Odisha Literary Festival: India suffering as governments fail to deliver, says author Mark Tully
In a conversation with senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai at the 8th Odisha Literary Festival, Mark Tully said, one of the fundamental problems in India was the inefficient and corrupt governments.
BHUBANESWAR: India is not a failing but flailing state as country’s administrative system has not been able to deliver on the ground, acclaimed journalist and author Mark Tully said here on Sunday.
In a conversation with senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai at the 8th Odisha Literary Festival, he said, one of the fundamental problems in India was the inefficient and corrupt governments which did not deliver.
“As per UN human development indices, Bangladesh has some better industries than India does. If Bangladesh, severely affected by civil wars, can come up with that, why can not India? I believe it is because of its flailing. The standard of governance and delivery, particularly at the grassroots, is inefficient and ineffective,” he observed.
Politicians, Tully said, are largely to be blamed for it. They should have reformed the administrative systems, especially police, that needs overhauling as it still functions like British Raj but not what it should be in independent India, he maintained.
Asked about current political scenario, the veteran British journalist said, Amit Shah wanted a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat.’
“He might have well achieved that but he also achieved ‘BJP-mukt Bharat’ since there was absolutely no mention of BJP during the general elections. It was all Modi, Modi and nothing else but Modi,” he said.
On his soft stand on Hindutva and disagreement to Congress brand of secularism, the Padma Bhushan awardee journalist said, secularism carries tonnes of hostility to religion or indifference to religion.
“I do not think India is hostile to religion. In some way or the other, religion has to be accommodated in public life,” he pointed out.
In the session ‘On the road: stories from inside India’, Tully shared his experience with Kar Sevaks during Babri Masjid demolition and said he conveyed it to BJP veteran LK Advani that he condemned the act since he believed India would not be swept off its feet by religious fundamentalism.
“Hinduism does not live in Hindutva as it has a lot to do with India’s pluralism,” he observed.
On criticisms that BBC is facing for its coverage of the Kashmir issue after abrogation of Article 370, he said, India is not such a feeble and an unstable state that BBC can destabilise it. Such accusation by politicians actually demeans India, he said.
There was always pressure from the people in power, Tully admitted but he was categorical in his opinion that quality of Indian television is declining.
“Where is the craft? The skill is no longer there. There is no training for journalists these days. Why are journalists speaking same things time and again?” he wondered.
The veteran broadcast journalist, who has lived in India for almost 45 years, with stints in England, said he has affection for the country and admiration for its culture.
“I have been treated with huge respect and love. I am a great believer in fate. I believe life is 90 per cent fate and 10 per cent what you do with it. I could able to stay in the country for a long time because of my fate,” he summed up.