Do you know who is the most development-minded leader of the world? If you go by the yardstick adopted by the Indian media, it is obviously George Bush-II. It is another thing that after 9/11 this US President had to be told where Afghanistan lies on the map of the world and once he reportedly fumbled in distinguishing between two small newly created European nations.
If the same standard is extended further and applied in the past, Hitler would have topped the list of the most development-minded leader of the world between 1933 and 1945. But we never come across such nonsensical stuff in the international media. It is only in India that the same journalists – see, for example, Vir Sanghvi’s piece in the Hindustan Times, October 28, 2007 – call a politician a criminal, mass murderer and fascist and at the same time argues that he is the most development-minded chief minister as his state, Gujarat, registers the highest growth rate.
It is for these scribes to explain as to how a criminal like Narendra Modi, notwithstanding being a man who was involved in a genocide, be credited for the growth of Gujarat? How can a criminal be development-minded? These journalists perhaps are not aware of the fact that Gujarat and Western Maharashtra, because of their sheer geographical positioning, have always been the most favourite destination of even the 19th century European industrialists: Larsen and Toubro, Unilever, Siemens, Wimco, etc. Thus they have been the most developed states for over a century. Modi absolutely has nothing to do with the development of this western Indian state with the longest coast line.
In this marine age where international trade is carried through ships all the coastal areas are more developed than the landlocked ones. Be it in the USA, Europe or anywhere else most developed places are port cities. Only those landlocked cities get attention, which have political, strategic or historical significance.
The problem is that whenever an issue is raised against Modi – for example the recent Tehelka expose – many of his apologists jump to his defence in a very subtle way, though at the same breath they would condemn him as the man responsible for the pogrom of Muslims in Gujarat.
These media persons have least idea about history, politics, sociology, economics of the region yet they try to influence the people by their trash writings. They know little about the definition of development or backwardness yet they would comment on these issues as if they were authorities on the subject.
Their only qualification is that they got educated in some English-medium schools or procured a degree or two from some western universities. One day they would label one politician as the most development-minded and the other day put a tag of anti-development leader on someone else. They work with certain capitalistic agenda and try to confuse the people.
For years they wrote that Modi, notwithstanding being a man-slaughterer, is the most development minded chief minister of the state while Lalu Prasad is totally against development – a sheer nonsense which has nothing to do with facts and figures. But the big question is: why only Modi and Lalu are compared – obviously for political reasons. In the last 60 years Gujarat, ruled by anyone, was among the top two or three states of the country, and Bihar, with even the best chief minister, was among the last two or three states on the development ladder. Never was the role of a chief minister taken into account. What they failed to tell us is that Haryana, the state which introduced Aya Ram, Gaya Ram politics in the country and which has the distinction of throwing up maximum number of ignorant, corrupt and boorish chief ministers is the most developed state of the country. Has it anything to do with Om Prakash Chautala? Certainly not. It developed just because of its proximity to Delhi.
In this MNC-driven economy the role of the political head of the government has further diminished, and blaming or giving credit for the progress of his/her state only to a particular chief minister is sheer absurdity. Modi – or even take for example Chautala – does not know even the ‘D’ of the development and speak before the big businessmen and industrialists only what their speech-writers ask them to read. They can in no way be credited for the development of their states. Modi is a mass murderer and one should not pull punches in saying so.
Last time India Today came up with a fantastic assertion that Modi is the number one chief minister of the country. Today after the Tehelka sting operation Vir Sanghvi and others are working overtime to propagate the same absurdity. Twenty months back Nitish Kumar of Bihar was projected so by an electronic channel, now his landlocked flood ravaged state has slipped from bad to worse. Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Mukesh Ambani and likes of them visited Bihar and went without investing any money because its location and some other factors that do not suit them. Thus, in this way Bihar remains where it had been. Now a fewer number of journalists call Nitish Kumar as Vikas Purush (Man for development).
It is only in India that states with maximum starvation or suicide deaths are rated among the most developed. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, even Gujarat – and not Bihar – witness dozens of suicides and starvation deaths every day yet they are developed because their respective locations suit the capitalists in setting up their industries.
Whatever be the view of these so-called experts, Swaminathan S Anklesarai Aiyar, a noted economic-journalist of the country, while writing in his column in the Economic Times (April 25, 2007) criticised Lord Meghnad Desai for flaying Lalu Prasad without cross-checking the facts and figure. Quoting the official data, he shattered the myth of Bihar’s poor growth rate. Between 1993-94 and 2004-2005 the state’s growth rate was 4.89 per cent against 4.39 of developed Punjab and 4.28 of Uttar Pradesh.
Bihar’s growth rate between 1980-81 and 1990-91 was 4.66 per cent. Swaminathan argued that in that way Bihar’s growth rate during Lalu-Rabri rule was better than the Nehruvian era. He also highlighted other aspects of the state’s development.
But even then Bihar did not attract any investment. No not because of law and order problem as it is being made out, but because the location and market do not suit the investors. As a hinterland it is away from the international market and not close to Delhi, the national capital – the factor which played a key role in the development of Haryana and west UP.
In the same Uttar Pradesh – obviously on its eastern part – are situated Rai Bareli, Amethi, Allahabad, Fatehpur, Phulpur, Sultanpur and further East Ballia. These parliamentary constituencies have thrown up several Prime Ministers – and political bigwigs like Sonia, Rahul and late Sanjay Gandhi. Hundreds of crores had been pumped by various Union and state governments and even proper infrastructure was developed in some of these constituencies, but neither Tata nor Ambani nor Mittal invested here. None of these places became Ghaziabad, Noida of the same state, Uttar Pradesh. They still lag not because they have one chief minister and West UP another but because they are away from Delhi, the drawing room of the country.
The journalists who thoughtlessly project one chief minister as development-minded and other anti-development do so not necessarily because they are the cardholders of the BJP – some of them definitely are – but because they work on a particular capitalistic agenda. Today they fumble for words to explain as to how railways have earned Rs 20,000 crore with anti-development Lalu Prasad at its helm. They do not know what development is.