October 06, 2013

Shameless Shenanigans of Manmohan Singh

Put this comment on MJ Akbar's latest Sunday Guardian article.

Well, mostly *facepalm* at all the "praise" MJ has heaped on Chamcha Mukherjee. After all, the Prez is merely enjoying the 'fruits' today of more than 40 years of 'faithful' service to The Family. Pranab-da would be the first to accept that.

If you say 'but he is nowhere as disreputable as other ministers of MMS such as oily minister Moily or Sanjay's sidekicks like Kamal Nath (oh, what a long list of 'infamy' this man can lay claim to)' well, that would be a low bar. I thought Mr. Mukheree was the 'prime' culprit responsible for this government's mis-handling of the economy by taking two steps forward and 2.5 steps back. Although on the 'positive' side, President PM is surely an 'improvement' over his globe-trotting predecessor. And, well, also this: who, if not Pranab?

As to MMS, I don't know how shameless a person has to be to continue to be PM despite all the opprobrium being heaped upon him from all sides ... Does that Beemer one gets for free beckon one so strongly? Are the seats on those BMWs and Air India Ones so soft and cushy? I don't know. It's quite something that two of the closest ministerial 'colleagues' of MMS are Kamal Nath and Rajiv Shulka. I don't even know enough about that guy to think of an appropriate adjective for him.


As to the shameless journos who went on a free junket, well, what can one say about the 'love for America' that Indians possess. It's pretty much limitless and indeed a trifling matter such as, say, the NSA listening in on discussions taking place inside, say, 7 Race Course Road, will hardly do anything to diminish our love for that great land of milk and honey.

When Indians say "I am on my way to the U.S." as Suhasini did on her Twitter feed, the sense I get is as if they're feeling like going on a 'return trip' to heaven.

But then, if I criticize our popular journalists for taking this 'freebie' ride to the U.S. on board that 747, I can easily be criticized thus: 'you are angry because you did not get a junket to NY' as indeed one journalist retorted to me on Twitter.

I find it scandalous that the PMs of two neighboring nations in South Asia should have the need to travel to distant New York to meet each other. How far is Lahore from Delhi? How far is Delhi from Islamabad?

What's the point of the meeting? What's the point of the ENTIRE trip?

Make some blabbering, pointless, utterly boilerplate remarks to the UN GA?

Is it "illegal" for these PMs of various 3rd world nations NOT to make that annual "pilgrimage" to Manhattan? Does MMS have a "regular" room in the Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue?

How utterly shameful to continue with this 'business-as-usual' approach in spite of the disgraceful shenanigans of the NSA.

Can't some minion like that External Affairs minister or some such chap do the requisite speech-reading?

Salman Khurshid with his UK education does a pretty good job of speaking in English even though clearly he committed treason a few months ago when he chose to appoint himself Kerry's spokesperson in the NSA matter.

Does MMS think it's the PM's prime job to chair all those Cabinet Committees? Does he feel very "important" while deciding who to appoint as the AIIMS Director one day and the CAG another day?

A career bureaucrat, clearly MMS loves nothing more than going through endless files (and those trips to the White House and the photo-ops with the President of the United States).

He is quite willing to close his eyes like a canny feline to matters of financial irregularities ... the only silver lining being that he probably does not enrich either himself or any member of his immediate family.

MMS's tenure bears no semblance of any overarching vision for India apart from the predictable homilies about economic liberalization and 'inclusive growth.'

MMS has clearly failed in being the kind of mass leader that a nation in crisis hopes to have. But perhaps it takes a crisis as grave and existential as a 'World War' to generate leaders like FDR or Churchill.

May be India is a land of a billion ordinary people who deserve an utterly ordinary and colorless PM. No wonder the world places far more value on the PM of the UK (or the President of France or the Chancellor of Germany or the President of Brazil or the President of China or the PM of Israel) than the PM of India.

I hope we have not become so fatalistic or unthinking that we 'assume' it as some sort of a 'law of nature' that the UK PM should carry more weight in international matters than the Indian PM. I choose to remember that the UK is a 'small island' comprising of a measly 60 million people.

India is a subcontinent with states that have populations of 200 million and 100 million.

Anyway, the answer to MMS is certainly not a 3-term 'honest' CM of a small Indian state. And I am not talking about NaPa.

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