New Delhi: Narendra Modi’s struggles may be rooted to his indomitable individuality. He has no time for dynasty to which the political establishment pays lasting homage. He rejects the identities of caste and community and addresses Gujaratis as an indivisible number of 6 crore people who have voted him chief minister three times in a row. His political economic genius is his own and like Churchill’s wartime brilliance does not come from having studied in any of the so-called great universities. The Indian establishment that dreads individuality and talent will try to keep him out but young India which has risen above narrow identities sees him as the future. Narendra Modi will come and on his own terms.

Modi left home at the age of 16 and never went back. He apparently does not romanticize this phase of his life but it tells something of his character. Not many Indians of the post-independence generations have done such a thing and are still less likely to do so now. It does not make them inferior but it renders Modi different. Fewer people know that he spent two years at Dakshineshwar, where Ramakrishna Paramahamsa attained enlightenment, and that he cares to dwell on sharing a first name with Paramahamsa’s greatest disciple, Swami Vivekananda.

All this perforce makes Narendra Modi a loner. According to people who know him, he has no friends. He is politically close to Arun Jaitley, on good terms with Ram Jethmalani, respects J.Jayalalithaa, and so forth. But always, there is a reserve about Modi, an invisible wall that keeps him separate. He has no hangers-on. No one can claim any intimacy with him, and certainly not the industrialists who get the odd photo-opportunity with the Gujarat chief minister. When he is in Delhi for a government or party meeting, he checks into Gujarat Bhawan just in time, and departs the capital at the first opportunity. No late-night parties for him, or secret assignations. Narendra Modi is clueless about leisure. It is work, work and work.

Clubby Delhi does not like such people. It is scared. It is understandable that the Congress party and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty so oppose him. But he also strikes fear among the middlemen of Delhi who have survived regime-change because of their astonishing capacity to network. They tried with Modi and failed. He is immune to networking.

Nor does he succumb to rent-seekers. Why is his own party in Gujarat and in the Centre, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad unhappy with him? Because he does not tolerate their rent-seeking or interference in Gujarat’s affairs. In his challenge to Modi in the 2012 assembly election, Keshubhai Patel obtained covert support across the political class. Keshubhai supporters known to this writer advanced the stock caste and communal calculations to predict Modi’s defeat. Whilst a small honest section of the Central bureaucracy is looking forward to work with Modi, the majority are terrified that he will clean up their rackets.

In other words, Narendra Modi is a game-changer unknown to Delhi who is feared and loathed and therefore to be countered. He speaks the blunt truth which jars the compromised political establishment of the Centre, Left and Right and the main actors of the ruling and opposition parties. He has become a political giant in spite of the shrill and mendacious mainstream media campaign. Ten years of brutal personal assaults have made him invincible. In a limited sense, Modi is the creation of his opponents.

With other self-made men, Modi shares a quality that exults in “virtuous exertion”. The end to such exertion is exertion itself. He will exert the system to reinvent India and, among other things, unleash its entrepreneurial panther energies. Those that go to Big Bazaar for its modest prices would encounter products of many new manufacturers based in Gujarat. That is a preview of how Modi will make India a manufacturing colossus. To listen to some of his plans for Gujarat is to be spell-bound.

The opposition to Narendra Modi from his own party at the Centre, however, would not make easy his shift to Delhi. He knows this and is said to be untroubled. His view is that the country should want him enough to lead it. He puts more faith in the people than in his own party. All the same, he will come to Delhi on his terms. He will not be a nightwatchman. Most of us may never gain an understanding of the man who may be India’s prime minister after 2014, but those would that left home forever at 16.