One unintended consequence of the Hazare drama that unfolded yesterday was that it made me tune back into the talking heads on our news channels. Something I had promised never to do, as my own silent protest, after the appalling show they put up post the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. If you are wondering where I get my news now, it’s mostly Twitter, although CNN, BBC, The Economist and WSJ do lend some perspective.
I have to confess, it was rather amusing. At one end, there were the government representatives making yet another volte-face, and repeatedly underscoring that they have completely lost touch with the people of India. The opposition, predictably so, once again politicized the issue in favor of their ‘Prime Minister in waiting’ proving that they never were in touch with the people of this country.
The media as usual was at its deafening best (where do they get these anchors? Love 'em :-)) labeling everything as breaking news and then proceeding to take credit for breaking it. Of course there were the usual lawyers, film celebs, and political observers, who made even less sense. One respectable looking lady questioned why Anna should be a leader and why others should not be leaders as well. What??? (Couldn’t get myself to watch long enough to get her name)
With this circus in the background, I could not help thinking about what I would like to say to each of these venerable actors. Here are my thoughts -
Mr. Prime Minister, it is time to take stock. The response to every corruption allegation cannot be a counter-allegation. Perhaps it is time to get back in touch with the ideals you were once respected for. As honest and sincere as you might be, we need more passion and inspiration to ignite this nation. It’s time to take a stand or sit down.
Mrs.Gandhi, every mother in this country salutes you for the love you have demonstrated for your son. But holding a country of a billion and the entire polity ransom is perhaps too much. The very love that gave you the drive to win two back-to-back elections appears to be tearing away at the fabric of your esteemed political party. Perhaps it is time to stop protecting your son’s inheritance and focus instead on the burning problems this country is facing.
Mr. Advani, maybe it is time to consider actually imbibing some ideals in your political struggle. Opportunism can get you only so far in. People want leaders and leaders are defined by the character they exhibit in the face of adversity. By continually flip-flopping depending on the circumstances, you and your party have not really given this country any worthy alternatives, which is rather unfortunate.
Congress party spokespeople (you know who you are), where did you guys come from? Why are you so angry? Perhaps you should consider the existence of some deep-rooted childhood issues or sort out the domestic imbalances. Such anger can only emanate from suppressed emotional trauma.
The media, please stop yelling. I am scared to turn the TV on, literally.
And finally, the people of this country – Should we also, besides fighting for a stronger Lokpal bill, consider striking the word ‘Raj’ from our vocabularies as a reference to the government and never elect a politician who does so.
Raj, in English means rule, and until the day we allow our government to rule, can we really expect better? Perhaps I am dreaming but the idea of Congress Seva as opposed to Congress Raj does seems appetizing. I know that’s how the Mahatma dreamed it.