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India - The Republic Of Non-Thinkers

By Swati Chaturvedi | Last Updated: Monday, August 8, 2011 - 12:39
Swati Chaturvedi

We, the people of India - citizens and leaders seem to be on a long holiday from thinking. Consider any of the big ticket issues, economic reforms, inflation, price rise, corruption, the provisions of the Lok Pal Bill, the role of civil society, terrorism, how to tackle Pakistan, the Maoist menace, the secrecy surrounding Sonia Gandhi's illness.

White noise has replaced reasoned debate. There is a clamour for a silver bullet short-cut instead of the thoughtful discipline required for true nation building.

As a country we have always been proud of jugaad - our unmatched ability to patch things together and make them work. The problem is that this ‘take it easy’ policy is now the problem.
Yes politicians are corrupt, seethes the middle class. They are not interested in building a great country, they do not care about issues that bother us, they are snug in the embrace of their vote-bank. All true. But, what is our solution? Hail Anna Hazare as a messiah. Short circuit Parliament and democracy. Is that really workable? So if you don't like the present lot of politicians, is the middle class solution secession from democracy?

Why not actually follow Anna and make the same bums accountable?

Price rise and inflation is a huge problem, but have we given the politicians a mandate to make reforms attractive. Reforms are done by stealth. Has anybody paused and thought that in the thought-free mass that is the mass media that dole economics such as NREGA is actually creating a huge problem? So much so that even Congress ruled states are asking for its suspension in the sowing season. No. Instead, what we have is fevered speculation about chewing gum bugging in the highest echelons of government.

Is this really relevant? It helps a lazy government escape from its responsibilities. As China marches ahead, we keep putting down our growth targets as the world laughs. Punish the guilty in the 2G scam by all means, but remember that due process has to be followed and all the scamsters including A Raja are now in jail for six months. And Kanimozi, and even Suresh Kalmadi deserve bail. Let them be tried and sentenced for their crimes, but being in jail sans bail cannot be an alternative for conviction. Let the sun-rise sectors of telecom which put a mobile phone and undreamed of access in the hands of a billion Indians not be destroyed.

As the UP polls approach, divisive politics will hold sway. It’s the only way our politicians know. Reject it. Also politics over land. Don't believe them. They have kept a 200-year old land acquisition act on the statute so that they and their cronies benefit.

Fight for the abolition of discretionary powers. It is these entitlements that let our Netas live more opulently then the Maharajas of yore.

The Maoists and Pakistan are problems that cannot be wished away. And, no court can give a band-aid solution. There is no fevicol in the world for the festering sore that Pakistan is. It is a terrorist tourism centre and we need to stop dithering and playing politics with national interest.
It is quite puzzling in the 21st century that the Congress party still lives in its quaint world of palace intrigues and courtiers. Mrs Sonia Gandhi is the tallest leader of India and it behooves the party that India should be aware of what ailment her leader is suffering from as it impinges national interest. This is not a salacious plea dressed up as high minded interest, but a desire to follow all mature democracies such as the USA where the President's health bulletin every year is made public since it obviously impacts decision making.

So can we move on from the silly season and actually get on with the business in hand.

First Published: Monday, August 8, 2011 - 12:39

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