Our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh; he whose voice is rarely heard, has become the butt of countless jokes. His reticence and he have become the target of all polemic directed at the government and its perceived ills. His silence inspires cartoonists to dip their pens in vitriol, it enthuses funny men like Cyrus Broacha to make wise cracks, albeit sheepishly; his habitual reserve has spawned a rash of discussions, debates, analyses and YouTube abounds with funny videos and jokes about Manmohan Singh’s silence.
Dr Singh’s silence has become the symbol of the government’s shortcomings
The corruption is depressingly rampant and the rot is deep and endemic. Scams and scandals keep tumbling out of various closets with disquieting regularity. The economic growth has slowed down. Prices keep rising. The aam aadmi has much to bemoan.
We however have stopped looking for the real culprits in each case; the real villains in every scenario. We refuse to acknowledge that much of the fault is our own. On the other hand the top job in the land is visible and conspicuous target to pin all blame on. It’s an easy out – blame it on the PM and more particularly, blame it on the PM’s silence. He didn’t say anything either by way of explanation or in defence of himself and his government, so either he is guilty or he is sheltering the guilty.
It has now become a case of give the dog a bad name and hang it. There was a time when Dr Manmohan Singh could do no wrong. We have now come a full circle – apparently he can now do no right.
Things came to something of a head when Simon Denyer’s article in The Washington Post last year, entitled India’s ‘Silent’ Prime Minister Becomes A Tragic Figure declared him a possible failure, calling him an ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government. Not only are we in India extremely thin skinned about any criticism from the West, we also set a great store by it. This view then became the widely held perception about arguably one of the wisest men to have led our country – he is silent, therefore complicit.
During his first term as PM, it was all peachy – the economy was booming, the growth rate was at an all time high and foreign investors were looking upon India with favor. Dr Singh was perceived as a brilliant mind, someone who was respected and looked up to on the world stage his soft spoken nature was perceived as a virtue, his silence a sign of his wisdom. I think that the real problem started with the slowing down of the economy.
Why have we forgotten the glory days?
I don’t think that the Indian voter has suddenly become a virtuous opponent of corruption in the past few years. We will still collectively choose to grease a few palms if at all expedient for our own requirements. Rather I perceive a general dissatisfaction with the way things are – businesses are not booming as before, the stock market is distinctly iffy, we feel the pinch where it hurts most; our pockets. Our perception of our PM as himself being above reproach has also not altered; we still see him as being incorruptible and scrupulously clean.
However a handy target now presents itself to pin all our problems on – Dr Man‘maun’ Singh and his silence…
Image Source: IANS, Cartoon : Original And Copyrighted Material From IndiaOpines.com