Crime And Politics.

Nani Palkhiwala wrote on 16 January 1984.

“The picture that emerges is that of a great country in a state of moral decay. The immediate future seems to belong to the doomsayers rather than to cheer-mongers. We suffer from a fatty degeneration of conscience, and the malady seems to be not only persistent but prone to aggravation. The life style of too many politicians and businessmen bears eloquent testimony to the truth of dictum that the single minded pursuit of money impoverishes the mind, shrivels the imagination and desiccates the heart.
The tricolour fluttering all over the country is black, red and scarlet “black money, red tape and scarlet corruption.”

Our good friend Mayo sent this cartoon to me to see if I can do something with it in a blog and how can I not?

There is hardly any dividing line between crime and politics any more in India though in all fairness, many businesses can be exempted from the sobriquet of being criminal. Businesses however have to be very politically savvy to survive successfully in India.

Under the circumstances, what advise can one give as the father in the cartoon? Quite some famous politicians are cooling their heels in prisons just now! India however has a vast public sector which can easily accommodate the young lad. He can then combine his criminal tendencies, operate within the government and flourish.

Poor Nani must be wishing that he was alive to say “I told you so!”

A Blog In Response To Mr. L K Advani’s Blog.

Mr. L K Advani is a highly respected politician, unfortunately now in the opposition benches of our parliament. He has access to the media and his observations receive wide coverage in all forms of our media. Despite such popularity with the media, Mr. Advani blogs about his views in his blog Shri L.K. Advani’s Blog.

I am not a popular or unpopular politician. I am just a tax payer of this country like every other citizen of this country, who elect our politicians to our various elected bodies. I therefore do not have access to the media. I however have a blog of my own and I believe that I can address my concerns in this, my own blog.

Mr Advani, in his latest blog post says:

“I am of the view that those who revel in spreading a general climate of disdain about politics and politicians are doing a gross disservice to democracy.

“Despite the short comings of Indian democracy we still have conscientious and upright politicians in the country and it is they who still give people optimism and confidence for the future.”

“In my political life of over six decades, I personally have worked with Deendayal Upadhyaya, Jaya Prakash Narain, A.B. Vajpayee, and Nanaji Deshmukh who are role-models not only for those in politics, but for all Indians irrespective of their avocation.”

Mr. Advani, I and many others of my ilk do not despise politicians for being corrupt only. While that is indeed a major factor, there are other factors which generate bile in us.

The first and foremost among them is the fact that our elected politicians do not work and do what they get paid to do and get elected to do. They are expected to pass legislation to keep up with changing times. Please ask yourself if they do this to the extent that they are supposed to do. They also vote themselves fancy increments in emoluments and perquisites and give nothing in return.

Next, they are expected to debate in our legislative bodies and make amendments to proposed legislation. What they do instead, including your own party, is to disrupt proceedings, boycott sessions and generally cost a lot of tax payers money in sheer wastage.

There is also the phenomenon of buying and selling members of our legislative bodies. Is this what they are supposed to do? To do that, where do they get the funds from?

In other words, they politic rather than do what they are supposed to do.

Many of us also despise politicians for cornering freebies of all kinds including tickets for cricket matches. Can’t you afford to buy your own by standing in queues like the simpletons who do?

We also despise you for causing traffic jams every time one of you uses a convoy to go from any place to any other place. Similarly, we despise you for the gun toting guards that are provided to our politicians at tax payers’ cost. We also despise them for holding up flights and trains so that they can board and disembark at their convenience and at every other paying passenger’s inconvenience.

There are more Mr. Advani. Mr Hazare’s movement is the tip of the iceberg. The rest will emerge as days go by. This is a wake up call to you and other politicians Mr. Advani. Or at least I and many others like me, hope that it is.

India’s New Emblem.

This is our current emblem, The Ashoka Pillar.

I am blessed with a delightful nephew who suggests that we replace it with this one.

His logic is impeccable.

“.changing our emblem from The Ashoka Pillar to a Condom more accurately reflects our government’s political stance -Condom allows for Inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of dicks and gives you a sense of security while you are actually being screwed…”

Middle Class Patriotism In The USA And India.

Thomas L Friedman of the New York Times is a world famous columnist and writer who is highly respected all over the world. He quotes American Vice-President hopeful Sarah Palin as addressing the other hopeful Biden as follows; “she turned to Biden and declared: “You said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that’s not patriotic.”

It is not the purpose of this post to explain what Mr. Friedman had to say in his piece. The purpose is to transpose this comment to India, and see quite how it fits with the Indian middle class, to which this writer belongs and which pays the maximum individual income tax in the country.

If any politician in India was to make the same comment about the Indian middle class, he will most likely get away with it. This is primarily because; the Indian middle class is almost entirely urban and semi-urban in composition. The big vote banks come from rural India where patriotism itself is a notion that does nothing to get or nor get votes. What matters there are totally different from what the tax paying middle class in India are concerned with.

The Indian middle class has a love hate relationship with income taxes. If it can get away without paying it, it will do so, primarily because it believes that the establishment, read politicians and babus make most of their income from either legitimate tax-free methods or, more often from unaccounted for black money. There is nothing immoral about this; it is just following role models.

If however, an Indian politician dependent entirely on the middle classes for his votes was to say what Ms. Palin had to say about the American middle classes, he can kiss his election good bye. For the Indian middle class, no matter what the provocation, their patriotism cannot be questioned. The same fellows who will not stand up when the national anthem is played will jump up and down like yo-yos if they were to be called unpatriotic.

Purely as a bystander and interested observer, I will be watching quite how the American middle class responds to this provocation from one of their possible future Presidents!

For my American readers, a question – What is your opinion on this?

Reduction in corruption! Babus are very worried!

There is a very interesting news item today in the Business Standard, with the heading – “Decline in corruption complaints, worries Vigilance Commission”

Briefly stated, the problem would appear to be that people are not complaining about corruption to the Vigilance Commission in Gujarath. The commission may be worried that perhaps this trend if, allowed to continue, will result in the commission being wound up!

There can be no other reason for it to get worried and asking the home department of Gujarat government and the Anti Corruption Bureau to take serious note of the fall in the number of complaints against corruption. It has further asked the government to take such steps as necessary to encourage people to report about corruption in public departments. What should the general public do? Go around pleading with local babus to become corrupt?

One would have thought, that this is good news about good governance! That corruption is showing a downward trend should be a matter for celebration.

It is typical of our babus that it has become a cause for worry! There could be two reasons for this worry. One, the fear of loss of, shall we say, business or occupation or two, more likely, politics!

For those non-Indian readers of my posts, a babu is euphemism for a bureaucrat. In colonial days, this used to refer to someone who was educated, but now it is used more to express disgust with our small minds in big jobs.

Unexpected Side Effects Of Terrorism.

There is an interesting if somewhat bizarre news today related to terrorism in India.

A Police Inspector attached to our State’s SID, (State Intelligence Department) has been suspended from service and an departmental enquiry has been set in motion. He has been charged with abetting terrorists. His son and a brother in law, both using his registered residence, in a town different from where he is posted, have been publishing a news paper supporting a proclaimed terrorist organization. All three are Muslims.

The news paper has been in business at least since 2001, when it came under the scanner of intelligence units, when it published a poem praising Osama Bin Laden.

While the police department has been claiming that it has incontrovertible proof of his involvement, the officer claims that he has been establishing an intelligence net work, for securing intelligence. The officer claims that he is being victimized for being a Muslim. He claims to have always gathered high quality intelligence and blames some higher ups for a witch hunt. The officer, apparently passed on highly sensitive intelligence to higher ups which were not acted upon, due to political interference. When he allegedly questioned this inaction, the witch hunt has been launched against him. He is appealing to the the departmental machinery as well as to various politicians to arrange for a Central Government probe to prove his innocence.

Our state is not governed by the so called Hindu National Party or any of its allies. It is governed by the so called Secular Parties.

The Muslims of the area however claim that it is a witch hunt to tarnish the image of an upright and patriotic Indian, who incidentally happens to be a Muslim.

In the news item, names have been mentioned, which I think is not proper to do in this post. The article that I have read is from a highly respected weekly magazine published from the South of India.

Now, my questions are, why post a Muslim in such a sensitive position if there was the slightest possibility of his not being capable of doing what is expected of him, why allow him to gather intelligence and finally, why has the move come after seven years?

I bet someone can write a great mystery novel about this episode. Any volunteers?