Monday, December 31, 2012

What a World!

International cricket i.e. any cricket match; T-20 leagues, ODI's or Test matches involving international cricketers (with or without local lads); is easily the largest organised fraud that is being committed on mankind, in broad daylight. 

An extraordinary coincidence took place recently. A book, 'Gambler Bookie Fixer Spy,' by a British journalist, ED Hawkins, made news before it was published. The book raised doubts about clean cricket and indicated possibility of continuing fixing in cricket. But it also betrayed racial bias of the author. While the author dwelt on the sub-continent, and  matches involving teams of the sub-continent, he knowingly or unknowingly didn't dwell much on more important events/matches involving the whites and the white players in the past. Anyway, the book just raised some eyebrows before the international media and the world chose to close eyes and preferred to remain blind.

The coincidence is that a week before publication of  the above book, another book, 'Inside The Boundary Line,' by me, a common Indian, got published in India. This book didn't raise questions, rather conveyed the truth (contained in the opening line/para) to the world. The author shared the truth he had experienced with the world. The international media and the world at large continued to be blind by choice, and didn't even raise an eyebrow. Strangely enough, the British author, Mr Hawkins, also couldn't do much when confronted with the truth. 

The world seems to be saying 'so what if international cricket is a continuing biggest fraud in broad daylight?' Right. But then why does the same world makes noise about very small matters in comparison? Probably not only India, but the whole world is the theater of the absurd. And Ms/Mr X, Y, or Z, howsoever well placed you are, wherever you are, howsoever handsome or beautiful you are, howsoever rich you are, you are but an absurd entity in this theater of the absurd.

Wishing all a happy and prosperous new year!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Contrast

    Mitt Romney was pleasantly graceful in his defeat. Barack Obama was simply marvellous in his winning address to his people. Just for a moment contrast their speeches with those of Sonias and Modis in India and you will know the chasm between the two countries and the two people. There is hardly anything but mud slinging when Sonias and Modis speak. The emphasis all the time is on trying to prove who are the worse rogues. Don't be mistaken that the difference is between the quality of leadership in the two countries. The contrast is between the character and the culture of the two people these leaders represent.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mahesh Jethmalani

      Mahesh Jethmalani resigns from the Executive Committee of BJP as tainted Gadkari continues to be its President. Good. But what does he and millions of his educated and intelligent brothers and sisters do, even though the country continues to be governed by an outright corrupt Cabinet of Ministers (as its overall character, not necessarily each and every member is corrupt). They do precious nothing. Led by Indian Media they just make false noise and continue to enjoy themselves.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

No limit to Absurdity

   "PM vows to root out corruption" says the headline in today's The Statesman. He must have meant corruption by others excluding the first family, himself, his council of Ministers, and the Congressmen. Or did he mean that all of them were holy cows and no act by them, howsoever corrupt, could amount to corruption. How does one maintain sanity in this country - touching new depths of depravity each passing day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Third World = Third Rate

No doubt, India is a third world country. No doubt, it has been ruled by third rate leaders, third rate journalists and editors, third rate judiciary, third rate bureaucrats, and has been inhabited by third rate intelligentsia. Now, we also have third rate crusaders (who don't require any outside force to divide them) on the scene.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Challenge for Debate

  Arvind Kejriwal, no doubt, is an intelligent man. That is because he has challenged Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan Singh, and Rahul Gandhi for a debate. He could not be more intelligent in choice of his competitors, who could be challenged even by the mentally retarded. Sonia Gandhi will have to ask her speech writers before she could argue any point, Manmohan will have to ask Sonia, and Rahul Gandhi will keep on wondering whom to ask.   

Friday, October 19, 2012

Arvind Kejriwal - Death before Birth

 Some recent developments resulting in loss pf credibility for IAC and Arvind Kejriwal have made it necessary that I make an email dated 19/9/12 to Mr Prashant Bhushan/Mr Kejriwal public. Here is the mail:

"Dear Mr Prashant Bhushan/Arvind Kejriwal,

 I have received no reply to my last mail to Mr Kejriwal. I am not sure whether you are undecided about me or you have made up mind that I am insignificant and shouldn't matter to your cause.

Anyway, I am sharing here my thoughts and giving some inputs, I feel necessary.

Anna Hazare never appeared to be a man with vision. His strength has been his simplicity, selflessness, a life devoted to social service, and his integrity. By some of his utterances and actions today, his integrity comes under cloud. Wasn't it he who publicly announced decision to go political and gave green signal to Mr Kejriwal for proceeding in that direction? If now he has chosen to turn his back on his own team, the team should simply say 'good riddance' and look forward. It is the cause that should matter, and not the individuals, whosoever they be.

I learn that Mr Kejriwal also has stated today that 'the country is passing through a difficult phase, and I'll do everything possible to save it.' No doubt, very commendable spirit. But one can't achieve much by rhetoric alone. One has to act. And it is not so easy for a few individuals to save a country of 120 crores, a country having men of straw at the helm of affairs and a corrupted people. The rhetoric of 'Janlokpal' and 'remove corruption' alone can't achieve much. This rhetoric has served its purpose. It has created some awareness, and brought you and your team to the center stage,  under media attention. Now a lot, lot, lot more needs to be done  beyond lokpal and corruption. 

First of all, the core team must do honest introspection. What is the motivation? What force binds you people together? Is it ambitions or a deep desire for systemic corrections? The people who have  nothing but a deep desire to make Indian society free from inequalities and injustices at their heart alone should form the Core Team. They shouldn't be egotists and must have a sense of purpose above everything else. There are many such Indians, I am sure. The need is to identify them, unite them and bring them to one platform. This is neither very easy nor very difficult. The task at hand -- to correct systems rotting at the roots for years -- is no child's play and very challenging. But where there is a will, there is a way.

I feel encouraged by presence of Sh. Yogendra Yadav, the psephologist, with you. I feel he has a very mature political mind and appears to be a very balanced individual. 

Once you decide to form a political outfit, the work increases exponentially, and you will have to have a detailed road map for a variety of issues. You have to act a lot, and act fast.

I also have an idea, which can be implemented just through creation of a website, may be even more effective than Lokpal, for people seeking justice across the length and breadth of country, not only from govt but also from unscrupulous private players. With your organisation, it will not be much difficult to implement it, and if implemented by you - your credibility will get established beyond doubt.

I shall close now as I am feeling like sleeping. If I look like sermonising, kindly excuse me as that is not the intention in the least. I am sure that you will find nothing new in most of above. If you feel that I am intruding into your space and time unnecessarily, kindly excuse me and let me know. I shall find my peace.

Atul Kumar"

It is not so disappointing that they chose to pay no heed to this mail. What is really disappointing is that what has followed since. It is disappointing to know that they have allowed themselves to be blinded by the media glare (did media lead them to this on purpose?), have allowed their credibility to be lost beyond redemption in near future (if they don't realise it and chose to be blind to this fact also, God alone can help them!), and have betrayed the thousands of middle class Indians whose hopes they had raised. An article by Mr Rajinder Puri in 'The Statesman' today raises serious doubts about the credibility of Mr Kejriwal. And Mr Y P Singh, the retired IPS, drew the proverbial final nail in the coffin yesterday. 

What appears now is that Mr Kejriwal and the bunch surrounding him tend to continue to be-fool the people through the slogan of 'remove corruption,' on the same lines as Congress had been doing for half a decade through the slogan of 'remove poverty.' Though Mr Kejriwal continuously talks of need to change the system, he has yet to come out with a plan for the same. He has been doing nothing beyond telling people what they already know, that most of our leaders are corrupt. And posing himself as the champion against corruption, he has had kind words to say about the fountain head of corruption, the first family, as the article by Mr Rajinder Puri reveals. His not bothering to respond even to the italicized para of my mail confirms that he has allowed himself to become nothing but a self seeking politician just like those whom he attacks.  

Now Baba Ramdev remains the only hope for us. Let us see whether he also fails us or we fail him, or together we succeed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Anna Hazare

 Anna Hazare has been expressing his annoyance at Arvind Kejriwal entering politics. But he himself has already become a politician. That's why one fine morning he is with Kejriwal, next morning annoyed with him, and next morning again not annoyed, the ground reality remaining same all the time.

So much so for the so called non-political movement.

Mamata Di

     Mamata Banerjee, just after withdrawing from the government, in an interview to Rajdeep Sardesai, said that the UPA/Congress government was stable for corruption and by corruption. The interviewer and our great media seemed to have missed a very interesting point. Could UPA become so as alleged by Mamata Di overnight? What was she and her party doing in such a government for last 3 years? The interviewer didn't ask her. I don't know whether it didn't occur to him or he couldn't dare.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fools and Asses

A simple fact (there could be many more) should be sufficient for even the asses to understand that the Indian intelligentsia, the leaders, and the journalists, are devoid of any common sense, and are not only fools but utter fools. They are always talking about India being a great democracy.They also talk about Rahul Gandhi as a national leader all the time. And what are the credentials of Rahul Gandhi for that. None except that he was born years ago to Sonia Gandhi and one Rajiv Gandhi. If those credentials alone could make one a leader of national stature, how could the country be a democracy?

I am sure the asses will understand but the Indian fools will not understand even now.   

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nothing has Changed

Nothing was expected to change and nothing has changed in last year or two. If things have changed, it is for the worse.

1. The media at large continues to act as a keep of those in power. If team Anna has made any indisputable demand till date, it has been - asking of a SIT to investigate those central cabinet ministers against whom strong prima-facie evidence existed. And it was really amusing when Arnab Goswami of 'Times Now' Fame, and the biggest self-proclaimed crusader against any wrong doing by anyone in the country, also appeared to be questioning the appropriateness of this most legitimate demand.

2. On the heels of the 2G scam, comes the bigger 'Coalgate.' And lo! Chidambrams and Sibbals are at it           again with their absurd logics. I wonder what is the common-sense or education level of the reporters to whom they proudly explain their  'smart' theories. If I were one of them, I could easily take their pants off and make them run in their under-wears. But the media and the government are doing nothing but proving me right. The former proving what morons they are and the later proving that words beyond 'shamelessness' need to be coined now.

3. The erstwhile Team Anna, the good guys, is disintegrating with each passing day. They have also done their bit in proving me correct in all respects.

4. All this while, while the politicians get the brick-bats, the bureaucrats coolly continue to laugh all the way to the Swiss banks.

5. More than Rs. 5000 crores per year continues to get leaked through Railway procurement and no one is least bothered, even though the issue is in the knowledge of the whole parliament and whole of media.

6. The recent Supreme Court verdict on Chidambram has only proved beyond doubt how inadequate and/or pliable our judicial system is.

In short and in essence, the rogues and the rascals are touching greater heights each day and the eunuchs are happily enjoying their impotence.  

Long live India! Shame India!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How do we Err?

First the disclaimer. I pen the following words not with any hope from the present Indian society infested with the pseudo intellectuals, but for the posterity and to satisfy the urge within.

To begin with, we err in not realising how base we are or have become at the roots as a people, remaining individually good at heart. We are a people having a fake leadership and political system, a fake judiciary and judicial system, a fake bureaucracy and bureaucratic system, and above all a fake media. Of course there are some exceptions here and there. I am not the only one to say so, having brought out this fact amply through my earlier articles and in my book ‘rogues rascals and Eunuchs (pain of an Indian whistle-blower)’ (the book is nothing but a systematic compilation of my earlier blog posts), but a number of recent articles by veteran journalists published in the Statesman have also clearly been indicating this fact. To an extent this fact is a result of the crab mentality we Indians are cursed with. Most of the times, we are using up our energies in pulling down the capable and deserving individuals around us, allowing the fake to rise. The correct knowledge of the depth and spread of the rot is necessary before we could think of an effective cure.

Even those of us, who are well aware of the fact and have the best intentions, err in searching for solutions where none exist. Anna, team Anna, and lakhs of their active and passive followers are the immediate example. In believing that Janlokpal was a major solution for the deep rooted and widespread ills of the society and that they could force its creation as an outside pressure group, team Anna betrayed some lack of vision; and their mass following proved once again that the masses were governed by nothing but the herd mentality. At the time of penning of these lines, theirs is a failed movement with loss of credibility for their leaders. Had they not erred and had a year back taken the course they intend to take now, they would not have lost their credibility. It is an irony that they are choosing the political recourse at the same time when proving to the world their lack of political acumen. Had they taken this recourse (the only sensible recourse available to them for last one year) without having led the people into doubting their intentions and without having subjected the nation to the farce (as it has turned out to be) of yet another fast at jantar mantar, they would have been much better off. Or if all this drama was necessary to sway the herds for a good cause, I won’t complain. All said and done, team Anna remains the best among the well meaning Indians in sight and it is unto them to provide the leadership the nation needs and for us to accept and encourage such leadership as and when it emerges.

A failed movement is worse than no movement as it brings more despair to the people. In a similar way as issues are raised without following those to a logical conclusion. Here the Indian media errs the most as they do so day in and day out with no exceptions. Scams are reported, losses to the public exchequer are reported, but one doesn’t come to know of a logical conclusion in one’s life time. The people get more and more demoralized. 

Let us see what the culture we nurture is. One playing seemingly fake cricket gets to earn Rs 150 crores (besides undisclosed income) a year and a carpenter or another artisan doing his or her job most professionally and sincerely gets to earn Rs 150 thousand a year. Families known to have looted lakhs of crores of tax payer’s money and stashed it away in foreign banks are chosen to rule us and are sung praises of by the pseudo journalists and the pseudo intellectuals of the country that far outnumber the genuine ones. We as a people bow at their feet day after day. Politicians known to have looted other lakhs of crores are elected and chosen as key central ministers or chief ministers again and again. We waste our energy in creating stars from among us and then use up rest of it in competing with each other in licking their bottoms.  Worshipping them becomes our main preoccupation. These are nothing but the manifestations of our culture and the capitalist and democratic systems we feel so proud of. When we accept these manifestations so nonchalantly, don’t we look very foolish in making so much noise about corruption? We, very seriously err in not realising that corruption is nothing but a by-product of the culture we pursue.  Corruption is not the root cause of our evils as everyone conveniently seems to believe, it is a necessary off- shoot of the capitalist and bureaucratic structure we have embraced. And if we are happy with our culture, we should be happy to accept the by-product also. If we don’t like this by-product, we must look for solutions in revolutionary corrections in the economic and political systems we follow.

We err in associating only politicians with corruption and scams most of the time, forgetting how thoroughly base our bureaucracy, the backbone of governance, has become. And that much more than the politicians, the bureaucrats and the bureaucratic systems, and the judicial systems we have become slave to are responsible for the massive scams we come across on daily basis now. I say this out of  my experience in the Railways, an organisation supposed to be having a better set of bureaucrats in the country. This aspect has come out in better detail in my interview published in the Statesman about a couple of years back under the title ‘Bureaucrats are both running and ruining the country’ and subsequently in my above book.

The most importantly, we reach the height of human foolishness when we abuse and curse our leaders, duly elected and chosen by the people, for their rogue behaviour, not saying a word to ourselves, the people, who had chosen and elected them as their leaders. We happily accept that majority is authority expressing faith in the wisdom of the people all the time, and then question why a majority of ministers and a large number of parliamentarians elected by those very people were corrupt and rogues. Even after experience of 65 years as a free democratic country, we fail to understand that today’s lowest ever level of governance and the highest ever level of corruption are nothing but a necessary outcome of our character and the parliamentary system of democracy we follow with such pride. Not learning from history, we continue to ignore the diseased roots and in vain attempt curing some stray leaves here and there.

Sushma Swaraj, a renowned leader, was all praise for our parliamentary system a few days back for the  reason that because of it change of power in the country had always been peaceful. But is that a reason enough to justify the existing system? The bottom line remains that a vast majority of Indians live and die in abject poverty. The disparity between the haves and the have-nots is ever increasing. There is injustice all around. There are so many laws, some of those outright absurd, that a common man always lives under fear of having broken one or another. The food adulteration and wide spread corruption in medical care adversely affect everyone except probably the VIP’s and the VVIP’s. If this scenario is acceptable to us, fine. If not, nothing but our folly prevents us from achieving better for us.

We err in looking for incremental corrections for a malaise that requires nothing less than total overhaul for cure. Today many voices, Baba Ramdev’s and Anna Hazare’s being the most prominent among them, are talking of need for total systemic overhaul. So did Jaiprakash Narayan talk forty years ago. We as a nation have been talking and saying everything for last sixty five years as it is our favourite pastime. Often we lack in vision and always we lack in action. Deep down most of us do feel need for a revolution not knowing what it should be and how it should come about.

Historically, revolutions the world over have meant a set of people fighting another set of people. In today’s India, the adversaries are anti corruption crusaders led by Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev on one side and the present UPA Govt, perceived to be the epitome of corruption, on the other side. But is not this government of the people and by the people, going by the definition of democracy? Isn’t it that the government is as corrupt as it is because we the people and the systems we nurture have been allowing it to be so? Will it be correct to consider a few individuals who happen to be in the government and have amassed massive wealth illegally to be the culprit now after having encouraged them to indulge in corruption all these years? Are not the people of India the real culprit? Has world been becoming any better after wars and revolutions involving wars? Is it necessary that for a revolution a set of people must fight another set of people? Couldn’t a revolution be all inclusive where all the people combine and unite to arrive at solutions beneficial to them at large, without indulging in blame games?

Answers to above questions and finding solutions won’t be difficult if we allow ourselves to be dictated by nothing but truth and love (or compassion), the two legs of humanity. Truth and love together. All the religions teach us so and all the literature tells us so. We shall have to unlearn all that we have been following and embark on ‘zero based thinking’ based on the twin virtues and principles of truth and love. That is if we really wish well for our descendants. Otherwise let us continue to engage ourselves in the same vicious circles, exemplified in our late evening TV channel debates involving the luminaries of the society, again and again, to get lost in the quagmire. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Theatre of the Absurd

This was the heading of a main news item in the 'Times of India', a few days ago. The news item related to the drama around removal of Dinesh Trivedi from the Railway Ministry by Trinamul Congress (TMC) (not the Prime Minister). It mentioned what Mr Trivedi had uttered and what Mamata Di (the TMC chief) had uttered. The headline made one wonder if not the country of India was a theatre of the absurd. Not many days after, another set of events (again involving TMC) unfolded which made Mr Rajinder Puri say that the whole country was a cartoon.

At the cost of some repetition of what I have said earlier, let us see how the country called India is a theatre of the absurd.

i) It has been supporting a most absurd and rotten judicial system and hardly anyone, especially media, appears to be bothered. While the civil society has been very concerned about corruption, it has conveniently or foolishly overlooked the fact that the absence of an effective judicial system is the root cause for all encompassing corruption.

ii) Everyone is bothered about framing of more and more laws but not about implementation of the existing ones. Those at the helm are worried about making more laws for better governance without realising that the multiplicity of laws is a pointer towards bankruptcy of the law makers and the society.

iii) Media in India raises questions and rakes up issues and then forgets about those quicker than any one else.

iv) People vote the known rogues and the most accomplished in corruption to power time and again, and continue making noises about corruption all the time.

v) The media condemns match fixing in cricket one moment and then eulogizes the players who have to be a part and parcel of the fixing, for next hours, days and months.

vi) The political parties contest elections against each other but join post election to get power. They criticize the actions of the government and continue to be a part of the same government.

vii) When a new tax in the form of 'service tax' was levied and continued to be increased year after year to rob common citizens, no one made any protest and the country readily accepted the right of the government to rob. Same country doesn't think twice for holding bandhs and staging dharnas on petty matters.

viii) The newspapers and electronic media scream through headlines regarding amassing of a few lakhs or a few crores by some individuals, but continuing and preventable loss worth thousands of crores of rupees to the public exchequer year after year doesn't bother them at all.

The list would be endless to underline the fact that India is a theatre of the absurd. Our media remains central to, adding all the time, to this theatre of the absurd.

Let us all enjoy the cartoon that we are.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Basic Problems in India

"Inequality and injustice are the main problems for India, corruption just being the result of these basic problems," conveyed Tarun Tejpal to the audience while receiving S R Jindal Prize-2011 for 'Crusade against Corruption' on behalf of 'Tehelka'. I found this to be a very meaningful statement. These words coming from someone considered to be the most effective in exposing corruption and scams through investigative journalism also vindicated what I have been saying on the subject.

Sitaram Jindal Foundation

Sitaram Jindal Foundation in India has launched path breaking awards to encourage those who have been doing selfless and significant service to the society in different fields and those who have considered society above self. It is first time that whistle-blowers and activists have been honoured by the Indian society. The Foundation and those behind it deserve to be saluted. Especially when the much publicised organizations like 'India against Corruption' have failed to even recognise those fighting against real corruption against all odds and at the cost of their own well-being and that of their families.

But alas! our media remains besotted by the Salman Khans, Kareena Kapoors and Priyanka Gandhis. They, as usual, have failed to take proper note of something good and great initiated in the Indian society.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Counter View

Here is a counter view to all what I have been saying.

There is nothing wrong and everything is fine and as it should be. It is all in nature that children should die of hunger, billions should suffer in abject poverty, those in power should misuse it, bureaucrats and businessmen must collude to make money and so on. Why should there be any world order? Saying daily prayers is more important than not committing daily sins etc.

I would accept, but then we must say so in our school books. I do have a problem when we say and preach something but practice something different or opposite. And we do so too blatantly all the time.

Conspicuous by Absence

Up elections are on but one doesn't hear or read what team Anna is up to though Baba Ramdev surfaces once a while. Leading to the elections, they were occupying the media space for months. When the crux time has come, the media space has been reserved for Priyankas and Rahuls. Anna and Team Anna are not to be seen. If I remember correctly, they had been warning of a lot of action during the assembly elections if their version of Lokpal Bill was not passed by such time. Their version of LokPal is nowhere even in sight, and they are conspicuous by their absence. Have people shunned them? Has media shunned them? Or had they themselves been misleading to divert attention from the reality of daily scams as Mr Rajinder Puri had been hinting again and again? I always felt conspiracy theory of Mr Puri was a bit far fetched but now one doesn't know. The hypocrisy of the electronic media in not giving them any space now, though, is too obvious.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

..... And The Farce Continues

This is another article I have sent to 'The Statesman'.

…….. And the Farce Continues

Elections are again round the corner. Everything is same as it used to be ~ about one third of the candidates with criminal record (no, they are not independents but are fighting on the symbols of all major political parties), campaigning and media coverage centering on leaders calling each other names, doling out of liquor and cash to voters by the political parties, the false promises promising the moon, manipulation in voting and who knows if manipulation of the voting machines. Ramdev and Anna Hazare who kindled hope in naives like me don’t appear to be of much consequence when it comes to grass roots of politics in India. The masses appear to be more enamoured of the crown prince than being bothered about the real issues concerning them. Or so the media and results of surveys presented by it make us believe. Why to blame uneducated masses when the cream among the literates, the media persons themselves, is fascinated by the prince. And what are the credentials of this prince?

Rahul Gandhi, the crown prince, is being projected as the Prime Minister in waiting and is the main campaigner for the ruling party. Is he a great orator? Is he a great thinker? Is he exceptionally talented? Has he got exceptional organizing capabilities? Is he an exceptionally gifted leader? Does he possess an overall personality to stand out in comparison to all other leaders and eminent personalities? Answer to all above and any other such question will be a loud ‘no’. On the contrary, of late whenever he has conducted himself publicly, more often he has given the impression of being a moron, especially while reading out that borrowed idea on Lokpal from a text written by someone else during zero hour in the Loksabha in late August, 2011. But he has a peculiar worthiness which no one else (except his sister) has or can have. He is son of Rajiv Gandhi, grandson of Indira Gandhi, and great grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, all having been Prime Ministers of India. If I am not able to grasp this great virtue, it must be my problem.

I have some other problems as well. I expect that when elections are being held to elect the governments, there must be detailed analysis and discussions on what those in power had promised before the last elections and what they had delivered. Where did they succeed and where did they fail? Were reasons for failure beyond them? What did the parties in opposition deliver as a responsible and constructive opposition? Which leader publicly lied how many times and on what issues? I expect to know the bare and objective data about the performance or non-performance of the government. How did the crime rate behave? How many FIR’s remained unresolved? How many children were under-nourished and how many died of hunger? How many farmers committed suicide? How much time did courts take in deciding cases and imparting justice? How much money was squandered or how much saved and utilized for public welfare? With the mushrooming of 24x7 news channels, I expect the media to provide me, the voter, with the answers to these and all such questions during election time. I do not expect it to act as agents of particular families or bombard me with who called whom what names. But our electronic media is not irresponsible like me. If they don’t report the utterances of the leaders and the ministers, even if those were worse than non-sense, they won’t be doing their duty. To find the answers to my questions is not their necessary job. They know better than me what an average viewer wants.

Winston Churchill certainly was a wise man. It was not without reason when he said, “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” In India, this can be extended further: “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute viewing of debates at prime time on prime TV channels,” or “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute hearing of the utterances of the central ministers who are supposed to be running the government,” and so on.

There is nothing what has not been said or written about the corruption and shamelessness of the central government during last one year, that too repeatedly, a lot in the columns of this newspaper. But all the ministers or their favoured ones who have distinguished themselves in corruption, incompetence or shamelessness, from PM himself to Montek Singh Ahluwalia (he also claimed zero loss in 2G scam), continue to be in power with their heads held high. The distinguished among the distinguished being Pawars, Sibbals, and Chidambrams. Those known (I believe at times knowledge is something much superior to evidence) to have stashed away billions in foreign banks control the government while petty thieves remain in jails without trial.

Ruling politicians and the people they rule don’t complete democracy. Opposition is another major player. In the federal structure India has, those in opposition at the centre can be and are the rulers in the states. There is a main national opposition party and there are regional parties in opposition at the Centre. When the ruling party was blundering now and again, the opposition’s space was being taken by some individuals, Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare, and their teams. The supposed to be main opposition party, busy in counting its own chickens in the states ruled by it, was non-existent barring mouthing something here or there. When it should have caught the ruling party by the scruff, God knows for what reasons, it continued to get snubbed itself. The regional parties were too busy doing in their ruled territories what the ruling dispensation was doing at the Centre.

Many learned Indians have started seeing hope in the Hon’ble Supreme Court as a result of some recent judgments taking the Government to task. They conveniently forget that judiciary as such remains the weakest pillar of Indian democracy. An average Indian who has ever had to seek legal redress of his or her grievances knows it too well. One has not only to face corruption at every stage; there is no deliverance of justice for years together. The depressing judgments have far outnumbered a few brilliant and encouraging ones. While the Hon’ble Supreme Court has rightly been taking the bureaucrats and the government to task, it has miserably failed to put its own house (the judiciary) in order. There is no other outside institution except Parliament that could deal with this worst facet of Indian democracy, but its members, the elected representatives of the people, have some better jobs to do. They have to ask questions for money or make false complaints to harass outstanding vigilance officers whose efforts lead to unearthing of scams worth hundreds of crores of rupees and registering of cases by CBI.

That leaves bureaucracy. The least said about it the better. What can poor bureaucrats do? They have to worry about their transfers, postings and promotions all the time, while making or not making money. Over and above, they are not expected to see beyond their noses and beyond what the boss sees. There are umpteen agencies and bureaucrats empowered and responsible to prevent corruption. That remains on paper. When they catch a few (the unfortunate ones) among hundreds of thousands of corrupt, with huge unaccounted wealth, they only confirm their incompetence and failure. What were they doing when mind-boggling sums were being amassed? How did 500 billion dollars (or who knows how much more) get stashed away in Swiss and other foreign banks?

Aha! How do I forget of religion and castes while talking about the world’s greatest secular democracy? Whenever elections take place, Muslim votes and Hindu votes is the first thing worried about and talked about by the political parties, the anchors, the media-persons and the learned citizens that take pride in being secular. And then there are castes - religions within religions. The religion and caste equations along with money power play major role in choice of the candidate by the political parties. His or her capabilities come in the end and character is hardly counted. While even a group D employee is recruited on merit within specified quotas, merit is rarely a consideration in choosing the chief executives (the ministers) at the centre or in the states.

Very recently an editorial in this very newspaper explained how India was a sham democracy. How decisions were taken by those in power, not as per people’s wishes, but driven by extraneous considerations. Mr. Rajinder Puri also illustrated how Indian democracy was a farce as those responsible were not considered accountable. True. What further needs to be understood is that it is not only those in power who are rendering the democracy a farce. All the constituents are responsible. The voter, the backbone of democracy, the most. Clearly the shamelessness of the present government emanates from its belief that inspite of all its misdoings it will be able to hypnotize or hoodwink the voters to vote it again to power or that the voters will have no better choice even otherwise.

The majority of the voters are illiterate or uneducated if not illiterate. They may not understand many things which their more blessed brethren, the educated ones, are supposed to understand and explain to them. It is here that the responsibility shifts to the educated class of the country and basically it is their collective failure that has turned Indian democracy into a farce. Everyone criticizes everything, and yet accepts everything. Even after being enriched with sixty years of experience, nobody is willing to see and think beyond the revered Constitution and Parliamentary democracy. It is within the framework of the existing systems that a colossal leakage of public money is going on unhindered (an estimated Rs. 7000000000000 (seven lakh crores) annually from procurement of goods and services alone) and a chunk of the educated class ~ the vendors, the businessmen, the bureaucrats, the liaison people and the politicians are continuing to share the loot. Another chunk - the journalists, the columnists, the activists feel ecstatic whenever a big fish gets caught in the net or an historic judgment is pronounced, blissfully ignorant of the fact that at the grass roots the corruption and depravation had all along been blossoming. Rest of the time, just being able to vent their frustrations and criticise satisfies them. Baba Ramdevs and Anna Hazares while successfully conveying to the voters what was wrong fail to provide an alternative to choose for better governance. They don’t get support from the educated class as they should have got if that class were really interested in better governance. Taking diverse paths satisfies their egos. They deceive themselves in believing that they would be able to change the hearts of the rogues as an outside pressure group consisting of a few.

Today growth and development are the key words. All are asking for votes in the name of development. Whatever public posture they may take, those in power and politics consider and accept corruption to be a necessity for growth. It suits everyone in the world of ‘The Haves’. The total annual leakage and loot worth billions of billions goes to this world (its distribution though being highly disproportionate causing a lot of heart burning among inhabitants of this world), the world a common educated man or woman is exposed to during his or her life time, while a much larger world, the world of ‘The Have-nots’ or ‘Darkness’ (as Aravind Adiga calls it in his acclaimed work ‘The White Tiger’) remains unknown and deprived. Ironically, that is the world of the majority and the votes of this world give unbridled power to those who end up becoming part and parcel of multi hundred and thousand crore scams and the very instrument of exploitation of those who had empowered them.

What all above boils down to is simply that democracy, though highly desirable for the freedom it gives, is inherently a farcical way of governance as one of the greatest philosophers of all times, Socrates, could foresee two thousand and five hundred years ago. The world’s largest democracy is only proving Socrates correct. The way the candidates are chosen and the way the majority votes, all said and done, the farce that Indian democracy is, is there to continue for a long time, in the name of the Constitution and the Parliament. To look beyond that, nothing short of a revolution is necessary and we, the half hearted warriors (as Mr Rajinder Puri puts it), the nice and tolerant human beings, as a people are far- far away from it. Till such time, reducing the duration of the license to loot from five years to, say, three years could help.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Muck Continues

In one of my posts dated 13th July, 2011, I had hoped that at last some corrective action was underway in the Railways. But as everyone seems to be knowing (and accepting) in India, the reality is too dark, much darker than the worst pessimists could imagine. I am talking of top Railway bureaucracy. In one sentence it can be described as 'The Railway administration is stinking and the top bureaucrats in the Railways are enjoying the stink'.

Against all odds (it is a long story summarized in the above sentence), I could succeed in submission of unanimous recommendations by the committee, consisting of a retired General Manager and a present General Manager besides me. These easily implementable recommendations were aimed at preventing further muck to a large extent. But as is the norm in India with regards to the committees and their reports, for all I know, these recommendations must be lying in some waste paper basket. It appears the purpose (of buying time and hoodwinking certain authorities such as Committee of Secretaries) was served just by forming the committee. For bureaucrats, especially the top bureaucrats, their career and other considerations are thousand times more important than the leakage of thousands of crores of public money year after year.

As a byproduct, my request for voluntary retirement was accepted (I am now a retired Railway officer still awaiting my dues and pension) and I, among others, was selected for the award for 'Crusade against Corruption' by Sitaram Jindal Foundation at all India level for my efforts. But as of today, the muck in the Railway procurement, I had set out to clear, continues. Let us see how long it does.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sense of Proportion

When it comes to sense of proportion, nothing can beat Indian educated class and intelligentsia. All hell broke loose when a few ministers were filmed watching some pornographic clippings on a personal mobile phone in Karnataka assembly by a vigilant TV cameraman. What were they guilty of? A personal or private sin in a public place. And of dereliction of duty in not being attentive in the Assembly. The latter can be said to be the same as being committed by all the legislators sometime or other when they are snoring or gossiping in the legislature.

But did such hell break lose when enormous public sins (cash for vote and 2G scam among many others one after another) were committed by those holding the highest public offices of the country? True that some editors and columnists demanded that government must go that time also but they were a very small minority. But the Indian intelligentsia and educated public in general were not bothered. All of them did bother as a man when the incident of porno watching came to light. Definitely something is wrong with their sense of proportion or my sense of proportion.

Monday, January 23, 2012


India is a great country. The world knows it is a great democracy. It does wonders to its writers, thinkers, activists, journalists, whistle-blowers and all those who yearn for better governance. It turns them into eunuchs. All of them end up making noises (akin to clapping by eunuchs), achieving nothing (no babies). But there is a difference. While the eunuchs combine to clap, the intelligentsia of India clap in isolation. Only if they could unite as eunuchs do, may be in effect they could have their sex changed and could also produce!