How to be a ‘Fakir’: 10 Commandments from PM Modi’s Interviews
Video editors: Vishal Kumar and Ashutosh Bhardwaj
“You are a fakir (ascetic). Where did this arise from? Were you always like this? Or did this 'fakiri' gradually keep growing on you?” - Prasoon Joshi, 18 April 2018
Good question. If one has followed PM Narendra Modi’s media interactions during the Lok Sabha elections, one would know that the ‘fakiri’ has indeed come gradually – one interview at a time.
Since 29 March, when PM Modi embarked on a journey of 13 one-on-one television interviews (till 15 May) starting with Republic Bharat, it would appear to an alien visiting earth that each network is competing with other to better establish Modi’s ascetic credentials.
Why, by mixing up the interview settings, of course.
However, from his love for mangoes to his insights on radar technology to his sleep schedule, two months of Modi interviews have thrown up memorable quotes galore that illustrate the qualities of a true modern fakir.
1. Thou Shall Be an ‘Aam’ Citizen
Full-time actor and part-time political journalist, Akshay Kumar, on 24 April, spent an hour asking Modi ‘apolitical’ questions. The first bouncer he delivered in an interview that came after three phases of polling was on Modi’s love for mangoes.
2. Thou Shall Stay Cashless
Deepak Chaurasia of News Nation, probably keen to ask a question on fiscal policies, asked Modi if he carries a wallet. Fakirs shun cash and can make it disappear – case in point, 8 November 2016.
3. Thou Shall Help in Anger Management
Both Akshay Kumar and Modi share a hearty laugh over a joke the PM made about Twinkle Khanna’s criticism of him. Fakirs are above anger and wrath.
4. Thou Shall Travel Through Time
Fakirs and elevated souls, unlike regular mortals, can travel in either direction in time.
5. Thou Shall Posses a Wide 'Radar' of Knowledge
Fakirs, of course, are never ‘clouded’ by confusion on matters of national importance.
6. Thou Shall Not Turn Water Into H20
In Varanasi, a land of fakirs and saints, who is the fakir-est of them all? Strolling along the banks of the Ganga in his constituency city, Modi spoke to Aaj Tak about the importance of water in India’s history.
7. Thou Shall Stay Fearless in Pakistan
Remember that time when PM Modi dropped by in Pakistan on his way back to India from from Kabul? Ye naya PM hai, ye ghar mein ghusega bhi aur helicopter main baithega bhi.
8. Thou Shall Amaze Obama & Putin with Sleep Schedule
Well, routine questions to PM Modi on how he manages to manage on 3-4 hours of sleep is part of journalism school curriculum by now.
While Modi spoke to Akshay about former US president Barrack Obama’s surprise upon learning of Modi’s sleep schedule, what many do not know is he was up all night with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
9. Thou Shall Be an Adarsh Citizen
Well, those driving on the wrong side of the divider are often liable for a fine or prosecution. But fakirs have the ability to become a divider (in-chief) themselves and drive wherever they wish.