WHEN a serving Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was summarily dismissed, without any investigation or trial, for the unpardonable crimes of protesting too much (on what he thought was) in the interest of the Navy and the country, the concerned leader and his party suddenly became very conscious of corruption and shenanigans in the bureaucracy and the armed forces and made me write a paper and we discussed the nuances several times. It was reported then that the dismissal order was intimated by some low level secretary to the Government of India even before it was got signed, sealed and issued by the President, as propriety demanded. Incidentally, secretaries to the government has no locus standi in the matter but was operating under the inappropriate protection of the SC verdict on Wing Commander Hazara Singh vs. Union of India and some clause 18 or 19 of Navy Act which does not cover the Chief of Naval Staff or Chief of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and was, prima facie, illegal. As time passed, the poor admiral was left in the lurch and the leaders, this leader in particular, unabashedly talked on these points exactly opposite to what we agreed upon. These points were again resurrected during written submissions and oral presentation to the ‘Tehelka’ Commission (headed at that time by retired honourable Judge of apex court, Shri Venkataswamy), but this must have again been sent to the waste bin or hidden in mountains of papers generated by the venerable Commission! This same leader, and possibly his leader, kept a non-official top secret offer for supply of nuclear weapons by a collapsing state pending long enough, so that the other party was forced to back out complaining of breach of trust and bitterly complained of pressures from a foreign country alerted by Indian high party. The party from the collapsing state had offered to air deliver large quantities of ready-made ‘forbidden fruits’-both aircraft and missile launch-able, with foolproof decoys/dummies and facilities for blinding the ‘spying eyes in the skies’. But Indian patriots had other considerations. Otherwise, how will they enact the charade of Kargil operations (‘Operation VIJAY’)? Incidentally, whose Vijay was this? Of aluminum coffin importers? Might be Jaswant Singh was referring to such an organised outfit in PMO, but the politician that he is, he was discreet enough to get the timing of disclosure wrong and to generally fudge the issue and could not prevent bringing public dishonour upon himself (in 2006). After all, he inherited a legacy and felt duty-bound to uphold it, except to the extent of making use of the opportunity to jumping back in public space.
That the rot in the system of governance is complete was confirmed once again when I went to a 3-day seminar, organised in FICCI auditorium in New Delhi in July/August 2003, to ostensively eulogize a recent book, Development As Freedom, by Prof Amartya Sen, but in actual fact, to co-opt him to the capitalist fold completely (they succeeded in that). There, I had the opportunity of attending a seminar for sometime when questions from the floor were being accepted. This was one of the five simultaneous seminars, named as per five freedoms enunciated by Prof Sen, but actually to prepare elite consensus and for arriving at a theoretical basis for taking away all those freedoms openly and legally. This one was chaired by Dr Manmohan Singh, then an Opposition member in Rajya Sabha. I asked him why must India limit currency in circulation to 15 per cent or so, when America and China puts currency in circulation many times more than the GDP, he kept hedging about parity, international obligations, international accounts settlement requirements, which I assiduously tried to demolish, but to no avail. Then I asked him why can’t India have parity exchange rate of $ one = Re one, which is actually the only realistic exchange rate. He and the rest of the industrialists and business tycoons audience expressed shock. When I tried to dispel his disbelief with some revealing statistics from World Bank Reports, he launched into an elaboration of the intricacies of exchange rate fixation in his tiring monotone, but I kept on interjecting to bring him back to the main question and he kept on in his unhurried monologue impervious to all logic. When this carried on for sometime, Prof Amartya Sen, who was moving from one seminar room to another, shuffled out and the gentleman sitting on my right, who I later came to know was secretary general of some federation of some chambers of commerce, murmured in my mother tongue, ‘you are wasting your time, he is not going to understand or answer your question’. I gave up. After the chair prattled on for some more time without interruptions, next question was taken up.
(To be concluded)
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