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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Narasimha Rao's death

Narasimha Rao's death seems to be going almost unnoticed! There aren't many people talking about it. Maybe because he was a PM only for five years, and he was not charismatic.

But, he was
- a non-contender who became PM
- the first non-Congress PM outside Nehru clan to rule for 5 full years
- head of a minority government but managed to last a full term
- bold enough to appoint a technocrat like Manmohan and give him a carte blanche on economic reforms
- one of the few PMs to preside over a momentous time: India's trasition to market economy
- the PM when Babri Masjid was pulled down
- an erudite and scholarly PM unlike other politicians.

His obvious legacy is unshackling of the economy and the benefits of private enterprise that we are enjoying. Some say economic reforms would have happened anyway since its time had come; that it happened not because of Rao. I would disagree. There are many nations around the world which have simply not moved with the times. Kerala is an example where disruptive trade union politics still rules the roost even though socialist nations themselves have bid goodbye to the type of unions we have known.

By the way, this year has seen a number of prominent people passing away:
Suraiya - Jan 31

Kelucharan Mohapatra - April 7
Dom Moraes - June 2
Ronald Reagan - June 5
Yash Johar - June 26
Marlon Brando - July 2
Mehmood - July 24
Nafisa Joseph - July 29
Raja Rammana -Sep 24
Shobha Gurtu - Sep 27
Mulk Raj Anand - Sep 28
Christopher Reeves - Oct 11
Nirupa Roy - Oct 13
Yasser Arafat - Nov 11
M.S. Subbhalaxmi - Dec 11
Narasmimha Rao - Dec 23

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