For power and pelf

By Malvika Singh
  • Published 2.11.07

One cannot help imagining a more weird scenario. Following Sonia Gandhi’s visit to China, Comrade Karat seems to have started to soften his position and his vitriolic attack against the prime minister of India and other friends! It is as though he has got some straight-talking on the phone, telling him to lay off, much like a child being reprimanded by his principal for overstepping the permissible limits and misbehaving. For college-type politics to dominate and destroy national politics is juvenile and unwarranted.

The country is crying out for mature and responsible governance, not banal rhetoric that is disconnected with the realities of this globe. There are endless issues that need to be raised about economic and social exploitation of the less privileged in our society as well as the horrors that have been inflicted, over the decades, on minority communities. These old lefties should be out there in the field, dirtying their fair hands with hard work rather than manipulating politics and governance from their safe and secure urban offices and homes, and that too without a mandate .

Flip the page and you see the grand old Congress party that was meant to be a congress of all groups, castes and communities, dissipating into a non-committal political force that turns a blind eye to the realities which have overwhelmed India. Most of the leaders have made up their mind that commenting on or supporting the outcome of the Tehelka exposé would make them lose their seats in the forthcoming elections in Gujarat. They were to lose anyway but they had decided, in their usual self-deceiving way, that they were on a winning streak because of their ridiculous belief in “anti-incumbency” — it’s you this time, the next time it’s me.

For power and pelf

Had Indira Gandhi been around she would have played politics to her advantage, used the findings, moved to complicate the issue, suggested and then demanded president’s rule, gone on whirlwind tour of the state and come up trumps. This is what she did after the unimaginable debacle that followed the Emergency. While the power hungry in the coalition were busy destroying each other, she travelled across India, won a legitimate mandate and romped back to power.

Then came the phase of divisive politics in which caste and faith were mercilessly exploited for sinister political ends. Greed for power became the manifesto for all the parties in the public space. Leaders began to use communities against one another, promising bits, pieces and slices of a marginal, stagnant pie.

The going has been lucrative for various leaders and their minions because there has been no stalwart, with a passion for and commitment to India, who could call the bluff and take this nation out of the quagmire that is suffocating it. A new millennium, yet we are stuck with ageing, greedy rulers who cannot comprehend what another generation dreams of. Frankly, it is insecurity that perpetuates the greed for power and the status quo that has degraded India and set it behind the times in all spheres of human activity and growth.

People want to see their leaders as men and women who are committed to the country even if they falter every now and again. Indians are sick and tired of exploitative politicians and an administration that curries favour to feed itself. History has endless examples of this happening at the end of the Empire, and one is amazed that our Indian leaders cannot see what they are inflicting on this country, its administrative machine and its social mores. The malaise seems to be contagious and incurable, much like the all-consuming tuberculosis was till a drug was formulated to attack and kill the disease. This civilization is suffering. The pain is acute. The culprits are on the loose.