Set alarm bells ringing for world economy
Sometime in the early 1960s, I heard a very good lecture on the Great Depression. During the course of the lecture, the speaker narrated a story which was already a legend. The story is that a day or two before September 4, 1929, before entering the New York Stock Exchange, Joseph Patrick “Joe” Kennedy Sr., a high profile American businessman, investor, and politician, went to a shoeshine boy sitting in front of the building to get his shoes polished. While doing his work, the boy gave some tips about shares in which he advised his customer to invest.
The shoeshine boy’s ‘knowledge’ of the stock market set alarm bells ringing in the ears of “Joe” Kennedy. At that time, his fortune was worth $ 4 million. ‘If an illiterate shoeshine boy is giving shared tips, there must be something seriously wrong with the stock market.’ That day itself he sold all his stocks. On September 4, the stock prices started falling and the New York Stock Exchange crashed on October 29, triggering The Great Depression or Economic Crisis that engulfed the entire world, except the Soviet Union and isolated economies. The economists and political leaders of the West had to struggle hard for a long time to revive the world economy. However, “Joe” Kennedy had saved his fortune that increased 20 times in the next five years.
Now you can read the story on the Internet though different websites give different versions of the date and the businessman. In January 1961, “Joe” Kennedy’s son John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States.
Setting larm bells ringing for Indian politics
(Tejashwi Yadav at extreme right)
I was reminded of the story on July 24 this year when I heard Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Leader of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav, saying: “Rahul Gandhi is not the only leader in the race for it. There are other opposition leaders like (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee, (Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister) Chandrababu Naidu, (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar and (BSP leader) Mayawati.”
If corrupt Lalu Yadav’s Class IX fail son has become a politician ‘big’ enough to suggest names of prime ministerial candidates in 2019, there is something seriously wrong with Indian politics. This should send alarm bells among all the people who are worried about the future of the country.
This is something that cannot be ignored. It is a bad omen, omen of a serious political crisis that may start in 2019 and God knows when that will end.
The answer is not to withdraw from politics. Politics is not stock market from which you can withdraw to save yourself in the time of crisis. Politics is sum total of all the opinions, activities and policies used to gain and hold power in government.
The English word ‘idiot’ is derived from the ancient Greek word ‘idiotes’. It was used in the Athenian democracy to describe those persons who did not take interest in public affairs, those who were interested only in their private affairs. In the ancient city republics only a small percentage of the population, the elite, had the right to participate in public affairs. In a modern representative democracy, a party or alliance of parties that gets the support of the majority of voters forms the government and that government is expected to work for the welfare of the people. Naturally, the people, to be more precise the voters, cannot behave like the ancient Greek “idiotes”.
Wisdom does not lie in ignoring the likes of Tejashwi Yadav, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, etc. or in underestimating them. United, they have the number to create a political crisis. They have become bold because all the good works of the Modi government notwithstanding, the government is being weakened by enemies within, including the self-appointed gaurakshaks in the Hindi heartland.
Therefore, instead of running away or ignoring the lealities, we have to unite and vote against the opportunistic alliance of self-serving politicians to save the country from political crisis.
July 29, 2018