Tuesday 25 April 2017

Chanakya, Nostradamus and A House, a Vehicle and an AC to every India by 2032

Written by Anil Singh

Chanakya couldn't be any different from you. If said in simple words.

Much is being attributed to Chanakya or Vishnugupt these days. From my observation, I've found that anyone who wants to make any Government action palatable (make wallow the bitter Pill) ascribes the philosophy behind that Government action to some Chanakya quote. Chanakya said this, Chanakya said that and so on.

The primary reason for using Chanakya for anything political or belonging to statecraft (the skillful management of state affairs) is that Chanakya, a household name in middle class India, is the author of Arthashastra, a treatise on Statecraft in 4th century BC.

These days Chanakya is being quoted as freely as Nostradamus, a French physician, seer who lived during the first half of 16th century and published collections of prophecies that have since become widely famous. Thanks to the media, Nostradamus has become such a popular person today that anyone can get support for his argument by ascribing Nostradamus.

Nostradamus might have lived in 16th century, but some individuals are quoting him and will continue to so till eternity.

That said, the main point here is simple. Not everything which is being ascribed to Chanakya was said or written by him. Because it's not humanly possible to have a supporting view or winning argument for every issue. You have to take a stand, which means taking a stand contrary to the other viewpoints. Any person who does so loses his credibility in no time. Chanakya couldn't be any different from you. If said in simple words, Chanakya couldn't have defended a King controlled rule and the one controlled by the Ministers, at the same time. That too for the efficient governance purposes. But today, Chanakya is being quoted for substantiating two distinct Governance models -- One where the Ruler is strong; and the other where the Ministers' collective is strong. History tells that during Chandragupta's reign, the state was ruled by the Ministers. That's the king simply followed what the Ministers' collective advised him to do. This appears true the moment you ask yourself: Why you know much about Chanakya, and very little about Chandragupta?

Today, much is bring ascribed to Chanakya, Nostradamus, Vivekananda, Bhagat Singh etc. Any aware citizen must cross-check the information before blindly believing it.

You may be wondering why I chose this topic today?

The reason is:

In the past three years, we've started assuming that everything which needs to be done in this country, will be done only when we establish a direct communication with the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister. Or in simple words, establish connection with the person holding the top position.

I know that the main reason for this is the PM himself. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created an atmosphere where everything good is because of him. He has a created an atmosphere where he wants people to believe him. Why believe him? Because he's saying so. There's nothing wrong in making a personal promise to the people, but what about the apparatus, rules, processes and procedures developed and evolved over all these years? He may or may not deliver on his promise of a house for all by 2022; or on a more recent promise of a house, a vehicle and an AC by 2032. But God forbid if everyone starts calling him to make those promises a reality.

But a serious problem arises when historic figures such as Chanakya, Nostradamus, Vivekananda, Bhagat Singh etc. are used to strengthen a personality cult. Take my word, a country like India needs much more than a strong PM.

That said, over the years we have seen that problems don't get solved by such diktats, promises and direct connection with the top functionaries. Not very long ago, the Chief of Army Staff told soldiers to bring their grievances directly to him. How effective is the process only time will tell. Right now, I don't think it will bring any systematic change. That's why we have the grievance resolution systems by proper channel. There may be plenty of examples. But let I conclude here.

To conclude, the countries as large as India, need a proper structure of governance. That's why we have that structure. The moment, a Prime Minister or Chief Minister tells people to bring their problems directly to him/her, he/she piles up stacks of unresolved problems. Even Chanakya saw a King not more than an instrument which a country needs, the real work of Governance took place through Ministers, Advisors!


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