Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A tribute to one of India’s better angels

Understated, unassuming and often underappreciated, Dr. Manmohan Singh, India’s current Prime Minister has in his lifetime changed a billion lives. To put that number in perspective, that’s 1/6th of the world’s population and more than twice the size of the United States. However, most of the world hasn’t even heard his name and members of the opposition party often describe him as weak.

Regardless of your political orientation we must all admit that over the last 30 years Dr. Singh has served his country in a number of roles with sincerity and excellence.

As finance minister, Dr. Singh’s policies opened up the Indian economy, which paved way for the robust growth we enjoy today. Quite ironically 12 years later as Prime Minister, Dr. Singh has been busy taming the beast; balancing corporate interests versus what’s good for the common man. Whatever your thoughts on the Indo-US nuclear pact, no one can deny that our Prime Minister stood firm for what he believed was in the best interest of our nation. He risked his credibility, his legacy and his government on that belief. After 26/11 when all of us were calling for our neighbor’s head, Dr. Singh kept his about him. Sure a couple of aerial shots of things blowing up on television would have helped us all sleep a little better but how would that play out when we woke up the next morning? Dr. Singh’s firm handling of the situation and his focus on a long term solution will yield much better results than any bomb ever could.

In my eyes, Dr. Singh embodies the very characteristics of what it means to be Indian not because of the language that he speaks, the clothes he wears or the religion that he follows but because of the values he regularly demonstrates; humility, integrity, compassion and determination. It’s quite a miracle that such a sincere individual is at the helm of such a corrupt bureaucracy. That’s not to say its smooth sailing from here on, Dr. Singh faces a sea of obstacles but in a fight between our country’s demons and her better angels, this time, we might just have ourselves a fair fight.

And yet we ask, who is India’s Barrack Obama? I’m sure mother India is looking down upon us, banging her head against a wall as her citizens frantically look for a treasure map while they tread upon a path of gold.