Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Arrogance of Power is Killing Democracy

Manish Tiwari on 13 June 2011 said, “Our democracy faces its peril from the unelected and the unelectable….” Pranab Mukherjee labels Anna Hazare a tyrant! Used to politics of mudslinging, the Congressmen have persistently indulged in accusing Team Anna Hazare to deflect public focus from the Lokpal debate. With the earlier allegations like the fabricated CD and plot registration against Bhushans falling flat, they now want the people to believe that Anna Hazare is working for BJP/SS and not for the masses. Only the corrupt, not the democracy, should feel threatened by these mass movements. Democracy is the people, not the Government.

And let it be understood by the arrogant in positions of power that democracy is not their personal domain or, as Barkha Dutt aptly put it recently in an HT write up, ‘a members-only club’ where no ‘unelected’ citizens would have any right to play a role. If that were so, shall we assume that Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and the entire galaxy of our freedom fighters got away with their sins and, given his philosophy, Manish Tiwari would have prosecuted them for being ‘unelected tyrants’. There is a dire need for such people to introspect and explore for a paradigm shift in their outlook.

Given below are 10 observations that will help us analyse Government perceptions vis-à-vis ground reality on various aspects concerning present turmoil on India’s current political field:-

1. No other Democracy in the world has an unelected Prime Minister but India, the world’s largest democracy has. In such a scenario he could as well say, “our democracy faces its peril from its people…’

2. No other Democracy in the world has its PM or President as silent and as invisible as India.

3. No other government in the civilised modern world receives orders from an extra constitutional authority (10, Janpath) as obsequiously as does the Indian Government.

4. No other government in civilised world is ever seen staggering indecisively and so clownishly as our very own Government. First, they made fun of Anna Hazare, then, terrified at the overwhelming tide of humanity in support for Anna Hazare’s call, the stubbornness of the government caved in and formed the Jt Drafting Committee for Lokpal bill. Unable to answer questions raised by the Anna Team, Pranab Mukherjee calls him a tyrant! Next, the top foursome of the government lay prostrate before Baba Ramdev whom they would beat two days later. What kind of ‘Democracy’ is it; and who is destroying it?

5. No other Democracy in the world has as many as nearly a third of its Parliament (Lok Sabha) (162 plus Kalamadi, A Raja, Kanimozhi and more like Maran, Chindambaram etc in the pipeline) facing criminal charges (ranging from trespassing to murder) which is more than 26% increase over the previous Lok Sabha’s record. There are 9 ministers in the central cabinet facing criminal charges including one for ‘theft’. (As per National Election Watch, 76 MPs are involved in serious criminal cases. A total of 522 cases against MPs are pending, 275 under serious IPC sections). What more would you add, Mr Manish Tiwari, to imperil Indian Democracy?

6. As per combined survey (‘International Perception of Corruption’) by world’s highly reputed independent institutions like World Bank & IBRD, Bertelsman Foundation, World Economic Forum, Global Insight and Transparency International Berlin, India ranks at 87 with countries like Albania, Jamaica and Liberia at index of 3.3 (out of 10) – continuously falling from 3.5 in 2007 and 3.4 in 2008 & 2009.

7. No sane system of governance other than a heartless tyrant would unleash such brutality over a most peaceful bhajan singing congregation of innocent men, women and children as was done in Delhi’s Ram Lila ground in the late night hours on 4/5 June 2011.

8. As per media reports (Times of India Ahmedabad, dated 8th June 2011), India not only tops the list of nations having tons of black money stashed in Swiss banks but its cache of black money there ($ 1546 bn) is far more than the combined total of next four countries in the list of black money deposits namely, Russia, UK, Ukraine and China ($ 1056 bn). Contrast this with our poor farmers committing suicides, hapless pregnant women delivering babies at hospital gates and destitute tribal masses fed up with the callous administration finding solace under Maoist rebellion.

9. No other government can boast of so many scams as the UPA Govt.
10. Only DMK seems to be ahead of Congress (so far, at least) in the corruption race – so what if some have crash landed in Tihar Jail!

However, these are merely the facts of reality, not what Manish Tiwari and Pranab Mukherjee would like to believe. They, like their other colleagues in the government, are obviously passing through hallucinations and illusions. In Anna Hazare, they are seeing a heavily armed warrior – ‘a tyrant’ – at the head of an angry army of India’s masses charging ferociously straight into them. The scenario reminds us of Wordsworth’s adolescent thief who was fleeing with his stolen boat but felt the hilltop behind was chasing him so menacingly that the farther he roved the bigger the shadow loomed over him. The more the government tries to shoo away the Lokpal and anti-corruption uproar, the more vigorous becomes the public outcry against corruption. Indian politicians could not have had more decent and loving enemies than Anna Hazare and his candle wielding masses or Baba Ramdev with his devotees practising abstinence and yoga. Arrogant governments in West Asia and North Africa are facing more violent and destructive uprisings. We have a choice to change peacefully.

While anxiety of those in power is understandable, they cannot avoid the problem by facing in the other direction. The tide is unstoppable. The people deserve and demand an effective Lokpal to rein in rampant corruption and they shall have it either with your cooperation or the tumult will crush authoritarian arrogance and install people’s choice.

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