By K.V.V. Subrahmanyam
FRIEDTJOF Capra in his watershed book Turning Point, written three decades ago, has devoted an entire chapter to the causes and cure of cancer. He referred to the totally altruistic and dedicated efforts made by the Simoncton couple, practicing oncologists in Los Angeles. For our purpose, we shall extract a very small but extremely pertinent-pertinent to our contemporary socio-political, economic context-observation ´contrary to popular belief, cancer cells are not strong but weak species, that develop the capacity to multiply, proliferate and sustain´.
The distinguished civil servants, just before laying down office, referred to politicians as cancerous. Whether they are or not or they multiply, are root questions. Yet the present trends indicate that they do multiply.
Many civil servants, sportsmen, not to speak of film stars, are joining the political bandwagon in droves, no doubt with the very laudable objective of serving the people. Therefore, it would seem that the political field is one way of serving the people. Whether other professio-nal avenues provide the urge to serve the people, is not clear.
Lambasting the politicians is the easiest thing. They are hand in gloves with the underworld. They launder money. They make false promises and what not. Other sections of the society can claim to be pure as snow, e.g. the bureaucrats, the academicians, the doctors, the legal fraternity, the big businessmen. As regards the Jodi wary, they are well and truly ensconced in the kavacha kundala of the law of contempt, though senior judicial eminences have expressed anguish at the state of affairs. No section of society lagged behind others availing the largesse of hospitality of big business houses to witness the World Cup and also witness South Africa incidentally. No questions need be asked. The PSUs catering to the creature comforts of ministers, etc. are too recent to need recapitula-tion.
Causes & Treatment
By and large, civil servants have an uninterrupted tenure of three decades plus. Inactivity has not resulted in delaying the IR professional advancement of late; they are no doubt facing public wrath. Mostly not for non-performance, but incurring the wrath of political bigwigs. Bulk of them are ephemeral, here today, gone tomorrow. It is in this context that singling them out as socially malignant, is quite improper. There are good politicians as well as bad politicians like bureaucrats, etc., who know how to get the best out of the political system and how to address the attention of those concerned. Denigration cannot be the last word.
It is good to say that money-making is bad. Money is required for all purposes. Even religious, leaders, swamijis and sadhus who preach austerity move about in streamlined limousines. We can see not all of them are embodiments of simplicity and plain living. Their ashrams require considerable fund-ing. We will not sit in judgement over these being right or wrong. Suffice to say, money is essential. But where does one draw the Lakshman rekha is the root question.
Elections require money. One wonders if Mahatmaji were alive and had contested the elections on his terms, he may have lost his deposit. Politicians to contest elections have to nurse their constituencies, election agents and all contingent infrastructure.
Today cellphones may be promised to election agents. Perhaps guns may be promised to party workers. From power-point presentation to gun point representation-what a quan-tum leap; politics cannot be wished away. But poly tricks should be guarded against.
One easy method for political leadership is to give party tickets to those who can take care of election expenses, so that the conscience of the leadership can feel light. But who will take care of the interests of the electorate? And to solve their multifarious problems and concerns, the film stars, realtors, big business barons will fill the bill. But where does it lead to? The result will be that the road to economic progress will be through these worthies but not through better governance. How to get out of the crucial issue before the electorate?
Merely abusing politicians as a class will lead us nowhere. Come elections, the parties and the candidates will carry a truckload of invectives, chosen vocabulary to trade against one another.
So, cancer or no cancer, we have to get on with the game. This business of electioneering. At every turn, let there be a close scrutiny; let there be cautionary signals and slogans like ´beware of road blocks, beware of pitfalls, booby traps, etc.´ Some of them may be false alarms; better false alarms than no alarms at all.