Life has one cardinal principle – one needs to understand and clearly see where to put explanations and where to adopt a dignified silent approach.
Had it been the case that the PMO would have treated it like any other article being written daily in the Indian press, Manmohan Singh could have avoided an international embarrassment that he is facing now.
Of late, Indian media has been highly critical of him – writing detailed analyses and satirical pieces on his rapid downfall during the second tenure as the prime minister of India. But seldom have we heard of such a response that we saw in case of the Washington Post article.
But then how could have we expected a dignified silence from his office when his government has become a hotbed of corruption and it is shamelessly defying even the constitutional bodies in order to shift the blame. And now Manmohan Singh is leading from the front.
What else can we say after his full frontal attack on the CAG report on coal block allocations saying the report was clearly disputable? His government had taken the same stand with CAG report on the 2G spectrum scam report but had to bite the dust after Supreme Court’s intervention. We all know the results. High profile ministers, politicians and bureaucrats had to resign. Many were even jailed.
The Post article has the context of the ongoing uproar in India over the Coalgate scam and so the corruption in the Indian polity. At the same time the writer, Simon Denyer, traces some older analytical pieces while getting insights. The output was nothing but yet another analysis on negatives of Manmohan Singh and his government.
Big mouths of his government had made much noise on these write-ups. Some talked of even suing them but this time it has been fundamentally flawed as Mr. Manmohan Singh’s office has taken a full-fledged plunge into rebutting the freedom of expression.
Manmohan has remained silent and claims right to his silence. That cannot be expected from the prime minster of a nation. But whenever he opens to speak and clear the air, he sounds even more precarious like it has been happening this time. He sounded totally absurd while presenting point-by-point rebuttal to the CAG coal scam report.
Every social and economic indicator of India is going down and there is a need to accept it. But like his colleagues, Mr. Manmohan Singh has just one grand tagline – his government is not able to check the negative trends – prices and so on (obviously sighting variegated reasons, from coalition compulsions to foreign government hands in anti-Kudankulum nuclear plant protests.)
Inflation has remained high; prices are skyrocketing irrespective of the inflation data; GDP growth has touched the nine-year low; and every major forecast is declaring tougher days ahead.
Owing to these factors, there have been plenty of write-ups in the Indian media with much harsher tone.
When corruption become a way of life for the political class, it is foolhardy to expect any dignity from them and so there arises no prospect of a dignified silence. And when it is coupled with a borrowed mentality of maintaining external appearance even if the internal appendages are bleeding (Manmohan’s concern of his image internationally irrespective of his browbeating nationally), we come across the heady cocktail of silly political responses on issues what we have seen in this case.
So, in place of ignoring it, the PMO and Manmohan’s colleagues went all out in criticising the write-up making Mr. Simon a known entity to many who would otherwise never know his name.
The foolishness here has had multiple colours. After the article reached the Indian media, the PMO tried to respond back directly by posting a rebuttal in the comment section. Some technical glitch didn’t allow it. The matter should have been rested there. But the over enthused good souls of the PMO made contacts with Post and misunderstood the apology for the technical glitch as apology for the not taking Manmohan’s views into account.
When the author hit back clarifying, the PMO wrote a point-by-point response presenting its viewpoints further. That was the second mistake and must have been avoided at any cost. Mr. Simon wrote back his response to every point clearly putting the PMO in a poor light again.
By then the damage was done. Manmohan’s office shown an eagerness that was never necessary and it clearly told the world about the borrowed mentality that Manmohan was more concerned now to preserve whatever had left of the ruin of personal high that he had achieved during his first terms as the prime minister.