Tuesday, December 15, 2009

POLITICS AND MEDIA: A NEW NADIR

Like conquerors of the past, India’s politicians love to rule, and plunder cities... In older times, cities attracted conquering hordes who wanted to sack them for their riches. Now, in democracies, the political class knows that while their votes lie in the countryside, the real money sits in the cities and their real estate.

If the new Andhra can get over the loss of Hyderabad, use what it gets in compensation and its own enterprise to build a new capital city...its politicians will figure soon enough that the money-making opportunity a new city offers is much greater than an old metro nearing saturation, howsoever energetic.

Can you think of a more shocking, immoral and sickening call to make the 'people' of emaciated Andhra Pradesh accept a decision that will have disastrous long-term consequences for India? Can you swallow the casual manner in which this gentleman has, with pride almost, spoken about the nadir that democracy has touched in this country?

How will you react when you get to know that this call, this 'indecent proposal', has been made not by an anonymous analyst or a lowly reporter paid to write these words, but by someone who is at the very top of the media pyramid and has deep tentacles inside the top leadership of the Congress and other political parties? Will you ever believe again that the media is our watchdog and not the pet dog of the plunderers?

A state that consists of people of "the same caste mix, same ethnicity, culture and so on", and language, is being split primarily due to fatal mistakes made by 10 Janpath that have made people of as homogeneous a mix as one can get in a state, enemies overnight. But that does not agitate this media luminary at all. He manifestly has a brief which he will not exceed, no matter what. That is why the people of Andhra do not figure anywhere in this argument. His sole job is to convince plunderers to part with the jewel that they have pocketed in the last five years. The promise is that they will not only be given more than ample "compensation" by bigger plunderers sitting in Delhi, but will also be able to plunder much more than they have been able to in Hyderabad. Don't be surprised if this carrot results in a demand for not one but two new states; two new cities to plunder.

Let us wake up and understand at least now that the call and the capitulation for a separate Telangana have nothing to do with the people who are celebrating there and those who are protesting in Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema. Had it been so, this gentleman would not have been, without any shame, publicly celebrating the plunder of India, not by alien conquerors who have long gone, but by leaders chosen by the people through the much celebrated process of "free and fair" elections.

He has something more to say to entice them to accept the division of Andhra: the second largest hydrocarbon discovery in the world after Mexico, which YSR Reddy used to fuel economic growth in the coastal regions and not in the drier and poorer area of Telangana. As per him, there are "nearly $35 billion worth of under-construction irrigation projects, new ports and power plants" there while Telangana has nothing more than Hyderabad. Drool plunderers of New Andhra, you have an El Dorado waiting to be looted; dump the bare bone.

Are we getting an idea about why CS Rao really went on a hunger strike to call for separating Telangana from Andhra? If reports are correct, the greatest plunderer in the history of Andhra Pradesh, YSR Reddy, made billions in real estate in and around Hyderabad almost all alone after the 2004 elections. He could not have done it in the manner that he did had 10 Janpath not plucked CS Rao from Andhra and got him to Delhi. And YSR, like all plunderers - I am borrowing the word - of the past, only looted from Telangana. All big ticket investments, totalling nearly $ 35 billion, were made in his part of the state. Why did nobody ask that if KG basin gas can power Anil Ambani's power plant in faraway Delhi, what was YSR's difficulty in locating major gas-based projects in neglected Telangana?

Now that YSR is dead, CS Rao has forced 10 Janpath to let him claim his share of the plunder. The people of Telangana, who have wrongly discovered the messiah in him, have compelled Sonia Gandhi to, finally, look at her neglected step-child - "I am like her son" - and open the gate of fortress Hyderabad for him. YSR's 'benami' troops who had virtually taken over the city's real estate, are running for cover; their game is up, the losses huge. That is why they don't want the state to split; that is why our man is telling them that they should not worry; they will be covered for immediate losses and will also be able to plunder much more over a period of time.

India's people had lost respect for politicians long back. Over the years, they had resigned to the fact that, sterling exceptions apart, politicians were corrupt. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, they still had some faith left in India's free media. Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of one of India's leading national newspapers, Indian Express, and anchor and co-host/panelist in a number of programs on a leading TV news channel, NDTV, has, in one stroke, destroyed all illusions of separation between the two and killed hope.

Nadir Shah came from afar and became immortal for the new low he created. He did know not then that in the 21st century, Independent India would produce a new breed of home-grown plunderers who would unashamedly loot their own people. Not once, not twice, but non-stop. Even worse, they would also employ conscienceless drum-beaters who would not only celebrate this rape but encourage it.

Politics and media have surely touched a new low. What should we call this new Nadir?
---------------------------------------------------------
Related reading:
1. Telangana domino: time to transcend parties, talk India
2. Covering up the mother of all corruption scandals
3. Don't 'beggar-my-buggering-neighbour'; strengthen him

'