Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is reported to have said yesterday:
“Corruption strikes at the roots of good governance. It is an impediment to faster growth. It dilutes, if not negates, our efforts at social inclusion. It dents our international image and it demeans us before our own people. This is a challenge which has to be faced frontally, boldly and quickly.”
Being very much a part of public life and heading a Govt that has faced multiple charges of monumental corruption for many years, one would think he would have the prudence not to pontificate to society at large, on this matter. But, no sir, preach he must.
A point of interest here is the unconnected manner in which the PM talks about corruption in public life. It is as though he is able to dissociate from his PM persona at will, and maintain an arms’ length relationship with it. As if the corrupt Govt that he is heading is a third party for him.
I think he is perfecting a new form of ‘illeism”.
Illeism, says Wikipedia, is a style (though archaic) employed by authors to describe, in the third person, an event that they participated in. Example: Julius Caesar describing the wars he took part in, used illeism to impart an air of objective impartiality to the account, which included justifications of the author's actions. In this way personal bias was presented, albeit dishonestly, as objectivity.
Illeism can take different forms. Sportspersons sometimes advise themselves “X (being the speaker himself) has to work more on his free throws”. (source)
Wiki also gives the example of a theologian Richard B. Hays who wrote an essay where he challenged earlier findings of one Richard B. Hays. Similarly, Dr Manmohan Singh, the public speaker is able to come out of his PM’s garb and earn brownie points by talking freely and poker-faced about the rampant corruption that must be rooted out of our Govt and society. Admirable technique.