Yesterday (on 11.07.13), Mr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta (@pbmehta) published oped in Indian Express — While we were silent.
Here is full text:
A story of destructive governance and citizens who did not speak out
First, the UPA came for the roads sector. They destroyed contracting. They slowed down road construction. They left highways half built. We did not speak out. After all, the only reason the NDA could have started the golden quadrilateral is because they wanted to spread Hindutva.
Next, they came for the airline sector. They let Air India suck more money from taxpayers. They let bad regulation destroy the private sector. They let crony banking sustain bad bets. They ensured India would never be an aviation hub. We did not speak out. After all, flying is what birds do, not humans. Besides, aviation is bad for climate change.
Then they came for the power sector. They confused creation of mega capacities with actual generation. They had no rational pricing plans. They were arbitrary in the awarding of licences. They could not make up their mind whether they wanted to protect the environment or destroy it. We did not speak out. After all, the only power that matters is political. Electricity be damned.
Then they came for education. They promulgated the RTE after 100 per cent enrolment. They expanded capacity, but cut-offs still rose. They regulated in such a way that there was a glut in some subjects and a shortage in others. They confused university buildings with building universities. We did not speak out. After all our, our low quality education left us incapable of speaking out.
Then they came for industry. They turned the clock back in every way and waged open war. Ensure that regulations become more complex and uncertain. Ensure that input costs rise. Ensure crummy infrastructure. Promulgate a land scam policy known as SEZ and sell it as industrial policy. They encouraged FDI. But they forgot which one they wanted: outbound or inbound. But we did not speak out. After all, India is a rural country.
When I read this exceptional piece, I said BRAVO!! Amazing writing PBM. And no doubt, this post went viral on social media.
Today, @mediacrooks published this brilliant reply: While Pratap Bhanu Mehta was sleeping
Here is Text:
Ever attended a sales meeting in a company? If you have, I’m sure you would have heard about reasons for successes and reasons for shortfalls. The managers who are burdened with shortfalls often come up with suggestions for the company. It usually starts with “WE should do this” or “WE should do this” or “WE should do this”. The trouble with this manager is he never says “I need to do this or I need to undertake this correction”. That’s the problem with “WE”. That’s the problem with Pratap Bhanu Mehta (PBM) too. On July 11, 2013 he suddenly woke up from a long golden slumber and found “While wewere silent” the UPA crimes had passed without notice. Oh really? His article in the Indian Express starts off with a massive blame “A story of destructive governance and citizens who did not speak out”.
Frankly, I am not in disagreement with the rest of the contents of PBM’s article but it’s just that he thinks citizens were sleeping. The fact is that citizens were well awake and have expressed their criticism of the criminal bad governance of Congress & UPA in many forms. This was through articles, through Social Media and even through protests at Ram Lila and Jantar Mantar. Conveniently, PBM doesn’t touch upon issues of corruption and black-money etc. Alright, doesn’t matter. He is free to choose the issues he wants to talk about and no one should have a problem with that. So he talks about the Power sector, RTE, Industrial performance and so on. Let’s pick on a few as samples and find out who was sleeping and who was silent.
First, the UPA came for the roads sector. We did not speak out.
There are many articles written on the topic. The only thing that the Congress managed is put up posters on all national highways with images of SoniaG and Manmohan Singh as their great accomplishment. Fact is these two have nothing much to brag about. But someone called Sanjay Kulshreshtra (In early 2012?) went far enough to file a PIL in the SC on roads and highways safety which brought out a stunning fact. The govt accepted that in the last 30 years 50% of the highways were built by the NDA. The case brought out some more interesting facts which can be read in the TOI report. I suppose we could call Kulshreshta a citizen, Mr.PBM?
Next, they came for the airline sector. We did not speak out.
Airline sector? What was it about this sector that hasn’t been written about in the last 5-6 years that PBM missed? I could point to hundreds of articles but let me point to one that is not only in-depth but also hilarious. This one is from a guy called @TheKaipullai. “The curious case of Vijay Mallya bail-out and another scam” from November 2011. Enjoy! It is possible Kaipullai may be from Jaffna but we can bestow ‘honorary citizen’ status on him. No?
Then they came for Power sector. We did not speak out.
It’s amazing that PBM could get past a whole paragraph on the power sector without mentioning the Coal scam even once. Reams have been written about it. Never mind. We were sleeping. How about this one that says “Congress govt ruined power sector” where Loksatta party founder Jayprakash Narayan strongly criticises the Congress’ power sector policy? Missed this one too? I guess before writing about not speaking out PBM didn’t bother to check how many have spoken out. Considering Jayprakash Narayan contests elections I strongly suspect he must be a citizen of India.
Then they came for education. We did not speak out.
Ever heard of a Twitter account called @RealityCheckInd Mr.PBM? He has posted hundreds of tweets on the negative impact of RTE. If that is not enough, I recommend you read his post “Is the Right to Education quota really for the poor?” And that is just one post I’m quoting and I suggest you search his site on the topic and you will discover a damn good “Coal” mine. There are many others too who have written about it. It is just that RealityCheckInd and such ‘trolls’ aren’t the people from your coffee-shops that you discuss India with. I think we can grant him the mercy of citizenship.
Then they came for industry. We did not speak out.
It is true that the TV channels have spoken about Industry only when growth or slow-down figures were dished out to them. The business and finance channels, of course, are too busy sucking up to govt and business groups for their crumbs instead of reporting anything. But even here there have been many who have been sounding warning for many years. There’s Sify in 2008, there’s The Hindu in 2010 and there’s ET in 2011. When they play the oldies on the radio they often ask “where were you when this song was No.1”. Where were you Mr.PBM when all these reports were being churned out? And these reports are “allegedly” written by our own citizens.
There! I could go on and on and establish without any dispute that citizens did speak out while others were sleeping. Even on employment many have screamed the fact that during the NDA regime around 3-crore jobs were created and only 27Lakhs under the UPA regime. I wonder how PBM missed all this unless his entire article was meant to be self-flagellation. There is no need for that. A simple honest admission that “I did not speak out” would have been humble and respectable.
Fact of the matter is that all this while our MSM was obsessed with BJP, their infighting and their PM candidate. Most of all they were and still are busy on how to put Narendra Modi out of the political spectrum. They are guilty of gross negligence where keeping an eye on the Congress-UPA performance is concerned. This includes the Indian Express which was touting Army-movement stories and filing defamation cases. In a previous article titled “The third way out” PBM writes about the negatives of both national parties and that the third front may not be all that bad. On what scientific or historical basis did he come to this assessment? NONE! The Third-Front (or Federal Front as they have christened it now) has elements like SP, JDU, TDP, BJD, TMC, CPM, CPI. I wonder if PBM ever analysed that all these are more or less Congress-UPA allies and as similar to Congress as Siamese twins.
A very reliable “Source” had another story to this sudden burst of criticism from the IE. You know, IE has been more or less a slave to the Congress for all these UPA years. So what woke them up from their slumber? Well, it could be “Friendly fire” as the source puts it to get a bit more at the negotiating table of doles. Appears PBM may have walked into that trap. Seems far-fetched? The one who fed me this bit is pretty well-informed about the media in Delhi. But let’s not read too much into this.
Regardless of his opinions PBM remains a much-respected “intellectual” and the article under discussion shouldn’t cause him any damage. It’s not that citizens didn’t speak out. It’s just that Pratap Bhanu Mehta and his entire clan in the MSM were sleeping. Next time Mr. PBM, please care to listen.