[WSMDiscuss] 'Ramachandra Guha: Crisis-hit India needs a leader who listens, not one focused on building his brand'

Sukla Sen sukla.sen at gmail.com
Sun Apr 25 09:25:47 CEST 2021

In case of Modi, such well-meaning advices that he should consult (i)
people with experience, regardless of their political affiliations, and
(ii) recognised domain experts are simply naive and worse than useless.

Even on the occasion of demonstration, he shunned even the in-house experts
- the opinion of the RBI was simply set aside and the PM's Economic Adviser
had just no clue.

This time round, the brutal lockdown itself was imposed with barely four
hours notice.
The purpose, one can think of, was to keep the poor migrant workers locked
up in their places so that they'd be available to their employers as and
when things start easing.
Despite cruel state atrocities a massive silent pushback got triggered with
over a crore - as per government figure, undertaking long marches back home
- making a complete nonsense of the lockdown.

He operated on the basis of the dictum that "no good crisis should be
Radical changes in the environmental laws were initiated, legislations as
regards the workers and farmers were rammed through, on the basis of the
anticipation that it'd be near impossible to organise public protests on
the streets.
Many of the leading CAA/NRC protesters, who could have not been touched
earlier, were thrown behind the bars.
A new PM CARES Fund was brought into being just to dodge any whatever scope
of accountability as regards the collection and utilisation of the huge
amount of donations to be garnered - shockingly being backed up to the hilt
by a compliant judiciary.
To take only a few examples.

Evidently, such a work programme, by its very nature, completely rules out
just not any transparency but also "consultations" with even a selected few
beyond the top circle of the ruling clique.

All the while, the clique pins its hopes and confidence on its ability to
"manage" - regardless of the magnitude of the "crisis" to be encountered,
by (i) fomenting hatred and paranoia - against the constructed "other",
(ii) unscrupulous use of all the arms of the state, (iii) making all the
watchdog institutions tamely toe its line and (iv) controlling the
narrative by controlling the "media".

It was, evidently, completely unprepared for the huge second wave
(ref.: <*https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/bjp-hails-pm-for-defeating-covid-19/article33896405.ece
and just mark the ugly hubris barely over two months back) still on the
upswing - despite the obtaining global patterns.
But, then, it could not have cared less.
While a gathering of a few thousands - with daily infections rate under a
thousand, was, with full gusto, drummed up as "Corona Jihad", a gathering
of millions is celebrated with the daily infections rate speeding past the
one-lakh mark. And the Prime Minister and Home Minister keep addressing
poll campaign rallies gathering together thousands and thousands.

But, this time, the scale of devastation and human tragedies - affecting
even the better offs, may, eventually, turn out to be a bit too much.
The visuals of lined up dead bodies burning against the backdrop of night's
darkness may just prove to be so.

<<In writing as I did, I was, as Dr Johnson might have said, placing my
faith in Hope over Experience. For in his tenure as prime minister,
Narendra Modi had already made visible his contempt for experts, this
contempt demonstrated both in theory – as in the remark that he believed in
“hard work, not Harvard” – and in practice, as in his going ahead with the
catastrophic experiment with demonetization even when the top economists in
his own administration had warned against it. He had also shown an
unremitting hostility towards politicians of other parties, treating them –
again, in word and in deed – with arrogant condescension.>>

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