Monday, August 29, 2011


A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Thucydides, the great Athenian historian, has a famous chapter in his book The History of the Peloponesian War in which the fate of the male inhabitants of the island of Melos is discussed in the Athenian Assembly. Known as the Melian Dialogue, this chapter must be read by all those who have rushed into the debate on the fate of Rajiv Gandhi's killers. I do not have any sympathy for Rajiv Gandhi or for that matter the criminal organisation called the Congress Party. I must add that I am one of those who argues vigorously that the Congress should be expelled from the political arena because it organised the largest massacre in the history of independent India and Rajiv Gandhi actively abetted this crime. The fact is that Rajiv Gandhi's killers are now perceived to be icons of Tamil Nationalism makes it difficult for a soft state like India, and a government rendered even more soft by incompetence, dynastic fascism and corruption,to carry out the sentence. I do not think that the killers will be executed on September 9th 2011.

Thucydides with whom I began this blog says that political considerations outweigh moral and even legal considerations while debating the issue of clemency. Will any purpose be served now if the 3 men convicted of killing Rajiv Gandhi are put down. It will only reignite the fire of Tamil ethic nationalism and India cannot afford another Identity founded political movement. Further, the role of Rajiv Gandhi's mother in creating the very organisation that ultimately killed her son will once again come to the fore. Further, the incompetent and politically and militarily disastrous intervention by the Indian Army in Sri Lanka following the Indo_Sri Lnakan Agreement will once again be the focus of attention. And the criminal organisation called the Congress has conveniently chosen to forget the Jain Commission findings because Sonia and her courtiers are now in bed with the DMK in that menagerie called the United Progressive Alliance. All these facts are highly damaging to the Congress and hence the killers will have their sentences commuted.

Whether the 3 killers deserve mercy or not is a moot point. Politically it will be impossible for them to be hanged. Already the Tamil Nationalists are out in straight demanding the commutation of the death sentence. The Gandhi family itself has set the precedent by requesting and getting the sentence on Nalini commuted to life imprisonment. The 3 killers will have their sentences commuted and as they have spent more than 16 years in jail, they will be eventually released. Tamil Nadu has the dubious distinction of releasing life convicts whose sentence in commuted for absurd reasons like the 100th birthday of Mr Annadurai. So far 6 people including a young girl have burnt themselves to death in support of the killers. With this kind of madness around the soft state like India cannot carry out its own judicial verdict.

One last point. Did not Rajiv Gandhi deserve his fate as he was responsible for the largest massacre in the history of Independent India and his 3 killers were only instruments of retribution.

Monday, August 22, 2011


A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Like a sleeping mahavishnu, Anna Hazara appears daily before the nation's reading public. His statrments, earthy and pointedly simplistic, has thw xountry entrhralled. The media hype surrounding this 74 year old wonderkid from the boondocks of Maharashtra, is such that even to question his rhetorical and theatrical stuts is to invite the wrath of the hyper active middle class and its acolytes in the electronic media. The whole nation is watching with bated breath his antics and such is the power of the media that a large number of people beleive that corruptionwill just vanish the moment the Lok Pal Bill as drafted bb Anna and his Team is passed. Nothing is further from the truth.

Anna's middle calss movement with its noisy assemblage of journalists, social wannbes, fashion designers, corporate lobbyists are now masquerading as the conscience of the nation. Yhis very class is responsible along with the crimianl politicians for the total collape of the moral fabric of Indian society and yet this class pretends to be an agent of change. Corruption could not have grown to this monstrous propotion without the active connivance of the very class that has now comwe out in open support of Anna Hazare. In fsct, Anna Hazare is not challening dynastic fascism he is only reinforcing it when he declared this afternoon that he will negotiate only with Rahul Gandhi or with the Prime Minister. Is this not an open endorcement of dynasty and we all know that the Gandhi Dynasty is the bebeficiary of the corruption. While he has no faith in parliament, this saith from Maharashtra reposes full confidence in the dynasty.

Corruption will not end in India even if Anna Hazare and his 5 magicians are appointed Lok Pals will sky high powers of investigation and procecution. This is because the electoral system has become the fountainhead of all that is wrong in the Indian variant of democracy. One change that Anna Hazare could have asked for but did not is to insist on the audit of the accounts of the politicaL PARTIES. Since politics runs on black money, the system that generates black money is left virtually untouched by Saint Anna Hazare and his 5 apostles. This condition of subjecting the political parties to the audit peocess wil go a long way in cleaning up the political system. Instead the 4 wise men and 1 wise woman want s Lok Pal who will get into the peicture after the deed is done. There is nothing to prevent the Lok Pal and his fellow members of becoming one more layer in a corrupt pie.

I approve of Anna Hazare total disdain for politicians because India is singularly unfortunate in having full time criminals as part time members of Parliament. Team Anna's draft does not address the issue of wanton criminalisation of the political process. If the bill is passed, as I think it will, then will corruption vanish from India. The naswer is a resounding NO.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Is Indian Independence worth the blood, tears, toil and sweat?

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The celebration of Independence Day has become a hollow ritual. The tricolour which once inspire a whole generation has become the symbol of a corrupt, facist dynasty which runs the Congress party. The speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort has the contrived quality of a ritual whose day has passed. Does the idea of India inspire any hope?

The rampant corruption of which the 2G Spectrum Scam and the CWG scam are but the most egresious examples will have their impact on the electorate in thr next general elections. The Indian people are not concerned with political corruption if it is within managable limits. What has now happened it that the people have realised that the sole purpose of politics is to gain power and pelf and use both to cultivate a "vote bank" as the Congress party has done over the past 40 years. Is this the Freedom for which so many countless martyrs laid down their lives. Had they known that within a few decades of Independence India will fall prey to dynastic fascism, I am sure many would have wondered if freedom is woth the candle.

The Indian politician, like the post-colonial intellectual was the first to realise the absolute goldmine in the form if "identity politics". Starting first with language which led to the division of India along linguistic lines, then caste identities were politisised by V P Singh and his cohorts which in turn led to caste blocks becoming the vote banks of politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadava and Laloo Prasad Yadava. The absolute criminalisation of the political system can be seen in those parts of India where political parties representing caste blocks rule the roost. I, of course have Karunanidh's restwhile regime in Tamil Nadu and Mayavathi's regime in Uttar Pradesh in mind. Is this the freedom the martyrs faught and died for?

Apart from the criminalisation of Indian politics due to the strangle hold of identity politics there are other disconcerting aspects. The electoral process has lost its neutral character. P Chidambaram's declaration as the victor in the Sivagangai Parliamentary elections in 2009 is itself proof of how the rich and the powerful are able to subvert the system. And this man is now the "Home Minister" of India a position once occupied by Sardar patle, Lal Bahadur Sastri and Hon'ble L K Advani. Is this the freedom the martyrs of India died for?

The Indian state is crumbling from the weight of its own monstrous crimes. The entire tribal belt is under the sway of the naxalites and given the disgust the people of India feel toward the political system, it is only a short step toward an alliance between the disgruntled elements and the violent naxalites. Civil society activists like Anna Hazare will be co opted into this corrupt political system, leaving the field wide open for Baba Ramdev.

We have to see whether the India that we know will survive another 25 years. The 4 southern state together with Gujarat and Maharashtra already account for nearly 45% of India's GDP. Regional disparities will lead to the undermining of the political fabric. Unfortunately the whole political system is obsessed with its dynastic fixation aand has no time to think of the problems of India. Is this the India for which the martyrs died?

China has shown that a country can progress in spite of centuries of social and economic stagnation. The Universities in China like Beijing University have risen to the very top of the list of global universities and India is struggling at the rock bottom. Is this the Freedom the martyrs died for? I think when historians look back on the post Independence period of India's past they will not hesitate to conclude that a glorious dream was betrayed by dynastic fascism and corruption.