October 16, 2010
The foolish glorification of Narendra Modi
I've been extremely critical of all Indian political leaders we have today, whether they are our Prime Minsters (MMS) or Prime-Ministers in waiting (Rahul Gandhi) or instigator-in-chiefs of communal hatred (Advani).
What saddens me is the extremely low ethical standard displayed by most middle-class Indians (even some of those who claim to be lovers of liberty!) who are quick to glorify corrupt and incompetent people without any harsh questions being asked. Truly abysmal moral expectations we seem to have!
Consider the new-found tendency to glorify Narendra Modi.
It appears that Indians have indeed got the governments they deserve (and want!). If their standards are so low that even Narendra Modi now appears great to them, then that's what they'll get! A country never gets better than what it deserves.
Let me ignore Modi's deep communal hatred and his role in the Godhra riots. Such things are, in the end, relatively minor matters. The harm caused by Indian politicians through such direct killings is relatively small. The greatest harm they have caused (thousands of times greater) is through their incompetence and mindless corruption, thus reducing people's longevity, killing off children through high infant and child mortality, having the worlds' highest road accident death rate, and blocking off our people's potential.
Mukul Asher (whom I otherwise have a high regard for) wrote this article about Modi.
I find this a grossly unsatisfactory approach to the evaluation of Modi's performance.
True, for many decades now, Gujarat has been relatively better managed than most sates in India, and true, Modi appears to be a relatively good administrator and has introduced relatively better policies. But Gujarat, in my view, scores merely 2 out of 10 on the good goveranance scale, while other states of India get 1 out of 10 or 1.25.
So what, in my view, is wrong with Modi? Well, everything! What is good about him?
In BFN I showed clearly the pathway to good governance in India. The current systems of school education, health, infrastructure and local governments in Gujarat simply can't deliver world class governance. Modi even continues with tenured services like the IAS which are totally incompatible with good governance. Poverty therefore continues in Gujarat, but also HUGE amounts of corruption. How much black money does Modi personally make use of during elections? Does he comply with electoral funding laws? Can he comply with these laws and win? Please conduct a genuine survey and show me that corruption and poverty has been eliminated in Gujarat. These are the BASIC requirements of governance.
Clearly Gujarat doesn't even come CLOSE to a score of 10.
The only way for Gujarat to get close to 10 is for Indian liberals to step into politics and radically transform the nation. We need a dramatic change in governance.
If Indians REALLY want to achieve world-beating standards of governance, then they will have to REJECT all sub-standard leaders and rise to lead personally.
I have deep self-respect and don't accept third rate standards of ethics and competence from anyone. So I only offer first rate stuff through FTI and my writings.
If Indians don't want world-class ethics and governance, and if Rahul Gandhis and Narendra Modis are good enough for them, so be it. People ALWAYS get what they deserve. As for me, I do have MUCH HIGHER standards and will have to decline to go anywhere near our major political parties.