Friday, August 30, 2013

in Abolitis viro

I have a Latin title for my post this time, its just that sometimes a foreign language title shows the magnitude of the topic that is being written, it invokes a sense of curiosity which I must accept bodes well for my blog and it just sounds damn cool. As far as the title goes I am guilty as charged on all three counts mentioned above.

Coming to the point though, the title means "THE FORGOTTEN MAN". This page is a homage to a forgotten hero in our country. He is not a sportsman or a military man, he is a statesman and a "politician"............... yes a politician. Let's get real, how much ever each of us hates the politicians in our country, the fact is you need them, you have to elect someone to run the country and make the policies. It doesn't work otherwise, so once in a while to appreciate one of them is not a crime.

The man in question here is P.V. Narasimha Rao (PVN), the ninth prime minister of India and the first outside of the "royal" family to serve a full term. He was prime minister from 1991-1996, a period that saw India almost go bankrupt before bouncing back with such furor that it literally scared the rest of the world. He oversaw a sea of changes, from abolishing outdated socialistic policies to economic reforms that set the bar for others to follow. He ran a minority government for 5 years, passing bills in parliament with his sheer statesmanship. Such was his popularity and respect even among rival parties that the main opposition in his home state of Andhra Pradesh did not field a candidate against him in the bye-election when they realized that he was participating in the election to accept the post of PM. Even today he holds the world record for the largest margin of victory in a parliamentary election.

So has he been forgotten? Damn right he has been forgotten and by his own party more than anyone else. The man who steered India out of a crisis has never been accepted into the very party that he belonged to. The congress party chose to ignore him ever since 1996. He was never given another post of any importance and they didn't even allow his remains to be placed at the AICC head office in Delhi for people to pay last respects. It was only at the intervention of the then CM of Andhra Paradesh Y.S Rajshekar Reddy that his body was allowed to be kept for public homage at the Hyderabad congress head office. He died a poor man with having to sell of his house to pay debts. His youngest son was educated with money provided by his son-in-law.

There was not one mention of him by Sonia Gandhi in her speech at Jaipur. She spoke in length about Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. But no mention about PVN or Lal Bahadur Shastri. Even our present PM, Manmohan Singh, whose very existence in politics was due to PVN has never given him due credit or has ever made any fond remembrance of their lives together. While newspapers and TV channels are filled with ads during Rajiv or Indira Gandhi's birth dates, there is not one such remembrance of PVN's birth dates. While every other scheme in India is named after the "family" not once have they thought about PVN and that his name should be revered in India.

He was a man who put the country first. In a fond memory by our beloved former president APJ Abdul Kalam, he mentioned an incident when he was the head of the nuclear program. When congress lost the 1996 elections and PVN had to resign the post of PM while Vajpayee was set to become the next PM, he called both Vajpayee and Kalam to his residence late into the night. Once there he told Kalam to brief Vajpayee about the Nuclear program and to continue with him to conduct the nuclear tests. This resulted in the Pokhran tests of 1998 which saw the world sit up and take notice of India and warned the rest of the world that India can retaliate if provoked. PVN had the magnanimity to accept defeat and put country first and have a meeting with the man who just defeated him in the elections for the sake of the country. While most people credit Vajpayee for the nuclear tests, the fact is PVN had an equally important role to play in it.

This man showed India that growth can be far better than what we anticipated and showed the world what India can achieve. But alas we have the habit of ignoring our true heroes and instead celebrate those who had very little to contribute or those whose contributions were only for personal gains.

No doubt that the biggest black spot of his tenure will be the Babri masjid demolition, and it has always haunted him. But if a PM is to be judged by a riot that happened in the country then every single PM from Nehru to Singh is culpable.

While there are many forgotten heros like Bhagat Singh, Vallabhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shashtri, this man is the modern hero of India, the CEO of India Inc. And for his own party to forget him and unceremoniously throw him out is the biggest social crime that any one can commit!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment