Voices of Individuals…


By Ananya S Guha

The BJP is proudly portraying Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister of the country. But isn`t this a classical example of putting the cart before the horse? Fair enough, you can project him as the hero of the country with his winning streaks and an unflappable temperament, even as the likes of a Teesta Setwalwad are indefatigibly waging a relentless battle against his misdeeds. But who cares, single handed warriors are always some sort of an anathema in India, to the polity more often dubbed as pseudo secularists, whatever that might mean.

However the point of debate is whether the BJP will win the next elections. Secondly leaders like L.K. Advani seem to be cleverly ousted. It is this one manship that the party may pay for. Have they forgotten the contributions of people like A.B. Vajpayee, L.K. Advani or even a Murli Manohar Joshi? Now when the chief whip of the party lauds Narendra Modi and only Narendra Modi, is he forgetting the historical past of the party?

It is such historical nuances, especially in the country`s contexts that the party has always forgotten, especially in its efforts to rewrite the history of the country! And now it is applying blinkers to its own past! Moreover it cannot bask in the complacency of winning the next elections, and taking this as a granted assumption. The Indian electorate is not only intelligent, but it can also take many adaptive measures. It is not only secular and tolerant, but it is realistic, and does not forget historical processes, it is not benighted regarding certain facts.

In the BJP conclave recently held, it seemed it was more of an occasion to highlight and lionize Narendra Modi. This is a dangerous trend for a party, for no party can rest on the laurels of a particular individual. Even when Jyoti Basu was at the height of his power in West Bengal, however insuperable he was, did they forget say a person like Pramode Dasgputa?

In this way the party leadership may chagrin not only the leadership within, but also the vast population of the country who are secular minded, and want a free and fair leadership. There is no need to put irritants in the way of people, who may not consider Modi the paragon of political virtue – and there maybe quite a lot of them!

Politics in India has now reached the level of choosing between the lesser evils. And who this will be, can only be seen in the Parliamentary elections of 2014. And it is then when the voices of lone individuals, even lonely ones like a Teesta Setalwad, a Mallika Sarabhai, an Arundhati Roy, or even a Binayak Sen will be felt palpably! The glory of the country is in such voices of intrepid individuals which have shaped its polity and society!

Now it is a helicopter scam. The skeletons from the cupboard are being unravelled. This should have been done earlier even as warning bells were sounded. Now that the Italian government has ordered a probe, the Indian government has followed suit. But why didn`t it pay heed to it earlier when names were even sounded? Why was this silence? Was it a matter of complicity? These are disturbing questions, and to think that these same helicopters were paraded on Republic Day! What a shame! Shame after shame, scandal after scandal are taking place in our country. The government is unmoved, doesn`t bat an eyelid. Opposition leaders only shout, things are in pandemonium.

But the grievous part of it was the manner in which it was executed, like the coal gate scandal, in flagrant violation of procedures. Once again the Central Audit must come to our rescue and tell us what exactly happened. The disconcerting thing is it happened in Italy. Foreign agencies like in the Bofors deal are once again involved. Is it because the kick backs are more there?

One key person apparently is unnamed. That raises an eyebrow. Why this silence, is it because the person is a big wig? Will the matter be hushed with abrasion, as it is normally done?

I think we have become immune to such things by now. We are also shameless. Corruption has not only invaded every bit of the society, but has eaten into our body, soul and spirit. Then we talk of this scheme or that scheme for poverty alleviation, fattening our coffers and our bank accounts at the same time. The supposed involvement of a former Air Marshal makes the matter more convoluted and dirty, together with his brothers. This is corruption and nepotism working wonders. God forgive us! Now even the armed forces wear a tainted picture.

Sports, refer Commonwealth games, armed forces, are also now coming into this unscrupulously  sordid picture.

More will be unravelled, till we limp to the elections. Again it will be full circle, the cycle is not at all vicious, it has been restored with normalcy. We accept it. I think we should pass a bill to legitimize corruption, so that everyone gets a fair share of the pudding.

At least the poor will be richer! Ashis Nandy Sir, I now really get your point, zero corruption is not only not desirable, it is also not possible!

These two events in India’s body politic are disparate examples of how inept, political forces can be in tackling not only corruption in financial terms but also the corruptibility that has entered the body politic. It goes to show that power must be wrested at any cost and public slandering and the blame game are orders of the day. In such a situation we cannot wait with bated breath for the next parliamentary elections, it is only with abject ennui that we watch out for it. When Sartre wrote his famed trilogy it was about espousing not so much the existential cause, but was virtually a non existentialism that he represented, also with novels such as Kafka’s “Trial” and “Metamophosis”. It is with ennui that we have abjectly surrendered to the present and do not look forward to a future.

Over and above all this there can be only the sanguine voices of individuals, the little lights of the country, the beacons of hope that can give some shape to this disordered entity.

And in the midst of all this pandemonium and brouhaha pressing issues like that of India’s North East and Jammu and Kashmir can only take the glorious back seat.


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