The one and only PV Narasimha Rao

PV Narasimha RaoPV Narasimha Rao

Plato believed that philosophers would be the best rulers of society because they are able to understand true goodness and justice in a way that other people cannot.

Plato believed that philosophers would be the best rulers of society because they are able to understand true goodness and justice in a way that other people cannot. According to Kautilya who was popularly known as Chanakya, a person is as good a leader only when he understands people who are mix of both the positive and negative emotions. Kautilya gives a good demonstration that a person becomes a leader only when he looks at both good and bad at the same time and is able to come to a conclusion on his own. In Late PV Narasimha Rao, one can find both these qualities. A philosopher-King and a good leader as enunciated by Chanakya.

In these testing times, when the whole world in general, our country in particular going through one of the worst phases in the history both on the economy front and day to day lives, everyone should remember and recollect the statesmanship with which PV pulled the country out of woods and paved way for a golden future whose fruits we have enjoyed enough till recently. It is both our duty and moral responsibility to once again bring to memory, the towering personality PV and his valuable contribution to the Indian political, economic mand societal leadership. To recall the unparalleledservices rendered by PV on his Birth centenary which commences from June 28 this year (Born in the year 1921) is both a great tribute and an act of gratitude towards him, a leader, writer, thinker, and polyglot par excellence.

The most underrated leader during his life time, PV was solely responsible for making our country a major IT hub and emerging economic super power from a situation where the country had to pledge its gold to pay the loan interests. When the country was in deep financial crisis and with no credibility in the economic world, he singlehandedly drafted the economic reforms and market liberalisation policy that paid rich dividends. But the privatization and economic liberalisation that PV conceived and implemented is not the one pursued by the successive governments in the country.

All those who followed PV life, his times and political career, knew that he was a visionary who always thought about the society and was never ever entertained any selfish thoughts. When he was the Education Minister in the united Andhra Pradesh, he introduced for the first time in the country Residential Education system for the poor. He replicated this idea in the form of Navodaya Vidyalayas when he was the HRD Minister at the centre and he was one who drafted the National Policy on Education (NPE) during the Rajiv Gandhi prime ministership.

When he was the Chief Minister of united AP, fifty years ago, on August 30, 1972, he introduced in the Legislature, the famous, innovative Land Reforms Bill the first of its kind anywhere in the country. The Land reforms that PV brought in then had completely eradicated the feudal Zamindar system and helped the landless poor to become owners of a piece of land which gave them respect and self confidence in the society. After PV, Telangana state Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has now embarked on a follow up action of PV and conducted a herculean task of rectification, purification and updation of the land records in the entire state.

The speech that PV made introducing the Bill in the legislative Assembly will go down in the history as a landmark address. He spoke at length on the need for the land reform, how large land holdings make people become arrogant and how even a small land holding make people stand with dignity in the society. The need to take care of the landless poor and why land should belong to the tiller. He also spoke eloquently about women rights, about two schools of law that govern the law of succession of the Hindu Undivided Family under Indian Law and so on. He also urged the House not to delay the passing of the Bill as the delay would help the landlords to transfer their lands on their pet dogs, cats etc. Unfortunately, the anti-progressive gang from his own party pulled his chair not knowing then that one day he would climb the ladder to lead the nation.

When he became the Prime Minister without his asking for it and that toowhen he almost retired from politics, PV took the opportunity to govern with his unique style and mark. PV was the first person outside the Nehru-Gandhi family who served as PM for the full 5 years term. The situation when PV took over in the country was pathetic to say the least. The balance of payments position was in precarious condition. It was so serious that the country had to transport by air 47 tonnes of Gold reserves as a pledge to the IMF for a loan. Nobody thought that India could ever recover! But it did tremendously.

Within a short span of a few months, the economic reform measures began to yield fruits and the economy started recovering fast. A part of the public sector was privatized, licenseraj was abolished leading to entrepreneurship and competition, state control and red tape was reduced and policies on foreign investments were modified to attract more investments.

A polyglot in every sense of the term, PV himself an accomplished writer wrote his memoirs in a book 'The Insider'. Much before that he translated Jnanpithaward winner Viswanadha Satyanarayana novel in Telugu Veyipadagalu into Hindi as Sahasraphan. Despite his hectic political activity, he maintained regular contact with all the eminent writers in all the languages. PV besides being fluent in 17 languages was well versed in economics, law, history, politics and arts.

But unfortunately for the nation, PV was never regarded or recognised as an able leader by the Congress leadership. Leaders like Arjun Singh wrote several nasty things about PV after his demise on the role he played during the Babri Masjid demolition. The case was no different with socialist leaders like Madhu Limaye or veteran journalist like Kuldeep Nayyar. They wrote things based on their figment of imagination.

AICC President and the then UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, for reasons best known to her, did not allow the mortal remains of PV to be kept at the AICC headquarters. When they were brought to Hyderabad, the then Congress regime too did not take expected care to such a great person, except performing last rites officially. Even after his death, PV was insulted, humiliated by his own party leaders, aharsh reality that Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly confessed in several public meetings during the electioneering.

A Sthitha Pragna- contented,calm and firm in judgment and wisdomto the core, PV inhis entire personal and political life he maintained steadinessalways. When a Magistrate Court sentenced him for 3 years in the so called JMM Bribes scandal and when the Magistrate Ajit Bharihoke, while delivering the verdict, made several comments on PV, as though PV was a hardcore criminal, which were blown out of proportions by media later, PV never reacted. He maintained his stoic silence. But when he was exonerated in all these cases, media did not react the way it should have.

Highest credit and appreciation should be given to Telangana Chief Minister KCR for officially organising PV's birth and death anniversaries ever since he had assumed the office. It is high time now, when PV's Centenary is round the corner, that our PM Modi constitutes a Committee at National Level to commemorate PV centenary year. A year-long Birth Centenary Celebrations all over the country and in all the states with Telangana taking the lead will be a befitting tribute to PV. Telangana CM KCR has already constituted a committee with Rajya Sabha member Dr K Keshav Rao as Chairman in this regard.

Let this country not forget a great architect of Millennium India that is PV!

(2020 is the birth centenary year of P V Narasimha Rao)

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