For all the love and affection I have in my heart for my fellow Indians, they do have an affinity for some sweet, mind-numbingly euphoric herd poison. As a nation, united, we’re collectively lemmings in anticipation of the next Pied Piper to come around and bewitch us off a cliff.
One such rock we’ve leaped off from very recently, is the one called, ‘The Strong Leader’ – and it has happened pretty recently too. During the election season of 2013-14, India was faced with a dilemma – to believe one’s senses, or believe in the non-sense of others.
A SEE Change
When Narendra Modi campaigned on corruption during the blurred in propaganda, hazy election season preceding his eventual appointment, there was a genuine burst of enthusiasm bursting out of the seams from every Indian. Arguably, Narendar-bhai was at the zenith of his prime back then (one could even say he had peaked!). His words packed a wallop, and his tone was much subdued – unlike the boisterous and loud, baiting-an-applause tone, that he has adopted of late.
He was riding high on a platform of anti-Congress trust, and the promise to become the leader who’d rule with an assertive, ‘Iron Fist’ – a quality, he complained incessantly, his predecessor severely lacked.
Contrast And Clarity
Ever the amnesiacs, as quick to being riled up as we usually are, we’re also quite quick to forget also. The coal and 2G scams that enraged the average citizen in their scale of corruption, are rarely uttered anymore during public discourse. But someone who couldn’t stop talking about it back in the day, was Narendra Modi, and his basketful of cronies.
The accusations of being ‘complacent’ were being leveraged heavily against the sitting PM Manmohan Singh. He was routinely called nicknames, such as the ‘inactive prime minister’, and the ‘sitting duck PM’.
Singh’s head was paraded on a pike as a lily-livered leader, while the bust of Modi was being heralded as a portrayal of an un-bending commander-in-chief. But this was a time when Modi wasn’t elected as yet. Manmohan Singh was always a pacifist, ever the man of few words. While it is understandable how deep a wound words can inflict, he also knew deep inside, just how much louder actions echo through the halls of time, as compared to mere words.
This is the true difference between the two PMs – Manmohan Singh chose to be the Action PM, while Narendra Modi chose to be the Reaction PM (inciting a response out of the poisoned masses).
Louder Than Mere Words
When Modi took office, he was effectively out of the campaign mode that he had grown to love so much. He was in his true element then, unlike right now, where he has to actually preside over committees and pass policies (a strong suit of MMS). The once broad chest, had fizzled out considerably.
Manmohan Singh’s voice was frequently diluted by other Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi, instead letting his policies have the podium. MMS shielded the average Indian during the financial recession of 2008, through sound and secure fiscal planning. He was also monumental in crafting the Liberalisation Policy during the early nineties.
Now that the world has delved deep into another recession, India is safe no more. The PSUs are being eroded and policies are being forgone in favour of showboating. The once 10% GDP growth has plummeted to a paltry 5%.
The country happens to be stuck in a small crevice of time, when the Indian economy was booming, and Narendra Modi’s favourability was at an all-time high. The ground reality has since shifted very too much since 2014, but for many Indians reminiscing about the better days, time has all but frozen.
Have Your Pick
Manmohan has often times, candidly said that history will be kinder to him than the contemporary media. It just so happens that his words are ringing true, less than a decade from his dismissal.
While sycophants of Modi will whack down criticism of their modern messiah with the sharp of a blade, they must ask themselves one thing –
Why has the current PM never presided over an open two-way forum (face-to-face, one might add)? His machismo shatters into pieces when he is asked point blank for answers. As witnessed during his infamous interview with Karan Thappar, simple questions made him dry of mouth very quickly.
Important issues like the Demonetisation Debacle and the Kashmir referendum have yet to be tagged with a formal response from the Prime Minister.
Manmohan Singh, for all words of cowardice showered on him, never shunned away from giving an explanation. Why should he though? Ideally, Prime Ministers have been answerable for their misdoings (only dictators and autocrats have considered themselves above explanations, very notably avoiding the press in the process).
Courage is not about unnecessary flexing – a man must stand his ground whenever his actions are challenged. India has an outdated vision of what a leader should be. A leader should not be masculine, but instead Machiavellian in his approach.
A recent study showed that, the males belonging to the Howler species of monkeys, who yelled the loudest, had the smallest testicles.
Take this information any way you wish.