Sunday, July 29, 2012

President Pranab, 2G Spectrum Scam, Dynasty Politics and Democracy

It is not about scams, it is not about corruption, it is not about Dynasty Politics - it is about the system - a system where the few privileged can have their way and rise above the majority.  And in a country with more than a billion people, you could easily wade through the few brains that raise uneasy questions. The rest are mere heads that have been conditioned to nod.  

President Pranab Sworn In. Image: Economic Times
President Pranab Mukherjee has taken office. As an Indian citizen, I am expected to respect the post of the President of India, the first citizen of the Republic. And why wouldn't I? The Commender in Chief of the Armed Forces of the mighty institution that a country is, naturally deserves respect. President Pranab has been chosen by the legislators who have, in turn, been chosen by the people of India. When I, as a citizen, have chosen my legislators, who have chosen the President, it turns out to be my own choice. Shouldn't the respect and regard be spontaneous?

Despite all the effort to be convinced of the grounds to respect the President, despite the expectations surrounding an average citizen to hold the post in high esteem, something seems skewed. I wonder why there is no spontaneity in the way I look upon the 13th President of India for inspiration. And I find that there could be many reasons why something seems to be out of place.

Mr Pranab Mukherjee's experience as a politician cannot be taken lightly, by any stretch of imagination. As a seasoned politician, Pranab has been a key player in the political landscape for decades, having served in ministerial capacity under different leaders over the years. But, when the question is that of the highest office - though the role is more of a figurehead than that involving actual leadership of the nation - the need is not for a politician but for a statesman.

So, the question is if President Pranab is a statesman of stature worthy of the post of the President of India. And, if the President is someone who can inspire young minds to unite under the institution of a Nation by his sheer presence and personal charisma.

Pranab Chidambaran 2G Note Joint Statement. Image: The Hindu

The 2G spectrum scam, one of gigantic proportions, rocked the country last year. In what was known as the 2G note controversy, the note from the Prime Minister's Office was more of a document implicating the then Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, of his tacit approval of the way the 2G spectrum was auctioned off ,than anything else. And it is this 2G scam that led to the scapegoat called A Raja, the Telecom Minister, being arrested and jailed for months together, among others, before being released on bail.

The 2G note controversy was 'resolved', if the verb actually translates into how the ugly situation was handled, after a string of emergency meetings and clandestine discussions led to the trouble-shooting exercise of a joint statement by Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram, stating all was well in the Government. Following the statement, Mr Chidambaram seemed to have patched up with Mr Pranab Mukherjee, with a terse response saying "I am happy with the statement made by my senior and distinguished colleague" 

It is tough to believe, from the perspective of an average citizen that I am, that a scam that rocked the nation, which saw heads rolling, which threatened the very sustenance and survival of the Government, and which led to the uproar that translated into the movement led by Anna Hazare and his team, has fizzled out into nothingness in a year's span. Some of the influential names who were seen behind bars are now out in the society, on bail. Mr  Chidambaram, who was literally living on the edge, with activists like Subramanian Swamy falling just short of going for the jugular, is back to work as usual. And Mr Pranab Mukherjee, who was at the centre of the 2G note issue, has been sworn in as the President of India. 

Political Families - Nehru Family. Image:

Questions remain. The 2G scam is the mere functional part of the equation. The questions lie deeper, at the systemic level. There is ample proof, over the years, that the system called democracy can be held to ransom if you are powerful enough to reach the top echelons of the political and social circles. Fortunately, the positive aspect about democracy is that you wouldn't be held to account and penalised for criticising the system - if democracy is a farce, I could call it so. 

But that doesn't make it fun to be part of a joke. It was never mentioned, in any of the books that taught me as I grew up, that Dynasty Politics was part of the democratic system of running a nation. Rabri Devi, wife of Lalu Prasad Yadav, would rank high in Dynasty Politics, when she had to morph from being a petite home maker into being the Chief Minister of a State, overnight - and she is all set to introduce her children into politics. But then, Rabri Devi is by no means the exception. Every corner of the society smacks of politics having turned into family business. 

So, it's no wonder that Sonia Gandhi wields all the influence that she can in the Indian political arena. What would Sonia have been, had she not been wedded to Rajiv Gandhi - Son of Indira Gandhi - Daughter of Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India? 

Well, there is no point asking hypothetical questions, when the reality is that she can manufacture Presidents and Prime Ministers. And Pranab Mukherjee is yet another manifestation of her absolute powers. 

That brings me back to the original aspect of Pranab Mukherjee, the politician turned President, who was the insider to the 2G scam, who was party to some of the crucial details about the scam being pushed under the carpet, and who has been hand-picked by Sonia Gandhi, the King-maker of India, the largest democracy in the world. Dynasty politics has implications that go deeper than just the dynasties in question.

We the People - Sheep. Image:

When I look back, I realise that there is much more to it than just a lack of spontaneous regard for the highest office in the Republic of India. There is much more to it than what Anna Hazare sees as things that ail the nation. It is not about scams, it is not about corruption, it is not about Dynasty Politics - it is about the system - a system where the few privileged can have their way and rise above the majority. 

The kind of games people play depends on who the people are. When you have risen above the threshold, beyond the political atmosphere, you would no longer be under the cloud. You could manipulate what the satellites pick up and reflect the distorted image that you would want the people down below to see. And in a country with more than a billion people, you could easily wade through the few brains that raise uneasy questions. The rest are mere heads that have been conditioned to nod. 

London Olympics 2012. Image:

And yes, in other news, the London Olympics 2012 have kicked off in style.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Young Girl Molested in Guwahati, Assam: No Country for Young Women

Welcome to India, the land of Goons and Thugs, where young girls are molested in highways and city centres!
Image: India TV

You would be considered our special guest if you came with your young wife, sister or girl friend, because we like you that way. And you would be treated even better if you chose a night out along some of the busiest areas of the city, say, along a pub.

And if you are a woman who has dared to come to the country without any male escort around, we would be delighted. You could feel the elation that we feel for you, if you chose to go for a walk alone at night. No, you would not have to walk through some of the shady areas of some remote corners of the city - we would just be fine as long as you strode along some of the busiest areas of the city, and particularly so, if we guys are present in a gang then.

We tease, we ogle, we glare and try to make you feel at home in the first place. Once you are comfortable with us around, we try to grab you as gently as a bunch of hungry dogs would get to a helpless chicken caught alone in their midst. Yes, we would try not to hurt you as much as we could as we first grope you by your shoulders, but then, when it's at night, when we are high, and when you are alone, you see, things may just be off the mark. 

Image: FirstPost

If you are minor and are yet to be officially labelled an adult, we would be pleased at it. Yes, we do realise that you may be a bit tensed up seeing all of us, well set to hit the mark. But do not worry, we do not indulge in gang rape - at least, not yet. And we only help to ease you into the process. If we strip you when we touch you all over, it's just to let some fresh breeze in when you may already be stressed up. But at the end of it, we would make sure you have been blessed by all of our filthy hands. 

Image: India Today

If you thought you would receive this treatment only in Guwahati, rest assured, we are everywhere. Every city is the same for us and every girl that we see is a treat for us. We encourage you to step out alone at nights, but if you would prefer the day instead, we might just consider your request and cooperate.

Do not worry about the cops. They would have been bribed already and arranged to stay away from the bash till we have all had a taste of you. And they would most definitely arrive late, but you know the kind of cops we have, don't you? If you are still in doubts, you may want to check out an illustration of the way women are handled, safely and securely, by our dutiful policemen in the picture below.

Image: The Australian

That was Pinki Pramanik, one of our athletes, who was being escorted by the policeman with all the responsibility that a father would have towards his daughter. They can't get gentler or more sophisticated than that, could they? 

And to add to the cops' credit, of the 30 plus male predators who descended down heavily on the hapless woman in this news post on Monday night, four days later, just four have been arrested. Isn't that encouraging enough? After all, the police have long been our friends, and they let us act the way we wanted. Money speaks, honey!

The media may call it 'Girl Molested'. Let them be whatever they want. But we are just proud volunteers of this Great Nation that has traditionally worshipped women in the names of Goddesses. We are the representatives of Indian culture, in a nation all geared up to take a shot at the G8 and label itself a Super Power very shortly.

Image: NDTV

Keep watching this space for further updates on how India unveils itself in all its glory on the global stage.