Sunday, September 16, 2012

World's largest Democracy in Peril

Turning Point India

1201, Sector 29, Arun Vihar, Noida – 201 303 (UP) (India)

Ph: 0120-2454344, Mob: 9818047092,



27035A/TPI/TT-3                                                                                16 September 2012


1.      Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.H. Kapadia,
Chief Justice of India,
Supreme Court of India,
Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110 001
2.      Mr. V.S.Sampath,
Chief Election Commissioner of India
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road,
New Delhi-110001
3.      Mr. Vinod Rai,
Comptroller and Auditor General of India,
Pocket-9, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg,
New Delhi-110124.
4.    General Bikram Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC
Chief of the Army Staff                                       
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Army)              
South Block, DHQ PO, New Delhi-110011
5.   Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM, ADC                                         
Chief of the Naval Staff
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Navy)
South Block, DHQ PO, New Delhi-110011
6.      Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, PVSM, AVSM, VM                    
Chief of the Air Staff
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Air Force)
Vayu Bhawan, DHQ PO, New Delhi-110011

Sovereignty and Integrity of India in Peril

Respected Sirs,

1.                At the outset, I appeal to your magnanimity to kindly pardon me for impropriety, if any, in addressing you collectively like this. Collectively, you are the vision providers, navigators and powers who can save our Democracy from collapsing.  At a time when public confidence in the Government institutions is waning fast, you are the Institutions and authorities that still command people’s confidence and hope.  

2.                I am bringing before you the issues and proposals that have been debated and deliberated for months by mature, experienced and highly responsible men and women of our society. Therefore, very humbly and most hopefully, I would request you to please mull over these submissions seriously and, more importantly, initiate pragmatic actions to purge and provide a fair, transparent, honest, efficient, and people friendly Democratic system that has been devoured by corruption and divisive forces of self-serving politics. Sovereignty and Integrity of India have never been in a more perilous state.

3.                Fully conscious of the pressure on your precious time, I shall be as concise as possible in conveying to you what we consider ‘aspirations of a distraught Nation’.

The External Threat Scenario

4.                India is the only country in the world that has two of her major neighbours, both nuclear powers, with a history of wars and continuing animosities and suspicions – frequent peace and friendship initiatives notwithstanding. China, aspiring for global leadership, is befriending India’s closer neighbours like Srilanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and even Nepal while their faith in India is dwindling. In her quest to encircle India, China is steadily expanding her influence in the Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific. In the west, the scene is even more worrisome. Attacks by the al Qaeda-Taliban terrorists on Pakistan’s high security installations have become more audacious and frequent, the latest being on Kamra air base, believed to be storing nuclear warheads. These attacks have laid bare the vulnerability of a beleaguered Pakistan which is fighting a losing war on many fronts besides its ongoing asymmetric war against terror. Tussle between the Judiciary and the Executive, resurging Islamist movements, rampant corruption and a failing economy with an S&P debt rating lowered to ‘CCC plus’ which is among the world’s lowest – all add up to make Pakistan more shaky and unstable. For India, a weak, strife-torn, unstable Pakistan is more dangerous than a strong, prosperous and stable Pakistan for obvious reasons. The vital question, however, is how prepared we are to play a proactive role in either eventuality.      

The Domestic Scenario

5.                Rise of Sectarian/Divisive Politics: Divisive politics is flourishing with utter disregard to the constitutional safeguards as gangs like Shiv Sena and MNS brazenly go on the rampage every now and then driving away non-Marathas from Mumbai. Raj Thackray has the audacity to issue Fatwas to ban Hindi TV and banish all Biharis from Mumbai. In Mumbai again, a group of demonstrators raise Pakistani flag, destroy ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ and set vehicles and public property afire even as the police watched mutely. What is even more shocking is that the Government lumps it all so meekly and helplessly! At the national level, the politics of caste-community based quota, subsidy, and reservation has destroyed harmony and created rival groups within the society, while the poor - the so-called ‘beneficiaries’- still languish in perpetual poverty that spreads beyond caste boundaries. Rather than empowering the impoverished, the quota regime has only promoted ‘dependence’ of the needy. Hordes of foreign nationals continue to infiltrate illegally into India from Bangladesh and neither the State Government of Assam nor the Centre seems to know how to tackle the problem which recently erupted in violence taking toll of several lives and rendering thousands of people homeless. As if that was not enough, Indian citizens from NE states were hounded and targeted in metro cities as if they were aliens in their own country.  The very idea of India as a Nation is under threat!

6.                Probity in Public Life Abandoned: Falling standard of probity among politicians is the bane of Indian Democracy today. Assets of MPs and MLAs quickly multiply into hefty fortunes, in many cases recording a staggering 100 to 1000 per cent growth even when there is no visible source of honest income. The CAG revelations in 2 G, CWG and Coal block allocations have exposed how forthcoming our politicians and bureaucrats are in compromising their integrity and character for quick personal gains. Some have surpassed limits and fallen to the bottom of moral depravity and, shockingly, even the law has been slower and softer on the likes of ND Tiwari, Gopal Kanda, Mahipal Maderna, Abhishek Singhvi and so on. MPs’ affidavits perused by the National Election Watch (NEW) revealed that more than 162 Lok Sabha MPs including some ministers are facing criminal cases in courts of law. Of these, 76 are involved in serious crimes like murder, rape, dacoity, cheating, kidnapping and so on.  Sadly, the number of tainted MPs has been steadily rising – there were 128 in the 14th Lok Sabha while now they are 162 in the 15th Lok Sabha – despite public outcry for Lokpal and repeated recommendations from India’s constitutional authorities at the highest level. Here is the evidence of stubborn inaction:

(a)              The Election Commission of India recommended as far back as 1998 that ‘candidates with pending criminal cases should be debarred from contesting elections.’ The Commission had to reiterate it in 2004 but without any effect.  

(b)              The Law Commission of India similarly proposed in 1999 an amendment/insertion of Section 8B of Representation of People Act, 1951 that would make candidates facing charges by a court of law ineligible to contest elections.   Yet, no effect!    

(c)               The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) also emphasised in their Report submitted in 2001 that “Any person convicted for any heinous crime like murder, rape, smuggling, dacoity etc should be permanently debarred from contesting for any political office”. Going a step further, the Commission also proposed that Political Parties giving ticket to such candidates should be ‘derecognised forthwith.’ No effect, yet again!

(d)              The Second Administrative Reforms Commission in its final Report submitted in 2008 lent support to the Law Commission proposal for appropriate legislation to debar candidates with criminal background from entering legislatures.  To no avail whatsoever!

7.                Corrupt, Callous Governance: In its Corruption Perception Index of nations for the year 2011, Transparency International pegs India at level 95 recording a drop 11 notches below her previous year’s position among 178 countries of the world, a score that is far worse than countries like Morocco, Grenada, Zambia, Srilanka and many others in the category. Enviably viewed as one of  the world’s fastest growing Economies (BRIC), India’s growth story is annoyingly diminishing having already slid from 10.6 in 2010 to 7.2 in 2011 and may ‘collapse to 5 percent’ this year as cautiously admitted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself at the Planning Commission meeting on 15 September 2012. The logjam in which the Government is struck is so strange that the UPA partners, who should be supporting the Government, are criticising its policies and moves more bitterly than Opposition to extract more than their pound of flesh. At the core of all these negatives lies the official corruption which is tearing through the skies. Widely criticised domestically as well as globally for manipulating poverty statistics, our Planning Commission put 32 percent of India’s population below poverty line (BPL) whereas the World Bank puts it at 42 percent. Evidently, subsidies, reservations and populistic projects like MNREGA and other poverty alleviation schemes have ended up enriching only the corrupt officials, local politicians and touts at the cost of targeted beneficiaries. Misappropriating public money and perpetuating poverty in such a regime has become a lucrative business of the politico-bureaucratic nexus. Unconcerned about the rising public ire against official corruption, Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Home Minister of world’s largest Democracy disgraced it when in reply to a query from the press on 15 September 2012 in Pune he said, “earlier the Bofors was a talking point. People forgot about it. Now it is coal. This too will be forgotten." A live example of how corruption destroys moral fibre of the nation!

8.                Systemic Paralysis: Bureaucrats are on a ‘pens down’ mode reportedly because they hesitate to take decisions for fear of getting caught as if honest working were so risky and no longer possible in government departments! Accountability has disappeared from the system. The state of crucial public utility services like government hospitals is horrific. Government schools are no better than cattle sheds. People fear police more than they fear criminals. Self respecting citizens no longer risk going to police stations to seek help because they find it easier to settle scores directly with the criminals than be exploited and insulted by police with no positive result in sight. No complaints against their rogue behaviour scares any government employee for, thanks to the shared booty of their ‘collections’, the boss would do no more than placate the complainant and hush up the matter to the delight of his delinquent subordinate. What has happened to the system that demanded efficiency, punctuality and fairness in official performance? The idea of Lokpal dates back to 1969 when the bill was first passed in the Lok Sabha.  Since then no other bill has been debated as much in and out of the Parliament. Teeming multitudes of humanity at Delhi’s Ramlila grounds for once forced the Parliament to adopt a ‘Sense of the House’ resolution favouring adoption of the Lokpal.  The agitation was called off, and so was the Lokpal bill.    

9.                The Coalition Sophistry: Coalition governments have made a mockery of Democracy. Political parties that contest elections by rousing public passions against each other as avowed enemies trading abuses and allegations, suddenly have no compunction in forming unholy alliances with those very rivals soon after elections. This is grossly unethical, against the will of the electorate and, therefore, against the spirit of the constitution too. This is like gangs coming together to form a ‘Mafia Group’ rather than a ‘Government’ which they would manoeuvre to serve their narrow interests rather than peoples’. It must, therefore, be incumbent upon parties to first form an alliance and decide on a common Manifesto on which they intend to contest elections as partners so that the voter knows what kind of a government he is electing. Also, it is no secret that MPs were sold and purchased to save fledgling coalition governments twice on the floor of the Lok Sabha – the Narsimha Rao Government in 1993 and the Manmohan Singh Government in 2004. In the existing constitutional dispensation, it is possible for an otherwise insignificant group of legislators or even an individual to conspire with one of the rival groups in an evenly divided House and topple or alter a Coalition Government to arrogate unusual power and authority to themselves – a scenario that would be grossly against the mandate of the electorate, yet constitutionally permissible. We know how an independent MLA, Madhu Koda, now in jail for amassing an illegal wealth of Rs. 4000 crore, became Chief Minister of Jharkhand in 2006. In the present Coalition, the Prime Minister has himself confessed that he is working under ‘coalition compulsions’, implying that the Government does yield to blackmail and coercion from partners for its survival. This compulsive stranglehold of coalition partners has been the primary factor in paralysing the Government. By implication, such governments last as long as they serve vested interests of partners; public service is incidental.   Having messed up almost an entire monsoon session of the Parliament without transacting useful business, the Government is now frantically huddling to take ‘bold decisions’ on FDI, disinvestment and other controversial issues on the sly even many UPA partners are left fuming.  

10.             Official Neglect hits Military Morale:  It is now indisputably known that the military personnel and Ex-servicemen were given a raw deal by the 6th Central Pay Commission, not to mention of the woes given by earlier pay panels. A large number of petitions and appeals filed by aggrieved ex-servicemen against the Government decisions stand disposed by the Armed Forces Tribunal, High Courts and the honourable Supreme Court in favour of the petitioners asking the Government to grant remedies in each case. Yet, the bureaucratic red tape has not permitted justice to reach the aggrieved parties including serving soldiers. The result is that the mounting resentment has taken a toll on the military morale which has recently manifested in some very disturbing happenings in some military units deployed in sensitive operational areas. Spilling beyond breach of discipline, these incidents became mutinous confrontations defying chain of command. It is a different matter though that the top military brass shall go to any extent to allay doubts about military’s morale and battle worthiness because in military ethos it is disgraceful and un-soldierly to be demoralised. Even a dying soldier would boast of his ‘high morale’. India’s military might is the last resort to deal with the most complex and dangerous threats – internal or external – when all else might have failed. There is no alternative to maintaining the Armed Forces fully motivated, satisfied, well equipped and well cared for so that they deliver desired results. Unfortunately, petty considerations like inter-service parity, inferiority or superiority and one-upmanship are over-riding national interests and, in their effort to negate the uniqueness of military’s role and structure, the bureaucrats have traditionally viewed military as their rival in service status. This hostile mindset has always pulled down the soldiery in India by making the Government give them less than they deserve. Throughout the world, military enjoys distinct privileges, status and prestige which are officially bestowed upon the soldiers in the form of badges of rank, insignia, uniform, ‘standards’ and banners – all that distinguishes them from the rest. It is in everybody’s interest to make soldiers proud of their profession and beloved of the people they die for. There is an urgent need to arrest the fall of military morale and restore their dignity and motivation before it is too late.


11.             There are a host of reforms awaiting enactment of appropriate laws like Lokpal Bill, Whistle Blowers Bill, Electoral and Political Reforms, Ban on entry of charge-sheeted individuals into the Legislature or public offices, Confiscation of illegally acquired assets of politicians and government officials, Judicial Reforms and Judges Accountability Bill et al are unlikely to see the light of the day under the existing system.

12.             Peaceful agitations, recommendations of Commissions and statutory bodies, and even directions/strictures and observations frequently passed by the Judiciary have failed to improve the situation. The Law Minister derisively scoffed at the peaceful mass agitation saying, “Ramlila happens every year; what’s the worry?” Equally scornfully, the Home Minister also echoed the Government attitude when he said, "earlier the Bofors was a talking point. People forgot about it. Now it is coal. This too will be forgotten."

13.             The message is now clear: Non-violent Satyagraha is no more than a carnival that can go on for eternity or dissipate. The danger of such apathy and arrogance is that people will become restive and take to violence. Simmering resentment is mounting throughout the length and breadth of the country and forebodings of anarchy are very much perceptible.

14.             It is in this backdrop of harsh realities that we consider it highly expedient that bold action is now needed to save the country from anarchic times ahead. It might be unconventional, some might view it even ‘unconstitutional’ too, but would it really be so if the honourable Chief Justice of India, the CEC, the CAG and the Chiefs of the Armed Forces sat together and discussed the vital national issues that are not getting resolved by any other democratic mechanism? Indian democracy is yearning for your guidance today.

15.             While we suggest no specific plan to India’s most enlightened brains and custodians of public faith, we would certainly beg you to act collectively, resolutely and effectively before it is too late to introduce a course correction in our governance and facilitate the country’s advance to peace, prosperity, power and glory. Your intervention can save India from going the Libyan, Egyptian or Syrian way. 

With best regards and lots of hope,
Yours faithfully,
                              Karan Kharb

Turning Point India




  1. I justly believe, our present set of politicians have no love for the nation, like Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subash Bose and so many others had, who fought heart and soul to get us freedom. But these leaders of freedom left us in the hands of looters who have nothing in their mind except loot and loot. They just want to enjoy the spoils of freedom, and have the best of all comforts that this poor nation can ill afford. Most of them have inherited vast amount of illegal wealth, and have their children educated and settled abroad. Besides, by design, these so called netas have inducted their next of kin into the business, so that they can perpetuate their plunder and continue in the trade. Concern for the poor is just not their priority, nor do they care for constitutional bodies like the CAG or the Supreme Court, nor the EC and least of all for the Armed Forces. India is indeed in peril.

  2. A timely and telling communication indeed. Karan, you have conveyed the critical concerns so very well.Your commitment and 'crusade' for the Nation's cause is so intense and visible.Keep up the good fight-all right thinking Indians are with you.
    Yoginder Sharma

  3. Its incorrect to blame others for failure. Why not look inwards? Are only the politicians to be blamed for this? Is there any organisation which is done the nation proud apart from IIM/IIT and a few NRIs. A country like India with multi farious problems can only evolve, any revolution would dismember the state- USSR, East Europe, Libya, Egypt are some recent cases. The Chiefs have almost no say in decision making at the strategic level, thats because of some of the past chiefs personal agendas and greed they have sacrifised the larger interests of services. Raher than advising others to save the nation why do not we all combine our might to solve some of the problems.The ways forward are action(not advise/talking). firstly use judiciary,RTI/PIL and enough tools are available. Second, mobilise public opinin at the grass root level and not media polls/twitter/facebook/mails- the viewer ship is restricted to mid class that hardly votes. Thats what even Swami Vivekanad said awake and act, so my humble suggestion is if you have it in you provide the leadership and act. we have enough experts cum advisors, therefore if you wish to make a difference act

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  8. The present form of Parliamentary Governance has outlived its utility. Time for change to Presidential Form of Governance has arrived. I visualise that the demand for this change will reach its peak by the year 2016(i.e., two years into next goverment coming in power) which will turn into a civil turmoil, la Arabian Storm hitting Indian shores will bring about the change by the year 2018. Nation's future is brighter thereafter.

  9. We need a critical mass of active citizens to bring about any change in Society. Until we have those magic numbers, we can only sit and grumble. We, the so called educated elite, will not get up and do anything but talk and blog. Though everything in the article written is true, neither of the addressees, individually or collectively, have the power or ability to take any action. I doubt if they will even follow it to their higher authorities.

    Get up folks, time for action is here. As Swami Vivekananada said, awake, arise and stop not till your goal is reached.

  10. My kudos to Turning Point, Kejriwal, Ramdev and Anna Team: To achieve his aim of corruption free India kejriwal/Ramdev’s partieshave to win majority seats in the Parliament: How will they do it is not clear. It is not likely that they would get absolute majority in Parliament. I think Anna, Ramdev, Kejriwal and some new influential and honest individuals like Gen. VK Singh who are entering into politics on the plank of anti corruption should join hands, drop their differences, get elected and form an alliance to save India from the unscrupulous looters. Even if they get 100 MPs, they can make their presence felt. These parties and honest individuals with no corruption and criminal stigma attached would have better chance to win. But in Indian politics cast and money play great role. How will they deal with that is to be seen? Perhaps they would have to find honest chaps at village/grass root level in the cast dominating constituencies? All the political parties are corrupt though having a few honest ones also. In the present scenario where Kejriwal has opened front against all the political parties and corporate houses, they may join hands against Kejriwal/Ramdev’s parties to save themselves from prosecution at a later date by the strong Jan Lokpal Bill which the new parties would like to pass after coming to power. Political parties other than the UPA should work to topple the UPA now taking advantage of the corruption wave against it and form a new alliance on the plank of anti corruption, may be with Kejriwal/ramdev’s parties after elections. Politicians are known to be strange bed fellows after all.

    Kejriwal has declared that he will form his party in November 2012. Meanwhile he is revealing scandal after scandals every week thus creating awareness in public of the massive loot of national wealth and tax payer’s money by a few and embarrassing the concerned politicians, corporate houses and powerful individuals. In the process he is making powerful enemies also though gaining the sympathy of the masses. This may be a dangerous but good strategy for a short period if elections are held within next six months. In the long run, till 2014 if he keeps repeating this, people may get bored in absence of concrete follow up and loose interest as all this would become a routine and one or two days news for the benefit of the electronic and print media and a little talking point or gossip for the day. He must be aware that mass memory is short. Politicians know better than I. Time is short; he has to move fast. Meanwhile let us look forward for a better democracy.

    Wing Commander Vishnu Singh (Veteran)