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October 16, 1998


How Readers responded to Mani Shankar Aiyar's last column

Date sent: Fri, 09 Oct 1998 16:23:29 -0400
From: Badrish Davanagere <>
Subject: Please get Mani Shankar Iyer off Rediff

It's astonishing that Rediff publishes Aiyar's articles. Wasn't there a good reason why India Today booted him out? I don't mind constructive criticism, but his main agenda is false propaganda against the BJP. And why isn't he, or anyone for that matter, a traitor for supporting the most moronic anti-nationalist statements made in Indian history? I wonder if these people even have a bit of common sense. They want to help Pakistan when the whole world knows that Pakistan is waging proxy wars and aiding terrorist infiltration into Kashmir. Too sad such people write on Rediff.


Date sent: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 11:40:24 -0400
Subject: Mani Shankar Aiyar on "Congonomics"

This article once again proves that Mr Aiyar is a windbag of the highest order. Let me highlight how Mr Windbag has inflated some of the statistics:

He says Indonesia's economy contracted by 70%, Korea's 50 %, blah, blah, blah. These numbers are actually currency devaluation percentages. NOT economy contraction numbers. Perhaps he does not know the difference between economy contraction and currency devaluation? The actual economy contractions are 8% (as against Mr Aiyar's 70%) for Indonesia, 2% for Korea and 15% for Malaysia.

Mr Windbag also claimed that when Mr Manmohan Singh was in, the economy was doing fine and started going downhill when he left. This shows how intellectually corrupt this guy is. Does he have an iota of idea as to how a global economy works? I shudder to think that such windbags dominate the Congress. Once again, he uses good English to sell his nonsense.

Mr Windbag, please pack your bags. You can preach your gospel to Elite English Speaking Indian Masses. You will be a hero there.

Date sent: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 12:34:06 -0700
From: "Alap R. Subramanian" <>
Subject: Mani Shankar Aiyar/Congonomics

What a whole lot of words -- with scholarship and quality writing to be sure -- wasted in attempting to intellectually rehabilitate an economic system! Shall we call it Authoritarian Socialism, which history has already ruthlessly decided to dump on the enormous waste heap of tried-and-not-working inventions of social evolution?

Professor A Subramanian
University of Arizona, Tucson

Date sent: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 14:49:20 -0400
Subject: Mani Shankar Aiyar's article

I always like the lucidity of Mr Aiyar's articles. In his latest article he has indicated the dilemma that the Congress faces in terms of socialism. I think that the country should come to a consensus about priorities without attaching itself to some -isms. Even the CPI-M government in West Bengal has done a good thing or two: namely panchayati raj and land reform. Although they helped party cadres more than others, still it benefited the rural poor of Bengal to some extent. Of course, they failed miserably in the industrial sector, which has been stagnating for long.

With my limited knowledge, what I think should be priorities of the government are :

-greater funding and proper supervision of primary education and primary health care

-land reform in every state

-rural and urban industrial policy with only one result in mind: improved productivity.

I think that our objective of increasing employment has created bloated industries. Improving productivity is the only way wealth can be generated. I believe that Gandhian philosophy can come handy. Mahatma Gandhi preached ' charkha ' in rural households to generate income. We can upgrade the charkha to powerlooms and other modern manufacturing equipment and induce villagers to use it to earn a living.

So far as I read about Taiwan, their economy is based on very small-scale industries, which utilise the most modern technology to create export quality goods. This is in contrast with South Korea or India where the economy is based on large public or private sector units. We will grow and generate wealth and employment only if we strive for the highest productivity.

The reason for low productivity is not apathy towards hard work; the average Indian works harder than the average American. But it is because of old tools and costly inputs. If we can teach our rural people to use the newest tools and provide them inputs that are cheapest in the world (home-grown or imported), then I am sure they will create successful very small industries that will generate employment. Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Shyamal Pain

Date sent: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 08:36:29 -0700
From: "Chandru Narayan" <>
Subject: Mani Shankar Liar's column on Blair and Sonia

You are just a Congress puppy dog trying to curl around the White demon's leg, wagging your cut-out tail for titbits. You should name yourself the great Mani Shankar Liar. With the Congress at the helm we all know what progress was made, except in the homes and relatives of Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and the Pawars. Manmohan Singh is intelligent but was constantly dancing to other's songs. Manmohan has no antidote for the general slide in the world economy. He never took steps to curb the population.

There is nothing for Blair to be blaring about. UK is still living on its past marvels. There is total chaos in England, it has beggars, unemployed youths, crime and total decay. They cannot even make peace with the Irish. Since you are Sonia's chamcha, why don't you ask her to tell the Indians where the Bofors funds in commission are hidden? And ask her family friend Quatarocchi to surrender to the CBI voluntarily, and divulge who are all the recipients?

Also, your other Congress ex-PM, Rao, should do some answering before he kicks the bucket. He has been telling so many lies that his lips are drooping badly. Ask your Kesri where he got so much money in foreign banks, especially in British pounds. Don't forget Pawar, he may be soon exchanging his khadi for Chandra Swami's dress.

Date sent: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 09:28:49 PDT
From: "Anil Kumar" <>
Subject: Mani

Please put Mani's articles under the 'JOKE' section.


Date sent: Wed, 07 Oct 1998 19:49:02 PDT
From: "Giri Giridhar" <>
Subject: Congress mouthpiece on Rediff


I was very much surprised to go thru Mani's column this time, a column where he hasn't criticised the govt. It would have taken him a lot of hard work to stop himself from penning those criticisms. But I fail to understand why the Congressis stoop so low to please their bosses. I don't know where Sonia comes into the picture. I'm sure she knows much about economics & especially "Manmohanics". I understand that Mani walked out of Congress & now wants to be back in the elite group of Cong, not to say " the good books of Sonia". But I'm unable to understand why Rediff is allowing him to use it as a political platform... well that's what politics is all about, I guess.


Date sent: Wed, 7 Oct 1998 15:05:53 -0400
From: "Vijayaraghavan" <>
Subject: The lesson Sonia learned

Dear Mani Shankar Aiyar,

Your article that focuses on 'continuity with change' is very hollow. I don't know why you should have brought Tony Blair into the picture unnecessarily, when you have so many living (dying) examples in your own party. While it is true that Manmohan could be rightly called the 'Father of Modern Indian Economy', it took 44 years for your party to realise that a 100% socialist model will only leave the country in the cesspool that we are in today. That we are not hit as badly by the recession is only a saving grace. The way our economy is behaving is nothing to be proud of. We have to go a very long way to undo the damages to the economy, done by such clowns as Narasimha Rao, Lalloo and Jayalalitha. You cannot revert to 'Socialism' that is half-baked. 'Socialism' and 'Free Market Economy' are mutually exclusive. They cannot go together. Period.


Date sent: Wed, 07 Oct 1998 12:52:40 -0600
From: Sridhar Varadarajan <>
Subject: Mani Shankar Aiyar

Mani has wholly and solely become a propaganda machine for the Gandhi family. In every article he uses contorted logic and contrived 'facts' to make some obscure point in its favour. Mani needs to realise that not only India but also the Congress needs to move on from the Indira-Rajiv legacy and blind anti-BJPism.

The last elections clearly emphasised the fact that the Congress, in spite of Sonia (or despite her), could barely manage 1/4 the seats, and those too in large measures due to regional chieftains like Pawar. The Congress needs to provide constructive opposition and behave like the 100+ year-old party it is. It should get rid of blind 'loyalists' like Aiyar if it is to achieve the heights that it once stood at.

Rediff would be better off without such partisan mouthpieces.


Date sent: Wed, 07 Oct 1998 10:15:57 -0700
From: Shyam Sundar Chandrasekaran <>
Subject: The lesson Sonia learned and Blair was taught

Am I really that stupid, or is this article to be blamed? All I could gather from it were the names Tony Blair and Gorbachev, mentioned a few times amidst confusing quotes in M S Aiyar's Cambridge English. The article seems to suggest only one point -- Soniaji is right no matter what she does!

Mr Aiyar has to learn that being an impartial columnist does not mean that he is not loyal to Sonia. He does not have to look too far away for an example. His own party colleague Jairam Ramesh writes a column in India Today and is yet to mention the words "Congress" or "Sonia" in his column. If Mr Aiyar writes a few more articles in Rediff, we might as well brand Rediff the official Internet magazine of the Congress.

Date sent: Wed, 07 Oct 1998 12:09:49 PDT
From: "nagaraj Alwarkurichi" <>
Subject: Lesson Mani Shankar should learn

Bravo Rediff for giving Mani Shankar one more time to display his ignorance on every matter he handles.

First, Mani, don't feel smug about South Koreans losing their quarter of their GDP. Except for Indonesia, all the other countries are still way better off than Indians are. Even when South Korea's and Taiwan's GDP had a negative growth this year, they had at least 10 times more per capita income. It is true that the bubble burst in the countries you mentioned, but you know there is a big difference in driving a scooter instead of a car and not even having a bicycle to ride around in the first place. Beggars can be smug because they can't go below than where they are right now.

Who cares how old the Congress party is? We have a donkey that is thirty years old. And what is so great about Nehru's and Gandhi's ideas? Gandhi at least talked about self sufficiency in villages and his ideas, even though disturbing at times, were original. Nehru simply got his ideas from the leftists in Cambridge, that's all. We all see what legacy Nehru and Indira left behind, don't we?

Now let us look at the state industries you are so proud about. We have around 4% of the working population in those state industries and considering the multiplier effect, the total number of the population that benefits from these industries are around 12%. But at what cost? The money that is being used to support these industries can be directly given out as dole to a lot many people directly to benefit much more people than it is serving now.

May be Indonesia is facing an employment crisis now. But we have been chronically underemployed for the last 50 years. Whose legacy do you think that is? For crying out loud, we don't even have the official unemployment figures in India, so don't talk about unemployment problems in other countries.

Now, let us look at the so-called Manmohanomics you are so proud of. We had to do certain things in 1990 because we had squandered all our resources based on Congress policies. We had to pledge our gold in England to get bridge funding. Something had to be done. And Manmohan was there at the right place at the right time. Manmohan Singh is just a good economist like so other good economists in India. Two things worked in his favor: 1) Politicians finally realised that they should shut up for a while and let a pro do something to get the economy up and running 2) Whenever there is economic liberalisation, there is a huge pent up demand that kickstarts the liberalised economy. While I agree that there is still a lot of growth that needs to be achieved, it does not need Manmohan to achieve that.

Congress did try Soviet style policies, and we all were there when Indira imposed emergency in India, didn't we? What you are saying is a case of sour grapes in a perverted way. Just because Indira could not impose emergency for long and therefore could not implement Soviet style policies, it doesn't mean that the Congress did not try. We also know about the forced sterilisation of so many civilians by Sanjay Gandhi, another crack pot legacy of the Nehru family.

The Russian and Indoesian economy is reeling under pressure because the locals do not have enough trade experience. Locals don't control the trade. They will get up on their feet and start running one day and we would still be musing about how we were comfortably sitting inside the shit when others were falling off while attempting to ride a bucking stallion!

We still deny justice to the thousands of Sikhs killed in Punjab and Delhi by the Congress. What kind of legacy is that? The problems in Punjab, Kashmir, Assam and North East are the legacy of Nehru or Indira or both. Nehru said that he would put an Indian soldier on every tree in North East to have it his way. Guess what? Indian soldiers are still on every tree in the North East 40 years after he said that. I wonder why. Ever seen Indian soldiers sitting on trucks in NE with their face covered in masks, hiding themselves from people who are supposed to be fellow Indians? That is Congress legacy.

Congress is a personality party, a party that proudly cried India is Indira and Indira is India. Don't you even dream of the Congress getting a full majority? Your best hope is Priyanka or Rahul comes into politics. Start praying now, so one day it may happen and the Congress will win a couple of seats.

The Congress is dead and it will be too late for you when you realise that.

The best legacy of the Congress, Nehru and Indira is that we are above Sierra Leone in the human development index and not below it. May be, we should feel happy about it.


Mani Shankar Aiyar

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