Saturday, August 21, 2010

Unraveling '100 days' mystery - Obama, Pratibha Patil & now Cameron

The only thing I related with ‘100 days’ till 2009 was a 1991 Madhuri Dixit, Jackey Shroff starrer Hindi mystery thriller and another English flick by the same name, directed by Nick Hughes in 2001, till Obama arrived in 2009 and along with him came the famous ‘first 100 days in office’ (check - ) !
I gather it’s important to make the first impression. If you've ever been employed, you know how important it is to make a good first impression on the job. If you mess up as a newbie, you (and your boss) may never get over it. The job of a Country’s commander-in-chief is no different. Historians, politicians, reporters and the public want to get to know their new leader – his/her personality, ideas, habits and ways of talking -- so they watch the early days very carefully. Those crucial first 100 days can set the tone for the rest of a president's term and provide clues to what's to come in the remaining part of the party in power. It was the US’s 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who started the "100 days" tradition when he was inaugurated in 1933.
Such had been the hype around Obama in his initial days that the media sang ‘first 100 days of Obama’ almost on a daily basis. While his advisers are only too happy to tick off a flurry of accomplishments on the economy in the administration’s first hundred days such as passage of $787 billion recovery plan, release of additional $350 billion as second tranche for troubled banks, a $ 275 billion housing program to rescue 9 million house owners from foreclosure and ‘stress tests’ for financial institutions, the initial hullabaloo petered out on its own and the first thing the White House wants you to know about assessments of a president's first hundred days is that those assessments don't matter. “It’s the journalistic equivalent of a Hallmark holiday," I read an article quoting a senior administration official "They don't mean anything but you have to observe them." However, the circumstances under which Obama administration came into being and he, being hyped as a ‘we the change’, had to come out with a plan and sooner. If Obama continues the direction of the first 100 days, his rhetoric may be seen to be merely sugaring the pill. However, it is also possible that the erosion of patience with government and with economic conditions can combine with those aspirations for change expressed in the election to force Obama’s government leftwards to deliver real reform. I am not too surprised with a recent survey where almost one fifth of Americans take him to be a non-Christian and his criticism of not being able to stand up for the basic right of freedom of religion, its time he delivers on the hopes of change.
I didn’t intend to make it serious. And so, we are back in India. How could it be left behind in the rhetoric of 100 days? And so, soon after the 15th Lok Sabha elections, the President of India, in her first speech to the joint session of parliament on 4th June 2009 laid down the priorities of ‘her government’ (speech is available at ) and it was here that ‘100 days’ came haunting to Indian Bureaucrat in terms of ‘performance and action taken report’ on the announcements and fulfillment of assurances! This is at a time when the same UPA government (Congress led) and the same President are continuing since 2004!
And I read with great interest and comic curiosity the latest to join the bandwagon of ‘100 days’ – David Cameron. There has been a talk of ‘radical Britain’ and how Britain looks like West’s test tube baby yet again! ( Economist- August 14, 2010). The con-lib coalition’s push for reforms in Schools, the Health services, the Police and welfare and how the spending cuts are enforced to stave off Grecian disaster are being highlighted as Britain’s audacity in creating ‘a Big Society’ during its first 100 days.
I often nowadays wonder whether the World leaders actually take this concept of ‘100 days’ seriously or it’s just thrust on them by the expectant media by forcing their teams to put these promises and hopes in their mouth!
Coming back to ‘100 days’ of Madhuri Dixit starrer Hindi movie ( I haven’t seen it though but I remember watching one of its songs ‘sun beliya’ on television), there could be other applications of 100 days such as:
- First 100 days of a child (since her/his birth) ( I suppose that’s where the concept ought to have come in);
- Falling in love – first 100 days (and comparing it with all that follows!);
You are welcome to add to the list!!
The images of ‘100 days’ can be seen at
As per wikipedia ‘The Hundred Days sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815 (a period of 111 days). This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, and includes the Waterloo Campaign and the Neapolitan War. The phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, Gaspard, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the King’.

1 comment:

  1. It's pretty well written.I like it.:) And you've started if off well too.