Book Review | Here’s what Mohandas Pai said about Shantanu Gupta’s The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh

UP is a densely populated State with multiple towns and cities. Many urban areas are now seeing the implementation of Metro Rail systems and Smart City programmes.

Mohandas Pai , Yogi Adityanath, The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh, shantanu gupta
In a democracy the most important role of any government is the protection of the life, liberty and property of all citizens.

By Yuvraj Pokharna

TV Mohandas Pai wears multiple hats. He is the chairman of Arin Capital, Founder Trustee of Akshaya Patra Foundation, recipient of Padma Shree award and infosians remember him as an ex-director at Infosys. Pai is also a social political commentator on social, cultural and political issues and can eb seen on many news channels on TV. Recently a book has come – ‘The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh’ by Shantanu Gupta, where author has chronicled the massive transformational changes UP has gone through under UP CM Yogi Adityanath. Books is doing very well in all the top charts. What has surprised people is the long foreword that Mohandas Pai has written for the book and boldly endorsed Yogi Adityanath’s leadership ahead of coveted UP Elections 2022.

Here is the long foreword by Mohandas Pai, as an excerpt from The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh, exclusive on FE. Mohandas Writes:

Yogi Adityanath has been a Leader the like of whom India has never seen. An active religious leader, the Head of the Gorakhnath Mutt following the ancient Nath traditions, a 5-time MP, his election as the Chief Minister of UP was unexpected and heralded a great transformation of India’s most populous State. With a 22-crore population, making up 17% of India’s population, UP would be the world’s 6th largest ‘country’ by population if it were a real country. UP is extremely important for India’s growth and development. It determines Indian politics with 80 seats in the 542 seat Indian Parliament and has been the focus of every political party which seeks to rule India.

When Yogi Adityanath took over as CM, Lutyens Delhi- the name by which the power structure and supporters of the ancient regime are known- exploded in anger and derision. They questioned his capability to be CM, abused him roundly, and predicted the total failure of his regime. They accused him of being communal, a person of no consequence or experience in governance and openly hated the fact that he was a Religious Leader. They forget that he was a 5-time MP, a person of great accomplishment as an MP going by his track record in Parliament, had toured most districts of UP and knew the living conditions of the people of UP more than any of his critics, a man of the masses with the common touch, who has spent much time solving their challenges and had successfully managed more than 40 educational, medical and social institutions with over 80,000 students. The same Lutyens Delhi had earlier hailed a member of the ancient regime who was chosen as PM of India with the major qualification of being the progeny of a previous PM, living a privileged life in Lutyens Delhi with scant knowledge of the life of ordinary Indians. The contrast in their approach speaks much about their elitist, oligarchical outlook.

In this book author Shantanu Gupta, the biographer of Yogi Adityanath writes about the transformation of UP under the new CM in the last 4.5 years. Indeed, the track record of achievement is impressive and profound and the author gives an enormous quantum of verifiable data to back his writing. UP will soon go to the polls and citizens will decide whom they will entrust the next government but the facts remains that this is a new aspirational UP which hopefully will fulfill the promise made by our Founding Fathers when they gave us our Constitution in 1950.

In a democracy the most important role of any government is the protection of the life, liberty and property of all citizens. UP had been a classic case of a badly governed state earlier where women were scared to venture out after sunset, criminals openly ruled the roost, law and order was broken with ineffective inadequate police, there were regular communal riots, land grabbing, political nepotism and corruption was common. Yogi Adityanath’s first priority was setting this right. Police were empowered to hunt down criminals and arrest violators, corrupt police were sidelined, criminals were prosecuted with a sense of urgency, influential political leaders who had grabbed land and exercise influence over the police were put behind bars and women got the protection of the law. Within 2 years there was a discernible difference in the Maintenance of law and order and the Rule of law was established. Communal riots, crime, rioting and land grabbing declined perceptibly. About 1.3 lakh additional police were hired and trained and the State started operating in the manner needed. This alone, in a broken-down State, should give the CM recognition as a leader of good governance.

This massive improvement in law and order led to an improvement in the industrial climate. Investors have started flocking to the state as can be seen by the massive growth in industry and investment. Large job creation has resulted in a huge reduction in unemployment. UP suffered from an inadequate road network both between districts and to villages. The various expressways most of which are in an advanced stage of completion will revolutionize travel and communication, opening up backward areas of UP to industry and development. The power situation has dramatically improved with large increase in generation and distribution with much better availability of power all across the state for industry, agriculture and to citizens. Tax collection has gone up and UP has seen a large increase in the State GSDP and per capita income, rising to number 2 amongst all states in India in the last 4 years!

Citizens have long suffered from lack of the basic necessities of life in UP. Today most households have power in the switch, toilet in the house, a gas stove, a roof over their head, increased water in the tap, a bank account with DBT transfers, a mobile phone connection with easier internet availability, better education, access to quality healthcare and medical insurance, good roads to their homes and better prospects for children in terms of education, jobs and income. Before Yogi, the state was known for mass copying in school examinations with former CMs justifying mass copying. The system has been cleaned up with improvement in quality of school education. More medical colleges, technical universities and colleges have ensured better access to higher education and a higher GER which is in par with the average for India. Women in particular have benefited with this huge increase in the capacity with UP seeing near Gender parity. The massive investment in industry and infrastructure is leading to much higher job opportunities for the educated graduates in their home State.

Farmers have seen a dramatic improvement in their incomes, with sugar production going up multifold with prompt payment, increased procurement at MSP for wheat, rice and other grains ensuring higher incomes and better infrastructure in the Mandis. The implementation of various central government schemes like the DBT to marginal farmers, farm insurance, pension schemes etc have all led to a better future for farmers. Agriculture makes up a large part of UP’s GSDP and this augurs well for the future. UP has large tracts of fertile land and increased productivity also assures India’s food security with huge capacity for exports.

UP is a densely populated State with multiple towns and cities. Many urban areas are now seeing the implementation of Metro Rail systems and Smart City programmes. Road networks have improved, multiple airports have come up with much improved national and international connectivity. The expressways will massively reduce distances in future. With a very rich cultural and civilizational heritage, UP has very high tourism potential. Ayodhya, the birthplace of Shri Ram will now see his own Temple after 500+ years. All Hindus, more than 115 crore globally will wish to visit Ayodhya to pray to Shri Ram in his own Temple just like Muslims wish to go to Mecca or Christians to the Vatican and Jerusalem. Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya and other places of the Buddhist circuit which are sacred to all Buddhists globally have seen a great improvement in access and infrastructure and this will also radically change tourism in the State. The wonderful management of the Kumbh Mela on a gigantic scale, has certainly made UP a must go to State.

How does one evaluate the performance of any government in an Indian State? Yogi Adityanath has demonstrated that in all areas of governance and development, his performance stands out as an exemplar. The massive reduction in corruption and decline in crime, the establishment of the Rule of Law, improvement in the quality of life for all citizens across UP is testimony to his performance and achievement. In a short period of 4.5 years the change is visible. Author Shantanu in this book clearly demonstrates the scale and magnitude of this transformation. But UP still has miles to go. If India needs to prosper and grow, UP has to lead!

Yogi Adityanath has most certainly demonstrated the qualities needed for any leader to succeed in political life. A nationalistic outlook built on love for India and patriotism will certainly ensure focus on good governance and growth. A corruption free attitude will ensure good governance. A respect and adherence to Rule of Law will ensure protection of the life, liberty and property of all citizens and ensure development. A burning desire to ensure an improvement in the lives of all citizens will ensure effective implementation of welfare schemes. A relentless focus on execution of schemes and strict monitoring will ensure action on the ground. Fairness in governance, respect for and protection of honest government officials will ensure good governance. Above all a vision for a better future for all will ensure greater prosperity.

Mohandas concludes – Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest and most complex State has indeed transformed UP in the last 4.5 years.

(The author is a Surat-based Educationist, Columnist and Social Activist. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online. )

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