Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Delhi Durbar: Hegemony of Suitable Truth & Convenient Praise

Greatness is not what reason promises – it is achieved by wandering into the unknown to discover; sometimes with no one left to clap by our side, only for others to realize value of the discovery much later – sometimes after discoverer sinks into the oblivion. 

During the summer of 1990, PV Rao, an under-celebrated veteran of Indian polity, was preparing to retire – when he had to step into the top job in the country. Consequences of terrible economic management by Rajiv Gandhi, meant Rao had the ugly job to tackle the balance of payments crisis. Gulf war and low credibility of Indian leadership then, gave little support to Mr. Rao. 

With amazing tact – PV Rao not only completed a full term but also ushered in a new era for Indian economy. Yet, pseudo liberal brigade of Indian polity chose to highlight Dr. M Singh, the then union finance minister for the turnaround. It is a sad but just indictment, of our pseudo liberal Indian polity for robbing the real victor and celebrating their convenient choice.

Today, we see a reverse thematic criticism: Prime Minister Modi alone, with limited to no role of others within the government or otherwise, is responsible to celebrate their nervous glee. Modi’s leadership meant hard but necessary choices – what India needs to do to be a thriving economy.

Delhi Durbar wants to sing the tune of suitable truth and convenient praise. Reforms will see costs borne upfront, with rewards coming in later. With more than necessary intervention of government through the decades of mis-rule, Indian economy remains inchoate. It is like an overgrown start-up – not willing to learn about its weaknesses. We as a nation, have too many grey haired (wo)men advising us. It is time, we stop listening to the noise, and act. To lessen the dependency of economy on government – in PM Modi’s own words: Government has no business to be in business; the fragility of our economy to government interventions should be arrested. Dependencies on external stimulus from the government or otherwise, is a clear sign of bad governance, where politics trumps economics. Government’s role should be regulatory, to facilitate necessary checks and balances – GST is one step in that direction. 

We as a nation survived centuries of loot and plunder with patience – which continued for decades well after gaining independence; it is but important we begin to see the bigger picture, and not let go our perseverance. Quoting Muhammad Ali, “It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.” – Prime Minister Modi will have to consider, necessary interventions to address the short run spill-over effects on SMEs and creation of jobs due to GST implementation.

To quote from the famous Apple Ad: To ones who see things differently, while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because, people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do – Prime Minister Modi, is the first politician in our history, to undertake reforms by choice, and not because of compulsion. It is time we let go our fancy to celebrate ancestry, and start celebrating the genius of passionate wo(men). They are invariably pushing us forward, and are changing our world for good. 

- Abhijith Jayanthi