Political Musings on India@61
Every Independence Day should be a time for political introspection by India's political leaders and its polity as to whether they have been able to deliver on the political promises made by them to the people of India. It is also the time for personal introspection by India's political leaders in that whether they themselves personally have contributed to the strengthening of the 'moral fabric' of India in terms of setting exemplary standards of political probity, honesty and integrity and also ensuring that their political flock does likewise. India's 61st Independence Day came and went last weekend but has left in its wake the troubling thought as to whether India really has 'political leaders' or they all have juggled the spelling of 'leaders' and ended up as 'political dealers' devoid of political morality and conscience.
For this Columnist who as a seven year old watched with wonderstruck eyes the electrifying spectacle of the British Union Jack being lowered at the Government House at Allahabad and being replaced by India's 'Tiranga' is left wondering as to why India's politicians and those who head them can no longer recreate those electrifying moments on every passing Independence Day. The answer is obvious as there are no political leaders left of the genre of India's freedom movement. India today has been left with 'political pygmies' whose sole political activity is focused not on nation-building but on devising political tricks to capture power and survive in power at any cost.
The run-up to India's 61st Independence Day in the month preceding it, India was treated to the sordid spectacle of the depths to which India's political standards had become depraved and declined. The lead was provided by the Congress Party which never tires to lay claims to pretensions of being India's oldest political party which it is not. In a bid to remain in power the Congress high command and the Prime Minister 'stooped to conquer' the trust vote in Parliament.
How does one term the sordid spectacle that India's polity put on display for the citizens who voted them to power hoping that somehow even if they were 'not fit to lead' they would 'at least provide honest governance'?
The electronic media provided a running commentary on the Members of Parliament being bought and sold in the game of numbers. Small- time regional politicians were overblown into 'kingmakers' for the ruling party. Marriages of political expediency were hastily cobbled up by the ruling party without scant respect to political principles.
Worst of all was as to how the Indian Muslim communal card was being played by the so called secular parties. In the Parliament debate where India's national issues should have been in the forefront and especially those really connected with the trust vote in terms of honest governance no effort was spared to dramatize the Congress Party's so called secular credentials by lionizing the speeches of Indian Muslim Members of Parliament singing praises of the Congress
Two questions arise from this sordid display of low political morality. The first is whether the Congress President and the Congress Prime Minister can absolve themselves from all that happened inside and outside the Parliament in terms of political wheeling and dealing. Secondly, both of them should be asking themselves whether all their wheeling and dealing was politically worth it keeping in mind that there were only a couple of months left for the elections?
The answer to both the above questions is a resounding 'no'. If it is their contention that by winning a trust vote by politically and morally questionable methods has raised India's stock in the international arena then they are deluding themselves. They have only belittled themselves.
Finally, the people of India themselves are to blame for facilitating the rise of a motley group of unprincipled political midgets to power by an apathetic indifference to India's political affairs and India's political governance. This particularly applies to India's rising middle class. Regular readers of this Column would recall that some years back one had stressed on the imperatives of India's middle class politically empowering themselves to break the stranglehold of India's captive vote-banks on India's electoral arithmetic.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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