“That is the scenario Narendra Modi and his counsels had conjured up when he walked around holding Mr Trump’s hand up at ‘Howdy, Modi!’ in Texas. Nobody then knew there was the virus in the works in Wuhan.”

Hahaha. Trust @ShekharGupta to find a way to massage egos that matter.
Trumpism is Sui Genesis claims @shekhargupta forgetting his history. Every Tyrant in this world from Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao started the carrels as wildly populist leaders who promised to restore glory to a defeated & broken people.

Demagoguery is older than democracy.
I have been reading a lot of Shyam Saran over last few days and something in his works stands out and that is the notion of “sacred geography” imbedded in our psyche since Vedic times. I had thought of it many times but never with the insight that Saran brings to the concept.
His thesis is that it is our sacred geography that shames the notion of who we think we are - from the Afghanistan in the West, to Burma in the East, Himalayas in the North to Indian Ocean to the South.

That we stand diminished from what we were is embedded deep in our psyches.
SS says, while politically we are now just India, our world view, and in particular, our security concerns & foreign policy are still shaped - out of necessity, not choice - by the sub-continents geography or our sacred geography.

Which in a way is true but never articulated.
Cut back to @ShekharGupta’s point about our love of a feel good guru.

Deep down we are a defeated, broken people in terms of our Sacred Geography, vastly diminished from what we think we were.

We are uniquely vulnerable to a demagogue who promises 2 restore past glory.
Our brief experience with the surge in growth thru liberalisation and the feel good & confidence that it generated convinced us that we could be great again. So we chose a brash, aggressive leader who embodies what we think we once were.

Economics + adrenaline. Very heady.
However, 7 years of more adrenaline and poor economics has reduced the economy to shambles. Protectionism, is an admission of defeat by our best entrepreneurs confessing inability to compete in global markets.

Atamnirbharta is a retreat into the defeatism of the 1970s.
Feel Good & demagoguery of the kind that initially spurred recovery & growth in Italy & Germany united the people. Dissenter were a tiny minority numbering less than 2 to 3% of population.

Modi’s demagoguery has divided India along both religious & caste lines.
Both in terms of economics & politics, India under Modi stands diminished than we were b4 2014. The truth becomes more difficult to paper over day by day.

Inevitably, feel good will clash with reality at some point. What needs to win for to progress is obvious.

But will it?
That’s the context in which you need to understand what happened in the US.

Trump may have scrapped through had the virus not opened the eyes of many Americans to Trump’s gross incompetence, fakery, lies, and false assumptions … whatever.

Reality triumphs; inevitably.
This wild conjecture from @ShekharGupta, that hardly rises above a naive assumption, but flies in the face of every prudent policy principle, attributing a foresight & genius to Modi & his advisers that is not apparent in what they do vis-a-vis China, is what disappoints me.
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