Mumbai is heaving a sigh of relief! Nothing matters as much as dhanda - not even the mighty President of the United States ( POTUS sounds awful!) turning up for a whirlwind visit that so far has yielded very little - for India. Michelle won hearts and even has a baby named after her ( the mother had to brave barricades to make it to the hospital on time). But sorry.... Barack didn't really cut it the way Bill ( Clinton) did with the Mumbaikars. Brand Obama - a bit too slick, a bit too smart.... but sadly, no heart!
All it took to 'hilao' POTUS was a straight off the bat question (" Why is Pakistan so important as an ally that America has never called it a terrorist state?") from Afsheen Irani, a 19- year-old student from Mumbai's H.R.College. Obama played for time, stuttered and stammered a really dumb ass reply that said precisely nothing! If only our journos could be as bold and direct while interviewing the high and mighty.
This appeared in Bombay Times today.....
Nothing ‘adarsh’ about our Babus and Netas…
I sure as hell didn’t want to ruin my Diwali by focusing on last week’s depressing revelations. In fact, for me, it was next-to-impossible to disengage from the scandal, since all I had to do was step out into my balcony. ‘Adarsh’ - India’s Tower of Shame is located across the small bay near my home… it is hard to miss. My one small consolation was that on Diwali day, it was the only building in the area that remained in total darkness, even as the headlines revealed one scandal after another associated with ‘Adarsh’. Some of the names involved were surprising – these were people we knew quite well. Bureaucrats one met socially and actually liked! People ‘like us’. And to think they were implicated in something as murky… as slimy. In any other country, the top man\ woman would have instantly lost his job. But that doesn’t happen in India. And the reason it doesn’t is as sickening as the crime itself. The ‘setting’ goes all the way to the very top. If even one person squeals, several biggies fall.Nobody wants that – right? Something on such a scale can only be pulled off if several departments and agencies are in caho
ots and getting their pound of flesh from the juicy deal. The ‘cuts’ go across the board – which is also why the question of belling the cat does not arise. The ‘system’ protects everyone – and the rot originates in Delhi. In the old days, there was a different sort of understanding between politicians of all hues . The expected thing to do in the wake of a major scandal was for the main villain to take the rap for his mentor , put in his papers and wait for the enquiry to exonerate his ‘good name’. This is the classic ploy that allows all the players to buy time . The scamsters then set about their work which is to destroy evidence, fix files, fix enemies and critics, and wait for public memory to fade. Generally, this ruse works. Though occasionally the fall guy never recovers ( as it happened with Antulay). In the case of ‘Adarsh’, the shame is multiplied many times over since so many highly respected Army guys are involved. Citizens expect politicians to be venal, despicable, corrupt and capable of low down deals that don’t spare even our war heroes. But this is the first time in our country that so many armed forces’ honchos have been exposed. That is the most worrisome aspect of the current mess. But nobody except our ‘evil genius’ bureaucrats can create the complex maze that is systematically constructed around such scams - this is the exclusive work of our Babus. It is they who now the laws and bye laws inside out. It is they who have mastered the art of manipulating various loopholes. It is they who show the way to interested parties as to how those rules can be bent to accommodate any and every requirement. It is the Babus of India who have turned the country into a gigantic swamp of corruption.
‘Adarsh’ may see a few heads roll if the media keeps up the pressure. But will any of the charges stick given the lack of evidence? Assuming an F.I.R. is indeed filed, what will the outcome be? Zilch. The case will drag on for decades, while those implicated will merrily continue with heir lives, safe in the knowledge that the super deluxe ‘Adarsh’ flats (valued at a whopping 8 crores), although illegally built and grabbed by them, will not be taken away, nor will any of the powerful residents be jailed for criminal conspiracy . A few months down the line, all the culprits will resume their ‘normal’ lives and we will foolishly… tiredly move on. ‘Corruption Fatigue’ has finally set in.
There are countless hidden ‘Adarsh’ societies in Mumbai itself. Someone blew the whistle on this one. That’s the only difference.