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ASK VIR All your questions answered by Vir Sanghvi

Question

Vir, do you think Manmohan Singh received way more credit than he deserved for the economic reforms of early 90s? Don't you think he acted more like a burocrat and less of a politician then? I believe Narashima Rao (that crook that he was) was instrumental in doing all the background political negotiations and was the real player. Perhaps his greatest undoing was his arroagance in ignoring the wishes of Gandhi family?

Posted By: Gopal  |  Posted On: 15 Apr 2014  |  City: Atlanta

Answer

 Not really. The reforms were conducted at gun-point because India was about to go bankrupt and the IMF held a gun to our heads and told us what to do. Any individuals in power would have had to do the same things.

Question

Dear Vir: Love Mandate With Destiny so far. Your structured, sequenced narration and the fresh facts and insights you got from your interviewees make this among the best Indian historical documentary series shows.

One very minor jarring note (and this is true to some extent for all historical documentaries) was the occasional interspersal of footage/images from different decades to the one you're narrating on. For instance, the image shown while mentioning the post-1977 Indira at a London musical is her in the U.S., 1966.

Of course resource limitations means that one works with what one has. I guess it's only history buffs like me who bother with this! Seriously, fantastic series.

Posted By: Chinmay  |  Posted On: 15 Apr 2014  |  City: Muscat

Answer

 Thank you Chinmay. Always a pleasure to hear from you. But you are right. We should be more careful in sourcing our footage.
 

Question

Considering that Karnataka is perhaps the only big state where congress is projected to do a bit better , should n't Gandhi's have spent more time in campaigning there? It is still too close to call in my view. The BJP could well, still pull it back

Posted By: Manish Sharma  |  Posted On: 15 Apr 2014  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

 Perhaps. But I am not sure how and why the Gandhis are making their campaign decisions.

Question

Didn't Pakistan also claim Basmati as their own? Most basmati rice brands sold worldwide are also from Pakistan
But if your research is correct, then glad India can claim this and it should!
good article and thanks for the recipes

Posted By: Aseem Goyal  |  Posted On: 13 Apr 2014  |  City: New Delhi

Answer

 Well I guess Pakistan has the right to share our claim. 

Question

How do you think Modi will act in case a 26-11 style attack takes place when he is PM? Is there a danger of a nuclear war , now that there are indications, BJP might revisit its no first use policy?

Posted By: Dhairya  |  Posted On: 12 Apr 2014  |  City: mumbai

Answer

 Modi has since reasserted that he subscribes to the Vajpayee doctrine so I don't think we need to worry too much about nuclear war.
 

Question

Hey Vir,
I am a big fan of your Q & A and I read about one of your fans asking you, lets assume Modi does become Prime Minister. I was intrigued when you said, "the problem is that his core constituency is the middle class which has such high expectations. How long before his supporters decide that he simply lacks the intellectual sophistication to grapple with the problems of India in the 21st century?" If Modi does become Prime Minister, what exactly worries you about him?

Thanks.

Posted By: Saav  |  Posted On: 12 Apr 2014  |  City: Atlanta

Answer

 Nothing worries me in particular. My point was simple: the honeymoon with the middle class will not exceed 18 months. Then the burden of expectations will kick in. It remains to be seen how he handles that.

Question

Vir: I take your point that Modi may not have intellectual sophistication to grapple with the problems of India in the 21st century.. but then do you think RG is any better equipped and Kejriwal might have but he is too leftist in his ideas for 21st century.. so I guess either way we are in for tough time..

Posted By: Manish  |  Posted On: 12 Apr 2014  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

 I don't think RG will get the job and Kejriwal certainly won't. So our best hope is for Modi to surround himself with bright and experienced people and to take their advice just as Vajpayee did.

Question

Hi Vir, I dont have a question, just wanted to tell you that i thoroughly enjoy your 'star world' interviews. They appear very classy and you are a great conversationalist. What i particularly enjoy is those informal bits where i guess you can be a bit a cocky with the guest because you know them personally. I even use some of your phrases like 'Cut It', 'lets get this right' etc... I always thank God, for the existence of people like you who are so far removed from the run of the mill society like ours. Please dont get me wrong, it inspires me that you keep your interest in so many diverse fields and are really gifted to be able to translate your experiences in these write-ups for us. Great Work really (this site). Big Fan. Good Luck and

Posted By: Kirti Narkar  |  Posted On: 10 Apr 2014  |  City: Thane

Answer

 Thank you very much. You are too kind!
 

Question

Pakistan spent a lifetime denying it's non-Islamic heritage from Indus Valley Civilization to Taxila to Bhagat Singh. Do you foresee that the new Hindutva version of Taliban rule, we are about to see under the watchful eyes of the pied piper of Hamelin, will make similar effort to deny the contribution of Muslims to the Indian culture as we know today i.e. In the fields of cuisine, literature ( from Khusro to Ghalib), music ( from Hindustani classical to Ghazal to quawwali), dance (kathak) and of course architecture.

Posted By: Kanupriya  |  Posted On: 10 Apr 2014  |  City: Jamshedpur

Answer

 I don't think so. Murli Manohar Joshi tried his best when he was HRD minister but it is not so easy to rewrite history. Especially not if the most important city of the state you belong to is named after a Muslim ruler: Ahmedabad.
 

Question

Dear Vir: Many fortuitous circumstances seem to have coalesced for the BJP at this moment: the governance-communication disaster of Manmohan gravitating voters to Modi, his polar opposite; early disenchantment with Akhilesh Yadav; some favorable cyclical states; the likelihood that AAP at present divides the anti-BJP vote more.

So the BJP can maximize its seat catchment area -- still only to a limited 200 or so -- even when helped by these one-time, lucky factors.

Do you agree? If so, doesn't that make it all the more imperative that, for a hypothetical 2019 Election, the BJP grow beyond its limited area and social base -- most importantly, seriously try to win Indian Muslim support?

Posted By: Chinmay  |  Posted On: 09 Apr 2014  |  City: Muscat

Answer

 Yes, I agree. But I don't think Modi does.

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