Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sasikala Convicted and Punished? Nemesis or Retribution

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

The ancient Greeks believed that the jealous gods are ever vigilant to catch an ordinary mortal strutting about as though he was a god himself. Hubris, the quality of immense pride and overweening lust for power, inevitably led to Nemesis, the very destruction of pride and a divine retribution for competing with the Gods. This belief entered western ethical praxis through Christianity with its emphasis on strict separation between the world of God and the World of Mortals, at least since the biblical Fall of Man. Hindu religion, unfortunately, lacks a well defined ethical universe and consequently the religion invariably becomes a web of transactions between human beings and the realm of gods. This lack of an ethical foundation is the real reason for the huge and egregious instances of corruption that crops up from time to time. The idea is share the loot with God and everything is fine. USA has a powerful judiciary and a strong state which is capable of enforcing a modicum of accountability on its public/political class. In India, the election of 2014 is the turning point with the State showing zero tolerance towards corruption and the Judiciary displaying the strength to pronounce harsh judgements.

The "Disproportionate Assets" Case against Jayalalithaa and Sasikala and her extended kin is an instance of the sort of wanton corruption that thrives in the kleptocracy called the Indian state. While Jayalalithaa herself came from a well to do background and she herself had a thriving career as a film star, Sasikala came from a lower middle class with a deep sense of insecurity and a lust for property that was not quelled even after 20 years of prosecution for corruption. She has now been found guilty of amassing wealth using her proximity to the then Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa. The later made the huge mistake of allowing this corrupt semi literate woman to live in her house and therefore became a party to all the property deals that transpired during the first term of Jayalalithaa's Chief Ministership. The Supreme Court inits unprecedented 570 page Judgement indicted the late Chief Minister as the Ist accused stating that since her residence was used for making the deals she ought to have known what was happening under her own roof. Jayalalithaa herself may not have been corrupt,but she paid the price for bring this semi literate woman called Sasikala into her household and allowing her the freedom to interfere in official matters. A house maid got transformed into "chinnamma" and even claimed the mantle of Chief Ministership as the anointed successor of Jayalalithaa until nemesis caught up with her in the form of the Supreme Court Judgement.

There are swirling rumours of the possibility of Sasikala being involved in the death of Jayalalithaa. A doctor at Apollo Hospital has made the sensational disclosure that the late Chief Minister was brought to the hospital dead on September 22nd 2016. If this is the case, then the members of Jayalaithaa's household and the authorities of Apollo have a lot of explaining to do do. Ignoring her own dubious role, Sasikala decided to stake her claim to the Chief Ministership barely a week before the Supreme Court was to pronounce the verdict. Inducing all her loyalists to seek refuge in a Holiday Resort at Kuvathur on the East Coast Road, Sasikala unleashed a full blown factional war forcing a reluctant Governor to order a floor test in the Assembly.

With the conviction of Sasikala upheld by the Supreme Court it is curtains for the political future of this woman. The AIADMK will sputter on till the mid tern polls are held and it is quite unlikely that the party will return to power. Hubris led to a huge Nemesis.

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