Modi’s Dangerous Vows

Immediately after winning his reelection bid with yet another thumping majority, on the back of surgical strikes across the LoC, the prime minister of India Narendra Modi made three vows to the people of India. They are,

My first vow is that I will not do anything out of ill-will or bad intentions, I could make mistakes but never do anything out of malice. My second vow is that I shall never do anything for myself in order to garner profit for myself, and my third vow is that every minute of my life and myself I shall devote to the country. Whenever you want to evaluate me, you must do so on these parameters.

This is a cheap tactic of setting up a narrative that suits him, but for the sake of argument let us evaluate him using his own parameters only. In these vows there is a message for Indians who voted overwhelmingly him back to power. This message is the following one:

First, Modi said he won’t do anything out of ill-will or bad intentions. I doubt any former prime ministers also did anything out an ill-will or bad intention either so there is nothing new in this vow. The important issue for the people is not whether Modi is going to implement policies based on good will or good intentions, but what kind of policies he will implement and what consequences Indians will have to face of those policies. This is important because as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. When it comes to making public policy, good intentions and good will are not enough. The policy and its impact in the short run and long run as well on all groups of people should be well worked out before implementing them. Just saying I did this or that out of good intention is a dangerous excuse to absolve oneself from his/her lethal follies. Modi’s last five years gave us ample example of this e.g., his ill conceived and ill-implemented policies of demonetization and GST destroyed the Indian economy resulting into 45 years high rate of unemployment; it killed many people. For a prime minster of the country to say that he is not at fault about these consequences because he implemented those policies out of good-will and good intentions for people is not enough at all. This type of arguments are childish excuses. If he is really that brave, as people say he has 56 inch chest, then he should man up and take responsibilities of those failures on his own shoulders and resign from his position telling people he is not fit to run the country. He can’t just go on ruining India saying, he is ruining it out of good-will and good intention!

Second, he said, I could make mistakes but never do anything out of malice. Again, this is not enough because he is a prime minister of India and his actions will have a huge direct impact on the lives of 1.4 billion people of this country. It is alright if Modi makes mistakes in his personal life as an individual, with malice or without it, and face consequences personally, but as a public figure he can’t just say, I will make mistakes but because there is no malign intent so forgive me or  I am not responsible for those mistakes. This again is a childish excuse to absolve himself of all his follies as a prime minister. He should keep one thing very clearly in his mind that he is not an ordinary “chaiwala” Narendra Modi, but a top public official who is in-charge of this country wielding absolute political power. The lives of 1.4 billion people absolutely depends on his actions so he should be extremely careful and thoughtful in what he will say and do as a prime minister. This type of statement on the very first day only sends very grave message to Indians that Modi is going to make blunders and they should remain ready to face his action’s consequences.

This is the real danger of having state officials decide everything. All public officials on one side wield absolute power but on the other side they are not responsible or accountable for the evil consequences of their actions. They are also not going to face those evil consequences. People are. As Nassim Nocholas Taleb said, they do not have their Skin in the Game, and this is where lies the bid danger for the country. Tomorrow Narendra Modi can start a nuclear war with Pakistan and after the devastation he can simply say that, I am not responsible for it because I did it out of good intention, good-will and no malice and also I had peoples’ mandate with me!!! Are people going to accept this kind of arguments coming from a prime minister of their country? As Taleb points out in his book, willingness to accept one’s own risks is an essential attribute of heroes, saints, and flourishing people in all walks of life. Narendra Modi is definitely not that hero or a saint.

So Indians, are you all ready for this type of five year rule? If not then gear up because looking at those vows, I can see that Modi is getting ready to make some even bigger blunders than demonetization or GST. The problem with democracy is that even those who didn’t vote for Modi will have to face evil consequences of Modi’s blunders. And this is one of the reasons why democracy is a dangerous system and so was rightly hated by all sane people of past.

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