Madhu Trehan, July 29, 2013
“Imagining the silence? Really?’ Pawan Khera’s (Indian Express, July 19, 2013) rejoinder(*) to Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s exquisitely crafted article ‘While we were silent’ (Indian Express, July 11 2013)(**), displays exactly how political sycophancy can distort perception enough to see a glass half full when it is actually empty. It is unremarkable that Congress Party members fall over each other to show loyalty. This is the Indira Gandhi Blueprint in practice here. When so much of each apparatchik’s future depends on how he is perceived by the Power, why should uncomfortable facts get in the way of making a pitch of personal devotion of servitude? Indubitably, these articles are not written to convince the reader, because even those of the lowest intellect must know today’s Indian is not buying their act. They are written to ensure their status in the Party.
Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Note to UPA-bashers’ (Indian Express, July 24, 2013)(***) is even worse. Chanting reams of statistics that show utter obliviousness to the reality on the ground of the hazards of implementation, Congress vassals see every article that exposes the real problems real people are struggling with, as a personal attack on the Congress. Neither Mehta, nor Shekhar Gupta in ‘National Interest: The deformists’ (Indian Express, July 20, 2013) hold any loyalty to the opposition or any political party – and both were refuted by Tharoor. Their articles have clearly been written in pain at the direction the country has slipped. Spokespersons for the Congress Party spout statistics from their documents showing successful schools, medical centres, electrification and clean water programmes, which they so gullibly believe exist because they ordered them. This, of course, belies all reports that have shown most of what they claim has not been implemented.
The writing is on the wall of every business, every farmer, every builder, every graduate, every recently unemployed person. Yet the writing on Pawan Khera and Shashi Tharoor’s wall is different. Khera calls Mehta’s article “hypnotic pamphleteering”! Some of Khera’s gems: “There are more to roads than highways.” “There’s more to the aviation sector than just Air India.” “Coupled with the midday meal, RTE will prove to be a game changer.” “MGNREGA has revolutionised the rural landscape and changed the destinies of 48 million households.” The romanticising of the Food Security Bill for which there was no allocation in the Budget: “No one with any experience of seeing a poor man eat will oppose this scheme”.
A simple question: who will pay for it and how? It is indeed ironical that when the Supreme Court (Sept 9, 2010) ordered the government to distribute grains (that were rotting in FCI and government godowns) for free to families living below the poverty line, PM Manmohan Singh rebuked the SC saying it should not interfere in policy issues. The PM argued that he was against the idea of giving away food for free, saying it would kill farmers’ incentive to produce.
* Imagining a silence missing the point
** While We Were Silent
*** Note to UPA-Bashers