Justice Katju is known for using language of the extreme kind. But more often than not, his words hit the bull’s eye of truth. They did so last week when he spoke to a regional channel. India, he said, was in the hands of goondas; they must be shot. He recalled how the so-called “aristocrats” were guillotined in the French Revolution. We have to do the same, he said, because this great country is ripe for revolution. Without discriminating between parties and ideologies, he said, “these politicians will not change their nature; they are enemies of the country; they must be shot.”
There may be a penal provision under which Justice Katju can be prosecuted for propagating violence. But that would invite derision because not only is his honesty of purpose beyond question; his views—minus the guillotine part, perhaps—are a reflection of public opinion. These politicians, be they in UP-Bihar, or Rajasthan-Gujarat, or in the South, are indeed taking the country to ruin. And they will not change.
Once upon a time, corruption was the most discussed aspect of the ruination that politicians had brought upon the country. From Bofors to Commonwealth Games to 2G spectrum, corruption appeared in daring avatars that befuddled the hapless citizens. Then the entire public sector banking system caved in with the glittering gems of Nirav Modi demonstrating how all-encompassing it can get.
Actually we have gone beyond simple corruption into the realm of mafia corruption. Criminals have been in politics for a long time, becoming MPs and ministers during the glory days of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav. The south of the country was relatively free of this kind of advanced democracy. But the south made up for it with VIP fathers trying to promote their sons to VIP status by hook or by crook, preferably the latter.
Indira Gandhi ushering in dynastic politics led to the triumph of Parentology as the ultimate ideology in India. Kerala’s self-anointed “leader” K Karunakaran even left the Congress party and formed an outfit of his own in his attempt to make his son and daughter the political commissars of the state. With his manoeuvres failing to click, he finally returned to the Congress as a de-fanged “leader”.In Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa, who was chief minister then, spent what was considered the biggest amount till then to ensure his son’s election to Parliament. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, sons have already been elevated to positions of high responsibility. In these states, the sons are educationally and technically qualified people, even then the enforcement of Parentology has led to criticism.
The worst aspect of this self-serving ideology comes into play when the sons are unqualified and, to make up for it, cultivate dubious affiliations. The party secretary of the ruling CPM in Kerala was caught in precisely such a situation when financial dealings running into several crores of rupees in Dubai surfaced recently. His son was apparently in business in Dubai and massive deals were made with Arab financiers. Complications led to his being denied an exit visa, etc.
VIP connections apparently came to his rescue all the time. And then it turned out that the party secretary’s second son was also in Dubai business. How a communist leader’s sons got involved in big business was itself a puzzle for honest communists. The dubious nature of the multi-crore businesses raised further questions. The party secretary conducted himself more as a father than as a communist when the controversies hit the fan. Simple answer: Parentology is above Marxism too.
The latest Haris episode in Karnataka shows how gangsterism, too, is okay under this ideology. A Congress MLA’s son beats up a man in a cafe because the man’s leg was in a plaster cast which inconvenienced the son and his cronies in the cafe. They beat him so savagely that nine chest bones were broken, facial bones were split, and there was haemorrhage in the eye. The criminal gang went to the hospital seeking to assault him there too.
All this because he was an MLA’s son being groomed to become the MLA’s successor in power. Father MLA publicly apologised, but his avowal that he was not accountable rang false. The son was being projected in posters as his heir and there were other cases where his son had acted as a gang leader, the father condoning everything.India, as Justice Katju said, has gone into the hands of goondas. Politicians have become enemies of the country. They must be shot down—with votes.