Saturday, November 29, 2008


Why are Politicians such Snakes in the Grass ?

Just a few weeks after the euphoric high across the world as Barack Obama became the US President-elect, the same world has halted in its tracks, and watched the playing out of the terrorists take-over of Mumbai - my city.

A reality show that continues to play across all news channels.

Obama will be the US President, and we in the world outside America have celebrated as if 'our man' has been voted in. Mumbai is under siege, and I have now seen the world come together and share our shock and disgust.
This then is what defines current times. A unification even in the fractured times we live in.

And what is most disgusting, is the attitude of the politicians. Winning power in the coming elections takes center-stage in India, not the real issues facing the citizens. Not the complete infrastructural failure. Not the total lack of coordination. Nor the abysmal failure of administration when confronted with danger. An absolute nincompoop attitude evident amongst each elected official.
Narendra Modi of course takes the prize. When he arrives and ensures he gains maximum media visibility while he takes calculated potshots at the establishment. I would call him the king. Among all the snakes in the grass ... And as hypnotically fascinating - especially when you hear his oratorial skills. . He can be a mesmerizing speaker.
Mrs. Hemant Karkare - HATS OFF to her for refusing to have anything to deal with Modi. When he hypocritically came to offer her 'rupees one crore' on the death of her heroic husband, the head of the Anti-Terrorism Squad as he led from the front... this was just days after this same fellow had called Hemant Karkare 'a villain'. For having gone after the masterminds of the Malegaon blast.

Unfortunately these politicos have such thick skins, this cold-shoulder will be water off their scaly reptilian backs.

In America and in India, democracy is a common factor oft celebrated.
Right now, another factor is the increasingly evident and hugely frustrating 'lame duck' attitude of the present incumbents.... Bush in the White House, and Manmohan Singh and his team in the Indian Parliament House. Out in the US, we have a man who even after two terms in office, has not grown out of the braggadocio of little boys playing battleships and war-war and is actually issuing plaintive statements such as 'I am going to miss being Commander in Chief'.
At first I was sure this couldn't be real, he couldn't have said that - was sure this line was a creation of Jon Stewart, but no, these are mouthed really by the leaders we, the citizens of the world, have chosen for ourselves.

And the less said about the waffling Indian Leadership, the better.

This is the time when we look around wondering where are the fiery Bhagat Singhs, Swami Vivekanandas, Aurobindo Ghoshes of this generation? How did society manage to decimate our fires-in-the-bellies so completely that our hundreds of thousands of schools have failed to throw up any truly real leaders?
As versus assembly line 'High IQ scorers', the thousands who 'crack' TOEFL, GRE and GMAT scores. As parents who take pride in their topper-type nextgen heading out to the IITs and IIMs. Through the elite portals of JEE and CAT. I mean, take a look at the role models of today ... It is the billionaires. the Nandan Nilekanis and Lakshmi Mittals.

This is the time when we need Obama like figures in Indian politics to lead from the front... and for sure, millions will get galvanized. To join up. No idea how President Obama is really going to shape up. As we all pin our hopes on him. But by Jove, just having someone like him around is so heartwarming to millions around the planet.

We - the Indian citizens - have not turned out back to democracy and politics.
We have not turned our backs to our nation.
We have definitely not turned our backs to the future of this fragile planet.
We just don't want to have anything to do with the current band of corrupt politicians. Global, National, Regional, Local...

Like I wonder how come Indian Members of Parliaments of Beed and one more place were staying at the spiffing Taj Mahal Hotel. Is this why we vote for them? So that they can live it up in five star luxury? ** More than a week later, as I update this blog, a survivor Shruti Jalan- Narang speaks of the way these MPs were escorted out, under cover of security even while other guests stayed on in the Chambers, terror-stricken.

As it is, the number of monopolies of supplies held by politicians through shadow ownership patterns, in India, is overwhelming...
Who do you think actually owns the beedi making factories of Solapur that make its poor women workers barely eke out a living? I am told, it is actually a certain Central Minister .
Who do you think owns all the paver-blocks used to concretize streets and roads? Yet another Central Minister...
Not to mention the hugely lucrative business of educational colleges. That all have their fingers in.

References to the Indian Parliament siege have been coming up again and again on TV... and a security expert called in by CNN-IBN made an interesting observation... That not one single death of those inside had taken place in that stand-off, and he wondered if that was a good thing or not such a good thing... Did he mean why not have a 'clean sweep' of a different kind!?

And whatever happened to that 'Lead India' thingy run by a newspaper, hmm? Why did we never hear of that winner whatever-his-name-was ever again? Did the entire build up and media hype satisfy the criteria of sticky eye-balls, and by now has outlived its use-by date?

One more gimmicky 'bumper-sticker patriotism' of the material world we live in?
Dunno about you but I have already received text messages to 'wear white' or 'to light a candle' on this sunset day of the terror strike.
Will this token 'limited-liability patriotism' ( an incredibly evocative term coined by Andrew Bacevich) be enough?

Can we have a head count of the true leaders please??

Last word :

Having blogged on this issue in the past, I simply love this sms going around, and I cock my snook at being politically correct :
Where is Raj Thackerey and his brave Sena? Tell him that the 200 NSG commandos from Delhi (all South and North Indians) have been sent to fight the terrorists so that he can sleep peacefully at Shivaji Park.

No comments: