Democracy is known for its revenge. In 2008, it struck two places to take its revenge. It struck America to crush the race ‘barrier’ and elected to the White House the first-ever non-white president in US history. Democracy also struck in Pakistan with elections in February 2008 after two years of stormy civil and judicial strife by ousting a dictator and ending the ignominy of his eight-year rule. But with equal cruelty, it imposed on the people of Pakistan a foreign-brokered NRO-based regime that had neither the will nor ability to steer the country out of its decade-long politico-economic maelstrom.
In May 2013, it struck again in Pakistan by throwing the PPP regime out and installing the PML-N government with a fresh mandate. In the last one year, it has shown neither the sagacity nor grit to grapple with the challenges of governance that it inherited from its predecessor regime. Unsure of itself, it has been running hot and cold leaving the big challenges totally unaddressed. Instead of singing praises for ‘democracy’s beauty’, it should have fixed its priorities right to be able to grasp the nettle. Democracy doesn’t like self-praise. It expects performance.
Democracy is about the people, who are the final arbiters of their destiny. They choose their leaders in the hope of rule of law, justice and good governance. In our case, we have seen a number of political leaders ‘cycled’ through elections under political as well as military regimes. Invariably, very few of them went beyond maintaining their own political power and privilege, and securing their self-serving interests or those of their elite fraternity. As ‘elected’ leaders, they never inspired hope to convert Pakistan into a self-reliant, democratic state where its citizens can live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from fear, want, hunger, disease, corruption, violence and injustice.
Globally too, democracy is a luxury that very few countries of the world can afford.
Democracy thrives on education and economic well-being, which developing countries, with few exceptions, lack so much. The overwhelming majority of states in Africa, Asia and Latin America are wallowing in authoritarian political systems in the garb of democracy, with their people having no role whatsoever in governmental changes or decision-making. India, no doubt, stands out singularly for its consistent democratic tradition and practice. It is democracy’s one of the few most favoured states in the world.
But this time, democracy has struck back with fierce vengeance in India too. It has just ousted the Congress-led UPA government, unleashing a phenomenon called the ‘Modi Wave’ giving the people of India a fresh hope for change. It has given Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a colossal victory with 282 seats to be able to form a government of its own. The National Democratic Alliance that includes BJP and its pre-election allies will now control 336 seats in a 543-member Lok Sabha. This thumping majority dwarfs all previous electoral victories since 1984.
The ‘Modi Wave’ may have been a factor in India’s electoral outcome but the real game-changer has been the nationwide disaffection and disgust against the Nehru dynasty-led Congress in the country. It is only democracy that could have given such a landslide victory to a man with dubious credentials who is known to the world for his diehard communalist proclivities and was, in fact, considered responsible for the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed over 2,000 Muslims. The EU and the US had blacklisted him as persona non grata for visa purposes. His affiliation with fanatic Hindu organisation RSS and its militant cadres is no secret nor has he ever denied his commitment to ‘purifying’ India.
What an irony that a man of his controversial credentials should now be heading the world’s ‘largest’ democracy. But that is what democracy is all about. Haven’t we had NRO beneficiaries ruling our country? Democracy does not distinguish between race, creed, culture and ethnicity. It also does not like poverty and deprivation and invariably keeps away from poor non-white countries. The Modi phenomenon in India is to an extent comparable to Obama’s election as US president in 2008. He did not win the presidential election because he was black. He did make history because he was black.
Obama won his presidential election purely on personal merit. He had a clear edge over his opponent. He was fresher, smarter, more energetic, and had a short history with no baggage. But there was another reason for the Obama miracle to happen. America was fed up with George W Bush and wanted a break from those eight years of domestic failures and external belligerence. For Americans, Obama symbolised hope for change. For the world, too, he embodied a new America. History alone will judge if Obama delivered on what he promised to the world.
Irrespective of his past, democracy has now placed Narendra Modi on the same pinnacle of history giving him a chance to ‘purify’ his own self and use whatever skills he has for the good of his own people and those of the region whose lives are inextricably affected by India’s overbearing hegemonic designs. But unlike Obama, Modi promised nothing to the region or the world because of his narrowly-based ‘communalist’ worldview. He now surely needs a new lens for his blurry vision. He can make history by opting to be a ‘statesman’ rather than a parochial hatred-mongering leader with spiteful tendencies.
His invitation to the Saarc leaders to attend his inaugural ceremony will only be seen a patronising gesture from someone who has been speaking of other countries in the region and their leaders with contempt. He must clear this baggage before he can inspire any confidence among his regional interlocutors. Kautilya’s cold-blooded realpolitik does not work any more. Nawaz Sharif must not rush into a hasty Delhi yatra. He must stay home taking care of his domestic agenda. Ceremonies are non-events. Purposeful dialogue and constructive engagement is what we need.
Modi must not also forget that almost two-thirds of his own country’s 1.3 billion people are living below the poverty line. India is not Gujarat. He has a much larger challenge to grapple with. What should also be clear to him is that, in today’s world, there are no military solutions to problems. Given the unique geopolitics of South Asia, and the particular social and cultural proclivities of its inhabitants, this region needs stable peace, not confrontation. But there will be no quick fixes or short cuts. There are core issues to settle.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2014.
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@raja Pakistani media picks news from indians newspaper and indian television media. They don't have base here. So does the international media forms opinion based on india media narration. So please tell me how is that when we know news properly telecasted here regarding how the riots happened be twisted and turned to suit your narrative in such bad form be presented in your media? So different from origins of it? Don't you see the fabrication? "Hindu eyes" there is no such thing as Hindu eyes. And even if there were. A Hindu prays in mosque,church,temple etc coz god is one worshiped in different forms. So the Hindu eyes you quote would have been secular while delivering justice get my point?
@akash that's true but development has only reached few areas in UP, Bihar state,rest areas overpopulated in it , huge migration to other states for jobs, corrupt govt. only the politics in both these states improve, india's problem of poverty would be over by huge extent. @vinsin if only they cared about their Shias,ahmedis,Hindus,Sikhs,Christians with same vigour...but what's happening in neighbouring country is more imp to them.
If Pakistani are so much worried about Indian Muslims then why they don't take them? When Pakistani will leave their obsession with India? Indians will decide the future of their country no one else.
a wonderful analysis and well crafted analysis which ha pinched many readers who do not like truth and always look the world through Hindu eyes...a mass murder was planned and implemented by moodi through govt machinery and whole world knows it and connection of moodi with RCC is well know how can we expect an evil turning into angel...unbelievable
Modi was always pure, he now wants other people to purify them selves. It's happening fast. Mr. Sharif has already accepted his invitation.
As they say ' apni jannat se zada doosron ki dozakh ki fiqar hai'. So true for Pakistanis...lol :)
@Razi: Sorry to bust your bubble. GOP has confirmed that Mumbai attack was hatched in Pakistan and carried out by Non-state-actors.
NaMo has proved is critics in India wrong. He will prove you also wrong, just wait and watch. If Pakistan mends its ways and focus on economic progress it will be good for region. If not, Pakistan will be isolated and will become the most backward country in the region eventually.
Also you said "Kautilya’s cold-blooded realpolitik doesn't work any more." This is just a wishful thinking some truths about human nature do not change.
@akash: Akash the GROWTH in Bihar's per capita income was higher than Gujarat for a period not the actual per capita income itself.
@Pity: No. IMilitary is not consulted in designing policy in all democratic countries as you seem o elieve.n India military is NOT consulted on foreign policy matters. It is consulted on matters related to matters that pertain directly to military. Same thing in US, UK etc.
Impure man from impure land asking others to be pure ... WOW what an irony ??
Better still, they should keep him there as a business advisor!!
US leads the world not because of its relations with the world but because of its economic might. Modi is absolutely correct in focusing on Indian economy rather than speaking crap to its neighbors. When India’s economy is humming so does the economy of other countries and they will follow Indian leadership and that’s Mr. Modi’s goal not some idle talk like yours.
Despite India's Chanakya Niti, Nawaz Sharif has decided to go to Delhi. It reaffirms what we already know - Pakistan has always gone out of its way to bring both the countries together. Unfortunately, as always, Indian hawks will render this visit fruitless. I hope better sense prevails and Indians offer some concrete progress on core issues.
The author is confused and faulty in his statements and reckons that he is addressing illinfoemed readers. .Mr Obama is a wrong reference, history has been written about him. He did not win on merits nor was he fressher, smarter or energetic verses Hillary Clinton, He was clever though coming from the Alcapone city of chicago, depicting the more qualified Hillary as a war monger since she voted for Iraq war and Obama did not. He definitely had a baggage of worms being the son of a Mussalman immigrent and doubtful credentials and uncertainty about his country of birth. He was an imposter with his references to Martin Luther and evoked the desire of youth fora change, was even granted the Nobel peace award while throughout his tenure has been conducting wars and destabilisation actions in many parts of the world.
Mr Modi on the other hand is a confirmed pathological criminal for thousands of deaths on his watch but not indicted, and has indeed promised not to build more temples but build more toilets and promised Change and end of corruption and has a record of good management.. He is not an imposter by any definition that he is the victim of hindu tradition of marrying under age girls is his private affair. His campaign was run by the media experts which included expatriots to improve his immage in social media.
@mega - just a little correction, Bihar's per capita income is more than Gujrat.
However i do agree that Bihar still needs to go a long way. coming to this election, it was about Modi and his Gujrat Model, lets see what the man can achieve. Needless to say he was helped in this by congress as they did not pose any challenge. The development is not just about making flyovers and manufacturing cars but ensuring the poorest of poor have basic amenities. I think he is PM for our middle class than for poor. Interesting times, no doubt.
How do you know that the "persons responsible for Mumbai are freely roaming in Pakistan". Do you have any credible proof that a freely-roaming Pakistani did it? Has it been proven in a court of law? As one of your diehard fellow Modi supporters, Gp65, wrote in her comment above, we also follow the policy of innocent until proven guilty.
Khaled Ahmed--"Most anti-Modi opinion in Pak is borrowed from alarm raised by secular writers in Indian media" http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/modi-watching-in-pakistan/99/ … I would say most anti Modi opinion in the world is borrowed by pseudo secular writers..
US banned Modi because of a new bill in the Congress..It was always against injustice against Christians that US congress worried about but just to show the world they care for non Christians too Modi was banned to enter US..till date thousands riots happened in the world but not a single world leader has been banned by US Congress bill..US is thinking to scrap this bill all together..Modi has been a victim not just by Indian media but US and the World media too..
I don't expect Pakistan to have a unbiased opinion on India let alone Modi..it's a shame that the sheer magnitude of ignorance that even journalist have in Pakistan..
In all democratic countries, the government consults the military leadership on foreign policy issues because the armed forces are responsible to safeguard the borders. The Indian Government also follows the policies dictated by the Indian Army which is why we see tensions on the LoC rising whenever any effort is made to normalize relations with Pakistan.
It seems that Nawaz Sharif did not accept the former Foreign Secretary's advice. He is going to India.
Obama won his presidential election purely on personal merit. He had a clear edge over his opponent. He was fresher, smarter, more energetic
Compared to Rahul Gandhi even a rock would look fresher smarter and more energetic
Modi must not also forget that almost two-thirds of his own country’s 1.3 billion people are living below the poverty line.
Maths has never been a strong point among Pakistanis
@csmann: Can he convince them to do the same for India as he did for Gujrat Genius! elections are already over, Modi won with a landslide
In Pakistan Religious Freedom means "Free of other Religions"
@Motiwala: You have not pointed out any factual accuracy in the comments of those you dismiss as Indian trolls. Your comtempt for people who according to you maybe working in call centers is understandable for an elitist society where only those who are rich and well connected can dream of becoming a national leader. In India, we have a man whose mother washed utensils in other people's homes and who himself sold tea rise to the position of PM. The father of BJP party President Rajnath Singh was a marginal farmer with 1,5 acres land. The party President prior to that Nitin Gadkari started out in the party by pasting posters on the wall. So go ahead and make rude elitist comments. It is a reflection on you not on those you comment about.
@enlightened: Apoloists for Modi? Why should anyone have to apoloize for a man who has ruled a formerly communally sensitive state riot free for 12 years, who has been acquitted by the SC of complicity in the 2002 riots?
@yes: There have been no riots in any NDA ruled governments in the last 10 years. The question of it being okay to harass minorities by intent and design does not arise -even if they had 51% mandate because that would be against the constitution.
@kaalchakra: Do you even read what you right? How exactly can a man who is not sworn him 'make progress' on items important to Pakistan even if he wanted to? Secondly the implication is that Nawaz Sharif is teacher and Modi is student who can only come to teacher when he has done his homework, absurd.
`Reading your columns has made me understand one thing..why is Pakistan bogged down the way it is. Sir, Gone are the days when you could shake fingers at others because unbridled largesse was coming your way and you thought you were the" centre of the universe". We are a 1.25 billion people with millions of problems, but we don't accuse others of creating these problems, except of course terrorism. Poverty is one of them, but before pontificating, please look at your own backyard. Mr ex foreign secretary, I am now getting more and more sure that Pakistan's problems are not despite people like you, but because of people like you, who have nothing else but only their ballooned egos to show. All your success lay was directly proportional to foreign aid you could garner. What a time it was for you and your ilk, when you could get from a pin to an aircraft without paying a dime. Sadly, those days are over. and its no more indo-pak but Af-pak. This comes from someone who does not vote BJP, but respects the verdict of the people of my country. If you have a problem with that, please make you own igloo and stay inside instead of giving away unsolicited advise.
@author http://data.worldbank.org/country/pakistan your country poverty 22.8% http://data.worldbank.org/country/india india's poverty rate 21.9% So can you focus on your poverty line than ours?
Modi is only as strong as the rich Gujrati diaspora and its influence.Can he convince them to do the same for India as he did for Gujrat.One can certainly hope so.
If Pakistan and its good people start concentrating on their own country and not India and what it is doing to its citizens it may move up the ranks from the sorry state of affairs it is now as a failed state. Pathetic.
"Modi must not also forget that almost two-thirds of his own country’s 1.3 billion people are living below the poverty line. India is not Gujarat. "
Its true, but 20 years ago. India's poverty rate as per WB(2012 reports) is 22%.
UN MDG report has said India has contributed most to the world after China to reduce poverty.
Why would Modi reverse such a trend? He would only accelerate it!
Very cogent arguments presented with precision. India has an annoying habit of assuming that the world is not aware of their Kautilya Niti and that others will blindly fall for the usual Indian tricks. Before inviting Mr Sharif, India and Modi need to remove the skeletons hiding in their closet. If Modi was really serious, he should have made some concrete progress on matters that are important to Pakistan. Until then, this embrace must wait.
Impressive number of seats doesn't mean Indians as whole say yes to bjp policies.It only means NDA can make government. But only less than 4 out of 10 voters have supported NDA. Therefore bjp should not become arrogant to think this is licence to harrass minorities.
In every article written by a Pakistani writer there a mention of Gujarat riots in 2002 of Muslim deaths completely forgetting that 300 Hindus also died. Furthermore what is forgotten that those responsible have been sentenced. This does not happen in Pakistan does it? The persons responsible for Mumbai attacks are freely roaming in Pakistan and Pakistan also gives sanctuary to known crooks and terrorists. So do not go on lecturing Indians for electing Modi.
It is ironical you say Modi has to "purify" himself. Purify himself from what? You call yourself "Land of the Pure". Look how impure you are.
The apologists for Modi work in packs in the cyber-world and give all kinds of weird rationalistations for his blood lust.Don't mind them
The people of India trust Modi for his wisdom ... Modi does not need any advice from anyone ... either at home or abroad ... the people of India have given Modi a blank cheque for that reason ... !!
Right. Only talking heads in Pakistan see invitation to the SAARC heads to the swearing in ceremony as a patronising gesture. The other countries have all accepted the invitation. Clearly they did not think it was patronising. So what should India have done? Invite all others but not Pakistan? Then you would have blamed India of snubbing Pakistan.
Secondly you say Modi talked contemptuoysly about leaders of SAARC countries during election campaign. His campaign speeches are on youtube. If you read the comments section, please attach a sample of something he actually said that was contemptuous about ANY Saarc leader. Please do not give me an interpretation of his political opponents about what they thought he meant. The reality is you cannot give an example because he has not made any such statements about leaders of SAARC during the campaign.
Mian saab has every right to decline the invitation based on his priorities but making stuff up like this -that too by someone who has been a foreign secretary seems very irresponsile to say the least.
Oh and going on and on about what happened in Gujarat over 12 years back does not look good in a country where a 1000 non-Muslim girls even today are kidnapped, raped and forcilbly converted annually, where Shias are picked out from bus and shot dead in Balochistan and Gilgit, where even a false accusation of blasphemy can get an entire colony burnt as happened in case of Joseph Colony and police stands by without acting, where a masjid in the name of Qadri is being made in your capital city and people are contributing generously to that mosque, where 3 temples have been destroyed within a year and no action has been taken, where even to get a passport you have to show disrespect to Ahmadis.
When Indian Muslims go to an Imambargah or an a mazaar or an Ahmadi mosque ( you do remember that Jinnah said Ahmadis were Muslims - right?) they are not worried that a suicide bomber will kill them. Ensure security for Shias and Ahmadis who were forefront in the Pakistani movement (forget aout Sikhs, Hindus and Chrisians) and then talk about India'a record.
It is the prerogative of the democratically elected PM Sharif to decide whether he should go to India. Pied Pipers will come and go but the role a leader should play is very different. At a time when the TTP and various allied groups are knocking on the doors of Islamabad Mr Sharif needs all the help he can get from any quarter to stave off the marauders. Assets have turned to liabilities and pride should not come in the way of seeking help. Without Indian help terrorism can never be defeated and will finally consume Pakistan the nation State. Those who cannot see what is obvious are really not fit to play the role of Adviser.
'..people are the final arbiters of their destiny'. 'They choose their leaders for good governance' Well Bharati Janata has chosen their level in Dante's Inferno. With the little storm trooper marching into Delhi. Seems like a bad bad replay from the 1930's. So similar to Der Fuhrer Saga. The Indian trolls have already descended. With vile and reprehensible comments, fake statistics,.. from the call centers of Bombay, Poona, Madras. All 1.7 billion of them will trample here. With no blog etiquette. And E T allows it.
] E T fair analysis of you and the trolls [
You have eliminated all minorities from 20% of population in 1947 to less than 2% now. And you actually have the cheek to talk of religious freedom!!!
Majority of Indians love Modi and it hardly matters how Pakistan thinks of him. Modi is not the type of politicians who will waste too much time convincing Pakistan about the fruits of peaceful relations. Modi is a very practical and realistic person and knows fully well how far he can change the thinking of Pakistan. Indo-Pak relations are unlikely to change much. Attack on Indian consulate in Afghanistan should be a proof enough for Modi to make up his mind.
ET mods - please allow fact based rebuttal to the notion that India has voted for someone who is communal and a global pariah.
First of all India chooses its leaders based on what is best for India not on the basis of what EU ans US think. As i am sure you are aware they too are revising their stand and acknowledging the mandate Modi received in a free and fair election.
Secondly, i do not know about Pakistan but in India the judicial system functions on the basis of innocent until proven guilty. In Modi's case it seems to be reverse - guilty even when acquitted by SC just because some people think so. You may say that the world calls him communal. Well, he did not stand for post of UN secretary general. What matters is what Indians think of him. Those who voted for him believe him to not have been inolved in the 2002 riots nor do they believe he is communal on the basis of the following facts that are in public domain:
1) when the riots happened, thousands of Hindus and Muslims were held in preventive detention and dozens of policemen died trying to prevent riots
2) he requested help from neighbouring police but the neighbouring states were ruled by Congress and they refused to help
3) he asked for army help on day 2 but since it was amassed at the border in the afternath of parliament attack it took a day to come. Once the army came, the riots stopped.
4) both Hondus and Muslims were killed in the riots - are you saying that he is also anto- Hindu?
5) in a formerly communally sensiive Gujarat where there used to be riots every 2-3 years, he has ruled riot free for over 12 years. In fact there has not even been a curfew for a single day.
6) Modi has repeatedly said that for any one in government the only holy book is the constitution and the Indian constitution is secular.
His policies as CM were based on the basis of inclusive development for all not appeasement of few on the basis of religion. Some facts that you should know:
Before Modi, all villages in Gujarat 1) did not have 24x7 electricity - now they do 2) did not have a school and a teacher - now they do 3) did not have a trauma center within 7 km radius - now they do 4) did not have an ambulance that would come within 11 minutes - now they do 5) did not have an all weather road connected to village - now they do
These facilities benefit ALL Gujaratis including Gujarati Muslims not just Hindus.
Rural migrants from poor states like UP and Bihar come to Gujarat, see these facilities and peace ( not even a curfew for a single day in any zilla in last 12 years) and want the same lives for their families. This is why Modi led BJP got a heavy mandate from poor villages of UP and Bihar contrary to the Congress which had assumed that BJP is just an urban phenomenon.
As such Modi has governmed fairly and transparently and people chose him despite the disinformation campaign branding him as communal. As such there is no reason for him to purify himself as his conscience is clean. What Indians have concluded, the world too will conclude when they see how he governs.
Dear author, I can imagine the damage you must have done to the Pakistani foreign policy with your prejudices and narrow vision.
So, let us hear the ambition and wishes from Pakistan from India under Mobi.
There was one brave Pakistani leader who stood up for minorities but was killed, Now there is not a single Pakistani leader who is in a position to lecture Modi.
Oh my, that's a lot of spite coming from someone who calls someone else "spiteful" without nary an example. Looks like Modi is getting a lot of free advice these days from every little critter from under every little rock. Obviously, Modi doesn't owe anyone anything except his people of India. Am surprised to read though that Obama had somehow promised something to the world. Was it unexpected aerial visits?
After reading this article I understand the factors behind the failure of our foreign policy Thank you.
How come am elected democratic prime minster of Pakistan needs army permission to travel to India. What kind of democracy is this where army advices PM?
The BJP has promised to change tough labor laws that make foreign manufacturers reluctant to set up factories in India. Manufacturing makes up only 15 percent of India's economy, compared to 31 percent in China. Attracting manufacturing investment is key to creating jobs, and foreign investors have been pouring billions of dollars into Indian stocks and bonds in anticipation of a Modi victory.Modi himself looked forward, confidently promising to start work on his agenda quickly and thanking voters for giving him a clear mandate.Now he and his party got clear mandate there is no escape to coming PM and his party not to deliver.It's a long journey for India to reach to the level of it's bigger neighbor China.
This article is so flawed I don't know where to begin with. Modi doesn't need to "purify" himself for anything. There is difference between negligence to control riots quickly between people,lax bureaucracy in handling it that broke out after Muslims petrol fired train carrying Hindu pilgrims woman and children. And its 750muslims 250 Hindus. No fabricated figures please. So if opp party use this to attack him as failing to control it by name calling pre election even though Supreme Court found no proof to fabricated claims What should he purify himself then for? "He needs to prove to world" he doesn't need to improve or prove himself to anybody but indians. And anybody who rules india be left or right has to come in centre because of our diversity or loose election next term. "India is not gujarat" you are right we have better states than it. And the one third you talking about most of it lies in up Bihar. So if you so concerned tell those states. Rest india is on move. Last not the least focus on your own country dismissal existence on foreign arena than be jealous of india's success. And we fix what's our core issue and sort it our way.
Ceremonies are non events, but every ceremony includes backroom meetings and talks. Also, I feel you are underestimating the power of perception. Modi inviting NS has created a perception. NS accepting the invite will create more perception. And as anybody would know, perception is reality.
"What an irony that a man of his controversial credentials should now be heading the world’s ‘largest’ democracy."
I dont know why Pakistanis keep commenting sarcastically about being world's largest democracy... This is not a title like "land of Pure" which we kept it for ourselves....This is a fact just like Nile is the biggest river or Burj Al Khalifa is the highest building on earth.....
Unless China sheds off his communism,India shall or will be the worlds largest democracy,whether people like it or not
"...Modi promised nothing to the region or the world because of his narrowly-based ‘communalist’ worldview." Maybe the author wasn't following the Indian elections. Modi promised jobs.
"His invitation to the Saarc leaders to attend his inaugural ceremony will only be seen a patronising gesture from someone who has been speaking of other countries in the region and their leaders with contempt." During the elections, when did Modi speak of other countries or their leaders with contempt.
".. Purposeful dialogue and constructive engagement is what we need." Yes India is all too aware of Kargil and Mumbai after the "Purposeful dialogue and constructive engagement"
"Irrespective of his past, democracy has now placed Narendra Modi on the same pinnacle of history giving him a chance to ‘purify’ his own self .."
Cannot expect anything better from the author wearing green tinted glasses. The author should 'purify' himself first before advising others.