Tuesday, 2 December 2008

What a shame

It’s as if all the anger is futile. The tragedy in Bombay brought forth an outpouring of anger against our politicians. Let me quote just two, both by Sunil Varma on his Facebook profile:
“Sunil rejoices that the ordeal is finally over. Now, just watch out for the politicians...the disgusting, putrid, rancid set of people who're supposed to serve us.”
“But do we also have to live with our politicians? Just wait for the crap they will spew out from their cussed mouths in the days to come.”
Narendra Modi, R R Patil, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, V S Achuthanandan have made Sunil’s predictions come true.
As I write, there’s the NDTV scroll on the television, one person is saying hand the politicians over to
Pakistan, another saying let the terrorists kill them, another saying hand over the country to the military.
But has anyone learnt anything?
The usual blame game is on, albeit in a much more subdued manner. But what is even more disgusting is the drama in
Maharashtra over the chief minister. It is clear now that Vilasrao Deshmukh has to go. That should have been done within days of the end of the terror attack, the way Shivraj Patil was replaced at the Centre on Sunday itself. But Deshmukh continues to be Maharashtra chief minister. All because the Congress has not been able to decide on his successor. And the way his successor is being chosen is a slap in the face of all of us, and especially all those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists - across the country.
At the Centre, P Chidambaram’s reputation for efficiency and competence led to his being chosen as home minister to replace the very ineffectual Shivraj Patil, who finally had to go. There seems to be an all-round acceptance of his selection.
But in
Maharashtra, caste and other equations are the deciding factors in choosing Deshmukh’s successor. One view is that a Maratha should be made the chief minister in order to checkmate Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party. Another view favours Sushilkumar Shinde because he is a Dalit and his choice could help the Congress cut into the base of the Bahujuan Samaj Party in the elections! The name of Prithviraj Chavan, who is now in the PMO, was also being considered, but he is not favoured by the NCP, which is a coalition partner of the Congress in Maharashtra. Chavan himself is not keen on moving to the state. Where is competence and efficiency in all this? Is this what a state ravaged by terror attacks needs?
There’s talk that politicians are out of touch with popular sentiment. Are they? I doubt that. I think it is just sheer arrogance – they know people feel this way about them but they couldn’t care less.
NDTV had a discussion the other day asking whether we would be willing to give up a bit of our personal liberties in the fight against terror. My reply to that would be: yes, I will, but what about Somenath Chatterjee, who refuses to visit foreign countries on official tours if they cannot assure him that he will not be frisked? What about Robert Vadra who is exempt from frisking only because he is married into a particular family? Actually, what about all those who are exempt from frisking for some reason or another?
Sunil wrote on his Facebook profile: “The time to be lazy, apathetic and indifference is over now!” ” Yes it is. It is time for ordinary people like us to question why, as
The Times of India reports, 1700 out of 7000 National Security Guard personnel are guarding VIPs (some whose names we've never heard of, others with highly dubious credentials like Sajjan Kumar who was seen to have led mobs against Sikhs in 1984) but the rest of us have to depend on our good luck to escape terror attacks. Why Somenath Chowdhury should be exempt from frisking but the rest of us have to subject ourselves to it? So we are all potential carriers of terror just because we are not in politically powerful positions or are not born into or married into politically powerful families?
But why blame politicians alone? As I was watching the terror attacks on television , one image just kept coming back to my mind. It was after the attack on the J W Marriot in
Pakistan and hotels here had tightened security. Cars were being checked at the gate of the Taj Mansingh in Delhi. There was a small queue of three or four cars. The large chauffer-driven car immediately before mine was third in the queue and there was a lady sitting in it. As the car before hers got checked, her car moved forward. To my horror, the lady leaned forward and said something to the driver and the car shot forward and drove straight to the portico without being checked, leaving the guards with their equipment aghast. And as she got out of the car and ran into the hotel, I am reasonably sure, she was a member of a prominent media family from the south.
God save our country from such VIPs.

1 comment:

Ramesh Srivats said...

You are right. We have a cultural issue that is larger than the political one.

Shivraj Patil debates with Sardar Vallabhai Patel on who was the better home minister. Check http://www.rameshsrivats.net/2008/12/shivraj-patil-versus-sardar-patel.html