It’s annoying to see the Congress and the BJP compete with one another in order to position themselves as the inheritors of the legacy of a notorious personality like Sardar Patel. Patel was an outright communalist and a legendary Hindu chauvinist leader of the Congress Party. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s statement that Patel was secular is a cruel joke on the memory all those who lost their lives as a result of the 1946 Calcutta Killings. At that time, Sardar Patel had written a letter to C Rajagopalachari in which he stated, ““A good lesson for the League because I hear that the proportion of Muslims who have suffered death is much larger (than the Hindus).”
As far as Modi is concerned, Patel would always serve as an inspiration for a fascist like him since he was also in a habit of making racist and irresponsible comments like Modi. When local Hyderabadi Muslim goons celebrated the escape of Laik Ali, the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad to Pakistan, Patel responded by saying, “I naturally begin to doubt whether Muslims here feel that their future lies in India.” The utterance of such vitriolic comments by Sardar Patel was not unintentional or out of frustration. Those who try to defend Sardar Patel by stating that he banned the RSS and called Hindu Rashtra a “mad idea” should not forget that he regarded RSS men as “misguided patriots” despite their involvement in his mentor’s murder.
Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in his autobiography called “Aatish Chinar” has mentioned how Patel encouraged Hindus to combat Muslims during communal riots and he was also of the opinion that in order to annihilate Pakistan, India must push huge amount of Muslims in its territory, so much so that Pakistan explodes and is forced to come to terms with India. The whole point of constructing a statue called the “Statue of Unity” in the memory of Sardar Patel is not only foolish but is reflective of the manner in which we distort history to praise men of deceitful nature just as Pakistan glorifies looters and invaders like Mahmud of Ghazni in its history textbooks. However, I would conclude by reminding everyone that this latest PR tactic employed by Narendra Modi is an electoral gimmick which is no less than 5-6 years old. Those who doubt my claims should have a look at BJP’s election manifesto released prior to the Assembly Elections in Gujarat in 2007. In that manifesto, the BJP had promised to build a grand statue of unity in the honour of Sardar Patel if it was voted back to power. Thankfully, BJP never lived up to its promises and now we are seeing Mr Modi try out his electoral populism on a national scale in the lead up to the 2014 General Elections.
Manmohan Singh has now no hope in hell to steer the ship of a rudderless Congress Party for the third time so he has decided to regain lost glory by taking centrestage at the troubled Ministry of Finance which was held very cautiously by Pranab Mukherjee and whose report card as Finance Minister is being described as awful when compared to his predecessor P Chidambaram.
It’ll be interesting to keep a tab on Manmohan’s next few moves. The need of the hour is to encourage spending and follow the Keynesian Model of economics which emphasizes on the need for shedding silly austerity measures and promote an environment of spending which in turn spurs the economy towards the higher growth trajectory. Disinvestment and resource allocation can be major revenue sources capable of going back into the economic bloodline as stimulus packages provided that the Government doesn’t commit a major goof which exposes it to yet another controversy or scam. Only a nuclear-deal like moment can now ensure a graceful exit for Singh who lost the opportunity of a picture perfect finish by being kicked up from 7 Race Course to Raisina Hills. In his long public life this is the second time when Manmohan Singh is in a desperate need to deliver in order to heal the staggering Indian economy running on a ventilator with Neo-Liberal Reforms 2.0.
Dr Manmohan Singh is a highly sombre politician who does not wage verbal blitzkriegs against his detractors (unlike his Congress colleagues in the Union Cabinet) but on the issue of the protests being held against the Koodankulum Nuclear Power Station in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Dr Singh has come out with all guns blazing and has launched an unprecedented verbal tirade against the protestors by accusing them of being funded by American and Scandinavian NGO’s who are not appreciative of India’s growing energy needs and demands.
Dr Singh’s remarks have come at a time when India and the United States are further deepening their ties. Is Manmohan’s argument factually fallible or has he actually spoken out the truth? The comments are sure to raise a political stir in the coming few days but Manmohan’s benevolence towards Russia (The power station at Koodankulum is a Russian creation) might be seen by many policy makers in Washington as malevolence towards the United States. However by means of his outright comments, Manmohan has once again shown everyone that he is the person occupying the driver’s seat and is capable of taking tough decisions.