The quote below from Paradise Lost might be a bit of over-stating the state of the country under the present dispensation. But, if we cite Milton’s other saying Heaven is order and Hell is chaos, by that definition most Indians are living in hell. The chaos and confusion is manifested in all aspects of national life, be it social, political, social and relations both on regional and international level.
So, Indian Prime Minister would be heading to New York this month to meet the US President Barack Obama and most possibly his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, while we, the people, are full of disdain for his Government. But does he care. He does not simply because, he remains a bureaucrat in nature and character despite being in politics for quite some time. Bureaucrats have nothing to do with people.
But he is obviously a follower of Gandhiji as well and thus does not believe in uttering any evil, seeing any evil nor hearing any evil. So he does not react as any other prime minister like Indira Gandhi or Lal Bahadur Shastri would have. We all know how Mrs Gandhi reacted to US President Richard Nixon’s insults. The head of the most powerful country was rebuffed and snubbed by her.
When Ayub Khan’s bomber jets attacked north India, Shastri enthused his people by saying, “Dushman ne eenta (brick) phenka hai, Hum Patthar se jawab de gein.” And he did. But Dr Singh does not believe in saying anything harsh when the Jawans are beheaded or killed by Pakistani army soldiers after intruding several kilometres inside the Indian territory. In fact he possibly does not see or hear such evils. With time all will be forgotten, the old dictum.
His politics of silence has paid off well. The opposition could be criticising him on his face, the twitterati and those internet surfers might be full of derision against him but he sees no such things. He is most of the time sitting with impassive, expression-less face.
He perks up and his spine stiffens when he is defending his friends (indefensible) like Ashwinin Kumar. He dug his heels in resisting the demand for his ouster from the Cabinet but his heels were hauled up by the Madam who wanted Kumar out. But within months Kumar was made special envoy to Japan. The process of rehabilitation has begun.
His moral and ethical standing because of his probity and clean image in the public—remember it helped the Congress to come back to power with increased numbers in 2009—have been ripped off by the Coalmine allocation scam. He was a minister of coal when allocations were made. Yet he said he did not know anything about them. What he was then doing keeping the portfolio for almost three years. Either he followed his Gandhian philosophy of neither seeing nor hearing any evil, and let the corruption flow uninterrupted or as Shourie said he behaved irresponsibly. Whatever it might be, he has largely lost his charisma of clean politico amongst people.
The usually mild-spoken Ratan Tata said: “India has lost the confidence of the world and the country does not have a leadership which is leading from the front.” Coming from the usually reticent and who believes in understatement, it is a severe indictment of Dr Singh’s tenure as prime minister. And he talks about the loss of confidence of the world of a country which not too long ago was said to be on its way of becoming a superpower. He hd more to say, none of which was complimentary.
Arun Shourie has debunked our belief that Dr Singh is dictated by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. “He is an irresponsible PM….PM always blames others.” For 2G, A.Raja was blamed…I gave the 2G file to him…I warned PM about Raja… re. Coalgate he said he was the minister but he did not know anything….PM, a good for nothing.” When he told him about Raja, the PM did nothing just adjusted his turban, said Shourie.
With such observations about him is it any wonder people are suffering and the country is going to hell. When Dr Singh meets the leaders in New York, he would not represent a country which everyone predicted would soon be a superpower, but a country which got derailed on the way and is possibly the weakest, in conduct- not in terms of military strength and resources—in the region.
The Government is riddled with stains of scams, corruption, scandals and is presiding over ever rising inflation, prices, insecurity, crimes against women and worse over falling rupee, which has manifested in various painful outcomes. The economy which is already in pits would suffer more with the passage of the Direct food supply. The subsidy has gone up from 12 per cent to 32 per cent. The Food supply would cost forty thousand lakh per year. Where would this money come from—by squeezing the already nearly—tax sucked us.
The potential investors are refusing to come to India despite Dollar having touched Rs 68.75, and it is likely to spiral up further. They know that the economy would be in a shambles and they would lose their investments. Economic experts say withdraw the Food Security and MNREGA and the things would perk up.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is talking about 10-point programme. Does a Finance Minister need to plan or effect whatever he feels would improve chances of economic recovery?
But, while the allies of the Congress are worried and uncomfortable with the state of the nation and the people’s suffering and angst about their future, Dr Singh, on the other hand, maintains his Sphinx-like silence and one really does not know what Rahul Gandhi is thinking or planning. Except Sharad Pawar, all the leaders of the allies including Farooq Abdullah are getting increasingly wobbly. As Shourie said in his interview on a TV Channel the Government has not ‘been alive for quite some time. It is like a patient lying on a table’ and one might add made to jerk occasionally through efforts of Mulayam Singh and Mayawati. It has been ready for euthanasia for quite sometime.
With such a Government, it is no wonder that India today is struggling to keep its supremacy in the region. It does not now have even financial resources to fund projects in member countries of SAARC so as to be able to dominate in it. China could soon enough gain a firm footing in SAARC with the help of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. That would end India’s leadership of SAARC.
Pakistani Generals must be delirious laughing at the impotency of New Delhi in its dealings with incursions by their soldiers. The new dispensation in Maldives is openly defiant, India is treated like an enemy by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh has become sceptical about India’s friendship, Nepal is unconcerned. Even Myanmar ‘s troops intruded into Manipur, and what did we do. It was stated that it would take up the matter. Funny indeed!
China shows its teeth and then treats us with derision. Chinese revenue officers were allegedly trying to extend their authority in Ladhak. But first our government tried to deny the incursion later its minister said the Chinese would disappear like an acne—an analogy by a helpless man.
It was a repeat of what happened when the Defence Minister said on the Floor of the House that those who intruded into the Indian territory and killed the five jawans were terrorists wearing the uniform of Pakistani soldiers. He had to make a second statement within days to accept that those who had trespassed into India were Pakistani soldiers of a special Brigade. It was sure a matter of Breach of privilege. But, the opposition did not think twice before praising Anthony and closing the matter. The moment Anthony concluded his statement Shushma Swaraj had jumped up with alacrity and said the matter was satisfactorily concluded. Not surprisingly Shourie said that what we see in Parliament is a well-rehearsed drama.
With such parties what does one expect? The Congress is happy that it would survive the whole term because there is no opposition. But when the opposition fails to shoulder its responsibility, people take up its role. They are the ultimate arbiter. And they are the voters. A blundering Government and a wayward opposition suffer the same fate, oblivion. And that is hell for the politicos. Good—they have kept us in hell for a long time.
Hell hath no fury like people scorned!
By Vijay Dutt