Show, don’t tell: Political narrative through the eyes of a fiction writer 

Fiction writers would teach how important it is to ‘show’ an audience (reader  or listener) and not resort to mere ‘telling’ for effective real-life storytelling/ narratives. In creative writing it is very important to construct mental images of believable pictures and compelling characters for a reader to go on turning the pages.  Piquing a concern […]

Fiction writers would teach how important it is to ‘show’ an audience (reader  or listener) and not resort to mere ‘telling’ for effective real-life storytelling/ narratives. In creative writing it is very important to construct mental images of believable pictures and compelling characters for a reader to go on turning the pages.  Piquing a concern in the reader’s mind by creating conflicts and uncovering sensitive  facts are other impactful ways to establish a direct connect and take the reader through  hundreds of pages.

Transposing this principle to the realm of political oratory, the strategic use of  carefully chosen words—spoken or written—that resonate with the common person and create a picture in his/her mind establishes a connection. Painting mental images  wherein people/voters, can see how a proposed action or policy will directly impact  their everyday live is a far more effective communication than simple enlisting of facts  or directives.
The Modi phenomenon is undoubtedly multifaceted, but, in my perspective,  his communication skills stand out as a paramount factor. These skills have shaped a  public attitude, employing a strategy that emphasizes “showing” rather than “telling”  in an authorial voice using people’s perspective.

The speeches delivered by the esteemed Prime Minister have effectively  conveyed the party’s actions and agendas to the masses. During the evening speech at  the BJP party office in Delhi on December 3rd, the Prime Minister went beyond mere  presentation. It also did not just keep to ‘showing’ to create a picture in the minds but  it worked on further taking the story/ narrative forward. Expressing gratitude to the  BJP workers in Telangana for having been able to secure eight seats in the state and  incorporating Telugu sentences in his speech show Modiji’s attempt to reach out to  the people of the state; and this itself creates a connect quite faster than we would like  to believe. This also indicates that the tallest national leader is already preparing for  the next assembly and the next parliamentary election.

The strategic delivery of appropriate messages on significant occasions has  played and will continue to play a pivotal role for the party. Our country can now  boast of agile leadership with high emotional IQ. Any party trying to compete with  this, must be at least as agile if not more. But this also means that such agility stems from intense attention to detail (that again is born out of genuine interest) for a  profession or for love of his/her countrymen. The saffron party’s preparation for  elections is like an academically brilliant student keeping her/himself ready for  examination at any time in a short notice.

Another valuable guiding tenet borrowed from fiction writing is the principle  of “Believe in people’s intelligence.” Avoid stating the obvious, and repetitive  information is highly undesirable. Instead, leave room for individuals to piece  together information, allowing them to make sense of it and contribute their own  thoughts to weave the complete narrative. BJP has successfully done this over the  years and results are there to see.

One more lesson from creative writers is to avoid creating insipid narration by peppering it with conflicts in order to bring in the drama. So, if there’re no conflicts in  your political narration, you must create a few in order to bring forth the excitement and keep people interested in you and moving ahead meaningfully.

The other most important or the bedrock of Fiction writing is the narrative  voice which can be a Reliable voice and Unreliable narrative voice. Though in fiction  an unreliable voice/ character taking a story forward maybe more gripping leading  to success, but in politics the reverse is true. Establishing a reliable voice goes a long  way in a relationship with the masses.

Regarding the issue of a caste-based census, Modiji’s perspective, highlighting  four specific segments of the population—women, farmers, the economically  disadvantaged, and the youth—touches sensitive chords with the public. This stance  not only resonates with the minds of millions of logically thinking people but also  reflects a progressive, development-oriented mindset. Modiji’s mention of these four  groups earns him political points, demonstrating that the party has diligently gauged  the pulse of the people. And there is hope for a caste-based-reservation free processes  for academic institutes and jobs.

There might be significant obstacles to the implementation of the women’s bill,  but women nationwide view it as a commendable effort toward their welfare. The  Prime Minister consistently emphasizes women’s welfare in his speeches, delving into  specific “use cases” where he illustrates the challenges women face, often without the  awareness of fathers or husbands. This approach fosters a strong connection with  women voters, whether in rural or urban areas.

The contemporary digitally savvy electorate can discern mere politics and real development work or even an attempt doing so. The last two builds a trust connection.  Once it’s done, people are even willing to overlook their leaders’ mistakes. This fact was evident in the past during the Great Indian Demonetization, where despite the  hardships faced by the poor and middle class, individuals endured without negatively  attributing blame to the leader behind the decision. A similar scenario unfolded after  the second wave of the Covid-19 crisis.

The term “Modi guarantee” now resonates with people, reflecting their  experience during the pandemic, particularly the well managed first wave of it and  the successful vaccination drive. The efficient management of vaccine roll-out, and the swift implementation of the Cowin software for administering primary and multiple  booster doses have left a lasting impression on the multitude.

Another lesson is to avoid jaded words or metaphors for a lively narrative. Caste arithmetic has traditionally played a crucial role in Indian elections. However,  recent election outcomes suggest a maturation in the Indian electoral landscape,  indicating that the people of the digital era have transcended traditional caste  sentiments. The once-effective social engineering tactics employed by the Congress  now is outdated, and even the freebies or distribution of cash or gifts is proving to be  ineffective in contemporary India.

Besides the above, the power words have its own place. Welfare initiatives  introduced by the current Prime Minister are noteworthy, where the names of the schemes themselves sound like slogans and create an image in itself. Schemes such as  Ladli Behena Scheme, Sadhna Tapasya Sankalp, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna,  Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, Har Ghar Nal Yojna, and others stand  out in this regard.

Lastly, words used in corporate business houses like work track record,  leadership attributes, responsible leadership, quality work delivery, delivery on time,  streamlined analysis, project road maps, delivery milestones, deadline are what the  country’s people today relate to or like to associate with. The sense of a need for result  oriented approach and immediacy are perceptible in the population which the ruling  government understand to the core but the INDIA alliance has to yet come to terms  with.