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Saturday, March 16, 2013

A View from the Outside

Recently read a book "A View from the Outside" by P Chidhambaram. It is a compilation of articles written by the current Finance minister, in the period from 2002-2004, when he was out of power and in political wilderness. He was not even in the Congress Party, but in a kind of splinter to a splinter party of Congress. Fresh from his stint as the union finance minister and with plenty of time on his hands and with no compulsion to stick to a party line, he has expressed himself freely on a range of political and economical issues. He has unambiguously expressed his views on monetary policy, black money, inflation, trade policy, FDI issue, Support to farmers, election reforms, and so on. It is creditable that till date he has not had reasons to regret for expressing any such view which would embarrass him or his party which is now in power.

On the issues of political parties diametrically changing their views on critical issues,P Chidhambaram had once remarked, "Where you stand (on various issues) , depends on where you sit". For once , as a leader of a one man party (congress jananayaka peravai , much like Subramnyam Swami's one man party) he could take any stance on any issue, any time. There are many controversial ideas like he argues then , as he argues now that colour of money does not matter. The Nation needs money for infrastructure, so let the black money rotting in swiss banks (or now in Indian private banks) come out in the open

Most of the articles are critical not only of the then NDA Govt , but also of earlier govts on various aspects of commission or omission on economic policies. His view on politicians and corruption in the political system is strikingly similar to those of Anna Hazare and Arvind khejrwal. It is ironical that he was in the receiving end in 2011, during the so called August kranti.

View from outside is always interesting on any issue. Retired cricketers look so much more relaxed and so  enthusiastic when commenting on the game now than in their playing days.

Life itself is more interesting when viewed as an outsider, with 'Sakshi Bhava' (as a witness), or udasin Bhava (detached state) as a Hindu philosopher would call it; may be that is why it is easy to find solutions for most difficult problems concerning others while a trivial issue concerning oneself gives such sleepless nights.