In 2012, Ms. Meera Sanyal was a retired private citizen, an ex-business honcho, and a defeated independent candidate from South Mumbai. She had no axe to grind in politics, and was a dispassionate observer of “good governance” and development of Indian states. She sent a stream of tweets in May 2012 (as shown in the image below) after extensively touring Gujarat and interacting with the citizens of Gujarat with an open mind.
She wrote a series of blogs with amazing insight into her first-hand experiences in rural Gujarat. Her clear-cut understanding of the ground situation affecting the forgotten masses of India, despite her elite background, is simply worth a salute. For example, she presents a ground report from the backward, remote, and mostly tribal Mehsana district in which she elaborates the ingredients of the successful inclusive Gujarat governance model:
Clear Success Areas:
- the Co-operative mentality seeded by the white revolution of Anand, which has provided the foundation for collective effort in other areas eg water management
- the Jyoti Gram Yojna which has provided electricity to most villages in Gujarat, and the good discipline of charging for electricity both for agricultural use (Rs 7 per unit) and domestic rural consumption (Rs 4 per unit)
- the PIM which has led to greater water security both for agriculture and human consumption
- the excellent infrastructure to support Dairy and animal husbandry which provides a sustainable source of livelihood to supplement agriculture.
More eye-opening blog posts worth a read:
If you don’t have the time to browse through every link, here is a neat summary of Ms. Sanyal’s experiences: “The Amazing Makeover of Rural Gujarat“
Two years later, she’s joined a party whose very existence is premised on being anti-Modi. #AKTheSupremeLeader of her Party toured the same Gujarat for 2 hours creating havoc and panic, and essentially rubbished Ms. Meera Sanyal’s judgement with one jhadu. Dare she call #AKHisMajesty’s bluff by providing an honest assessment of Gujarat development, her house will be “dharna-ed” by her own volunteers who’ve now been exhorted by #AKTheSupremeLeader to sacrifice life for the nation! In such a conundrum, she’s decided to play smart and safe by going into a shell.
Well done, Ms. Meera Sanyal, ex-CEO Royal Bank of Scotland, ex-assesser of Gujarat’s rural development, and AAP candidate from South Mumbai! I admire your business acumen to survive against the tide. When the going gets tough, tough gets going, isn’t it Ms. Sanyal?