The media has attempted to pretend that the morons on TV are capable of reading books. A hilarious moment came up when Bhupendra Chaubey was authoritatively asking Sanjay Baru questions, Sanjay asked Chaube if he has read the book. BC responded that he has “read the operative parts” to which Sanjay mumbled to himself “why am I here answering people who have not even read the book”. The words may not be the same but the message was very close to what I have recounted here.
I was one of the first to buy Kindle version from Amazon, fearing that it may soon get banned. I thought I will share a review, not as an expert, but as one who has read the book cover to cover, unlike fake media personalities.
This is not the first time the TV personalities put on a pretentious intellectual demeanor they do not deserve. I wrote about it in 2009 http://notcovered.blogspot.in/2009/08/sen-and-ghosh-vaudeville-show.html
But that was about Sangarika Ghosh, so I think it does not count. Everyone knows she is shown on TV probably because she threatens to poison Rajdeep if he does not allow her show. Threat of domestic violence, perhaps, but seriously….
The book “Accidental Prime Minister (APM)” reveals many things, some overtly and some unintentionally. I write here what I thought were in overt tones but mainly those unintentional slips.
As you finish the book, the one thing that remains with you is, Sanjay Baru adores Dr Manmohan Singh without holding back, unabashedly. And most importantly, however much one may dislike Dr Manmohan Singh for his apathy towards the scams, you do not feel offended by Baru’s love for Dr Manmohan Singh. It is genuine and based on true admiration for Dr Manmohan Singh. Sanjay is not spinning for Dr Singh.
A theme that turns up often in the book is inability of Dr Singh to stand up or speak the truth. Dr Singh also elected to seat himself in that gray area where he could deny responsibility for any type of consequences. It is immoral for a man to let a seat of power be usurped by his political boss, but Dr Singh allowed it without showing any compunction. There are multiple instances that come up and I will indicate a few of them also here.
Dr Singh’s views on Sikh riots, according to Sanjay, satisfied neither the Sikhs nor the Congress since he did not speak what he thought as truth but spoke what he thought would satisfy both. By blaming Congress and RSS for the Sikh massacre, Dr Singh did not please the Congressmen for obvious reasons and the Sikhs for inaccurate blame on RSS. In that I saw a trait in Dr Singh, to let in a falsehood in a deluge of truthful pronouncements, only to aid his success. I do not think Dr Singh acted honorably, but in the eyes of Sanjay, the pimple never showed up. It is nothing less than an evil trait.
In another incident, while Dr Singh could turn down Naveen Patnaik’s request for a financial package with a question “if money grew in trees”, though Dr Singh never summoned enough gall to repeat it to NAC or Sonia. He elected to be subservient and perhaps believed that he is simply not strong enough to take on someone as Sonia.
He also seemed to have taken the authority of Pulok rather meekly. Dr Singh failed the country as he did not know how to say ‘No’ and seems to have had no qualms in agreeing to the truncated respect offered by the ‘Party’, meaning Sonia.
Dr Singh never fully accepted or even sought authority, hiding behind the same ‘shy and retiring card’ façade very effectively. Had he been confident of himself, he would have asked for his cabinet, set his goals and objectives and taken responsibility for the success or failure of reaching them. But the whole ten years have been spent lackadaisically, without any vigor, direction; however whatever came Dr Singh’s way, he did committedly and without asking questions. He drifted with the flow.
On another occasion, to avoid getting into a confrontation, Dr Singh tells Sanjay “let them take all the credit. I don’t need it. I am doing only my work”. This is exactly the defense mechanism Dr Singh employed to pretend to himself that he is a valiant victim, Dilip Kumar, who looks well in works of Tragedy but not in politics.
That is perhaps the reason why Dr Singh exempted himself from introspective moral judgements. He feigned to himself that by merely maintaining financial integrity, he can keep his conscience intact. He failed to see that overall integrity is not the same as financial integrity but goes beyond it. The absence of such strong morals in Dr Singh is not seen by Sanjay as a disqualification to the exalted PM post.
Dr Singh also seemed to have been happy with the reduced honor as long as he could cling to the PM post. In 2007, Sanjay says that Dr Singh was reduced to tears at the possibility of being discarded. But this PM also was not burning with purpose as was the case with P V Narasimha Rao, but was only keeping the seat warm till Sonia asks him to vacate in favor of someone from the clan, so why shed tears for a glorified and powerless errand man post? Is it the name and fame that Dr Singh sought and got for which he paid in silence to all misdeeds of his ministers? Should money be the only ignoble greed that is condemnable? Was he crying for the loss of fame, compensation for all his traumas of younger days as a miserably shy and unwanted person? He perhaps wished the world accepted him as a leader but lacked the courage to stand up as one, while accepting the limits to his authority imposed by Sonia. Finally, Dr Singh lacked the courage to stand up to Sonia but we will never know if he ever cringed in front of her.
NAC was the shadow cabinet through which the policies were drawn, government agenda was set and the Government led by Dr Singh was there to execute those orders. Dr Singh committed an unpardonable crime against democracy by being the agent for such subversion. While Sanjay calls NAC the ‘shadow cabinet’ he does not seem to have any moral issue with it. He admits that the ‘power was delegated but the authority was not’. Yet, his love for Dr Singh does not diminish in spite of such moral deficiencies in Dr Singh. By choosing to live with the situation, Dr Singh achieved nothing but only brought ignominy to himself.
With respect to Pakistan, Dr Singh has shown himself as a dreamer, telling us what an ideal relationship should be, completely turning blind, naively, to the ground realities, of our past with Pakistan, with his ‘should be’s and ‘ought to be’s lecturing on good behavior.
The book also sort of speaks of a piece of information I had gathered from a friend of mine who could have become a Director in a PSU but for the 70 lakhs that, as an honest man, he did not have. I was told that the racket is run by the Damaad and this is one of the largest sources of wealth for the family. Sanjay probably knows it and confirms the hand of Ahmed Patel, a man close the family, lobbying for such posts.
Sanjay seems to know those shortcomings of Dr Singh, that make him unfit for the post, but wishes they weren’t there, which would have made the man he loves so much really worthy of adulation. Sanjay seems to rue his master’s fall from grace and blames everyone else; while Congress Party and Sonia played an active role, finally Dr Singh is responsible for making himself an object of ridicule. A fact Dr Singh unfortunately has not learnt till now.
Cash for Vote scam again confirms that Dr Singh was a willing pawn in the hands of Sonia and the party. No one forced Dr Singh to toe Sonia’s line, or to make her the extra-constitutional authority that eroded the Indian democratic system. Had Dr Singh not provide the fig leaf, Sonia may not have found credible face to carry on the farce called governance. Dr Singh dealt a great blow to our country by submitting to be the credible face to an immoral and anti-democratic form of governance, not as a scary demon but as a small, polite, friendly and seemingly disarming face. That is what Sanjay seems to have been overwhelmed with, the friendly, ‘hail fellow well met’ Dr Singh.
There were many other anecdotes like the one that bring out the two faces of N Ram (for want of more anecdotes we have to restrict to only two), the friendly Bush regime in contrast to anti-Indian Obama regime, which still remains the preferred one for the Indian left and liberals, scoring over national interest, for unknown reasons, bedfellows in Media, unholy alliance between NDTV and CPI (M) based on blood relationship etc. Read the book but make your own conclusions.