India and its obsession with birthdays are nothing new. We all love to celebrate our birthday, don’t we? But the Indian politicians have taken it a step further, take for instance that we have countrywide celebrations for populist leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru (November 14), Mahatma Gandhi (October 2), Indira Gandhi (November 19), Dr. BR Ambedkar (April 24), and so on. For decades the Indian politics have relied on immortalizing their popular leaders in the form of either observing death or birthdays. Additionally, these days it is a normal ritual for the supporters to greet their leaders with flowers and cakes. The more enormous the cake, the better the leader is pleased with his courtiers. Many leaders also make a point through their auspicious days. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav celebrated his 55th birthday with a cake shaped like a church, masjid, and temple. Late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa once cut a cake in the shape of parliament, revealing her ambition for a national role. Meanwhile, BSP supremo Mayawati uses her birthday for crowdfunding and gets enormous amounts for her party on January 16. It seems that birthdays and Indian politics have a much more deep-rooted relationship than it is perceived by the eye.
Having said this, the country is once again preparing for the bash of the year as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday is approaching. The birthday celebrations this year promise to be greater as they had to curtail the previous year owing to the pandemic. The BJP is already busy scheduling a flurry of events from September 17 across the country. Well in the past, Modi’s birthday was marked as ‘Seva Saptabut’ but this year it is being expanded as ‘Seva Aur Samarpan Abhiyan.’ The BJP public relations team deserves a pat on their backs for the unique ways these celebrations are presented. The nomenclature that also acts as a motto does seem to multiply the glory of their leaders’ birthday. Interestingly, this year the birthday celebrations will not only be limited to a day but continue till October 7, marking the day when Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujrat for the first time, 20 years back. Moreover, the period will also include the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 and Deen Dayal Upadhyay on September 25. Will not the Prime Minister’s ‘Abhiyan’ overshadow the days already earmarked for greater personalities of the country? Well, the answer to that may not be available right now but it sure points to the agenda of the saffron brigade. They are not only celebrating their Prime Minister’s birthday but also creating a legacy for the party’s future.
No doubt the opposition, which is looking for an issue, has criticized this mega program when people still suffer from Covid. They point out that covid is one of the significant failures of the Modi government, particularly the second wave. The economy is down, and there is massive unemployment, inflation, and price rise. “So, what is there to rejoice,” they ask. On the other hand, Modi seems to know how much image building is necessary for a politician. Most importantly, when elections are scheduled in half a dozen states, including Uttar Pradesh in a matter of a year. With these on their mind, the BJP seems to be back in image development and jumlas in order to come over stronger after the recent dismal performance in 2021.