Country above self
by Hilda Raja on 09 May 2009 0 Comment

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Quattrocchi case is an embarrassment for the Government of India. ‘We have tried to extradite him from Malaysia, from Argentina, and the courts said we don’t have a strong case. Now it is not a good reflection on the Indian legal system that we harass people while the world says that we have no case.’

Here is our strong PM with no strong case against ‘Q’. But the PM did not take the pains to elaborate what action the Government of India took to extradite ‘Q.’ If media reports are to be believed, the ambassadors of these countries were asked not to pursue the matter. Former CBI director Joginder Singh has gone on record to state that there is a room full of material which CBI has not touched.

There is evidence that ‘Q’ is guilty. If ‘Q’ was not guilty, why was he fleeing from one country to another? Why did he not face trial and clear his name? We must be all fools to believe what Manmohan Singh dishes out.

One Family’s mortification

Quattrocchi’s case is an embarrassment - not to India - but to one particular family; hence the Government of India decided not to make a strong case. Yet it is actually the setting of ‘Q’ free that is an embarrassment to India and her investigation agencies. It is not what the world says that matters - whether we have a case or not - it is what the Indian legal system says.

One is shocked at the way the whole case of ‘Q’ was handled. The interview sadly did not lend scope for Manmohan Singh to explain why and how the UK bank accounts of ‘Q’ and his wife were unfrozen? And why did he make the famous statement that he was out of the loop, suggesting that things – could happen - without his knowledge. Both Manmohan Singh and Hansraj Bhardwaj took the case to its logical end because foreigners, unlike us, want logical conclusions, and also because the world says we had no case and it reflected on us -harassing poor Quattrocchi.

CBI is meant only to harass the opponents of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and the Congress. It is used as a tool of the Government to subdue those who stand its way. This is accepted even by Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh and Kapil Sibal in public.

It seems the election scenario, the utterances, the Queries, the statements, the campaign speeches of Manmohan Singh (within closed room), Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, are all puerile and make no sense. It exposes their bankruptcy of ideas, their inability to showcase the achievements of the UPA, and above all, it exposes the acrimonious allegations and the deep anxiety to come to power by hook or by crook.

Wither moral responsibility?

There was a time when a failure of government would be openly accepted and people assured that things would be different. Yet not once did Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi or Rahul apologize to those who suffered the loss of their beloved ones, whose lives were shattered, bodies maimed and crippled as a result of serial bomb blasts during UPA’s tenure. No, they were only keen to score points regarding how many terrorists were released during the NDA regime and how many bomb blasts occurred then.

But when Lal Bahadur Shastri was Railway Minister under Jawaharlal Nehru, there was a train accident in Ariyallur in Tamil Nadu, the first of its kind during his watch. The very next day, he put in his papers taking moral responsibility. Under the UPA, the PM presided over a Council of Ministers lacking this moral responsibility trait. Neither morality nor responsibility was evident. Yet Rahul Gandhi exhorts us that the PM leads from the front!

Take the example of Lalu Prasad. We have had any number of train accidents, and hundreds of people killed; yet the Railway Minister struts round making bombastic statements and announcing compensation (people’s money). He visits IIMs to teach future managerial cadres how he turned the Railways’ economy from red to green, but the fact that he never put in place a sound security system did not matter. During UPA rule, that people’s lives mattered nothing was a sad and consistent reality.

A PM shorn of his own powers had no voice to demand accountability from his Council of Ministers. It is relevant that the CPM is right that the PM should be elected by the people and not a backdoor entrant. This is a sound democratic norm. Rahul Gandhi lectures to us that Manmohan Singh is the best bet, the best action-oriented PM. What a sad commentary on the stock in the Congress.

Another sample - Sonia Gandhi tells the people of Mumbai: ‘this is the Gateway of India;’ what enlightenment! She repeats everywhere that every party wants to come to power and every leader wants to be the PM. So what is she criss-crossing the country for? Is it not for power? Are we to believe that only she and her children love India and it is to keep this never dying love that they are seeking power? Rahul Gandhi’s young heart weeps for he has discovered the poverty of India. So he wants Congress to come to power because it alone will bring in development - something it did not for 50 years. Where was Rahul Gandhi all these years? Sweating it out to eke a livelihood?

Defining Youth

Congress had sowed all kinds of divisive seeds to keep the people disunited. Now a new division has been added by Rahul Gandhi - age. Rahul himself will be 40 next year, that is middle-aged.

So youth have power, youth have to decide …because they are 40 percent of the population. Definitions of youth vary. Dr. Manmohan Singh is young in mind and thought; Advani is not. Sam Pitroda is young in thought; and fits into the moulds Rahul Gandhi has fashioned out.

Nothing can replace experience and hard work. A party which is 125 years old should have those who have been through the vicissitudes in different phases in crucial positions; should foster leadership and retain men /women and learn. But Congress had not trained a second-line leadership from the start; it never had internal democracy and does not believe in it despite all the tall talk of Rahul Gandhi on democratic elections in the Youth Congress.

One can be young in age but with a feudalistic mindset. This is what Rahul Gandhi is. He has no idea of the basic norms of democracy neither does he appreciate it. Otherwise how will he say that he and his mother want Manmohan Singh as PM? He should have stated that the Party wants Manmohan Singh.

Shouldn’t Congress MPs at least simulate the election of their leader and the PM? When Narendra Modi referred to the Congress as ‘budhiya,’ Priyanka rushed forward and asked: ‘Do I look old?’ This reveals their feudal mindset. India is not their pocket borough, yet the mother and children think the Congress party means only the three of them, and that they alone have the right to rule the country. Towards this end, they do not hesitate to stoop to any level, take any action to dent, demean, and dispense with democratic norms and values and institutions. It is a pity that a young Gandhi is so antiquated.

Modernity is not technology

Modernity does not depend on high-tech canvassing; sophisticated election planning etc. It is the mental calibre and chemistry of a personality to a participatory system of governance, a system which does not depend on one family. A billion dreams and aspirations cannot be encapsulated in one family dream and are not equivalent to one family’s aspirations. It was disappointing to hear his sound bytes. The media may make these headlines for reasons best known to itself, but it reveals the working of a mind living within a small constricted world.

We were shared revelations - Manmohan Singh is strong; he can make decisions like the N-deal; sharp diplomatic acumen forced Pakistan to accept that its territory is being used by terrorists! Well, the whole world knows from where the terrorists came. US threatened to withhold its massive assistance, and Pakistan itself is under attack from its own terrorists.

What is the sharp diplomacy that achieved this - the snail-slow stages of talks, meetings, exchanges of dossiers on one Kasab? For six months we investigated from where he came, his nationality, and now we are stuck with his age – is he a minor or a major. The Home Minister is busy campaigning in Sivaganga, appealing to the Tamil people to vote him back to continue from where he left! That the DNA samples of two terrorists were alike - this was submitted to Pakistan – is a record of the smart work done by our investigative agencies. One Afzal Guru and now a Kasab, and our powerful PM is a man of action and decision taking.

This is not the dance of democracy we are witnessing – but a circus – with gimmicks, somersaults, buffoonery and comedy of substance, accompanied by acrimonious character assassination, half truths, perjury, threats, even murders on a national scale - we have it all.

According to Rahul Gandhi, BJP is a party for the rich. Is he unaware that the richest candidate is from the Congress? And is this an issue? Poverty and poverty figures have risen by 20 percent in the last four years; children’s health is at an abysmal level; illiteracy and unemployment are swelling; prices of food grains and daily survival needs are skyrocketing; people’s security is left to an uncertain fate – yet these merit no mention.

With the Nuclear Deal we are assured of uninterrupted power supply (UPS) - after ten years. Another five years and we would be still five years away from this UPS - so we will need to vote Congress again! Then ten years later, if the N-deal is set in operation, again we would need to vote Congress because UPS has brought light to our darkened streets and unlit homes, thanks to Congress. This means Rahul Gandhi would have graduated into his 50th year - so it is middle age power that he would be canvassing for.

By hook or by crook, the Gandhis need to stay in power for theirs is a life which receives – and does not give. No house do they own, but they live at No. 10 Janpath (also Tughlak Road, Lodhi Road) estimated at hundreds of crores. No vehicle - but at the click of a finger any number of bullet-proof cars are at their disposal. Where will they enjoy such lavishness and generosity from an impoverished people who are fed with promises and still keep India moving - for their love of Bharat Mata is unfathomable and irrespective of promises make and broken, these toiling masses will make this country move on. This is the patriotism of the heroic aam admi. A whole life of sacrifice - no rewards sought - that is true renunciation, a legacy left by our ancients. Country above self.

The author is a retired Professor from Stella Maris College, Chennai, and lives in Vadodara


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