Darkness at Noon
Darkness is always a subject that haunts all of us.
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody”
- says Mark Twain.
My mind goes back to the darkness that is gradually enveloping us in various spheres of our life - social and political - and even in sports in spite of Sushil or Mary Kom winning medals in the London Olympics.
In the Elizabethan period in England, the million pound question was: Who will ascend the throne after Queen Elizabeth?
In spite of all the corruption charges, all the scams and all the black money questions raised by the social activists, the question still looms large in India: “After Manmohan Singh who is there to hold the reign of the country?”
There are many who will say, there are many and yes, many a cook spoil the broth. There are many to become the Prime Minister and so there is none as the poet says: “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”
My mind goes back to the distant past when the young Indira was inducted into the Lal Bahadur Shastri ministry. I was watching the London Olympics. Gagan Narang was the unexpected contestant to rise so high when Abhinav Bindra had to go. I expected similar things during the reshuffle of Congress ministry. The old order might have changed and given in for the new to come. And herein lies the vacuum.
Rahul Gandhi has failed to come up in Uttar Pradesh. How will he be give the leadership to India?
Indira Gandhi was appointed as the Information and Broadcasting Minister during Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at a much younger age in 1965. But Rahul is still in the waiting. Congress' heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi is not yet inducted in the Manmohan Singh-led government. The arguments are vague. Rahul will focus on overseeing his party's preparations for the next Lok Sabha Polls. The Nehru-Gandhi scion is himself not much confident to take up a ministerial position, despite his recent statement that he would play a more proactive role in the party and the government. Rahul is the trump card of the Nehru family now and Sonia is not very keen on using it at this present situation.
Rahul’s visit to UP did not pay any such dividend. On the other hand, his part cut a miserable image in UP. Akhilesh Yadav outdid him.
There is a huge difference between Indira and Rahul. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indira Gandhi was on a holiday trip to Srinagar. Despite repeated warnings by the security forces that Pakistani insurgents had entered very close to the hotel, she was staying, Gandhi refused to move. The incident fetched her huge national and international media attention. Indira Gandh got 355 votes and was selected for the PM post. Later, she showed extraordinary political skills and elbowed the Congress stalwarts out of power.
The situation is not so favourable for Rahul to be inducted into the ministry at the present moment. There is no doubt that the position of Congress in the country after the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections seems to be more stable. These two elections have shown the pathetic fissure in the Opposition unity. BJP house looks divided and everything of the NDA coalition is in disarray.
Darkness pervades the political arena.
The Anna Hazare crusade against corruption is not gaining that momentum in spite of the heavy weight put forth by Baba Ramdev because Baba’s own credibility is at stake on various issues. Many are very much angry with the columnists who criticize Ramdev for his absurd drama in the Ram Lila grounds. But they cannot say confidently that Ramdev’s social activism is well accepted in the country.
In India, people do not like the religious people to don the mantle of politician. Even the Mohandas Gandhi after being called the ‘Mahatma’ could not take political decisions. He had to go above politics as ‘the Father of the Nation’.
This is a problem with Anna Hazare. We have seen the tremendous appreciation of people when Anna started his crusade. But gradually his popularity is on the wane in just six months and now he has to start speaking of joining politics to fight a more effective battle. Only those who dream big in darkness, can imagine Anna or Baba Ramdev on the chair of the Prime Minister.
The situation is very dark. There is no powerful opposition even in this coalition age. BJP has shown all its chinks during the Presidential election. There is no unity and Modi BJP is different from Vajpayee BJP and the latter again different from Advani BJP and so on if not to mention Susama Swaraj BJP.
Darkness really settled when the biggest power outage in history struck 600 million people in India as three grids collapsed. The blackout affected all. The darkness is gradually settling on all spheres of life. The Guwahati gang –molestation of a teenager is the darkest of all incidents. Till today nothing much is done except caging 15 out of 17 beasts. The dark night rises really with the moral and spiritual values becoming topsy turvy. Like the witches of Macbeth we may also cry out: “Fair is foul and foul is power.”
Just imagine, who are being promoted in the ministry? Shinde who was promoted on the very day of power grid failure to the post of Home Minister was not a very clean man when he was the Chief Minister. Shinde's name features among the Chief Ministers who gave clearances to the controversial Adarsh Housing Society, but fortunately for him, the CBI has not named him in the FIR or the charge-sheet as an accused. Shinde has always been a Congress and Gandhi family loyalist, and has been rewarded with key positions in the party. A Dalit face of the Congress, he got along well with most of the leaders from Maharashtra.
Chidambaram has been restored to his older position. A more open market is waiting for India. People are disillusioned because of the soaring market prices. The days are really darker ahead with Chidambaram being sworn in as the Finance Minister. The Left parties will now get more occasions to call Bangla and Bharat Bandh.
Darkness on the international arena is greater with the muslims being the target of attack in Myanmar and Assam. Already the separatist leaders of Kashmir have taken up the issue. Women's separatist leader Syeda Asiya Andrabi led a protest on Friday in Srinagar against the 'persecution of muslims in Myanmar (Burma) and Assam' offering them shelter in Kashmir. Asiya Andrabi, who heads Dukhtaran-e-Milat (Daughters of Faith), staged a protest along with dozens of her supporters carrying placards and raising slogans against the alleged massacre of muslims in Myanmar.
India Government is very much scared of Chinese invasion and terrorist attack in the Siliguri Corridor and a special residential permit is going to be issued for Siliguri, the chicken neck of India. Darkness is, was and will be there but yet darkness has to be defined and defied at the same time.
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” –wrote Anne Frank the little girl whose own life was all darkness.
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Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee
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