The Telegraph
Tuesday , October 16 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Revelations’, whether substantive or otherwise, have begun to overshadow the more serious failures and corrosive faults within governance that need to be corrected urgently. The stuff that has invaded our television channels is by no stretch of imagination instances of independent, investigative journalism. The content is, in fact, ‘developed’ as ‘breaking news’ based on ‘leaks’ that are, more often than not, half-truths which resemble speculations and personal assaults. The demands of Arvind Kejriwal that range from resignations to heaven knows whatever else he feels is the flavour of the moment are making a mockery of the desperate need to demolish the edifice of corrupt practices in the realm of governance.

It requires a sharp and highly creative mind to challenge the corroded system by presenting a finely calibrated set of alternatives by which the operating mechanisms can be radically overhauled to deliver social justice and integrity. Why has Kejriwal and his compatriots not come up with alternative solutions? For a start, they could have demanded that colonial and command economy laws be rewritten. Why is it that his colleagues have not questioned the serious issue of the judiciary taking on the role of the executive? Why have they not deemed it necessary to compel constitutional bodies to operate within the strict parameters they have been mandated to work within? Why have they not reprimanded the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for stepping out of the arena of its jurisdiction and passing judgment on executive policy of democratically-elected governments? Why have they not found it necessary to fight the anti-constitutional call of khap panchayats?

Pure noise

This kind of protest and exposé lack the credibility that such damning revelations demand. And for that reason alone, the Kejriwal saga will begin to bore the audience as it becomes more of a nautanki and less of a serious crusade to save India from a terrible affliction. What we need is a transfusion. We need a modern-day, contemporary Chanakya, who will rework the manuals of governance and fine-tune the delivery mechanisms. We need a leadership that is interested in India and in its reinvention. The political and administrative classes, with a few exceptions, are out of their depth both intellectually and in terms of their commitment.

The situation has spun out of control. ‘Stories’ are being sensationalized. Individuals are being abused and battered. The rule of law is being broken by khap panchayats, and both the government and the administration appear to be helpless. The media play along, depending on what has more masala regardless of the impact that superficial reports can have on people and on institutions. Responsible and structured dissent has been conveniently forgotten because it requires hard work to get to the bottom of each insinuation. Television channels are showcasing India as an anarchic, confused and volatile republic that celebrates nepotism, incompetence, corruption and malpractice.

If our elected representatives across party lines are genuinely concerned about the escalating degradation of public domains and institutions, they should call an all-party convention in Parliament and work out the first phase of reforms in governance and administration. Greed in all its myriad forms must take a back-seat in personal and professional agenda. There is an urgent need to set fresh standards, make correctives, and start anew. India has been exploited and abused enough. The country is now demanding closure on that phase. If the political class has not recognized the new reality, it is unfit to govern and should step aside.