The greatest damage three years of Narendra Modi has done is to close our minds


Harish Khare is easily among India’s preeminent political journalists, someone who knows both politics and journalism.

Doctorate from the Deendayal Upadhyay Institute for International Research and Studies, also known as Yale, Khare was the media advisor to Manmohan Singh who had the temerity to tell Arnab Goswami to STFU on live TV.

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Currently editor-in-chief of The Tribune, Chandigarh, Khare’s column ‘Statecraft’ is a relief from pedestrian writing, philistine thinking, and the gold-plated chamchagiri that is the bread and butter of columnists.

In yesterday’s column, in which the word “mind” appears 10 times, Khare zeroes down on the most devastating impact of three years of the Narendra Modi regime—the closing of our minds—the apogee being his vitriol even at a celebratory event such as the opening of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

# “There was a time when such cultivated pettiness [as Modi’s] would have been music to many ears. No longer. Now, it is beginning to jar. The nation no longer feels elevated with such small-mindedness as was witnessed last Sunday.

# “How long can we feel excited about yet another CBI raid on a Karti Chidambaram or an Enforcement Directorate case against a Robert Vadra, or ignore all the evidence of grave damage inflicted by mofussil minds on national economy and national institutions?”

# “Evidence has mounted. The nationwide dislocation of demonetisation; the GST-centric disruption; the marked slowdown in economic growth; the alarming drop in GDP numbers; and, staggering unemployment, all mock at the outsized claims made by limited minds exercising unlimited authority.”

# “Charisma has not produced either competence or capacity. While it is possible for a leader to infuse a sense of energy and purpose in a confused society, a personality cult has its definite downside. And, that downside is now taking its toll on the nation’s vitality and creativity. We are being asked to close our minds.”

# “We now seem to be in thrall of some kind of crony mofussilism. We are weeding out first-rate minds and talent.”

# “Because the media and the intelligentsia have lost their professional courage to tell off the second-rate performers, there is a new arrogance.”

# “Just because they find themselves moved from the cramped quarters in VP House on Rafi Marg to spacious bungalows with manicured lawns on Safdarjung Road, these mofussil minds feel themselves cockily validated.”

# “What we are witnessing is a closing of our minds. The personality cult has become institutionalised, and the Great Leader’s limits and weaknesses are now drowning out the strengths and assets.”

# “He dazzled the nation once; no more. A fatigue has set in as undersized performance has not matched the over-exaggerated promises and claims.”

Read the full column: Conceits of mofussil minds

Screenshot: courtesy The Tribune