Saturday, 18 January 2020

Fearless with Pen

Updated: May 4, 2017 10:15 am

Palaniappan Chidambaram wields a deft pen. His incisive observations and sharp responses, sometimes close to caustic, was a byword in North Block; where he scoured files in fine detail, causing trepidation in some senior officials and delight amongst junior officers who felt rewarded for their application. In the Opposition, the first time during the Vajpayee government and now in Modi sarkar, he has taken to writing columns for The Indian Express to publicly air his thoughts. Chidambaram, as an active practitioner of economic policy, principal funder of development programmes and a politician with a constituency, has much to share from his experience at the helm of the finance ministry. The many promises that Modi made on the campaign trail were always brief and unambiguous. That is what the voting public seemed to find attractive. However, unambiguous phrases or a sentence or two are difficult to parse away even for the most skilful economist or wordsmith. Chidambaram seizes on many of them and effectively shows that either they were hollow or the programmes of this government were bodily lifted from UPA initiatives without acknowledgement and re-packaged.

fearless in opposition power and accountability

P. Chidambaram

Rupa

Price : `500         

Pages : 232

The book  Fearless in Opposition: Power and Accountability is the third collection of weekly columns that Chidambaram have written in The Indian Express. There is nothing more educative and rewarding for an active political person than to keenly observe the events as they unfold around him and sit down to write a reasoned comment on that. Writing a column is fraught with risks. Instant judgements could turn out to be terribly wrong. The actors in an event may have the power to change the narrative or reinterpret the event. Yet the writer must write every week. He will pause, reflect on an event, gather the facts, commit his thoughts to paper and be prepared for any eventuality.

What is the BJP’s definition of nationalism? Why did the UPA government follow a policy of ‘strategic restraint’? How has the ‘surgical strike on currency resulted in difficulties for millions of people? These contentious questions are just a few of the myriad political, strategic and economic issues that former Union Minister has analysed in this book.  Displaying clarity of thought, attention to detail and a deep understanding of facts, he makes invaluable suggestions on a number of vexed issues, ranging from bold solutions to resolve J&K to the new economic and social frontiers to be conquered in the next twenty-five years.

In a nutshell, this book is as much a showcase of P. Chidambaram’s impeccable writing skills as it is a thought- provoking commentary on the state of the nation.

By Nilabh Krishna

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