In recent times, the Indian media has had a good time criticising Pakistan and the recent killing of Punjab’s Governor, Salman Taseer by his own bodyguard. It has given our media a fresh impetus to damn jihadi and fundamentalist elements in our neighbour country. The general consensus seems to be that Taseer’s killing shows that Pakistan is heading towards anarchy. Perhaps it is a correct interpretation. Perhaps it is not. Perhaps what the Indian media is doing is to indulge in wishful thinking.
But isn’t it time for our own media to do some internal assessment of what is happening in our beloved country? The UPA Government stands damned. It has ceased to command respect. There are charges against Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and some members of his over-burdened cabinet. Forget the likes of Shashi Tharoor and A Raja. The Supreme Court has taken strong objection to Kapil Sibal’s cavalier comment criticising the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the 2G Spectrum Scam and has told him to behave with a sense of “responsibility”.
The Adarsh Building in Mumbai in the construction of which crores have been spent is now due for demolition. Like the UPA spokesman Tiwari, Sibal behaves in an extremely questionable manner. The whole approach is not to accept responsibility for errors and sins committed, but to point an accusing finger at the Opposition, particularly the BJP, not realising that when one points a finger at an opponent, one simultaneously points three fingers at oneself. But what is shocking is the slow fall in values at all levels of society that all parties must be aware of.
Former Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan finds himself in the dock of public opinion following reports that his close relatives, including a younger brother and sons-in-law have amassed assets far in excess of their known sources of income due to his high judicial position, Forget the Adarsh Scam. An Army Court has found one Lt Gen PK Rath guilty in the Sukna land allotment case in West Bengal, so far the highest Army officer to be court-martialled.
A German bank has provided names of twenty eight Indians who hold accounts in it – the amount stashed obviously coming from questionable source. The Government says it cannot reveal the names of the Account Holders, but surely, they can be ordered to repatriate their money to India, failing which they can be tried in a court of law and suitably punished? The Supreme Court has described the money in foreign banks as “pure and simple theft”, amounts plundered from the national economy.
Our bureaucrats have no respect for the Prime Minister who in an order issued on January 6 had directed bureaucrats to submit Immovable Property Return (IPR) by January 31, 2011. They were also directed to provide full particulars of Property and Assets they owned and avoid phrases such as “same as previous year” or “no change”. And the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) demanded that full particulars of the IPR, whether inherited/owned or acquired or held (Power of Attorney) be given. And how many bureaucrats have submitted the information sought so far? One understands that 851 (yes, eight hundred and fifty one) bureaucrats have defaulted and have failed to obey orders. And they are supposedly above the rank of Under Secretary. It seems that such orders had been issued in the past and apparently had been ignored.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) are quoted as being upset “with the defiant attitude of the bureaucrats”. It is necessary here to stress that Dr Manmohan Singh is not only the Prime Minister – which post should suffice to command obedience – but is also Minister-in-charge of the Personnel Ministry. But even if he is not in charge of such a Ministry, how can a bureaucrat – any bureaucrat – dare to disobey the Prime Minister? Has anyone given the matter any thought? According to the Mumbai-based daily DNA ( January 10, “angered at the reluctance of many bureaucrats to declare their assets despite repeated reminders, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has got their names, designations and departments posted on the official website of the Ministry of Personnel Grievances and Pension”. That is not enough. They should be taken to task. They must either be dismissed or taken to court and tried. What the news report indicates is the sorry state of affairs in the Administration and the sheer impertinence of senior bureaucrats.
We now have the case of the Governor of Karnataka, HR Bharadwaj, sanctioning the prosecution of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa over allegations of denotification of land for sale to family members et al. Mr Yeddyurappa no doubt will handle the charge in his own way, and for all one knows, he may, in defence, point out that several Chief Ministers before him have similarly been guilty of impropriety in earlier times. And if this is, and has been, so in Karnataka, why should we presume that Chief Ministers in other States, especially Congress run states, cannot similarly also be charged? It may turn out that Mr Bharadwaj is opening a can of worms.
One of the most corrupt of Chief Ministers is named Mayavati. As a man so devoted to running clean governments why doesn’t Mr Bharadwaj demand public inquiries into the running of administrations in all twenty nine States? He may then be praised for his high commitment to public service. Right now, as one established daily has noted, he is guilty of “crudely over-reaching his constitutional role” and carrying on a personal vendetta against Mr Yeddyurappa, which is sickening. Worse, he is charged with carrying on a campaign against the BJP at the instance of his party, the Congress, no doubt to deflect public attention from its own follies.
It is obvious that Mr Bharadwaj is acting at the instance of his party. Governors are supposed to be impartial and totally above party politics. By his highly noticeable role in recent months it is clear that he is playing a dirty game which needs to be exposed. But above all, the people of India need to give deep thought to what’s going on right in front of their noses. When politicians start behaving like children – children probably know better manners than their politician elders – it is time they are shown their place, which is the gutter. We can do without the Bharadwajs and the Kapil Sibals and a whole lot of others, no matter to which party they belong. We want an India of our dreams.