Nehru, GST & the Economic Recession

The roots of the present economic crisis in India go back to November 8, 2016, when the policy of demonetization was carried out. That was followed by a badly planned Goods and Services Tax (GST), which further hurt the small scale sector and rural economy that had already been battered by demonetization.
This left rural India and the unorganized sector in a precarious state and impoverished. Thousands of small-scale industries, such as weavers, had to close down permanently. Small-scale artisans, such as potters and sculptors, went out of business thanks to GST, as did independent contractors such as carpenters, welders, fitters, and plumbers, due to the input tax credit of the GST.
In spite of this, people kept voting for the BJP in election after election – local, state, and national – with just a few exceptions. This was due to their unquestioning faith in Sh Modi.
Of course, this unquestioning devotion (bhakti) by the majority of Indians is by no means new.
As Ambedkar pointed out, Indians have a tendency to hero-worship. We made a Mahatma out of a mortal, Gandhi. When Nehru was alive, the level of bhakti for him surpassed by far even the levels of bhakti for Modi that are seen today, even though many have seen it convenient to only point out his flaws today.
It is well-known that Gandhi, in a last-ditch attempt to save the unity of India, offered the Prime Ministership of India to Jinnah. Nehru’s response to Gandhi was that he was willing to do that if Gandhi wanted it so; but would the people accept such a decision?
I once asked my dad about this. He was a lad of 11 when India became independent. His response to me was: “You have no idea how popular Nehru was then. If indeed he was not made the PM then, there would have been spontaneous riots all over India.”
So we went from hero-worshipping Gandhi to hero-worshipping Nehru to even hero-worshipping Indira (no less a person than Vajpayee referred to Indira as” Durga” after the successful Bangladesh war of 1971) to, now, hero-worshipping Modi today.
And, for course, we will worship any other heroes who come along our way. We are, after all, a polytheistic society – we can accommodate multiple gods. So we hero-worship a Tendulkar, a Dhoni, a Kohli; a Rajesh Khanna, an Amitabh Bachchan, a Shah Rukh Khan; and so on.
None of these “gods” deserve to be worshipped. They can be admired for their accomplishments but they also should be criticized for their shortcomings.
Unfortunately, as a society, this is our Achilles heel – that when we are caught up in the madness of our hero-worship, we cannot see any faults in our Gods. It is only decades later, when the heroes have fallen from their pedestals, that we discover their flaws. By then, it is too late.
People are constantly recounting Nehru’s failures as a PM (while conveniently forgetting his many successes) today, but they forget that Nehru was no dictator. He was popularly elected time and time again, by huge majorities, with virtually no opposition. Unlike today, when Amit Shah has to spend tens of thousands of crores in buying out the opposition, all Nehru had to do was ask people to vote for his party. And they won handsomely, again and again.
What made this possible? It was the hero worship towards Nehru by the grandfathers and grandmothers of the same people who are cursing Nehru today night and day.
People curse the “Dynasty” for all the evils plaguing the country today. Supporters of the BJP do not tire of talking about the Emergency. But who brought Indira Gandhi back to power in 1980 after she had been defeated in 1977? The fathers and mothers of the same people who are reviling Indira today.
So don’t make the same mistakes that your forefathers did. Stop your hero-worship of Modi today, and start looking at everything from an objective and factual basis.
Your Modi hero-worship has already cost us hugely. But if you act now, at least we can cut our losses.
Just like the hero-worship of Gandhi, Nehru, and Indira ended one day, so will the hero-worship of Modi end some day. The only question is when that will be.
When that happens, historians of that time will honestly document how Modi ruined the economy of India.
Let us hope they document the economic ruin and not the utter destruction of India. That they should do the former and not the latter is entirely in the hands of the people of India. It depends entirely on when they will stop hero-worshipping and start looking at things objectively – on data rather than due to emotions.
(You may share this piece as long as you share it in full and credit the authorship properly to me – Seshadri Kumar. Please reproduce this note as well.)
Let me also add that we’d like others to do our dirty work, there are enough of mercenaries to take care of that.

Post Author: maxyogi

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