Published August 28, 2012 | 11:55 am
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
The Prime Minister Dr ManMohan Singh was not allowed to speak in the Parliament by the BJP and its allies. It is strange that a political party which has violated democratic norms everywhere is not allowing the house to function.
There are some serious questions related to the role being played by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and that must be probed for the fair play of the governance. If constitutional bodies works like this then this country cannot really see a day for amicable governance and all the important legislations will always remain pending and out of bound for the common people.
One shudders to think whether the idea of LokPal being envisaged by the great guides of Anna Hazare is similar to the present day CAG of India who is hitting the government below the belt. It looks that each of these self-proclaimed moralists believes in creating a perception about the government so that it is further discredited.
Many of these government officers, after retirement or when they are on the verge of retirement, start giving sermons of morality and governance to us. They become frequent to TV studios where their friendly anchors give them larger than life images and make them expert of everything related to governance.
It is important to see things beyond their visibilities and imagine the situation in India if such protests continue unabated. There are two kinds of protests emerging in this country. The genuine is by the forces which are victim of the entire system for centuries, and whose legitimate aspirations have never been provided for by the state, and even if they are provided then that too happened in halfhearted manners.
These aspirations and feelings stem from the want of being part of the society as equal citizens (whose resources, so far, have illegally been grabbed by powerful national and international transnational corporations); but they don’t have any popular support from the middle classes led by the caste Hindus.
The media has rarely given them the coverage they deserve, reflecting the casteist and racist nature of Indian media. In fact, any one fighting for the rights of aadivasis including aadivasis themselves are branded as Maoists, Naxalites, anti-national, etc., and these same bureaucrats who have been responsible for the conditions of tribals in the name of national security today sermonize us through their newspaper columns and panel discussions. Similarly the very same media quickly painted any voices of assertion, participation in the power structure from the Dalits and other marginalized communities as casteist and against the spirit of merit.
This country has seen violent protest against the recommendations of Mandal Commission Report. It is again witnessing the same upper-caste arrogance and rhetoric on the issue of reservation in promotions for Scheduled Castes which has been questioned to the Supreme Court under the guise of ‘right to equality before the law’.
It is tragic that those who violated the rights of people and still suffer from prejudices based on caste, those who practised untouchability their entire life, feel that they are being violated just because there is an affirmative action programme by the government.
The realities of India can shame any one. We still have manual scavenging and people carrying night soil over their head. It is a practice where India should have focused and used all its resources from the very beginning but it has never happened. No social movement of so-called nationalism in recent raised these issues. The tragedy is even those so-called social movements claiming to work for majority of India forgot them. Political parties are not interested except with their known rhetoric.
Assam is burning and this fire is threatening to engulf the entire country. The nation is at the receiving end with the forces of evils that are using religion as a tool to spread their hate agenda and very unfortunately our energies are spent on the issues which have been hyped by the media.
The north Indian elites seem to have hijacked the entire country and have now taken to blackmailing. Most of them have hidden agendas so that the issues of Dalits and most marginalized do not come to the Parliament.
As more and more marginalized people have faith in electoral system, the upper caste Hindus have realized that it is not working well for them and hence they are looking for avenues where the supreme will of the Parliament or state assemblies is scuttled.
To do so, it is important to vilify the political class as a whole and discredit the institutions of parliament and state legislatures. There is no doubt that present day political system is prone to corruption and when political parties have people with lesser credibility and middlemen masquerading as leaders, it is bound to happen but even then it is important to respect people’s will and wait for our moments to strike back in due time.
In our democracy, we elect government for five years. Of course, it may fall earlier if it loses the confidence of the house. But it is not good to compel them to resign and force an election on the country. The BJP may think that the government has lost its credibility but the government still has the confidence of the Parliament.
A duly elected government cannot be forced to resign just because some political parties are desperate to come to power. There is nothing wrong in their effort for that as we all need regular changes in power structure but is India ready to have another government with an unambiguous agenda of Hindutva?
Point is not that the Congress is great or Prime Minister is right or wrong. It looks that political parties without any base are mostly putting their energies on TV studios and using the drawing room managers to construct a public opinion. That is why, when we look at different protests in India, it is clear that they have much bigger self-serving agendas than what is visible.
Even when the Congress has become self-centered and revolves around a few leaders without much mass-base, the position of the BJP is more hilarious at the moment as it has become prisoner of its arrogance and rootless politics. Demanding prime minister’s resignation is their fundamental right but the same point of time Dr Manmohan Singh has a right to defend his decisions and explain the entire issue to the nation. The country has a right to know as to what the CAG report was and how the government looks at it.
Without going into the details of the CAG’s assessment of losses, it seems that the CAG’s assessment to the losses were similar to his other assessment earlier which has been hyped by so many people. The problem is that Indian media and self-proclaimed moral guardians have taken it upon themselves to represent the entire country. They speak in such a filthy way as if the people have given them a right to speak for them. Criticism should be constructive and not end up in character assassination.
Those who have been hyped by media as sole champions of people are not so because they have people with them but because corporate media is behind their back. Events are organized keeping in mind the media coverage and that is the biggest tragedy of India. Perceptions are built and through them a halo is being created around unelected persons as ‘patriot’ and ‘clean’ so that whatever they do and act gets some legitimacy.
Such demonization of political leadership and glorification of non-political ‘experts’ will ruin democracy itself. It is strange that the Prime Minister of the country is not allowed to speak in the Parliament to clarify his position. It is more than shocking that the Parliament has not been allowed to function just because a political party is not ready to discuss things and has already castigated a duly elected government.
CAG reports are not the ultimate truth and the government has the right to explain to people its position on the CAG report and why it rejects it. We may not agree with their explanation but we cannot deny them their right to speak.
Finally, there are numerous legislations pending in the Parliament including new act to eliminate manual scavenging and land acquisition act. The crisis at Assam needs immediate attention but then nobody cares for discussing these issues in Parliament and allowing the government to function.
It would be better for the country if it is saved from uncertain situation at the moment by meaningful discussions in the Parliament. The majority of the government can only be tested on the floor of the house and not in the TV studios or at Jantar Mantar.
Let the people decide who they want in due period in 2014. Forcing an early election on the country will have tremendous negative impact on its economy as well as the crisis it is facing at the moment. It will only aggravate the already worsening situation in Assam and flare up communalization process in rest of the country. It is time we look beyond our narrow considerations and allow the people to have their say through elections in 2014.
(VB Rawat is a full time Human Rights activist working on the issues of Dalits, Muslims, tribal and other marginalized and their democratic rights including access to land and other natural resources. He also runs an organisation Social Development Foundation. He can be followed at : email@example.com)