when one fails, one might listen to the critics

When one fails, one might listen to what critics say.

The worst aspect of Modi/shah politics is that their politicking is meant to incite and polarise , to the detriment of forgetting other serious issues . Caa politics were allowed till it led to riots and later  continued right into the pandemic. The farmers protest was allowed to block roads, the tractor protests were allowed on jan 26,Lot of  mindspace was captured by these events , followed by bengal elections. All of this politicking meant that most people did not focus on covid. While I did consider the possibility of covid returning in summer again, having read about the correlation of covid and humidity
, I had clearly forgotten about it with all the politicking around.

We all missed the ball due to the political atmosphere that was cooked up , however, we are not paid for the job so are not equally responsible, I suspect many would have done better if paid to do so, the rising numbers should have alerted the experts. Modi ran a quasi presidential system without checks. Had he succeeded , he would deserve the credit, but now that he has failed and we stand naked in front of the world, we might listen to the critics who warned us.

There are many things the best of scientists still do not know about this virus. But some we know. The virus doesn’t vote. Nor does it care about who wins or loses. It can’t be polarised. It spreads sickness, misery and death, irrespective of politics or faith. It feeds on political hubris.”

As Modi govt faces up to Covid disaster, BJP learns a tough truth — the virus doesn’t vote

There is as clear a declaration and celebration of victory against the virus as you could imagine. When the pandemic began, the world was so concerned about India, that a tsunami of infections was going to hit us, Modi said. There were people predicting 700-800 million Indians getting infected and more than two million dying. But India didn’t let this happen and saved humanity from a big disaster, he said.

He talked about how India had built capacities in no time, the world’s biggest vaccination programme has been launched on the back of two ‘Made in India’ vaccines with many more to come, and how India is now out to save the world by exporting these.”

Next exhibit, see here, the resolution passed by the BJP National Executive in February. It was a stirring declaration of victory against the virus. “It can be said with pride,” it read, that “India not only defeated Covid under the able, sensible, committed and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Modi, but also infused in all its citizens the confidence to build an Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. The resolution was so effusive, it’s a surprise it stopped short of asking that a victory arch be built. We quote again: “The party unequivocally hails its leadership for introducing India to the world as a proud and victorious nation in the fight against Covid.”

It said “the world has applauded” India’s achievement, and then also praises the “appeal for activities like clapping and clanging of thalis, lighting of diyas, showering of flowers over hospitals”. India, it said, stands tall, especially with its “vaccine victory” and moving in the “direction of complete triumph over Covid”.”

Ram Guha, the historian shared this.


” “In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” I wrote, “the country faces probably its greatest challenge since Partition… This pandemic and its fallout have already led to enormous human suffering, and this will multiply. In this scenario, to restore social trust and to rebuild the economy may be beyond the abilities of one man and his small circle of trusted advisers.””


On 24th February this year, Modi joined stalin, hitler, gaddafi, mussolini, saddam hussain in having a stadium be named after him.

While President Biden on Feb 27 informed in a speech , ” In five weeks, America has administered the most shots of any country in the world, with among the highest percentage of population fully vaccinated. That’s progress we promised. It’s also true while covid 19 vaccinations are up, covid cases and hospitalisations are coming down. But I need to be honest with you,cases and hospitalisations could go back up,with new variants as they emerge.So, I want to make something very clear: THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO RELAX. we must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced,and for God’s sake, wear a mask.”

This degree of screw up would not be possible without failure of bureaucracy. But that only reflects his choice of bureaucrats .

Further information revealed tells us that the covid task force did not meet in february and march inspite of surge.

““It became abundantly clear in mid February that India was heading towards a devastating second wave,” one member of the national taskforce said. All three scientists spoke on the condition of anonymity. “When things in Maharashtra started going out of hand, some of us tried to flag this issue,” the first member added. The taskforce, however, did not meet during this crucial time. A second member of the taskforce told me that a meeting of the body was “not convened” unless the government “wanted us to rubber stamp some decision already taken by politicians.””


“Another significant lapse, the members told me, the Indian Council of Medical Research’s failure to update the treatment protocol for COVID-19 in the past nine months, since July 2020.”

” The ICMR’s failure to update the treatment guidelines in line with global standards have also resulted in a thriving black market for remdesivir that continues to prey on vulnerable families.”

When one runs the govt on a quasi presidential style manner, without checks and balances, without meeting scientists directly and consults very narrowly, it becomes a system ripe for missing out on crucial information. The failures of various chief ministers of various states also needs to be called into question, however, the final solution to this pandemic was always going to be vaccinations at the earliest. And India has emerged as the biggest affordable pharma in the world. And the data for efficacy of astrazenca was already available by december end.https://www.businesstoday.in/current/corporate/oxford-university-astrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine-70-effective-lancet-journal/story/424291.html

And government did not give vaccine manufacturers the necessary credit to increase their capacity or secure doses while other countries like US did at the earliest.

One wonders by which date were they hoping to cover the vaccination of the population by?. It seems, they never considered the possibility of second wave. Or they would have chosen to vaccinate atleast the vulnerable population at the earliest.

Indian economy was on downturn before 2020 covid hit India.  After 7 years, it is time to start asking questions on competence of government on all other issues and in particular on economic growth and the timeline by which it expects it to deliver.
One must admit that for the degree of power he held without checks , this failure is almost entirely due to his personality as ram guha informs us.


“My own analysis is very different. Narendra Modi has been a disappointment as a Prime Minister not because he has bad advisers or because some good advisers died relatively young, but because of his own faults and failings”

“The first trait is the suspicion of experts and expertise. As a self-made man, who has risen to the top on the basis of his own intelligence, his own drive, and his own will-power, Modi is suspicious of those with formal qualifications from elite institutions. His statement that he preferred “hard work to Harvard” was a striking manifestation of this belief”

The second trait, which is related to the first, is the cult of personality that the Prime Minister has built around himself. As a technocrat who has worked with the PM once told me, the rule that all advisers have to observe is “total obsequiousness, no credit”. The line with which the Prime Minister fought and won the 2019 elections, ‘Modi Hai toh Mumkin Hai’, says it all. Only Modi will defeat terrorism, Modi and Modi alone will humiliate Pakistan (and now China), Modi by himself will eliminate corruption, Modi will surely make India the Vishwa Guru – this is the sort of thinking that is ubiquitous within the ruling party and the central government. But a large and complex country like India cannot be governed effectively and well through the force of one person’s will – however farsighted and hardworking that individual might be.

For all the confidence and strength he exudes, the behaviour of the Prime Minister suggests that he is, within himself, a somewhat insecure man. This is evident not just in his reluctance to publicly praise his ministers or advisers when they do a good job, but also in the sort of people he relies on for advice. The preponderance of Gujarat cadre officers around him and in positions of influence in the central government is one sign. A second is his tendency to shun some outstanding IAS officers, merely because they once held important positions in Congress governments. Even within the top ranks of the IAS, loyalty to the Leader, and not the quality of one’s intellect, is what the Modi Government prizes most.”

“If the Acche Din promised by Narendra Modi in May 2014 still remain elusive a full six years after he became Prime Minister, then the buck must stop with Narendra Modi himself. Not the death of a trusted colleague, not the incompetence of a few officers in his inner circle, but his own megalomania, his own suspicion of experts, his own reluctance to share credit, and his own inability to transcend the sectarian ideology that he embraced as a young man – it is these traits of Narendra Modi himself that explain why history will judge him far more harshly than his naïve and trusting supporters believe or hope.”



And the govt declaring vaccines to be open for all above age 18 also seems another jumla.  we clearly do not have enough vaccines for everyone.


According to the agency, serum institute can produce 70 million vaccines this month, 100 million vaccines next month, covaxin can produce 10 million vaccine this month and maybe 20 million vaccine next month.  While in total of about only 100 million people have received first dose. The population of those about age 60 and above is about 100 million( approximately). While according to the news agency, the population between 18 to 45 is about 600 million, requiring 1.2 billion doses.

Perhaps, the voluntary arm of rss would be better to have own in house experts, shadow cabinet to check on PM from here forth. In anycase, the absolute trust Mr Modi had held so far is now broken. People have seen him fail as clearly as ever.

Many people had seen their friends, family, neighbors  hospitalized, have lost their loved ones and suffered the dread that it could be them next. They clearly will not forget this failure. For many of us, this is the biggest failure of government we have seen in our lives.

While the situation continues to evolve, let us keep hope , work together and succeed in overcoming this difficult phase.

33 thoughts on “when one fails, one might listen to the critics”

  1. Even in these times of grim struggles and faltering hope, it is startling to see how a few sections have been enthused by the relentless march of the second wave. Look to the harvest, its alright, just don’t forget that the scythe may be just behind you.

  2. They exist, they existed before, we have seen their disappointment that Indians were not dying in first wave. But that is also what pisses me off, their glee in seeing us suffer . And the glee in their pidis here as well. It must nonetheless come down to the question of why were no covid taskforce meetings held in feb or march. why did Indian govt not secure vaccines after it had become clear that astrazenca was alright. The answers to that are similar to demonetization. One man should take responsibility for failure as much as he led from the front and took the credit .

    1. Let us agree that one can legitimately have a view pinning most of the responsibililty on the central Goverrnment or Modi. Saying “One man should take responsibility for failure as much as he led from the front and took the credit.”‘ is spot on.

      But when you need to respectfully invoke “historian” Ramachandra Guha’s critique which snobbishly tries to put “experts” beyond questioning or responsibility, make the Hitler analogy, quote Shekhar Gupta, all of a sudden discover concerns with the “presidential nature” of the electoral politics practised by Modi, and then when your explicit demand is not that Modi correct himself but “listen to his critics”, it sounds more of a political remark typical of a Yashwant Sinha rather than anything like a heartfelt reappraisal.

      It is even more bizarre to shift to the “motte” from the “bailey” and talk of pidis in response to a comment – after all, your post gave a blanket suggestion of listening to his critics, many of whom are pidis! Maybe there is some nuance that I am not getting.

      1. @froginthewell, I am pointing to the argument of ram guha,(watching him as a form of punishment), his arguments of hubris and personality defects as the probable cause of this failure from center. ( I agree with everyone that states deserve their fair share of blame). And print reports the self praise and praise by bjp workers, the hubris that covid has been defeated. The statement of stadium being named is also to point to that. And that comparison with hitler,mussolini,etc was invoked by ram guha in the video, not me. Should have put in quotes.

        As to calling people pidis, here , I am referring to the Indian associates of vultures who are celebrating deaths and suffering.

        will be keeping away from this, please do consider this as you see.

  3. 1. modi was criticised for holding all reigns in the first wave, forcing a lock down and was asked to decentralise. he did that now. states will have to bear some amount of responsibility. there is no escape for leaders of maharastra, karnataka and delhi on this count.
    2. as long as he is not seen as making money, modi will be safe. he will scrape through the next election and retire mid way.
    3.all this talk of modi’s hubris etc will not stick as all other leaders behave in the same fashion, eg- uddav, trs, yeddi, kejri, mamata.
    4. he will use this crisis to change the way medical education is run, ie increase the number of seats, increase the number of aiims, allow aurvedic doctors to practice basic allopathy and do minor surgery, etc.
    5. he will also shake the bureaucracy and force more lateral entrants ( specialists) into the system. he is already lashing at them in meetings and in parliament. being vindictive he will force change here.

      1. @ saurav,
        1.he has already increased the number of aiims and medical seats. a permission for ayurvedic doctors to perform some surgery was given. this has been opposed by allopathic doctors calling it ‘mixopathy’!!!
        2. agreed, pushing and changing ias system is really tough.

        1. I have a lot of respect for the practice of Ayurveda, but they should NOT be performing surgeries on anyone.

          There is no magic potion. The government just has to suck it up and pay the money required to ramp up vaccine production and buy all vaccines produced at market value and administer them for free to the entire population. Same with oxygen cylinders etc. Just pay whatever it takes to incentivize production at scale and buy the output at market rate and provide for free or minimum cost. There will be all sorts of wastage and fraud but at this point its better to save the lives than worry about the cost.

        2. The medical seats thing is a pre COVID thing and an administrative thing. The Mixopathy thing is a RSS thing which would have happened even without COVID.

          Actually after covid i see the allure of all pathys like Ayurveda , patanjali etc going down, considering how all of them have provided useless in the crisis and only western medicine ( ventilators , vaccine etc) have come to the aid.

          Modi next 3 years will be spent firefighting and consolidating his gains rather than try ambitious projects, lest he meets trump”s fate.

      2. @Saurav and @Mohan
        Again, folklore level of wisdom has reared its ugly head. Modern medicine has stolen so many ideas from Ayurveda that people think it is the only way. However, we need a lot of research so as to put Ayurveda on a firm footing.

        For Ayurveda:
        How far is surgery part of Ayurveda?

        It is not that Ayurveda practitioners are not trained in surgeries, or do not perform them. In fact, they take pride in the fact that their methods and practices trace their origins to Sushruta, an ancient Indian sage and physician, whose comprehensive medical treatise Sushruta Samhita has, apart from descriptions of illnesses and cures, also detailed accounts of surgical procedures and instruments.

        P Hemantha Kumar, professor and head of the department of general surgery at the government-run National Institute of Ayurveda in Jaipur, claims that at least 1,000 major surgeries are performed every year at his hospital. “There would be many more minor surgeries being done,” he said.

        There are two branches of surgery in Ayurveda — Shalya Tantra, which refers to general surgery, and Shalakya Tantra which pertains to surgeries related to the eyes, ears, nose, throat and teeth. All postgraduate students of Ayurveda have to study these courses, and some go on to specialise in these, and become Ayurveda surgeons.
        Nandkishore Borse, head of the department of surgery at Tilak Ayurveda College and Tarachand Hospital, a semi-government facility in Pune, said for several surgeries Ayurvedic procedures almost exactly match those of modern medicine about how or where to make a cut or incision, and how to perform the operation. There are significant divergences in post-operative care, however.

        “The only thing that we do not do is super-speciality surgeries, like neurosurgey. For most other needs, there are surgical procedures in Ayurveda. It is not very different from allopathic medicine,” Hemantha Kumar said.

        1. Bro i am not into who stole who from where. If that;s the case then there is long list of line of what has been stolen from India, and what India has stolen from the world.

          I was just referring to the general populace sentiment. Post COVID you will see downturn of public sentiment to anything (inclduing Ayurveda) which is not western scientific medicine. Espcially if states are presurized to invest in public health, than they would rather invest in something they know , rather than use resources to research.

  4. the sad fact is that even in a city like bangalore one doesn’t get mbbs doctors in the out skirts. in rural and semi urban areas things are very bad. a modern day ayurvedic doctor goes through a five year course. they will have studied physics, chemistry and biology in +2 like all doctors.

    so, i feel that they will be asked to attend courses pass exams and practice.

  5. the sad fact is that even in a city like bangalore one doesn’t get mbbs doctors in the out skirts. in rural and semi urban areas things are very bad. a modern day ayurvedic doctor goes through a five year course. they will have studied physics, chemistry and biology in +2 like all doctors.

    so, i feel that they will be asked to attend courses pass exams and practice.

  6. In my opinion India needs more investment in Public Health. Sure you still need pharmacological/surgical intervention but our public health should be geared towards reducing the need for latter. We don’t want to end up like US where Pharma/Medical is increasingly eating a bigger pie of national budget and there is no talk about guiding people towards healthy living. Public health includes swachh bharat, nutrition, pre-natal and early childhood intervention. These things are needed to increase average IQ. Without improvement in our health/iq, all talk of great power or economic ideologies is just talk. And for these public health things, you can use ayurvedic, unani or homepathic folks.

  7. There is no denying Modi govt has goofed up bigtime , mostly due to complacency, willful blindness and unwarranted self -congratulations . This puts the administrative capacity of BJP in a bad light . Instead of hard-headed Hindutva we got pig-headed Hindutva . The GoI had more than 1 year of forecasting new eruptions of the pandemic , wealth of experience of many countries, scientic, epidemilogical and statistical and administrative knowledge , building up necessary facilities, infrastructure to prevent or deal with large scale pandemics. The responsibility lies squarlely with the central govt in India . For the next 2 months , the deadly scythe of covid will cut through Indian society.

    Even though the situation in New Delhi is beyond bad , I hear no such catastrophe from Chennai where my relatives live. They have all had 2 vaccinations in normal course and hospitals have not been overwhelmed yet. Why is Delhi is much worse than other places in India even though it is better provided with doctors, hospitals and other facilities than any other part of India

  8. I think when one country falls – esp when there was enough time and knowledge to prevent falling, the ledaership is incompetent and should be changed

  9. we are getting lots of posts om watsapp, facebook wherein the base of modi is trying to convince itself or is convinced that he is doing his best.
    elections are 3 years away…..

  10. One good thing at present is due to first wave of vaccinations, medical workers can feel safe to carry on their work. The first line of defence can hold.

  11. It’s clear the Modi government has utterly failed in its management of the budding (and now full-fledged) second wave. Given the magnitude of this failure, accountability has to happen. Hopefully it is accountability within the party itself, rather than BJP being defeated in elections and refusing to reform itself.

    That said, this comparison is rather hyperbolic: “On 24th February this year, Modi joined stalin, hitler, gaddafi, mussolini, saddam hussain in having a stadium be named after him.” You could just as easily have named much less discredit figures like Robert Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth who have also had stadiums named after them (or in the case of India, you have congress party politicians in Nehru and Indira Gandhi).

    1. Elizabeth is a monarch – so wrong comparison
      difference is ACTIVE politicians –
      Wrt Congress leaders most had stuff named after them posthumously. Modiji is pretty much alive and active.
      So you are wrong – it makes a terrible difference

    2. That is a quote of ram guha in the video, I did not put in quotes, mistake. However, the comparison is with the timing, feb 24 modi and feb 26 Biden still warning inspite of being in a far better position. The PM accepted having a stadium be named after himself while still active. Bad sign of hubris even in normal times.
      watch this.


      There are many options, have primaries, have own in house experts/ media to whom govt should answer , I thought it could be possible, but both swarajya/opindia instead turned into supporting govt/party at all costs than in holding them accountable, even on dharmic issues etc.

      Also as one person suggested (@tippanibhandar), Have press conferences. Had Modi had weekly press conferences, most of this would perhaps not have come to pass. Media would have asked about new strains, would have pressed him on rising numbers, second wave . There would be a direct contact with everyday reality which is very important in such times. His mistake is the information getting to him is very narrow from his yesmen bureaucrats. If they miss something, the whole govt will have missed it. Same as during demonetization. This was demonetization 2.0 that we could clearly see, how many other failures happened where things are not in public view or are in technical economic issues and public administration and other issues that most of us are not aware of and are out of our understanding.

      It is important to see the decision making design the pmo is following as revealed by these failures and realize it consults very narrowly and hence continues to be very dangerous in future as well. Might even explain why economy was down in pre covid as well after 6 yrs in power ? (not enough ideas , one needs to listen to as widely as possible irrespective of ideology to find good ideas?).

      Not to mention Loksattaparty chief jayaprakash narayan gave a good suggestion on oct 20, 2020 on need to give credit to manufacturers to create big vaccine numbers.


      what could have been done with 5k to 10k crores needs 10 – 20 B $ now as jayaprakashji foresaw. And as aravind panaragya suggests, we should be ready to spend 15- 20 B $ now to increase covaxin to 500 million doses and vaccinate everyone at the earliest and calls decentralization regarding this as a mistake and costs increasing to state due to not vaccinating at the earliest as more costly than 20 B $.


      Not to mention, possibility of making affordable vaccines through this new method


      . ”
      Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand and Brazil have already entered into licensing agreements with Mount Sinai.” as @TriLinga_ points out.

      I dont know about you, I am an amateur, If I can see mistakes, and I can see that if I and you and many others would have done better job on this if paid for it than the govt, it makes you wonder how many other failures are out there that is obvious to some experts , but we dont see it. All due to poor sourcing of information by PMO and its yesmen bureaucrats and not doing press conferences to avert mistakes.

      I am now convinced there have been many failures by this govt due to this narrowness of information sourcing and reliance on yesmen bureaucrats, but I wont see all of it or understand all of it, but am confident that they happened for sure given the design. Demonetization and this are but highly visible failures that people like us can clearly see and understand.

      1. Not to mention, possibility of making affordable vaccines through this new method


        What you’re suggesting is exactly the opposite of what Modi’s critics are saying.
        The vaccine entered human trials in early April. I don’t think I have to explain how the left reacted when Covaxin’s trial results weren’t out.

        If the Govt. or someone else invested in this new vaccine now, people like Saket Gokhale would start crying about “wasting” money on a vaccine that is still in trials. They’d make some new story about how BJP and SII are trying to make 1.1 lakh crores from this new vaccine.

        Go check his tweet from a few days ago, he attacked Govt. and SII because they were asking on US supplies to help build Covovax. Covovax has a better efficacy than Covishield. Covishield is also pretty much useless against certain strains, check the table in this article-

        In the eyes of all the Saket Gokhale’s in this country, any rupee diverted away from Covishield now would be nothing but a crime. You think they’re gonna care about it being cheaper or having better results?

        Also, as for pursuing research based on this new method, I think it’s just a bit too late for that now for India. I looked this vaccine up, apparently they worked on a new spike called HexaPro, the paper for which was released only on Sept. 2020.

        I don’t know how vaccine making works, but I think most companies were somewhat already invested in their own vaccine-making strategy by Sept. 2020. This vaccine still may end up helping whoever isn’t vaccinated by the end of this year and many smaller and extremely poor countries. Hope it succeeds.

  12. This post and many of the comments strike me as illustrations of the last paragraph of Razib’s latest gnxp post.

  13. From what stats are available, it is quite clear that about 50% of the Indian population will be vaccinated by September. The (45+) age group consists of approx 350 million people. They should be covered to the tune of 80%. Remaining are dropouts due to vaccine hesitancy. Any policy experiments will only tweak that number by a small amount.

  14. bangalore is facing a huge vaccine shortage. i was tuned away in 2 govt. centres and 2 private hospitals. it appears that the private hospitals have given up and are not vaccinating, which was not the case when vaccination started.
    free market will help, i feel modi should open up further, nobody will really complain.

    1. Lol. He opened up 50 percent and already our desi libertarians and federalism wallahs are at his throat saying why u opened it up. And please pay our bills.

  15. shekhar gupta is speaking to bmc commissioner iqbal singh chahal. the guy shows lots of analytical capabilities. is has a b.tec as his basic degree.
    since more of this types are joining ias, i feel that things can change, as opposed to those with a stephens ma.

  16. shekhar gupta is speaking to bmc commissioner iqbal singh chahal. the guy shows lots of analytical capabilities. is has a b.tec as his basic degree.
    since more of this types are joining ias, i feel that things can change, as opposed to those with a stephens ma.

  17. i seriously hope that the unfolding covidocalype in india humbles not only modi and his cohorts, but indian people themselves. i mean, the administrative failure is there for all the world to see. what is not so visible is the unravelling of india-as-the-emerging-superpower narrative. the hyper-nationalism that pervades india is really off-putting and inexplicable to our generation that grew up in 80s and 90s. back then, we understood our weaknesses, and we freely acknowledged it. today’s generation seem to be inexplicably overconfident without any factual basis to it. let’s face it. india is still a third world country, going by the any HDI index.

    now when the rubber is truly meeting the road, the indian character is in full display. fake drugs are flooding the market. people trying to make money literally over dead bodies. cops arresting people for seeking help on social media..

    as nana patekar said it so well and so cynically in a movie in 90s (name i forget)…

    100 me se 90 be-imaan
    phir bhi mera bharat mahaan.

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