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Leading From The Rear, or Leaderless?
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Brig Deepak Sinha | Date:18 Jun , 2015 2 Comments
Brig Deepak Sinha
is a second generation para trooper and author of “Beyond the Bayonet: Indian Special Operations Forces in the 21st Century.” He is currently a consultant with the Observer Research Foundation.

It is a commonly held perception that China deals pretty drastically with political leaders found guilty of corruption. They normally end up facing a firing squad or look at long years behind bars. I guess, if we followed in their footsteps, we would certainly run out of ammunition before we ran out of leaders to shoot, clearly adding to the burden of our Armed Forces, who, it has been publicly acknowledged, are critically short of most types of ammunition.

Obviously the veterans’ loss will certainly be seen as a gain for the Modi-baiters, including from within his party, who would like to see him brought down a notch or two.

For years now one has heard that popular phrase, commonly attributed to former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, “A week is a long time in politics” without truly understanding its import. No longer so, because the way mid-June turned out, clearly demonstrated the truth of that adage as events in that period must surely have aged some of our politicians, especially associated with the ruling party, by a  couple of years, if not more.

Over the past year and more Narendra Modi has been vociferous in promising the country, among other things, clean, corruption free, transparent and decisive governance, something the previous government of the Congress and its allies was found woefully lacking and punished for. Till nearly the end of the second week of June there was nary a blip in the Governments’ functioning and while the Prime Minister could be blamed for some slip- ups, despite Rahul Gandhi’s desperate and so far unsuccessful attempts to emulate the boxer Muhammad Ali and ‘flit like a butterfly and sting like a bee’, Mr. Modi could certainly not be accused of either lacking decisiveness, communication skills or shifting his unwavering focus on rooting out corruption.

Not anymore, and it started with his being singed by the OROP fire, where he appeared to have succumbed to the civilian bureaucracy’s last ditch attempts at stalling its implementation. Not only has he drawn the ire of the military veteran community for reneging on his promise, but also showed himself to be no less devious than any other politician, the majority of whom, have little compunction in using this emotive issue to further their own ambitions without caring in the least for either the military veteran or the serving community. As the enormity of his perfidy becomes even more clear, the BJP and its allies will find that the military veteran community that supported them wholeheartedly, falling away as some of the state elections get closer. Obviously the veterans’ loss will certainly be seen as a gain for the Modi-baiters, including from within his party, who would like to see him brought down a notch or two.

That leadership quotient has been lacking in this country has never been a secret, otherwise we would never have been under foreign yoke for most of the past thousand years…

However, while his assurances to the veteran community may have appeared to be lacking credibility, the fact was that he did attempt to address the issue and speak on it, unlike the manner in which he has been completely dumb- struck by the shenanigans of his Foreign Minister and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Off course, their alleged moral turpitude, of putting friendship above national interest, can in no way be compared to the heinousness of the allegations against a Minister in the Uttar Pradesh Government accused of setting a journalist on fire for exposing his misdemeanours, or for that matter, to the complaint of an Air Hostess allegedly threatened of being beaten with slippers by a Member of Parliament. Despite this, they do certainly not deserve either the sympathy or support that the BJP and its allies seems intent on extending to them.

That leadership quotient has been lacking in this country has never been a secret, otherwise we would never have been under foreign yoke for most of the past thousand years and there is no way that a few thousand English could have ruled over us, millions, for two hundred years.  That our governing classes, and in that I include the judiciary, have today taken Aesop’s famous quote “that we hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office” to heart is obvious. We are witness to the effect of this incestuous relationship that exists between them and the rich and powerful almost on a daily basis, be it in the judgments in high profile cases, or in the shameless behaviour of our ruling classes.

So, where does it leave us, the frustrated and the resentful, common people with whom the political class does not see the need to associate, except at the time of elections. Will Mr. Modi shed his inhibitions and take decisive action against his party women accused of wrong-doing, to provide us with a corruption free government that he had promised on the election trail, or will he like those before him wilt and become party  to the corruption that envelops us? It appears only time will tell as this Mr. Modi refuses to talk.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

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2 thoughts on “Leading From The Rear, or Leaderless?

  1. A well written article aptly driving the import of latest events and their affect on Modi’s performance. Well done Brig Sinha.
    About the author’s final question as to how will the PM emerge at the end of it all, my guess is that Modi will wilt – Monsoon session of Parliament will be a non-starter and both the women will remain where they are, veterans will go on with their agitation and Pappu Yadav too will remain at it!

  2. I fully endorse Brig Sinha’s frank and factual views. However, let me add that we (the Armed Forces lot) are to be blamed too. After FM Sam Manekshaw strong leadership was severely lacking in the Armed Forces. A majority of the leadership was more interested in self-gratification and in the theory com practice of Me, Mine and Myself only. God help this Great country of ours.

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