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What Manmohan learnt from Machiavelli
August 18, 2006 00:14 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is facing harsh criticism from the Opposition and the Left allies over the Indo-US nuclear deal, took a chapter out of master strategist Machiavelli's noted work The Prince to buttress his arguments in favour of the pact that has raised a furore in Parliament.
''It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, not more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things,'' said Dr Singh, who as initiator of the economic liberalisation in India some 15 years ago as the country's finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, is not new to such barbs as he is now facing.
''The reformer,'' the prime minister, replying to a Short Duration Discussion on the issue in Rajya Sabha, said quoting from The Prince, ''has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit from the new order.
"This arising partly from the fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had the experience of it,'' said Dr Singh, whose path breaking endeavours of the early 90s have by now entirely transformed the Indian economic scenario.
Quoting further from the famous Machiavellian work, the prime minister told the Opposition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party: ''Thus, it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs a great danger,'' describing his present position where he is seemingly caught in a cleft stick between the exigencies of managing a coalition regime which is supported from the outside by a critically vocal Left.