Modi’s Lagaan moment

India’s economic recovery seems to be an uphill climb. Two battles are being fought at the same time. The slowdown in the world which is affecting our exports. And, the crony capitalist policies and dealings of the past decade that have got our economy into the crosshairs. So, the government is fighting with its back to the wall to overcome both these challenges at the same time. What kind of resources and talent pool does this government have? Do we have domain specialists in global trade sitting in Government? Are we really equipped with ministerial talent that understands macroeconomics and managerial decision making? Do they really have the expertise and experience to manage such a crisis. The hard truth is that this team is not really carrying the experience within. Mr. Modi himself has landed in Delhi directly as PM. This is a bold, brave battle being waged by a team of new, untested talent. The goal is to overcome the failings of the past and the challenges of the future. They know that if they kill this challenge, they will rule for a long time to come. They also know that if they lose this, it will be a long time before they come anywhere near power. The Modi style has been marked by inspirational leadership very reminiscent of Bhuvan, the protagonist of the Bollywood classic Lagaan where the underdogs make the impossible happen. The can-do spirit that he is spreading has met with utmost scorn and contempt from the media and the Congress, which is very reminiscent of the mocking the British delivered to the locals in Lagaan. The principle of mocking an outsider and making a collective assault to ensure he fails is very much a Lagaan phenomenon.  Most people watching this pitched political battle fought over economic issues seem to lack the perspective that this is their battle that is being fought. That is where we seem to be faltering in turning our challenges into a victory moment. But then, Modi is giving it everything he has got. Essentially the same trait that won the battle for Bhuvan in Lagaan. Getting ordinary people to do extraordinary things is not new to India or Indians. We have always managed it. There is little reason to believe Modi can’t win this one.

“An investor should always realize that some mistakes are going to be made.” – Philip Fisher. 

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