[ A fictional account of thoughts of a person who rose from humble origins to become Prime Minister of India, a person second perhaps only to Nehru in political astuteness and vision. "The Insider" -- a semi-autobiographical account of PV Narasimha Rao ends at the point where he, an outsider in reality, finally becomes the insider..Just thought of typing some thoughts with lots of idealism ingrained in the character which many may refute. Its a work of fiction nonetheless and my way of paying tribute to the great leader]
Destiny is often met in the very path we take to avoid it.
And fate intervenes precisely when you’ve finally figured out what you want to do for the rest of life.
Not that it was new to me. My journey – from humble origins from a Princely State in pre-independent India to a close ally of the supreme head of Independent India – had prepared me to face the vicissitudes of life. A journey involving tenacious opposition to every step I took towards bettering India.
Having seen India passing a phase of being subservient to foreigners to becoming rulers of their own fate – I had high hopes for my country. My own feeble efforts towards the out-throwing of a monarch in my region gave me the first taste of blood…..a blood determined not to allow someone else to impose his will on us.
I persevered – long in the sidelines – waiting for an opportunity to usher a regime of change. It was a really really long and hazardous journey in the sea of anonymity and behind the scenes. India had not lived up to its potential – I always felt. When much more was right within our reach, we were struggling like an eagle that assumes itself to be turkey and limits its imagination to grow…
The so-called successes were only the outcome of correcting mistakes – which we should never have committed in the first place. That these vast resources cannot be enjoyed by a minority while million others languish in pitiable conditions under the spell of poverty! Our duty was not to make Indiarich – it’s to make Indians rich.
A nation doesn’t comprise merely a land, natural resources, vegetation, livestock etc….its main constituent is the PEOPLE. It’s not an iron spell of fate that has doomed India to such a pathetic condition; it was the result of conscious decisions of people who never realized that politics is an instrument to enrich the country – not an art of capturing the office.
As if in an answer to my prayers, I was elevated to the position of Chief Minister of my region. That was not necessarily because anyone saw any merit in me but as a compromise candidate I was considered best in light of the disturbing conditions in the state. My vision was now aided by the political machine.
With a series of steps, dramatic changes were brought around. With a sweep, I introduced schemes that were aimed at leveling regional, economical & social disparities. I was confident that by the time my term ends the good work would already be initiated and even if I do not continue I can heave a sign of relief that my life has not been without a meaning to the masses and to myself.
Alas, I now realize that I grossly underestimated the extent to which I cut the arms of the very powerful elite that brought me to power. And how, my schemes to eliminate disparity at the grassroots levels had spiral effect on the top people who were the ultimate beneficiaries of the loot.
Naïve as I was, it never dawned on me that they would dislodge me because I was stopping them from having the rightful “share”. I was to face the humiliation of quitting the office despite my party having a majority in assembly and to top it was a Presidential rule.
That had a lasting impact on my political ambitions. I was disillusioned for a while and to keep the life going was assisting the first family of India in whose eyes I was reasonably useful person. I was lending my ideas, my words to these people who dramatically enhanced their impact like a cinestar.
But the damage was done. I foresaw that I had no scope of ever leading my region or nation and my ideas could never be translated to action. The writing on the wall was pretty clear. I was contemplating a quiet life with my books and personal hobbies leaving my hopes forever. Already I was advancing in this direction.
And suddenly…it all changed. Our leader, a charismatic person, an unbelievably young Prime Minister was assassinated in a bomb blast in a function atSouth India. The leadership vacuum he left was getting unmanageable. The country was in chaos. So was the economy. The communal harmony so laboriously maintained thus far was disturbed due to an immature action of the late PM.
The nation was heading to a total chaos with multiple powers raging for their share from the people. The young lion-cub left too much vacuum behind and hundreds of wolves were racing to fill in the gap.
The winds of change set in. There were whispers that I could be fielded as PM candidate – a compromise candidate, again – for the time-being. My advanced age they felt ensured their free run while I would remain as a mute figurehead! At the moment, I was uncharismatic, powerless, of frail health – a perfect combination of attributes for becoming PM?
As I looked at the newspapers already hinting the readers, I was ………happy? No, I felt a heightened sense of surroundings….My senses more keen than ever as if imploring me that their contribution would be maximum in my final battle.
I felt that I was born for this moment – all my life, all hardships, all humiliations were but a preparation for this moment.
Armed with experience, fuelled by resentment, emboldened by hardships, matured by victimization – I decided that this was my final chance. I have at best 5 years with me. Whatever I do during this period must have a lasting impact on my people….The very scale of development should be such that it cannot be undone by my successors.
Ideas do not die with the individual! And my goal – would be to do whatever is in the best interests of the millions of my countrymen. While others knew the art of politics, I knew the art of POWER!!
The rules, ideas, ideologies of the past belong to that era. To attempt to solve the new age problems through aged ideologies is tantamount to prescribing agriculture to a problem resulting from industrialization.
I will try to do solve the problems that bother us. And opposition? They themselves have taught me how to deal with them….My aim, my goal, my vision – that of bettering India – is the most important ideal to me. For me, anyone else however prominent is secondary to my ideal.
I will do everything that I can to handle these forces that might impede the country’s progress. I know – I am buying lots of displeasure from various powerful people who would haunt me the moment I step down the power. But that doesn’t daunt me the least. The individual in me might succumb, not the IDEA. The idea lives on if it passes on to other minds.
For me to do execute my vision, I also have to put the first family in the backburner. So be it. I may be denied any official appreciation…..but appreciation cannot be calibrated. My image will rest with those who in hindsight will observe the good that I have done to my nation! My brand may not be owned by my party…but the people themselves in due course of time own it.
Guiding me was an image of a brahmin born two millenniums ago……a man who single-handedly created a empire who fame lasts as uncorroded as the pillar that found its way through our national emblem. A person who personified the art of diplomacy to control all opposing forces and who groomed a lion that shattered the wolves plundering the people!
I will make sure that I will not let India remain as poor as it is today! I WILL!!!