Hanging, bribing, raping and bombing: A clumsy way to run a country
The terrorist, essentially, is a coward. He hides and strikes. He kills the innocent. Cowards never win. So tragedies of the kind that hit Hyderabad gain nothing, prove nothing. They simply become part of the larger tragedy of India. This tragedy stems from the dirty tricks of Indian politicians. Just look at the scene they had contrived. You can’t hang a man without politics. You can’t buy helicopters without politics. You can’t rape without politics.
The Congress stands accused on all these issues, not because other parties are any better, but because it is the ruling party today. And it is notorious for acting on wrong advice—like opening the doors of Babri Masjid which had been locked by Sardar Patel, like passing the retrograde Muslim Women’s Bill to thwart the Supreme Court’s wise decision in favour of alimony for Shah Bano. One day it tries to please Muslims, the next day it tries to please Hindus—and ends up displeasing all.
The legal justification for Afzal Guru’s execution might indeed be strong. Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve said Guru had had sufficient time to present his defence and there was no ground for charges of human rights violation. But the legality of the matter was less important than the politics. Why was the 2005 sentence carried out only in 2013? Salve himself said “it is hard to fathom what larger interests slowed the process”.
It was party interests that slowed the process. The fear that hanging Guru would cost Muslim votes restrained the Congress. The fear that not hanging him would cost more Hindu votes overtook the earlier fear as the general elections loomed. What a clumsy way to run a country? The Congress will now lose Muslim votes and not win Hindu votes; the BJP has got a grip on Hindutva emotions thanks to Narendra Modi’s activism and Sushilkumar Shinde’s foolishness.
The politics of defence corruption is curiouser because the Original Mr Clean is the defence minister. Not even the VHP will say that A K Antony gains a paisa from any deal. But what is the use of a clean minister if he cannot stop dirty things happening under his nose? He publicly admitted his helplessness. That amounted to admitting that the defence establishment was wired for corruption and the minister was an irrelevant entity.
Who did such an expert job of internal wiring? Can even a genius do it without help from the top? Every Indian believes that Ottavio Quattrocchi was guilty in the Bofors deal. By most yardsticks he was a genius, but could he have got the entire Government of India dancing to his tune if he were operating all by himself?
There are disturbing similarities between the Bofors case and the latest helicopter case. Insiders in Delhi were whispering about the helicopter kickbacks for a year, but the government pretended innocence. It finally sprang to action only when the scandal was exposed abroad, just as in the Bofors case. Worse, the CBI that deliberately mismanaged the Bofors inquiry to help Quattrocchi has been put in charge of the helicopter inquiry as well. Its early moves have been hamhanded. This will only strengthen public suspicion of possible subversion from the top.
Perhaps incidents of gangrape—which seem to be increasing after the Delhi atrocity—are reflective of the country being continuously ravaged. In many cases, the police are too indifferent to register complaints. In a few instances, policemen themselves turned rapists. Many senior politicians set themselves up as examples. For every UP politician convicted of rape, there are many who dodge charges and cling on to their jobs shamelessly. A senior Congress leader in Kerala accused a rape victim of being loose in character and called for laws to protect men as well as women. He still remains a senior Congress leader.
In a country run by rowdies and amoral opportunists of this kind, cowards become just a part of the crowd. This is an India of philanderers and profiteers, of bigots and terrorists. They must go. They must be fought and defeated for India to be saved.