End Nation's Mental Blackout!

When the northern power grid failed and plunged Delhi into darkness some people reacted in expected ways. For example some sympathizers of Mr. Anna Hazare seriously claimed that it was due to a government plot to prevent more people attending his protest fast. Others disputed this claim to say that the government would not stoop to such measures. That indicates the world we think in. How very distant it is from the world we live in. 

Officials do not perform their duties. Officials and citizens alike break or ignore rules because they are not punished. They are not punished because the system has become corrupt. No wonder Mr. Sushil Shinde has become Home Minister!

Never in history has the world witnessed such a huge power breakdown. Twenty states and 620 million people went without electricity. The day after the northern grid failed the eastern grid failed likewise to make more states in the east and northeast powerless. To restore electricity in the capital of India power was borrowed from Bhutan. Have the full implications of this failure sunk into public consciousness? Indians are living in a dream world. We bask in the visions of a global role when the survival of our system and as a nation state is in peril. Appreciate the full implications of this recent power failure.

Consider the security implications exposed by this recent failure.

If such a disaster were replicated by an enemy through sabotage during hostilities what would be the nation’s fate? If in the normal course such a disaster can occur, what prevents enemies from achieving sabotage through subversion and infiltration?
The economic implications are even worse. Already the news about the world’s biggest blackout has flashed across the globe. As the worldwide news agency, Associated Press, reported: “India's energy crisis cascaded over half the country Tuesday when three of its regional grids collapsed, leaving 620 million people without government-supplied electricity for several hours in, by far, the world's biggest-ever blackout.” 

Vivid reports of stalled trains, communication breakdowns, hospitals in distress and stranded passengers were reported from across the nation. Business experts worldwide are saying that India cannot be a safe investment destination for at least another decade. They say this not because of the government’s attitude to foreign investment but because of India’s power situation which renders future industrial enterprise hazardous. 
Why and how
did all this happen? 
It happened because four states overdrew their allotted electricity quota and caused the grids to collapse. Never mind which state is to blame more or less. Why did any state overdraw its electricity quota? Piracy of electric power by industries big and small is merrily allowed by complicit and corrupt officials. Why could the central government not prevent overdrawing of electric quota by any state through creation of an automatic mechanism to cut a state’s electricity when its limit is reached? A computerized arrangement for the central government to monitor the use of electricity by all the states was set up years ago. Therefore were the central government officials inefficient or corrupt?

Officials do not perform their duties. Officials and citizens alike break or ignore rules because they are not punished. They are not punished because the system has become corrupt. No wonder Mr. Sushil Shinde has become Home Minister!

The system became corrupt because our early leaders were too permissive. They flouted laws to help favourites. They destroyed the Constitution to satisfy whims. That is why India is in a deep fundamental systemic crisis. That is why India needs a democratic revolution.

Revolution signifies change.

In India revolution will come not through violence but through ending violence. It will come not through changing the Constitution but through observing the Constitution. It will come not through new laws but through new leaders. Revolution will come when the people of India are sufficiently exercised over the nation’s rapid decline to accept the truth. It will come when they dare to recognize the iconic leaders of our so called freedom struggle as they really were and not as they are popularly perceived. No ailment can be cured without proper diagnosis. No system can be reformed without honest appraisal.

Today Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi are bitterly criticized for failure and for betraying the Congress legacy. They are rightly criticized for failure. They are wrongly criticized for betraying the Congress legacy. They failed not because they departed from the Congress tradition but because they continued to follow it. All that has happened is that continuous decline of morality and honour has made conditions much worse today than in the past. But every single flaw of the present political culture owes its origin to the seeds sown in the past. 

Mahatma Gandhi created the foundation for dynastic politics when he succumbed to the pleas of Motilal Nehru to make his son Jawaharlal the Congress president over the head of at that time the more deserving Sardar Vallabhai Patel who had successfully organized the Bardoli peasant agitation.
Jawaharlal Nehru laid the seed for corruption by overlooking the corruption of his favourite, Krishna Menon, responsible for the Jeep scandal case.
Nehru himself was corrupt by failing to disclose to Income Tax authorities his secret bank account funded by royalties earned from the Soviet Union through his books.
Such corruption was small. But its seeds had been planted. From the early permissive attitude of the past has mushroomed the gigantic horrendous corruption of today.
All this needs to be recalled not for denigrating the leaders of the past but to acknowledge that they were not gods. They were human, and it is human to err. They made huge mistakes. It goes to their credit that they recognized their mistakes. They attempted to undo them before they died. Death cheated both. It goes to our discredit that we refuse to acknowledge their mistakes. Unless we do that India will not revive. That is the harsh unpalatable truth. 

India has lost its identity. India has lost its system. To recover our identity the spirit of the Partition must be undone. To reclaim our system the Constitution must be reappraised and followed faithfully in letter and spirit. The current crop of politicians has amply demonstrated its unwillingness to attempt either. Only new leaders with a new political culture will attempt change. They will emerge only after a nationwide movement to create the cadre for a new political party is successfully launched. That is a formidable task. But India is facing a formidable crisis.

The recent power blackout is a wake up call. Will it arouse the youth, the intellectuals and corporate India? They must choose. They can perform or perish.   
Images (c)


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

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Views: 3415      Comments: 3

Comment Ours is a country where the head the government has no power even to choose his ministers, let alone to lay down the parameters of policy formulation and has to await his displacement by a young man who has no expertise or the right experience to run the country as decided by the power centre lying outside the government's influence? Yes, we are living in a banana republic. If we are destined to have a historic record -creating electric power outage, if a very large percentage of our countrymen and their families go to bed on empty or half-filled bellies that will happen. But the powers that be know their destiny, the one which gives them the power and opportunity to loot the nation's wealth and live happily ever afterwards.

02-Aug-2012 16:34 PM

Comment Dear Baljit Chopra Ji,

What about people like me - who are youth and realized the situation that you described in the comment as reason for your disappointment, we have more years to witness the (feared) dark that has just arrived !


And I have chosen to stay in India (while I could have lived whole life after education in west) !

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
02-Aug-2012 14:08 PM

Comment Very articulately written article. I am a Senior Citizen who witnessed the dawn of Freedom followed by rioting due to the partition of country. The favourtism started within Congress Party when Gandhi forced Netaji Subhash Chander Bose to step down from Congress Party Leadership to make way for Pandit Nehru. Muslim community was treated as third rate citizen within the Congress Party Leadership and they went ahead and created their Muslim League Party and subsequently Pakistan.

British Govt. told Congress Leaders that the Governments are run by the National Character and you have none. This is understandable from British viewpoint since India consisted of hundreds of States with twenty plus languages and no cultural ties between various States. We further aggrevated this with Reorganization Plan in 1956 which has hurt development of National Spirit to Unite us. I can go on and on.

Our life span is over. The future generations have to decide if they would like to raise their children and grand children in a country which is becoming corrupted to the root. Jokes apart, the parties should organize on basis of who is less corrupt and which one is more. This is an utterly disappointing scene to witness during the last phase of our life.

Baljit Chopra
02-Aug-2012 01:56 AM

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