Saturday, September 26, 2015

Patterns repeat in life - Manmohan Singh

Did Dr. Manmohan Singh preside over the momentous reforms of 1991 in India or not. This is a question of eternal debate in certain circles. The debate rages because they do not want to give credit to someone who they don't like (PV Narasimha Rao).
But let us look at the evidence. This article written by none other than Yashwant Sinha provides a few clues.

There is absolutely no question that MMS is personally honest in pecuniary matters. I have plenty of anecdotes on this and so do all those who have interacted with him. But have you heard of House No. 3989, Nandan Nagar, Ward No. 51, Sarumataria? You probably haven't. This is in Dispur and MMS is ostensibly a tenant there. 
That's because he is a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam. As I said, honesty is a relative term and I know of people who would baulk at this deception. 
There is an anecdote in Yashwant Sinha's book about how MMS had brought alone a file to Chandra Shekhar, who was then the PM, but had already resigned. The file concerned MMS' appointment as UGC boss. 
As Chandra Shekhar had already resigned as PM, he pointed out that he couldn't morally sign the file. MMS retorted that he had backdated the file. Since this anecdote has gone uncontested, it is presumably true. 
Therefore, if non-pecuniary transactions are involved, I have never been convinced MMS places a premium on "honesty". It is for an individual to decide whether he feels comfortable looking at himself in the mirror. [From the piece]
This article is a few years old. From then on, there have been more evidence. Here is ex Coal secretary and the ex Telecom secretary.
Here is the coal secretary link, where the article says.
In his arguments, Gupta claimed he had "no dominion" over the natural resource and Singh, who was also holding the portfolio of Coal Ministry at that time, had given final approval for allocation of coal block.
And here is the ex Telecom secretary stating his point...
In a separate chapter, Baijal refers to the alleged warning from Singh: "They (CBI) had warned me in each case (cases related to 2G scam and disinvestments) that I would be harmed if I didn't cooperate. Incidentally, this was exactly what the eminent economist Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) had told me would happen if I did not cooperate in their scheme of things in the 2G case.
There are a few more things (which despite crazy googling, I could not find), but the point is that patterns repeat. 
For someone who has never done something 'different' throughout life and always followed orders (his 10 years as PM was all about taking orders from his boss the great Sonia Gandhi) and almost reversed every reform that is credited to him. It is highly unlikely that in 1991, he did something by himself, unless he was ordered to do so.  
And as Yashwant Sinha himself points in his article,
First, MMS wasn't PV Narasimha Rao's original choice as FM. IG Patel was, though that is neither here nor there. Second, the credit for those reforms should largely go to Rao, though the Congress conveniently chose to ignore this later. Indeed, MMS also distanced himself from Rao, though that too is perhaps neither here nor there, except that it reveals some of MMS' personal attributes. The point is, any FM in 1991 would have had to introduce those reforms. The agenda was known. The blueprint was known.
It is highly unlikely in life that one breaks out of such set patterns just once and then returns to somnolence. A person who is a fighter is a fighter at every level. And a person who is an order taker is an order taker at every level. You make them shift roles and they will get out of it very quickly. It is  true for every single one of us. If you make one go against my values, I will raise my voice or quit. Yes, I may swallow an insult or two or live a bit out of my skin, but ultimately it is just not possible.
And what of the curious case of the dog that did not bark? The answer, therefore is only one. What is the repeating pattern? The evidence is above. 

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