1991: The most important year for the Indian Economy in the      
last 50 years. Because a Prime Minister, leading a minority      
Government at the Center, could cut through the deadweight of      
policies gone wrong. Narasimha Rao and his able Finance Minister      
Dr. Manmohan Singh, did a Gorbachovian Perestroika and Glasnost      
on the Indian Economy.      
But hang on a minute, we are going way ahead of our story...      
          1991. India was dead broke. All major International lenders turned down a desperate          
          Finance Minister, Yashwant Sinha, as he struggled to meet a small loan repayment          
          instalment of $400 Million.          
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the man.          
       Yashwant Sinha and his Prime Minister Chandrashekhar
       performed a very brave act. They physically transferred
       about a hundred tonnes of gold to Switzerland, took out
       a loan and paid off the repayment instalment.
       An act of abject humiliation for this great country?
       An act of courage and commitment to honour our debts?
       An act of morality and ethics?
  subject moderators     Who really knows? But the International Finance community sat up and took notice of this          
  history     unique step. However, nobody moved. They were watching the General Elections .          
  social landscapes     And the Players.          
  dance     On the left corner there was Rajiv Gandhi, God rest his soul, and the Congress Party with  
  literature     a horrendous mish mash of utter nonsense passing off as the Economic agenda. Trying  
  music     desperately to please all and pleasing none.  
  environment     On the right corner was the BJP with a bold Liberalisation Plan. Electoral change was in  
  economics     the air. They sensed victory and moved in for the kill.  
  pot pourri          
      Until a human bomb took Rajiv Gandhi. And all the equations changed.  
          A massive sympathy wave surged to the Congress half way through the Elections. Narasimha  
          Rao came out of retirement and became the Prime Minister. His Finance Minister was not a  
          politician. He was an Economist, who had seen first hand the “ mixed economy” mess he had  
          helped create. The two had no hesitation in consigning the original rotten Congress Economic  
         Agenda to the waste paper basket where it rightly belonged.  
      But what and where was the alternative?  
    The BJP Agenda was a carefully constructed document and there for the taking. Manmohan
    Singh grabbed it and the Great Liberalisation of the “stuck in the mud” Indian Economy under
    the wily fox Narasimha Rao began to happen. The elephant moved forward from mid 1991.
      And the BJP ? Like a petulant child whose candy has been stolen, they complained and sulked.  
    Even briefly flirted with a crazy counterpoint support for the Bombay Club and the vaguely  
    comforting word “Swadeshi”.  
    Irrelevant against the tidal wave of Globalisation swamping the world and raising customer   
    expectations for top notch quality. No, this was a doomed love affair and the BJP had to  
    quietly step back. Had to watch Prime Minister Narasimha Rao serve out a 5 year term with  
    cascading economic and administrative liberalization. Had to watch Finance Minister  
    Finance Minister Manmohan Singh pick up accolades galore for a plan which they had created.  
      Quirk of Fate? Travesty of Justice? Not at all. Just the simple mockery of Time and Space.   
      And thus is History made and written.  
      Next month we will travel back in time. To the amazing price regulatory measures of   
      Alauddin Khalji (1296 - 1316). To the Economic successes of the Lodi dynasty (1451 - 1526).  
      And the message for that journey?  
“What better teacher than the past ?!”
Remember it when you return next month.
Ta, Love,