Walking straight in muddled waters

Seasons change, people change, mentalities change but these politicians, they never ever change. Come election times and you can see a wide array of gimmicks from them. They talk talk and talk but you can be sure that they won't talk any sense. Take Madhya Pradesh (MP). BJP has been vociferous in blaming the Chief Minister (CM) for the power crisis, yet it has never declared any concrete plan as to how the party would improve the dismal situation if it comes to power. Taking the janata as utter fools, Digvijay Singh, the CM has shamelessly promised free power for farmers while BJP is planning pay-for-what-you-actually-used and bill-waivers for electricity subscribers, steps which would bring the already dissolute MP Electricity Board to shambles. Congress manifesto has designs to make the state “self-sufficient in terms of energy” but when? The CM uncannily states, by 2007.

TV savvy politicians are a sought after commodity now a days and many have been challenging others for TV debates. Unlike America such debates are untrodden territories for Indian politicians. Funny side is, while you would expect a debate to be organized between equals, here each one is demanding a debate with a seemingly weaker contender. BJP is very keen to ask Congress's Prime-ministerial candidate Sonia Gandhi on a TV-debate with eloquent Atalji. What makes them confident is perhaps the fact that Sonia still reads from prepared speeches and was an ordinary housewife till recently. She would presumably be shattered to pieces without the backing of advisers and ghostwriters. However, when it comes to their own candidate Uma Bharti, contending for the post of CM of Madhya Pradesh, having a debate with Diggi raja, every one in the camp becomes numb. For Digvijay they will only stage the suitable-boy Arun Jaitly, an advocate by profession with considerable TV-presence and known for his gift of gab. Now, is there something called eligibility or are the NDTV guys just dying for TRP?

Whatever the election commission may say or preach, the only eligibility for fighting an election in India is Money-power (that being equivalent to muscle power) or descent. You cannot even dream of ensuring that civilized, good and educated people will ever contest elections. Coming to the point of personalities, Sonia might be educated but she is not Indian (BJP has strong objections to that but wouldn't Atalji have congratulated and felt proud of Bobby Jindal had he won at Louisiana, considering his Indian roots. Hypocrisy galore!). I agree that Sonia is not fluent in Hindi but she can speak better Hindi than our ex-PM Devegowda might even dream about. Devegowda has been on records saying he would master Hindi in 4 months, ask him now and he may faint speaking Namaste. More deviations? Uma Bharti is a so-called sanyasin, but owns gold-ornaments worth Rs.5 lacs and fosters ambition for a power-position. Digvijay is an Engineer while Uma is a 6th grader (this is also an issue in the print campaigns). NDTV rejected this comparison recently saying education alone cannot promise you an honest politician. I am not talking about honesty here, but will a less-educated Minister (and Uma is vying for the post of CM) be able to do justice to the post. Wouldn't he/she only remain a signing authority dancing on the tunes of the beurocrats. Doesn't education improve decision-making?

One cannot find the right-mix of best qualities in a candidate. A leader might be ripe but wicked, might be educated but naive, might be poor but possess discernment. How do the common man know? The Election Commission ( EC) must do more work to ensure that the minimum of the right-mix exist in any candidate. I agree that everyone has a positive or a negative side, but individuals can hardly be trusted in elections, unless they come with an ISI certificate. I would certainly vote with the party in mind not the candidate; so perhaps the point is also that EC must technically consider the capabilities of the party before it starts with their candidates.

Israeli attacks: a lesson for India

The recent retaliatory attack on Syrian Islamic Jihad base camps by Israel reveals the true face of America, their doublespeak on the Kashmir issue becoming more poignantly evident. The American hypocrisy lets them pats on the back of Pakistan for its help in fighting terrorism ignoring the terrorist dens right beneath their nose and tells India to exercise restraint, similar is their stand on Syria-Israel confrontation. When it comes to dealing with its own issues there is no stopping the big bully; without any proof of Saddam having WMDs and without caring for UN it attacked Iraq.

Syria has been harboring terrorism the same way as Pakistan providing training facilities, funding and logistical support to terrorist groups such as Hamas. While supporting Israel over the attacks, America has been providing support to terrorist groups and in its attempt to play the role of World Police scolding Syria as it scolds Pakistan now and then. Infact it is open now that when Bill Clinton was trying to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the FBI was secretly funneling money to suspected Hamas figures to see if the militant group would use it for terrorist attacks.

Islamic nations are very worried by the Israeli attack. No wonder that Pakistani Ambassador had called the attacks a violation of international law. They have their fears and I wish that it came true. Should the Israeli attack be cue enough for India to take on the Pakistani training camps in a similar manner? How long can we let the politicians play their diplomatic gimmick of holding olive branches in their hand and urging Pakistan to stop infiltration and terrorist activities while it audaciously continues with its foul game? Let our security forces cross the LOC and raze the enemy once and for all.

The "Woh" factor

Many of you might have noted the patni factor in the former UP ministerAmarmani Tripathi's case nabbed by CBI for his role in the murder of poetess Madhumita Shukla. Many press-wallahs say Madhumani was the mastermind behind the killing. Unlike the usual Indian wives infested by the woh factor she wasn't the one to do the rona-dhona and be a silent spectator to her swami's misdeeds. Without demeaning the loss of human lives, I have to comment that Madhumita's murder while she was carrying the minister's child is perhaps no less heinous than the injustice that Amarmani did to his wife with this extra-marital affair. Did she have any right for justice or not? As for Madhumita, she had seen rampant examples in our society where people even do not take it as a matter when it comes to illegal marriages. While people like Shabana Azmi have succeeded on religious behest others like Hema Malini had done it in broad daylight in front of dumb press. However, these ladies were already famous when they did that and Madhumita wanted to be rich and famous both. The price of chastity was nothing for that.

For Amarmani it was a vicious circle of lust and revenge; his lust that inspired his wife to seek revenge. Being in politics the backbone was already missing. He would have managed with all this beautifully if only things would not have leaked as they do in several other similar cases in the Indian polity. What happens to him next? May be he would witness decades of trial and die in a jail; may be he would get scot-free and bring another Mulayam to CM-hood; May be he would get another Madhumita.

The bitter part in this story of lust, greed, hatred and ruthlessness that I noticed is the missing human-factor. Madhumita sure had a heart as had Amarmani, they might have loved each other even if for a very short-while. Whatever happened to that? When the CBI arrested the defaced mantri he felt a pain in his chest. If only Amarmani had felt this pain before, when he let Madhumita murdered, with his child.