Sunday, March 7, 2010

Manmohan Singh - Son of Fortune, Destiny's Child, etc.

Let me, at the outset, make it clear to you that I am "just another stupid common man", no detailed analyst or well-informed commentator of Indian politics. What follows is simply an opinion based on my perception of facts.

I became political at the turn of the millennium, when I was about 16 years of age. Until then, politics, to me, was mainly about Congress at the national level and a Dirty Mudslinging-filled Kennel at the state level (I'm from Tamil Nadu). As far as politicians were concerned, the few names that popped up in my mind were Nehru & 3 Gandhi's - "Mahatma", Indira & Rajiv (the 3rd chiefly due to my mom who, like most women of her generation, fell to the dimpled charms of the bloke) by default, and also Sardar Patel, Rajaji, (more by accident than by design, or simply my ignorance) mostly that's it. When the then-new government came to power, I don't really remember how I felt immediately then. Over the 5 years though, I became more aware of "GOVERNment" in the real sense, and (at the risk of sounding cliched) definitely did feel something (good) roughly on the lines of Cultural Nationalism. By the end of the five years, I probably moved from politically-{ignorant+not-at-all-passionate} to {somewhat-informed+quite-passionate}.

I am a passionate Hindu (a more appropriate term would be Sanatana Dharmi, but I digress), but more than that, I believe in & desire national progress that is uniform & not tilted... plus a fluidity of power (I would like to say the former and latter are related, but I digress once again). Hence, though it did definitely make me happy to see a Hindu-friendly party in power at the center, what captured my imagination more was the administration and simply, a feel-good factor that emanated from Delhi and permeated to all corners of the country. I must, at this point, add that since I was nonexistent physically and/or mentally during any of the prior regimes, it is not really fair for me to comment on the governance or mis-governance that existed pre-1999 (However, a cursory reading of the actual history of India post independence coupled with the state of affairs of the country around 2000 despite the fact that a single party had held power for most part of the 50+ years until then should be a clear-enough indicator of what transpired all those years when that party was in power).
Anyhow, this post is not about any of the parties or any of the government(s) (though they are very much relevant & play quite a significant part).

This article is about Manmohan Singh, India's Prime Minister of today.

 (Unable to locate the source, do kindly let me know so I can credit the image's owner)

Manmohan Singh presents an interesting character study.

At level 0 (base), to an utterly uneducated pro-BJP/anti-Cong guy, he is the Chief Sycophant of Madam Maino.
At a parallel level, to the (mostly uneducated, at this level) Congressi-supporter, he probably represents an educated Indian who probably does good (I have no idea abt this perspective, hence the assumptions).

At level 1, to the quasi-educated Indian, he is the pioneer of India's LPG-programme and economic catalyst of the 1990's - a respectable, highly accomplished academic gentleman. This much is common. The pro-BJP guy retains some of the sycophant-feeling from level 0, but is rational enough to respect the man for his degrees & perceived accomplishments. The pro-Cong guy probably reveres Manmohan since he is the pioneer of India's economic reforms, apart from being a solid leader of the country for the past 6 years (ok, I'm beginning to stretch my imagination a bit here, but understand I really have no idea how it is). PV Narasimha Rao was just a very corrupt man who screwed up most things (including Babri yes).

Level 2: Indicates a more keen & informed (but not necessarily more accurate/correct) follower of Indian politics. PV Narasimha Rao comes into the picture a bit more. The 90's boom is not all about Manmohan alone. []
Manmohan Singh may not be as innocent after all [].
And I am now going to say that this point of view belongs to anybody who is beginning to get disillusioned with India today, not pro/anti-BJP/Cong/Left. Still, I'm guessing a hard core BJP-hater won't share this view. But I find it impossible to imagine how a hard-core Congi will view all this in positive light.

I accept we live in an era where Mahatma Gandhi-bashing is fashionable and the generation deems it necessary to question almost every existing/accepted practice/belief/thought. Still, it is not without reason. And something totally true will stand this tirade. Not Manmohan Singh. His character has steadily been chipped away block by block. The sad part is that this chipping away was not done by vested interests, but by perfectly rational incidents. But still, despite this, I will not paint the person black. At least just yet.

Manmohan the Sorry PM

My argument is totally not going to be LK Advani's not-solidy-substantiated, oft-used, weak "weakest Indian PM" tirade.
I see Manmohan Singh as India's primary man and I simply don't feel reassured.
I still believe he is a decent man, but I care much more than simply whether the man on top is decent.

  • As an Indian citizen, I need to be able to look up to India's top personality and feel my country is in decisive hands.
  • I need my leader to say the right things at the right time, not blurt out something, only to eat his own words at a later time.
  • I don't need an "I am sorry" for whatever happens in India - a terrorist attack, a verbal attack, a minster's gaffe, what not? An apology once, I will appreciate your decency. But make it a habit, I will lose respect for you.
  • Even if my leader is working furiously behind the screens, I need to see something happening. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, but first, I need to know the pudding is being made at all.

Singing the Sorry Song -
Mumbai attacks -
Pre-poll Speeches -
Cong MP's statement about Vajpayee -
Anti-Sikh Riots -

His apologetic nature notwithstanding, these past few years have probably been the worst for India since independence - Telengana, Naxals, Farmer-suicides, Price-rise, 2611, nonsensical-MSM-proliferation, Koda, Raja, Quattrochi-release, Pakistan, China, US, Australia
(And no, contrary to expectations, I typed out the above issues without a single Google-search, surprising even myself. If someone as amateur as me can come up with this list off-the-cuff, think for a second how much worse ground reality is actually).

I decided to give it all one final supreme act of imagination - that whatever we're seeing is, just like in movies, just a facade. That whatever's happening "actually" is all nice-and-sweet, good-and-great. That his government is actually doing a brilliant job of the situation and taking care of the nation in the best possible manner. That "inside", almost everyone who matters is working as effectively as anyone ever can. But this logic, even if true, falls flat because of two reasons -
1. I believe it is the duty of the government of the day to assure its people that "All izz Well" AND ensure it maintains that assurance. This pathetic government under MMS is doing exactly the opposite of both (at least in 3 Idiots, the blind chowkidhar used to give people the assurance (if only that) that "All Izz Well". In our case, we're a billion idiots and the apt cry for us would be "All Izz Hell").
2. Can you really imagine how much worse things can go wrong with the nation today? I mean, we're getting problems from issues we never even knew could be so detrimental to national security. Telangana? Really? I challenge anyone to conceive an imagination in which the Telengana issue is handled worse. Hard to imagine, right?

And there might be more reasons, but these two are good enough to outrightly refute the above logic.

Though I am compelled to think like many other Indians citizen who believe that the power rests solely with Madam Maino & that Manmohan Singh is just a puppet, I have, for the sake of belief in a billion fellow Indians (Ok, the few million that voted for Congress), set aside that thought. But you look at Manmohan Singh the PM, his words and his actions - more often than not, you will really begin to wonder where the nerve centre is.
And here's the issue - I wholly know and agree it's a shame to have someone whose Indian'ness is basically restricted to her marriage, her attire and her recently-acquired passport, at the top. But what's worse than this is to have this person actually sitting at the top while giving the rest of us the impression that there's a more "Indian" guy who's the power centre. Fail.

And for all practical purposes (out of sheer desperation, more like), I have, umpteen times, tried to give Sonia Maino Gandhi a chance and tried hard to imagine that she genuinely has the best interests of the Indian nation & its people in her heart (for whatever reason), but every single time, she pulls out something from her hat (Quattrochi, Jagdish Tyler for starters), driving me (and a million others, I should think) into the wall.

Nevertheless, no matter what I try, I see Manmohan Singh growing smaller and smaller in stature.
And make no mistake, he is not the villain. He can and never will be one. For one, he lacks the shrewdness for that. But what is much more petrifying is the thought that this guy is probably the "good face"-mask covering something more evil & sinister.

And that is what well-and-truly scares me, when I think of Mother India today.
blog comments powered by Disqus