Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Right to be Wrong

It finally hit me why Mr. Modi is this intimidating... why his 'Gujarat Model' has a few chinks in it's armour. I watched a thought provoking TED talk. Jounranlist Kathryn Schulz spoke about why it is dangerous to continue to live in our " always right" bubble. she has written a book - being wrong. We see it in politics all the time. The refusal of politicians subscribing to various views to accept they could be wrong or that they may have made a mistake. For all his rhetoric abilities ( Adolf Hitler was a brilliant orator too wasn't he?)and his ability to move crowds in his sway, he hasn't found the strength to stand up and take the moral responsibility for the terrorising Gujarat riots. Whether he was directly involved or not is besides the question. As chief minister of a state he doesn't belong to a particular group. He is a leader and represenatative of the whole state irrespective of the caste or religion. But the ease of sweeping a historical event, one that should never have happened, under the carpet like it never took place, is frightening. And Mr. Modi is not the first either. Congress never accepted its part in the 1984 riots where innocent Sikhs were killed by rioting mobs instigated purportedly by Congress leaders. Again whether they actually did so is not the issue. Congress should have accepted its moral responsibility. Rahul Gandhi fell just short of accepting the responsibility in his now infamous interview with Arnaabh Goswami. This self righteousness also devastates relationships. The unwillingness to accept you are wrong. And watching the TED talk I understood why. And why it is so dangerous. An admission of being wrong somehow makes us feel like a loser. And it is believed that in politics, it is a death sentence. Is admission of guilt a sign of weakness? How refreshing it would be if a person in high places stood up before a mass of people and admitted to his mistakes? There are instances. Pramod Mahajan who was the election in charge for BJP with the the "India shining" campaign accepeted the responsibilty for his party's defeat but he didn't sound defeated. It was just an honest acceptance of a mistake and lessons learnt. But for his murder at the hands of his deranged brother, he would have made a swell prime minsterial candidate. And here's an account on Madhav Rao Scindia sourced from Wikipedia. "Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao made him (Madhav rao scindia) Minister for Civil Aviation. He faced a turbulent period of agitation by the staff of the domestic carrier, Indian Airlines, and as part of a strategy of disciplining the workforce he leased a number of aircraft from Russia. Early in 1992 one of these aircraft crashed, though without any loss of life, and Scindia promptly submitted his resignation. Although not known to be too finicky about such notions as ministerial accountability, the prime minister accepted his resignation." Another fantastic leader, irrespective of whether he sat in the opposition or the government. Media doesn't help. They blatantly provoke retaliatory remarks from political leaders. Its a question that each of us have to answer. Once we have subscribed to a particular ideology, why are we obliged to defend it till our grave? An open mind of enquiry which accepts opposing views cannot be such a wrong thing! Would you feel defeated too if your choice of political leader admits to guilt or misdeeds? I know I would have more respect for Mr. Modi if he accepted responsibility for the Gujarat Riots. Do watch this TED talk.

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