Fifth column: Pessimism as a new narrative

From the day Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, there has been a concerted effort by the commissars who control political commentary to paint him as a fascistic despot who will destroy the ‘idea of India’.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Published: October 8, 2017 12:05 am
Zakia Jafri, Gulbarg riots case, Gulbarg riots, 2002 Gulbarg riots case, narendra modi, 2002 Gulbarg riots, india news, indian express news Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Is it time to stop, take a breath, and consider if yet another false narrative is being created? It is true that the economic slowdown has become Narendra Modi’s biggest political problem and he must take urgent steps to rectify the things that have gone wrong. But he was right to warn last week against the miasma of pessimism that is being created around his government. The campaign to defame him is not new. From the day he became Prime Minister, there has been a concerted effort by the commissars who control political commentary to paint him as a fascistic despot who will destroy the ‘idea of India’.

This ‘idea’ is one that serves entirely to preserve a polity of socialist feudalism nurtured assiduously by political leaders trying to ensure that their heirs inherit their political parties. This ugly little ‘idea’ comes veiled in such pieties about secularism and socialism that to many it sounds almost noble. Modi’s ascent directly threatened nepotistic promoters of this polity not just in the opposition parties but within the BJP as well. So from his first day in office, this club of nepotistic politicians colluded across party lines to smear him.

Comparisons with Hitler were made on the edit pages of major newspapers, long debates on ‘growing intolerance’ were held on prime time TV channels, in which famous intellectuals openly reviled him. It fortified their narrative about ‘growing intolerance’ when Modi remained silent after gangs of Hindutva cow vigilantes began their murderous attacks on Muslim dairy farmers and cattle traders. Barbaric, videotaped lynchings made international news and Modi came to be seen as a promoter of Hindutva horrors rather than the modern, economic reformer that he was projected as during the 2014 election campaign.

As Prime Minister he started well by throwing the Planning Commission into the dustbin. And, by pointing out that MGNREGA was a colossal waste of public money that had been spent mostly on providing dole and not guaranteeing jobs. But then he seemed to lose his nerve and veer off course. Instead of exalting prosperity, as he once had, he began to exalt the virtues of poverty and projected himself as the messiah of the poor.

To prove his ‘pro-poor’ credentials he began his hunt for ‘black money’ and abolished more than 85 per cent of our currency to further this cause. The move worked politically as the election in Uttar Pradesh affirmed, but economically it affected small businessmen, traders and farmers badly since their businesses ran on cash. What the Prime Minister seems not to have noticed yet is that tax evasion is not ‘black’ money, or that millions of more Indians would pay their taxes if this were easy to do. Big businessmen can employ experts to help file complicated returns; small businessmen cannot. This is something the mighty mandarins on Raisina Hill appear not to be aware of.

They inhabit a stratosphere so removed from ordinary Indian realities that they created a GST so complex that it has befuddled officials and accountants. It has also broken the back of small businesses which do not make enough money to file returns every five minutes or hire experts to negotiate the maze of new rates. Waiting for them to falter are swarms of black money hunters who take their own cut before passing up what they find.

If the Prime Minister wants to find out why big Indian businessmen are not even beginning to revive investment three years into his tenure, then he should rethink his hunt for black money. In a business climate already vitiated by too many regulators and too many inspectors, the black money hunters add another burdensome layer of rules and regulations. Before he next condemns ‘shell companies’ as vectors of money laundering, he would do well to examine if many of them are not just part of the process of doing business. There is much else that needs to be done urgently to bring back higher rates of growth and desperately needed jobs, so the Prime Minister must put the economy at the top of his list of priorities.

Meanwhile, those falling into the trap of the new narrative of pessimism and despair need to ask themselves whether they believe the Prime Minister is really as hopeless as they are being led to believe by Dynasty devotees, who have suddenly reappeared. They give gleeful interviews these days to television journalists in which they exult over the slowdown. And they write articles singing the praises of the Dynasty. These are people who in long years of government service never noticed that India is more important than the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Even Modi’s worst enemies admit privately that he may make mistakes but his motivation is a genuine desire to serve India. This is more than can be said of most of the political leaders who revile him.

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Tavleen Singh
  1. S
    Oct 11, 2017 at 10:08 am
    some people, in he political spectrum, oppose Narendra Modi and his govt. They are no thinking that they were in power for almost 60 years and what they have done to the country except amassing wealth and stash it abroad. Take the case of Kashmir. Could they do anything eventhough Nehru family was and is in good relations with the ruling elites of Kashmir viz. Farookabdulla and company. One leader of Conggress Gulam Nabi Azad who after mecoming major has come to Delhi and never returned to Kashmir and is in the parliament all the time but could he take any constructive action for Kashmir issue. Today Soniagandhi and family hurls stone on Modi Govt. for anything and everything and she never look back as to what they have done for the country. Hence forget hese fools. The coterie consists of all high level people. They could not sit without power so they are out in open for snatching power. This way only they brought down Morarji Desai Govt. by sanjaygandhi.
    1. P
      PH Bharadia
      Oct 10, 2017 at 8:25 pm
      The adversaries of BJP and particularly of Mr. Modi are no leaving any opportunity to defame both, some tin-pots and shoddy characters of opposition parties also attack Mr Modi personally, but Mr Modi is so shrewd and matured not to respond them, in Indian democracy any cats and dogs of the street asking their leaders their every moves and answer! He or She also forget their civic sense and responsibility of as a good citizen, they have not learned in peaceful demonstrations but they go frenzied and wild, destroy public properties and bulidings, this type behavior should not be tolerated and all political parties should condemn it. Shame on all oppositions parties they do not control their CHELLAS!!
      1. arun
        Oct 9, 2017 at 11:03 am
        If you try to catch black money creators, you are ed as this slows down economy and if you do not you are again ed as it makes cheaters rich. What it appears that any drastic attempt to create honest system is not palatable to people as we Indians in reality do not want any honest system as this throws many people out of job and reduces corrupt money to ministers, business persons and Babus. However, even if Modi is replaced, now he has set this tone, Congress has to be tougher in fight against corruption and black money
        1. M
          Oct 9, 2017 at 9:15 am
          False Fabricated Feku Optimism is a new narrative of the present day regime led by Baba followers of Ram Rahim, Ram Pal, Asa Ram , so called tooth paste selling Baba's in the name of nationalism like Ramdev , Ravishankar who spoiled Yamuna Bank ecology in the name of nationalism is worst than Pessimism which makes a man cautious while walking a dangerous path of evoking kabristan vs shamshan debate that is surely aimed by False Fabricated Feku Optimist with narrow mind set of gaining political power that is having long term dangerous perspective for the nation.Such writers are more dangerous.
          1. S
            Oct 11, 2017 at 10:16 am
            Look Mr. u always want the dynasty to rule and loot this nation. They have already lootted and put the same in foreign banks just like what the Britishers done. These dynasty also a type of britishers and if they allow to continue to rule this nation then this nation cannot be saved by anybody, even if the GOD comes. Therefore be patient, dont criticise each and every movement of this government which will not be in the interest of this nation. Others supporting the dynasty is doing so because they cannot grab what they had grabbed earlier. Where are the intolerance mongering group like Guha, etc. The main aim of this intolerance group unfortunately u r also supporting this group(I feel so) is to bring down this govt. and sing the tunes of dynasty, beware if the people start thinking in this line this country will go to dogs.
          2. I
            Oct 9, 2017 at 8:58 am
            Fallacies in the article - 1. Today the MSM is biased in favour of the PM, not against. If anything, the campaign is always against a certain 'Pappu'. 2. Nothing has been achieved by changing a Planning Commission into a NITI Aayog, or by initially crashlanding MNREGA (which was a Keynesian tool) 3. Demo was nothing but a quixotic act - multiple touted objectives, but no measures of success. The traditional cash based supply-chains are disrupted with inadequate replacements. Banks are facing additional burden of PMJDY. 4. GST - is not a simplification, but an addition of complexity. Simplification happens when a current regime is replaced with a new streamlined one whereas the current regime continues for many products/services. 5. Telco industry has been moved in favour of one person and the banks saddled with huge exposure to the others.
            1. I
              Oct 9, 2017 at 9:02 am
              6. Nehru-Gandhi is not a 'dynasty' - Nehru did not appoint Indira as his successor neither did Sonia succeed Rajiv. Indira and Sonia succeeded through their political ambition and ability. In fact, the nominated successor, Rajiv, turned out to be a political failure.
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