Friday, January 07, 2005

Exploring layers of truth in Rao’s role in history

Check out Ashok Mitra's well-written piece in the Telegraph. Two quotes:

    "P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government was formally responsible for the cataclysmic cross-over. But render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Praise Narasimha Rao for being the obedient servant of the emerging situation, but accord due credit to Rajiv Gandhi, if the latter did not fritter away the country’s exchange reserves in the manner he did and alongside incur huge short-term foreign debt, globalization and liberalization would have still remained an unfinished agenda — at least for some more while. Rajiv Gandhi dared to be irresponsible; Narasimha Rao merely reaped the harvest of that irresponsibility."

    "Does that mean poor Rao had no outstanding achievement he could claim as very much his own? It may sound harsh, but there is one happening history will exclusively credit him for: he was the prime minister who slept through, peacefully, the entire afternoon even as the Babri Masjid was being demolished on December 6, 1992."

Here's a comment, along similar lines, that I posted on Amardeep's blog:
    History may forgive Narasimha Rao's failings, if history forgives everybody regardless of the crimes committed! Chances are that Rao's legacy will be remembered as one of ruthlessness (St Kitts & Jain Hawala, for instance) and indecisions (anti-Sikh pogrom & the 6th December). I fail to see why everybody assumes LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation, and Globalisation) is something that has benefitted India. I would think that an average Indian doesn't like the taste of reforms; all the pro-reform govts were always voted out in India. Rao's own state of Andhra Pradesh is one of the worst casualties of the economic reforms. It's funny that an Indian politician speaks about honor in the comity of nations. Less than 25 kms from Hyderabad - the hitec city, children still die of simple cases of diarrhea due to lack of primary health care! That doesn't bring any dishonor?

    Of course he was erudite and all that, but I wonder whether it's erudition or people's support that's more important for a political leader. The erudite Rao clinged to prime minister's chair by bribing members of parliament. Sonia Gandhi, who gets ridiculed for her fake degrees, knew a better way to get into history books.

    One positive thing that I can think of Rao's prime ministership is that he showed an enormous respect for parliamentary proceedings as PM. He was always present in the parliament, willing to participate in debates, sometimes even answering questions which otherwise a junior minister would have answered. Contrast that with Rajiv Gandhi's contempt for parliamentary affairs, and the mess that Vajpayee and Advani create in the parliament today.


At 6:08 AM, Blogger Akshay said...

I respect Narasimha Rao for one reason he did what he had to do keep the govenment together.
I know he was wrong at times (Babri Masjid) . I will respect him for what he did

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Prasad Udupa said...

Anand, I am not sure why you are a bit too critic of Rao. It is always true that a Prime Minister or Chief Ministers achievements would have some contribution/initiation from a previous person/government in the same role. But it is his decision/choice to continue a program started by his preceder. I believe he deserves the honour/feather for the decision to continue good programs and executing them successfully. You know a program discontinued/misused by a new government is always a huge waste of public money and less talked about. I respect PVN for the LPG and he is a person of execution instead of being mere media savvy.

Babri Masjid incident was a tragedy cooked by extremist people.
We definitely don't like to see our country men dying for such reasons. But it was a hard demonstration of this is actually a Hindu country though politicians are calling it secular for untold political reason. Shouldn't the most ancient religion have one home land while many other religions have many countries on their side? Yes, in spite of all these justifications, Babri masjid was a sad incident, but cooked by people other than government.

I still believe PVN was a big achiever who maintains low profile. That is a Godly character and we should respect it.
Also he did not have any favours on his side.
(1)Media was against him
(2)His own party (congress) was against him as he is outside Nehru family.
(3)His age or appearance was not as attractive as Rajiv Gandhi.
(4)Public was against him as it was early days of LPG.

In spite of all these.........!!
He proved he is a good parliamentarian. He proved his good quality by sending able Vajapayee (of opposition party) to UN summit representing India.

Man, how can you ignore his achievements????
What do you think we can achieve at his age?



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