‘Debacle of 1962 made 1971 sweeter,’ says Ram Madhav


In one of the most interesting sessions at the Festival of Ideas, Manish Tewari of Congress was pitted against none other than longtime RSS member Ram Madhav, who is also the president of India Foundation during the session titled “The Best and Worst Decade”.
Years when proud, or productive or fruitful leaders took advantage, said moderator Priya Sahagal, executive editor News X, as she invited Tewari to open the debate. The Congress MP quipped that the topic was like “when did you stop beating your wife?”, explained at best as a controversial assumption.
Tewari called it an oxymoron difficult to celebrate, because how could it be calculated, as there is no end to its parameters.
But roughly speaking, the Congress leader chose 1950 to 60 as the most productive “in the history of the Republic”. He highlighted the making of the Constitution, and sheer diversity of the nation. “That was India’s Age of Innocence as it came to terms with the world that was transforming,” he said.
Those are also the very years the BJP loves to hate, said the moderator as Mr Madhav joined the conversation and said, “You cannot call any decade best or worst, but those were formative years,” he agreed with his opponent.
Mr. Madhav called the 1970s one of the least productive despite a major victory in the 1971 War. He said things just went downhill after ’71. He also raised the Emergency calling it one of the darkest days.
Ram Madhav chose the last decade as the best, “when economically, technologically, standard of living under PM Modi’s leadership has been phenomenally productive”.
Although Tewari brought in the Nixon-Kissinger-CIA angle post Bangladesh’s creation, calling the 70s “a decade of ubiquitous foreign hand”, but he did not try to defend the Emergency.
Analysing the report card on Congress’ PMs, Madhav said he cannot but criticize them. “In Nehru’s time, none challenged him. His socialist bend took all the wrong turns.” PV Narsimha Rao came and moved towards globalization, “yes it was opposed but each PM made their own contribution and was judged by the opposition”.
Madhav also said that Congress takes credit for everything good, including BJP leaders. “They have compared Modi to Indira Gandhi then why two no trust motion in five years.
Both leaders accepted that they will remain ideologically divided, “Privy purses, nationalization of banks vs Abrogation of 370, the debate will never end.”