Ma, Tujhe Salaam…. but….Who Killed Credibility….?
It has to be said : 2010 will be marked by historians as the year India sold out! And sold out in such shameless and brazen manner that the jaws that had dropped when the first few scandals hit the headlines, remain dropped till today. As we sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and bid another Rotten Year good bye, there is nothing much to cheer in the coming months. The Central Bureau of Ineptitude ( CBI ) has done it again! With the embarrassingly gauche handling of the Aarushi murder case, the spotlight is focused once more on a body that needs another body to replace it!Why bother to go into CBI’s lapses when ‘no evidence’ is the staple? Either we dismantle this thoroughly useless organization, which has been manipulated by politicians over the years and used as a torture instrument to browbeat and intimidate citizens, or we restructure it and get more transparency into its functioning. But will that ever happen? Na bhai, na.Too many mighty heads will roll .If one takes the Aarushi bungling as but a single example of how clumsily things are run in India, it can act as a case study for all the rest of the muck flying around freely – from Lalit Modi, Suresh Kalmadi, A.Raja and of course, Fearless Radia. Combine that with the entrenched belief that not a single well connected crook gets caught or is thrown into the clink, and that not a single state of India is free of monumental corruption at every level, and you get a pretty sordid picture of the country’s future. India’s Gallery of Rogues doesn’t begin or end with the Usual Suspects ( the ones named earlier). These are just a few high profile people who got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. And pray, why or how did they get caught? Because those even higher up in the food chain wanted them to face the music, take the rap – either for deals that soured, or relationships that got corroded – and keep those big mouths sealed. To come back to the grisly murder of an innocent 14- year-old girl ( Aarushi ), whose case has been summarily closed by the CBI claiming a lack of evidence, one wonders at the felicity with which it was done. Does it mean Aarushi’s assailant committed the perfect murder? Or does it mean nobody wants the criminal behind this heinous act to be caught? The answer is obvious when one studies what is known – that files went missing, crucial evidence was destroyed, and all the suspects now walk free. Extraordinary? Nope. Expected . It’s time to pay attention to Ratan Tata’s Banana Republic reference . The Aarushi case is an apt symbol of all that is loathsome in our system. It’s now official : The powerful and the well-connected can and do get away with murder.
Never has the morale of most Indians been this low. While shock waves over the vile deeds of a Lalit Modi and Suresh Kalmadi were still rocking the nation, we shook our heads and made those ‘tch tch’ noises with our tongues to suggest ‘This is terrible… but badey log have always played such games…. And at least these two have been caught!” How sweetly we fooled ourselves! Caught? Sure. But who will dare to punish them? They know too much about too many Sacred Cows. And that’s really what’s eating India’s innards. In the old days, there were two or three Sacred Cows squeezing the country of all its resources. Now, the Sacred Cow population has doubled, trebled and gone through the roof ! There is a hierarchy even in this Cow Shed. And those in the know are aware of that order – nobody dares to take on ‘those people’ (in- laws and out laws) who are seen as dangerous …even more dangerous than the D-Gang. And to think we ‘trust’ these mighty netas. Not just to serve India’s interests on every level – defence , the economy, terrorism - but most importantly, to be the moral barometres for citizens. If the State fails us on all these levels, whom do we turn to? Aaha – this is where Binayak Sen and others come in. Why has Sen become a folk hero…. a martyr? Because we know, almost instinctively… intuitively… that he represents our interests in the long run. That we need a Sen to remind us of higher goals, of deeper truths. 2011 saw the Maoists emerging as the most visible force of dissent and rebellion.Or more accurately, the ‘Maoist Menace’ could no longer be ignored or wished away. Forced into acknowledging them, our Home Minister along with his colleagues decided to make them the Bogey Bears du jour. It suited everybody… the heat generated by other scams was getting too hot to handle – if the Maoists threat was not for real, we would have had to create it! But since the Maoists weren’t in the backyard of those sprawling kothis in Delhi, or at the imposing gates of corporate headquarters in Mumbai, the ‘ Maoist problem’ could be intellectually debated over television, hastily buried and resurrected at will.
However,nothing got India’s goat as much as the Fearless Radia tapes. Those revealing and damaging tapes established incontrovertibly that the State had ears and eyes everywhere… that nothing but nothing was ‘private’ in our so-called democracy. If that wasn’t scary enough, the tapes also established the new pecking order in which some old war horses were exposed as bleating goats, and several holier than thou personalities displayed less than noble characteristics. The most shocking outcome was the utter and total ‘beizzatti’ of venerated mediawallas. Perhaps, that was the last straw in the Credibility Stakes. When respected journalists sold out, when judges were deemed corrupt, when cops colluded with politicians to cover up big and small crimes, when netas became daakus, when murders and kidnappings became routine… and India itself was repeatedly raped by the very people who were meant to protect it…we, the people woke up… and wept. Well, it’s time to dry those tears and act. Kick a few butts for starters…
Can we… will we…? Or is it just far easier to sit back and allow India to sink even lower in 2011?
I am an incorrigible optimist. I’d like to end this tumultuous decade by saying , “The rot stops here.”
‘Jhanda Ooncha Rahey Hamara…..”
Happy New Year, readers!!