When we were children, my brother and I would often find our way through a maze – a kind of puzzle – putting pen to paper. If high-tech games have driven puzzles of this nature out of the repertoire of sultry summer holiday pastimes, that would be a pity. Solving such puzzles inculcates a strong solution-seeking attitude. Children who engage with them grow up learning that problems have to be worked through, not wished away.
If Narendra Modi is a problematic personality, as the endless litany of a section of the intelligentsia seems to suggest, the solution a democratic discourse demands is that we seek ways to address this problem, not do all we can to try and exclude it or deny it. It is not just about seeing a snake where a rope exists as his detractors do, or claiming, as his supporters do, that an innocuous rope is being imagined as a snake. Both sides would, perhaps, do well to keep their scepticism and enthusiasm, respectively, in abeyance till the due process of electing a new government is complete, and then view the emerging realities through lenses of clarity and candour.
Ways out of mazes are built-in – so it is never impossible to find our way out. We would do well to retain this confidence.