By ROSHAN B
The answer is not Nehru: Nirav Modi and beyond.
Mutiah, 70 was sad, his pension of just Rs. 800, from his 25-years service as a load man for a private firm, was not really giving him the blessed old age he had hoped for. The pension could not really buy him a bus pass for a full month; leave alone sustain him with other expenses. So he had to sell vegetables on a push-cart for his daily living. For months he kept his pension untouched to buy his grandson a gift for his birthday and yet when he visited the bank he was told there was no money in the account. All his hard earned money was taken as minimum balance fines leaving him with no cash to survive. Yet these same banks which refuse to bend the rules for those on a hand to mouth existence don’t really have a problem lending to fake billionaires who so generously take the money of the country and refuse to return. The public sector banks in India have a deficit loan amount of over 4 lakh crores and almost every single one is running up a loss on the exchequer; normally the blame would shift to the finance ministry or in the case of the one man Sarkar today, the PMO. But yet the reason for the failure of the entire banking system, escape of three multi-billion dollar defaulters from the country, the sad state of the economy and the entire current Kashmir crisis is all so simple: the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family.
If one may recall the last General elections happened in 2014, which means it’s almost four years since a new government came to power. This was the government of one man who was going to transform India into a modern day superpower and make our enemies run scared and give us a Congress-mukht Bharat. Yet for some reason there still seems to be a Congress hangover looming at every corner and almost every problem we face today is because of them. Yes it could be true, applying this principle to our independence movement Gandhi could have so easily blamed the weak rulers of the 1700s for allowing the British to take over the Nation but for some reason he didn’t maybe that’s why he became the icon he is today but never mind what’s important is how to play see-saw with blames. Wondering why Churchill didn’t blame King James I for not destroying Prussia in the 17th Century and preventing World War II by not allowing the creation of Germany; instead he actually thought it was important to strategize a war to stop the Axis powers instead.
The Buck always goes to Nehru
The ‘buck stops here’ was a phrase coined by Harry S Truman which states that a leader has to ultimately own all responsibilities for his decisions and is answerable to the people. The phrase which has been imbibed in political parlance today has somehow been amended to the buck always stops with Nehru in the context of India. Somehow a Prime Minister who passed away about 54 years ago is still responsible for every problem in the country today and those who disagree are the ones who don’t like delicious pakkodas and their makers. In an essence 2014 resonated with the idea of acche din and development which had evaded India for 70 years during the rule of the Indian National Congress, a promise of 2 crore jobs, 15 lakhs in the bank account and petrol at Rs.30 per litre.
The Congress was never patriotic and always betrayed the army like the time Indira Gandhi gave a free hand to Sam Manekshaw to run down the Pakistan army and liberate Bangladesh. There was absolutely no development and India still remained a nation with no computers, universities or space research till 2014. In 2014, the development started and we quickly went to the moon and our army became stronger than ever with Metro rails being built in a number of cities and the bad days were all over. Somehow a government which came to power in 2014 went back in time and managed to commence so many development and scientific projects so that acche din would not have to be delayed. Yet somehow something went wrong in between and some ground breaking moves like the demonetisation of high value notes on November 8th 2016 and the introduction of Goods and Services Tax with no planning stagnated the entire economy. But who was responsible? The Congress. Of course, they ruined India for 70 years and these bold moves to rebuild the nation were ruined only by their past actions, no one should blame the ruling party for any fault. Remember, the tsunami in 2004 also happened during the Congress rule and was probably because Nehru made a bad deal with the Indian ocean in 1947.
The IT bloodbath of 2017 was also well known with the once booming Information technology sector shedding over 67000 jobs and hiring being frozen for the first time since the recession of 2009. People were asking where the 2 crore jobs were when 24 lakh people applied for 400 cleaner jobs in Uttar Pradesh. Yet the answer lay so blissfully before us in the form of pakkodas which were fried and sold in such unhealthy oil to tickle our taste buds and destroy our common sense.
Our Prime Minister’s rousing speech in Parliament blaming Nehru for the Kashmir crisis and the congress for the economic mess may have been the stuff of cinematic goose-bumps to his followers but that didn’t really address any present issues or the plans for the future. If there’s anything developed nations have taught us, it’s that we learn from our mistakes, admit them and correct them in the future. Going into what may have happened if events of history were different serve no meaning purpose or pakkodas unless we have a time machine which we could use to go back and change it all. Perhaps it is with this innovative vision that people like Yogi Adithynath and Sakshi Maharaj serve in the government but until we figure out the full details let us try and listen to international experts. Perhaps the Nehru bashing is merely because Nehru and his legacy represented everything that ruling party could not: a legacy of educated urban elites with genuine degrees building a nation left in ruins by a colonial power; who believed in pluralism, multiculturalism and scientific development while scoffing on superstition and religious bigotry. Or maybe it’s simply convenient to blame people who passed away half a century ago and their family which bred a legacy of corrupt and nepotism for all problems past future or present; but whatever the convenience it doesn’t really solve the problem, any problem for that matter, unless it’s a die-hard right-wing activist taking his history exam next month.
Democracy is the government we give ourselves and our leaders would only be as responsible as we make them out to be. The solution for anything isn’t really going into the past but examining what to do for the future. Right now the economy is in taters, our intelligence and law enforcement seem to be as effective at the immigration areas, as salt is to treating cut wounds; and our youth are being betrayed on a daily basis. What is needed is a government which apologises for its mistakes, own up responsibilities and takes effective steps to remedy the wrongs. Leaders who take responsibilities for their mistakes are the ones who can truly be historical figures, those who blame the past are the ones who think pakkoda sellers with Ph.Ds amount to development. The government needs to own responsibilities and we, as responsible citizens, need to hold the government accountable for its errors by accepting such sorry excuses. But we behave like the voters who sell their souls for a few hundred Rupees bribe. We need to bring back our defaulters and make everyone else pay for their dues. We need jobs and need them fast. We don’t need Aadhar down our throats for everything, our current ruling elite in Lutyens is the government in power who also control 19 out of 29 states in the country and not NDTV which reports on the government. Finally, I conclude the article with one sentence: The Answer is not always Nehru or the Congress.
[The Opinion expressed in this article is that of the author. TCO does not take any responsibility for the opinion so expressed.]
THE AUTHOR IS A LAWYER AT CHENNAI.