Brutal Colours Of UPA
The way the UPA government perpetrated brutality on the peaceful agitation against black money and corruption launched by Baba Ramdev and his followers at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi has again corroborated the fact that the UPA government continues to defy all norms of rationality, morality and common sense. In fact, these days it has become very thorny to make sense as to what the government is thinking, if it is thinking at all—for, the rot is too deep down, owing to the corruption and internal bickering. Thus, with a loss of faith in elected representatives, the Indian public is looking for the intervention of religious gurus as well as social activists to eradicate a disease that is now deeply embedded in Indian life. Such populist protests may not offer any immediate practical solutions but they have become a necessary first step to an effecting change. Therefore, the midnight swoop, from every account, was an act of wilful depravity. The government might have considered this swoop to be a demonstration of authority, but it made the government a set of yobbish weaklings. Sample this: The sheer brutality of the manner in which the police assaulted sleeping men, women and children can be gauged by the fact that a 50-plus yoga instructor, who had come from Gurgaon to participate in the agitation, was so brutally beaten up that, according to doctors, she would remain bed-ridden for the rest of her life due to her severe spinal cord injury. It is a sickening scenario that India, which is regarded as the world’s fastest-growing democracy, is deficient in truly accountability and the erosion of basic democratic values. No doubt, the country is treading the path of economic advancement, but corrupt practices have infiltrated all walks of life. Hence, one should not be astonished to note that the reliability of India as a chosen destination for foreign investors has taken a severe beating—India was evaluated 72nd in the corruption index of 2006 and is considered to be the worst performer in the Bribe Payers Index. A recent opinion poll ranked the present UPA government as the most corrupt of the past 35 years. This is substantiated by the fact that in terms of ease of doing business, India is measured at 133th place out of 183 countries. This may be one of the reasons why several Indian multinationals prefer their investments, worth several billion dollars, offshore.
According to media reports, the police were spying on Ramdev’s movements immediately after he landed in Delhi. And when they got the green signal to raid the Ramlila Maidan, they did not even wait for the morning. The way the government acted smacked of oppression reminding the public of General Dyers’ monstrous action against freedom fighters in Jallianwala Bagh, the dark days of Emergency, the Congress government-sponsored pogrom in 1984 Sikh riots. However, it is worth mentioning that Baba Ramdev’s claim of being on a satyagraha stands attenuated, following his escape in disguise from Ramlila Maidan, leaving his mass followers to face the cruel crackdown. He should have held his ground steadfastly, come what may. For, a satyagrahi is always ready to sacrifice himself for his pious cause. But this does not absolves the UPA government of its unruly act, which has again exposed its political bankruptcy when it comes to dealing with the issues of corruption, ministerial misconduct and abuse of power. Beleaguered by a multitude of corruption scandals, it has earned the reputation, as mentioned earlier, of being the most corrupt dispensation Independent India has seen. It is noteworthy that at various stages during civil society’s demand for bringing back all Indian money stashed abroad, the government has assured the country that it will initiate steps forthwith. But after this brutality, the government’s intentions are clearer than ever. It has no plan to implement this popular demand. Understandably, therefore, widespread allegations are being voiced that the powers that be, are busy protecting some persons who have indulged in this criminal pilferage. On top of this, the Prime Minister thinks silence is substitute for duty. And riding piggyback of him, the government is lurching from one extreme to another in an unprincipled and anti-democratic fashion, and has miscalculated badly and landed in a deeper mess. The midnight action starkly reflects the government’s obduracy to meet the constitutional demands of a responsible citizen, in particular, and the nation as a whole. If anyone’s heart bleeds for the country and he tries to plunge into action, should he declare that he owes allegiance to the Congress and will help its governments run smoothly? It is a fact that corruption, like other social evils such as bribery, nepotism and favouritism, has found acceptance in the social psyche and behaviour. It is common to see persons, who have amassed wealth through unfair means, being accorded the same status as persons of excellence. It simply points to the people’s mindset and emphasises the acceptance of corruption. The civil society organisations are indeed growing in number and have a key role to play in combating corruption. Their participation is very important in formulating reforms and implementing them. The government should approach them with an open mind.