ghosh/JPN

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