Tuesday, July 22, 2008

INDIA'S POLITICIANS: BEYOND SHAME


Just four days back, I had written a post lamenting the fact that our leaders had completely forgotten Mahatma Gandhi’s words that ends and means were inseparable and his belief that unworthy means can never produce worthy results. In that same post, I had asked whether it was Nathuram Godse who had killed the Mahatma by taking life out of his body due to an ideological clash or whether his assasinators were those who have effectively killed his spirit due to their personal ambition and greed, while pretending to be the protectors of his legacy.


I had no way of knowing then that our politicians would actually graphically show to the whole world the new nadir that I had believed that they had touched, so soon and so disgraceful a manner that is beyond shame.


Today is the darkest day for India’s democracy. Who could have even dreamt that one day he would watch, live, currency notes being flashed on the floor of the house in Parliament as proof of bribes having been paid by the ruling alliance to three MPs to abstain from voting in the confidence motion later today. This is exactly what happened at about 4 PM when three MPs of the main opposition party, the BJP, produced three bundles of Rs1 crore each. This, according to them, was the advance paid to them as part of the bribes that they were offered by/on behalf of Amar Singh of the Samajwadi Party. The name of Ahmed Patel of the Congress has also emerged as one of the bribe givers.


The amount was apparently paid late in the morning today itself. According to media reports, the transactions and certain related conversations have also been recorded by the receiving MPs with the help of CNN-IBN. A CD containing details of the sting operations has also been given to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Somnath Chatterjee, the Speaker, has asked the MPs to give their complaints in writing and has assured Parliament that he will do all that is necessary to inquire into the allegations.


Earlier today, members of Mayawati’s BSP too had made allegations in Parliament that they had been approached to abstain from voting in the trust vote with the promise that the CBI would be asked to clear her name in the case of disproportionate assets against her. For the last few days, sickening stories of offers of money, ministerial berths, renaming of airports, promises of future alliances, pressures on ‘inimical’ industrial houses, hounding of political opponents, changes in government policy to benefit specific industrialists and a lot more, have been hogging media space as part of the price that the government is almost dying to pay. For what? Just to stay on in power for a few months more.


Shameless, limitless corruption has for long been an inseparable part of the political landscape of India. In fact this all pervasive malaise has become the main motivator behind many individuals, including hardened criminals, taking to politics as a profession. This cancer has spread with great speed through the life blood of the political and administrative set up of the country because the system allows everybody to get away without getting punished even after getting exposed. Worse, it allows even convicted murderers to enter Parliament and be the globally visible faces of a faceless billion Indians.


It is a matter of shame that not a single politician has been convicted of corruption till date. People have forgotten the case of the Late Sukh Ram, the then Communications Minister from whose house Rs3 crores in cash were recovered, some of the money stuffed into his pillows. Nothing happened to him. The list of similarly tainted ministers and leaders is long and is filled with names dominating political space to this day, with some aspiring to be the PM too. Men of such low integrity and vision have flourished and flowered with ease partly because luminaries of India’s supposedly independent media have often willingly promoted these guys and almost always indulgently looked at and glossed over their criminal activities.


Ever since I started this blog, I have been warning that India’s democracy has become a mockery and that the system adopted by us has completely failed to deliver to the nation what it was expected to. But, to some of our media personalities and to many others far removed from the harsh realities that real Indians face, and to those enjoying the benefits that the rot provides, India’s democracy has been something to be theoretically, if not falsely, proud of. That is precisely the kind of incentive that the rotten in the system need to flourish and unashamedly carry on with their criminal activities.


What has happened today in Parliament was something waiting to happen. It has come as a shock to ordinary Indians only because they have seen with their own eyes what they had earlier only been hearing or reading about. Yet, we must not forget that this is just another instance of the kettle trying to tell the world that the pot is black. Those who showed the money are no angels. They are all the same, unclothed in the same hamam.


Is anything going to come out of this dramatic development, seen by the whole world? You know the answer better than me. After all the shouting and abusing is over, the investigations will get into an interminable orbit and slowly fade from public memory. Of course a few leading lawyers who must already be licking their fingers in anticipation, will get fat payments, again mostly in the same unaccounted cash, as they use their vast knowledge of law to successfully prove that the guilty are actually innocent! Or that their guilt cannot be proved beyond reasonable doubt. And then, even before that, it will be back to ‘business’ as usual.


In my last post, I had asked whether you were willing to get these so called leaders to see light before it is too late. Or whether it was too late? What do you think? Are we hurtling at an ever increasing speed towards the moment when the nation cries out and forces an alternative to put an abrupt end to this despicable spectacle beyond shame that the nation is being traumatised by time and again? Is there another way out? Can this same set of scoundrels ever change and become decent human beings worthy of being called leaders by you and me? Can the nation afford to let its destiny and its pride be raped in such manner by scum that a flawed and failed system has allowed to rise as leaders of this great nation? How long is India going to continue to allow the tremendous sacrifices made by its freedom fighters and its soldiers to be mocked at and belittled by a small bunch of criminals who have audaciously hijacked the entire nation?


Singh may have finally become king today by winning the trust vote. But the crown that he wears now is sullied and not worthy of adorning the head of one of the few decent human beings left in the corridor of power that has become India's new Dalal Street.