Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mind Your Negativity: From Bofors to Robert Vadra, All is Well!

Sorry Prime Minister, it's our selfishness to blame, not your incapacity!

The national mood has not slumped to such negativity in recent memories. Clouds of gloom have descended on the sensitive citizen who is aware, on the responsible person who cares. When the Prime Minister talks of mindless negativity, he does have a point. 

India against corruption has become larger than life. And the nation is beleaguered, if the Government were deemed to represent the nation. But then, it's been a long while since the government assumed responsibility for the nation. At least, that's the popular belief, and the message that goes out to the common man. Corruption in India has long been an issue, with publications accounting for corruption in British India. But that was perhaps because the state was in a state of flux, with changes rampant and things transient at their best - the British rule was challenged by Indian patriots who were determined at winning freedom at any cost. Friction creates room for negativity. When the rule of autocracy is established, there would be forces that undermine the rule, and there would be insiders who would indulge in profiteering from the resultant friction.

But it's been 65 years since India got its freedom from colonialism. And democracy is no autocracy. It is supposed to be representative of every citizen, give shape to every dream, and provide a common vision for progress. Did the Indian state achieve such lofty ideals in a period of over six decades? Forget lofty ideals, now it is a question of mere ideas. Does the state have ideas? Does the government have a plan? Is the system functional at all?

To be able to run a government and manage a country is not a joke. It becomes an even more serious affair, when the country in question is India, with its tremendous population and population density, enormous languages, diverse religions, various philosophies, and intense politics. Any issue that is discussed in the parliament has the potential of turning into a sensitive issue. And any party that dreams of forming power at the centre has to be 'mindful' of this reality. Is the government mindful of it, or is it mindless?

While it is difficult to manage a coalition of partners who have their own individual agendas, and their own personalities, what could be said of a government that is relegated to a minority and is literally held to ransom by its allies? With the queen from West Bengal, a former ally, having openly declared war against the ruling coalition, you would expect a skilful politician at the helm to manage the deteriorating state of affairs. Is there any hope left at all?


Surprise! The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was branded an underachiever, well before things turned this bad. "How does it matter?" ask the Congress. "We would brand Obama an underachiever", retaliates the Indian media. The immediate question that arises is, "Does it really matter? Why this mindless negativity?"

Dr Manmohan Singh is an academician, a bureaucrat, but not a politician by any stretch of imagination; and far less is he a leader by any standards. Are we a leaderless country?

"That's fine", some may say. "There are advisers to the Prime Minister, who would guide him through". An article refers to the "Chanakya", Ahmed Patel, personal adviser to the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi. When a country is whacked badly from all sides, eaten by the pests within, rotten by the "mindless negativity", and well in the process of going to the dogs, who is on the lookout for a Chanakya who could help the politicians cover their back sides? We need a warrior who could fight for the nation, not for the politicians. It's War!

And that's what Arvind Kejriwal and Company are up to. When the system is corrupt to the core, when the leadership is drained of its intellect and resolve, when the allies have all but deserted, when the government has been a victim of its own making, all that we could look up to are people like Arvind Kejriwal and his "India against corruption" movement to become the saviour - somehow. This is not the time to measure Mr Kejriwal, to study his personal ambitions, to reflect on his credentials. Salman Khurshid may be more interested in knowing what Arvind Kejriwal's background is, and how he gets his funding. However, that, in reality, would be "mindless negativity".


The ruling coalition once looked like a pack of buffoons. Now, they look like ominous forces in sheep's garb. The list of corruption cases never seems to end, making even Bofors look dwarfed. (By the way, does anyone know Ottavio Quattrochi's whereabouts?) One scam after the other keeps pouring out of the closet. If 2G Scam was huge, the mining scam was monumental, the alleged nexus between Robert Vadra and DLF is phenomenal, the entire "politician-bureaucrat-real estate industry" network that seems to be unravelling in Haryana is only picking up steam, and the alleged wrongdoings of the law minister, Salman Khurshid, is out of this world! Kejriwal did pull a coup in the Robert Vadra episode, what with "Mango People Banana Republic" having become iconic. Would the Congress use the slogan for its election campaign? But then, hey, are we not verging on mindless negativity again? 

Sorry, Prime Minister, but looks like we have been conditioned into negativity. It's not your fault; it's just that we have not been fortunate enough to have a strong leader who could reign in the negative forces. We have not been savvy enough to elect an honest government. We have not been educated enough to read the differences among the good, the bad and the ugly. We have not been responsible enough to say no to corruption. And we have been too busy with our own lives, being so naive to believe that elected representatives would look to our interests, not theirs! It's our selfishness to blame, not your incapacity.

Finally, the Robert Vadra saga seems to have taken a back seat for now, with Salman Khurshid's scandal coming into the limelight. But hey, wait! Is it indeed a scandal, or it is a spectacular display of Salman Khurshid's loyalty to Congress and its President? The law minister has said he was ready to die for the Congress President. So, perhaps, Salman Khurshid and his wife decided to distract attention from the on-going all-out attack on the Sonia family by manufacturing irregularities in their NGO accounts so that the media could take its eyes off Robert Vadra! Should the CAG focus his investigation from such an angle and probe if the irregularities were intentional? Bravo, Salman Khurshid, you have passed the test of loyalty, and your services to Congress would stand the test of time. 

For once, Mr Prime Minister, we have been able to see the positive side of a scandal, and get done with our mindless negativity!