Strategy of silence

By : Bikram Vohra

I think it is a great idea that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is spring-cleaning the corridors of power and their fusty, musty cupboards full of red tape. About time this was done.

However, when you are new and people expect you to climb mountains without oxygen and perform mini-miracles before breakfast you have to govern, yes but you also have to be seen to be governing. Often, the perception is more important.

I am at a dinner the other day and this gentleman who is successful enough in his own discipline says history will show that Manmohan Singh was one of India’s finest prime ministers, you wait and see.

Okay be me if history gives him a voice and sanitizes him or whatever history wishes to do but with technology now so overwhelming and the age of instant response upon us the silences of the powerful are open to misinterpretation.

If not the PM himself there has to be a spokesman who rises to speak for him and address issues that are paramount to feeling safe, secure and able to sleep well at night.

The murder in cold blood of the Pune techie, for one and the tweets of the first wicket down.

The babble of a former army chief engaging in vituperative on the tweet machine that is none of his business.

Political bigwigs and rank and file far too often making absurd remarks on sensitive issues like the series of rapes.

The hanging tree in Katra, the rape of a woman in a police station, the bruised image of the country around the world as a result of brutal assaults on women.

Recall how Singh and Rahul Gandhi paid in spades for the Delhi ‘bus’ rape that brought a nation together in protest.

The PM is tech savvy and all his tweets are pleasant and gently communicative. But the moment it comes to anything more than basic chitchat then the man who strode the nation like a political Colossus has, so far, sought the sanctuary of silence and not said anything about acts of violence and their dangerous fall out.

Maybe it is a wait and watch strategy, perhaps the silence is a discretion till he gets hold of the nation by the scruff of its neck, let it just not be a concealment behind the smokescreen of social media platforms.

We want to see the man and hear him, not just his disembodied voice on an apps platform where the train does not stop.



The writing on the wall
Saudis dancing in Ibirapuera
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