B S Raghavan

Down with an arrogant Govt

Updated on: Jun 09, 2011
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The Government is making a huge mistake. It is viewing as a simple law and order problem the refusal of citizens to put up with hide-and-seek on the issue of corruption and black money.

The Empire of Corruption is striking back! There is a sudden streak of hawkish hot-headedness evident in the Government's postures and pronouncements.

In particular, one notices the Human Resources Development and Information Technology Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, and the Home Minister, Mr P.Chidambaram, adopting a conspicuously imperial tone and tenor, which is clearly hostile to ‘We, the People', to whom they are beholden for their transient positions of power and authority in the first place. Mr Sibal has the bravado to hold up as “a lesson for all” the sneaky and dastardly Ramlila maidan rampage by the police against sleeping, innocent men, women and children who had come from far-off places just to join the movement against corruption and black money.

Mr Chidambaram has the braggadocio to denounce a sovereign people's inherent basic right to protest as “destabilising the Government” and attack the media's brilliant performance in highlighting the people's anger and revulsion against the Government's black deeds as “competitive populist coverage of these movements” and an attempt at “undermining Parliamentary democracy”.

Values of freedom heroes

With all the “behave or else!” hauteur that he is capable of, he imputes motives to the media's discharge of its mandatory duty to keep the people informed, basing his insinuations on “reasons which I can't spell out”.

No doubt, he is ominously hinting at some concocted intelligence and cooked-up cases the Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance are planning to foist to subjugate the media and silence the critics.

If Mr Chidambaram has read his history from ancient times with the intelligence he is credited with, he would have known that human spirit fighting for a just cause, has never been, and can never be, extinguished by brandishing the deadly weapons of tyranny.

Our rulers should know, as from an authentic witness to the glorious age of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru whom I had seen from close quarters, that they are behaving contrary to the values of colossuses who won for us our precious freedom and taking the country back to the era of slavery and savage repression by even doing one better than the British colonial masters.

Actually, the British, with the background of a thousand years of democracy in their own country, were more tolerant and responsive. They dealt with freedom fighters fairly and justly after their own fashion, and never sought to crush them with the ruthlessness that is fast becoming the established mode in the so-called democratic India.

I don't know whether our present-day elected servants know it or not: When Gandhiji was deposing before the Hunter Commission which was inquiring into the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the Chairman asked him whether he could visualise a situation when he would have to resort to satyagraha even under Home Rule, Gandhiji, unhesitatingly and categorically, said that if the Government misbehaved in a free India, he would not think twice before launching satyagraha to bring it to its senses.

Playing hide-and-seek

That is what Anna Hazare is doing as a surrogate of Gandhiji. He is recapturing for the people at large the vision of true old times when every morning brought out a noble chance and every chance brought out a noble warrior for freedom, and the people let their voice rise to high heavens night and day, refusing to be coerced into being little better than sheep or goats that nourished a blind life within the brain.

Messrs Kapil Sibal and Co. would have seen how even tiny tots of five or six years of age had come to participate in Anna's fast at Rajghat and explicitly expressed their condemnation of the Government's tardiness in uprooting corruption and unearthing black money.

The Government is committing a huge blunder in viewing as a simple law and order issue the mounting nation-wide wave of refusal to put up any longer with the Government's policy of hide-and-seek in regard to corruption and black money. The struggle has assumed the dimension of a second freedom movement and it is egregious folly on the Government's part to seek to stamp it out by brute force.

Parties and groups playing politics with the evil of corruption and black money eating into the vitals of the nation should also understand that it has become in the people's eyes the repulsive face of politicians of all parties without exception, no matter that some of them for the nonce are jumping on to the bandwagon in the manner of one set of thieves joining the chase given by the people to catch another set of thieves.

Both fire-eating apologists for the Government's callousness, and political opportunists in the Opposition who had not lifted their little finger while they were in power, now sitting in dust-proof, noise-proof, climate proof cavernous offices, with all the creature comfort at their beck and call and spending hundreds of crores of rupees on security and healthcare must cultivate some understanding of the excruciating torture hourly inflicted on the aam aadmi in villages, towns and cities by every public servant from the traffic policeman upwards to the Cabinet Minister.

The fact that they are not able to do so shows either that they are totally devoid of humanity, blinded by their cushy existence or that they have a vested interest in perpetuating the system.

Sane voice

They should at the very least listen to the sane voice of the Defence Minister, Mr A.K. Antony. Nobody could have come out with a more sensitive or more precise explanation of the challenge facing the nation: “India is passing through a revolution...a transparency revolution. The walls of secrecy are crumbling ...in every field ...whether it is politics ...or administration ...judiciary ...business. The trend's started ...the movement's started ...you can't stop it mid-way….All those who are in key positions in India...they are still not ready for this transition...that is why there have been some problems...”

The more the Government keeps stonewalling the legitimate commands of the people, the more the odium it will be bringing to the country and the greater the danger (to borrow the words of W.B. Yeats) of things falling apart, the Centre not being able to hold, and of blood-dimmed tide being loosed.

Published on June 17, 2011

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