27 January, 2021

Delhi Diary

Way back in 1992 I found Manmohan Singh gentle, self-deprecating and a storehouse of quotes from Greek philosophers. That these qualities do not shine on the 24-hour news channels is not a surprise.

Delhi Diary

His Peloponnesian Labour

If the image India enjoys elsewhere in the world is still largely that of a vibrant democracy and an emerging economic powerhouse, we have two men to thank. Nehru, for the role he played in laying the foundation for a secular democracy—with his regular attendance in Parliament, for instance, and his fortnightly letters to chief ministers—deserves more credit than he gets these days. And Manmohan Singh, whose reforms in the early ’90s unleashed more dynamism in a decade than we had seen in the previous four. I was still in my twenties when I first interviewed Manmohan Singh just after he brought out his second budget in 1992, for the US business magazine Fortune. I suffered an attack of nerves and clammed up as soon as I entered the tennis-court-sized office of the finance minister, but Manmohan Singh was gentle,...



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