STEP ACROSS THE LINE
- Published 10.06.08
The once-upon-a-time sharply distinct lines between right and wrong have blurred dramatically today. They have merged with one another, leading to the death of values, and therefore, of dignified and decent civil society. When the home minister permits his businessman son to operate from the official residence allocated to him because he is one of their seniormost cabinet ministers who is meant to enforce the rule of law, one is once again jolted into the frightening reality of India being a corrupt and vulnerable State. Where has the sense of appropriateness gone? Why has India been reduced by such men and women to abject levels of indignity and shame? Why does the Congress nurture such unacceptable practices? Why does its top leadership not set an example and remove the person from office for stepping out of line?
Worse, the son uses his father’s position to manipulate ministers and their ministries. If Shivraj Patil was not aware of what was happening under his nose at home, then it is truly scary. This is especially so since Patil is in control of a ministry that is mandated to deal with the rapidly growing terrorism, militancy and anarchy sweeping across urban and rural India. How can he lift a finger against improprieties that plague this land when his son is part of that dreadful reality? For that reason alone, he must go — for being weak and unable to extricate himself from the mire and promote a clean governance in the interest of the country. If he believes that the laws that govern India — corporate, civil and criminal — are archaic and redundant and need to be broken, he should created a fresh book of rules and regulations in keeping with the changed times. He did neither but turned a blind eye to his blind spot— his son.
This incident brought into focus the fact that when individuals in a political party have more financial clout than the entire party itself, unassailable corruption sets in and blackmail ensues. Bags are dangled before greedy eyes and all else is dispensed with. Hundreds of crores are wasted on elections. Illegal, undeclared wealth is being thrown around by men and women desperate to be empowered politically. No one in the political class protests and exposes this criminality. The CBI and other such institutions ignore these largescale irregularities that emanate from the politically powerful high and mighty and instead spend their time going after the comparatively inconsequential crooks or even after the innocents till they prove themselves ‘not guilty’. In the process, India is ruthlessly torn apart.
Is this not a moral and political breakdown? Strangely, varying avatars of this malaise have afflicted all parties in some manner. It is bizarre that the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the ruling party in Bengal, calls for a complete closure in its own state because it wants prices to be subsidized forever! A party that knows it can never rule from the Centre, one that is losing ground in Bengal, has reduced its ideology and operation to one of blackmail of the coalition it professes to be part of. Bandhs that kill productivity and business have reinforced the failed model of the dole being favoured over free enterprise. One wonders what the real difference is between them and the Gujjar agitation on the railtracks of Bayana. Are these entities incapable of thrashing out the problems and arriving at tenable solutions? Are Indian leaders intellectually ill-equipped to deal with the demands of this polity?
Is there no person on the political stage impassioned enough to rock this leaking boat, and begin the process of fumigation? Any new face could save this country by reaching out and drawing together people of all caste, creed and faith, by persuading them to participate in the re-building of the nation.