Modi quotes Chanakya, Mahabharata to denounce critics

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday quoted Chanakya and examples from epic Mahabharata as he slammed critics of his government’s handling of Indian economy and the Doklam standoff.

He said he was aware that he will be criticised while “empowering” the country but he will never put the country’s future at stake for his better today.

According to news agency IANS, Modi  mentioned Mahabharata’s characters like Shalya, Kaurava prince Duryodhana, and Pandava prince Yudhisthir during his hour-long speech at the Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi before young Company Secretaries.

He also mentioned Chanakya— the author of an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy— to back his arguments.

“There was a character named Shalya in Mahabharata. He was a charioteer of Karna. He used to discourage everybody in the battlefield and also created an atmosphere of dismay. Shalya lived during Mahabharata times but such instincts are still present in society,” Modi said without taking names.

He said such people get pleasure in creating an atmosphere of dismay.

“For such people, lower growth rate of one quarter of the fiscal has become the biggest news. When data are in their favour, the institutes and processes are okay for them but when the data are not in their favour, they criticise institutes and processes,” he said amid chants of Modi-Modi.

Modi’s dig at his critics comes amid a raging debate over the state of Indian economy after a stinging attack by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha and the opposition over slowdown and job losses.

Citing figures on improvement in rate of inflation, current account deficit, fiscal deficit, foreign direct investment and foreign exchange reserve, Modi said these successes do not matter for his critics.

“It’s time for the country to think whether some economists are working in the country’s interest or some political interests,” he said.

Attacking his critics, the Prime Minister also mentioned the 75-day Doklam standoff in Sikkim Sector with China and said: “When Doklam happened… they said we can’t do anything… some people take great pleasure in spreading dismay… they had very sound sleep…”

The Prime Minister told the Company Secretaries that their advice impacts corporate governance in one way or the other and gave the examples of Yudhisthir and Duryodhana, saying the two had similar education but the former strove on the path of righteousness while the latter deviated from the right path.

Modi also referred to the teachings of Chanakya, saying a single person who has gone astray can cause damage to the reputation as a single tree can cause fire in a jungle.

“In our country, there are a handful of people who damage the country’s prestige and weaken the societal structure,” he said.

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