Modi crying in public at a nationally televised event is important. It does not change the course of history but you can’t completely discount it either.
For a man who is built as a well scripted advertisement, this was the moment when the man forgot the camera. Or, the character took a well departed but definitive turn.
We are used to see him not showing a shred of remorse, not exhibit an iota of emotion. So, what impact should his public breakdown have on you?
Now, that depends on which side of the line you are. If you are one of his supporters, this is the moment when the superhero shows that he is human too. When the iron walls come down for a few moments and you can see the suffering, tender heart inside. He has shown evidence that he is one of you. You will feel vindicated that you stood by the man. The tears will also change the hearts of many fencesitters, Indians love tearjerkers and they will hardly be indifferent to this one.
On the other hand, if you are a Modi hater, your negative views are based on accounts of riot victims, stories of beaten up journalists, displaced farmers etc. Both in words and action, he has shown that emotions have no place in his universe. He has chosen cold calculation in rewarding riot accused with ministerial berths, removing internal and external dissent and even accurately predicting his own victory and seat numbers. In fact, he is the only one who has made the erstwhile hardliner LK Advani look like a lovable suffering aunty. The man is singularly strong and ruthless. His first, public and overwhelming show of emotion is bound to raise eyebrows. You can see it as a momentary lapse of control and facade or as much a part of the script as the rituals on the stairs outside. But I am not sure if it would alter your basic opinion of him.