Will India Ever be a Nation with Rule of Law , Unlikely!
Incredible Scam-a-day India
K Gajendra Singh 28 December, 2010
Asatyamev Jayate (untruth prevails) has become India's new liet motif
"I feel the prime minister has lost complete control of the government. Sonia Gandhi has lost control over the political processes and of the Congress party." Arun Shourie , a former editor and later BJP minister.
Look at the scams being uncovered everyday and the total lawlessness in all facets of Indian polity ; moral , ethical ,political, economic, social, and others .It brings to mind US Ambassador John Galbraith's charitable description of India in 1960s as a functioning anarchy .Since then India has morphed into a dysfunctional anarchy . It has become a land of banana plantations.
What is wrong with India that is Bharat. Let us look at the fundamentals since minor surgeries will not cure the cancer in the body politic.
First ; What is rule of law.
Rule of law is a Semitic contribution to human civilization .
An eye for an eye – Hammurabi
If an eye is not taken for an eye aka guilty not punished then lawlessness will take over .This Semite tribal thesis and custom was codified as part of the the Hammurabi Code , which formed the basis of law in Semite lands .It later became the core of Christian and Islamic civilizations .In Europe it was further refined.
Rule of Law or equality of all before the law evolved in Europe following the Reformation and the Renaissance .
The current rule of law as acknowledged and accepted is basically a European construct ,which evolved over a long period through revolutions and evolutions, along with the concept of a modern state and the nation .It emerged after centuries of wars among the Popes ,Holy Emperors and kings and other religious leaders and barons and finally ; common people rose and fought for equality for all citizens and rule of law .A King was guillotined in France , Czar assassinated in Russia ,Ottoman Caliph fled Turkey , as did Chiang Kai Sheik in China and the Shah-in-Shah from Iran and some others elsewhere too.
The concept of duties of a citizen and of the ruler evolved and was codified in Europe helped by development of political , economic , social and ethical thought .It is only then that the concept of a nation and equality before law emerged and slowly took hold. These were then transmitted to colonies in America , Asia and Africa and implemented and accepted with different levels of success .
India has not gone through any such metamorphosis as yet . Nor is it likely any time soon .Eating lentils and Lokki vegetables keeps the blood pressure down .So do not hold your breath .Yes there are revolts and rebellions in north East ,in Kashmir and increasing large swathes of areas where rights of tribal's have been usurped ,reduced to misery they are now coming under Maoist influence and sway. But the corrupt political elite controls the coercive machinery , where admission to join as a lowly constable costs a hefty bribe .The life imprisonment for a human rights activist Binayak Sen against abuse of Tribal Rights is a case in point of the injustice of the stuation. .
Hindu outlook and law.
Poet AK Ramanujam said that Indians don't seem to have a sense of absolute .They place everything in some context or the other. And, depending on the context, what the rest of the world would regard as being wrong in the absolute sense, becomes quite all right in India.
All this is supported even by our epics , Ramayana and Mahabharata .Trickery by the great and noble warrior of Ramayana , Lord Rama in killing his opponent Bali while hiding behind a tree or in the Mahabharata war ,the apostle of truth Pandava Yudhister proclaiming the death of Aswathama (elephant) for military gains are all lauded , accepted and readily employed in daily life , specially by the new political leadership which has emerged from the grass roots, not versed in western concept of the rule of law .
Thus Indians in general have little sense or respect for rule of law. Their concept is very flexible. Show me the man and I will show you the law depending on the situation. There is almost total unanimity in applying rules and laws contextually for personal gains and advantage.
Thus India is not a nation in the European sense and even in many other ways .Identity is still caste based not only in India but to quite some extent even in Pakistan and Bangladesh too .Among the Muslims , supposedly an egalitarian religion ,the caste has been replaced by Ashraffs (migrants from Arabia, central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan ) and high caste converts , mostly Rajputs and Jats , who are considered superior to converts from lower castes and untouchables .The caste malady exists among Sikhs too as manifested by recurrent resistance by low caste Sikhs against Jat Sikh domination in religious and political institutions . Christians in Kerala have separate caste based churches. Even in the most highly educated state in India , politics is caste and religion based. Thus education is no panacea .
Let me give a few examples .When I made my first call in Cairo in 1962 on my first ambassador Azim Hussien ICS , on my telling him that I am a Rajput , he could not contain himself and smiled and blurted ,'You know ,I am a Rathore Rajput' .Son of Fazli Hussein , pre-partition chief minister of Punjab , who ruled the state in coalition with Jat leader Chhotu Ram , Azim Hussein was otherwise very reserved ,taciturn and aloof. While posted in Ankara (1992-96) I visited Bucharest where I was head of mission (1981-84) and was invited for dinner by Ambassador Julio Ribeiro , a former police chief of Maharashtra and Punjab . Even before I had a few sips of the whisky, he said ,'You know I am a Chitpavan Brahmin'.
A retired Indian Ambassador Surendra Kumar wrote a piece for Tribune, Chandigarh about the antics of Indian parliamentarians of all castes and parties about caste based census .He then narrated from personal experience how Indians were not satisfied unless they found out his caste , when he encountered them. These included high caste top civil servants , diplomats and politicians , who were or rose to become vice-presidents and presidents of India .
Upward movement in India's caste system ?
Eminent Indian sociologist M.N.Srinivas, propounded the theory of Sanskritisation as the process by which castes placed lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility , based on an ethnographical study of the Coorg Community of south Karnataka, India.
Srinivas defined Sanskritisation as a process by which "a 'low' Hindu caste, or tribal or other group, changes its customs, ritual ideology, and way of life in the direction of a high and frequently 'twice-born' caste. Generally such changes are followed by a claim to a higher position in the caste hierarchy than that traditionally conceded to the claimant class by the local community..."
One clear example of Sanskritisation is the acceptance, imitating the practice of twice-born castes, of vegetarianism by people belonging to the so-called low castes, who are traditionally not averse to non-vegetarian food.
Looked from another angle , Sanskritisation is but (cultural) 'colonization' of society that entails the imposition of a set of beliefs, social structures and practices (Brahmanism) upon the Hindu society, allowing it to take root progressively and in a top-down (NOT bottom-up) manner by first inducting the upper / ruling classes of the native population.
The British colonialism could be called Anglicization, defining it as a process by which the natives of India sought upward mobility by emulating the ways and manners of the British lords who chose to spend some time in India as part of their global mission to 'spread civilization' (and, incidentally, economic restructuring aka looting their subjectst )
High caste Imperialism
Thus we can also say that while imperialists divided the subject races to rule over them ,Brahmins , since time immemorial have divided the Hindu society,to rule over them as the highest rule making caste. They gave religious sanction and fear of hell and uncounted births as non humans and other untold tortures and miseries , if the non Brahmins wavered from the caste based Dharma and obligations , mostly for the benefit of the higher castes at the cost of those lower down.In this Brahmin ordained apartheid like systemic cancer since millennia there has not been much weakening since 1947 or even in the equality of the sexes guaranteed by the Constitution. The women in real life remain relegated by the religiously enforced grading led by Brahmin fraternity , warriors and nominally ruling caste of Kshatriyas , the trading and agriculture community of Vaishyas and even the Dalits ( who in the countryside still remain untouchables). While for political reasons the reservations in Assemblies and for jobs have distributed benefits unevenly to Dalits and Tribes but Muslims have now ended as the new untouchables as brought out in the prevailing discriminations against them by various studies and reports. Even rich and respectable Muslims are refused flats by Hindu dominated building societies.
But the situation of women still remains unenviable .A girl child is still given food the last in the family , so it is with her education ,with female foetuscide ,bride burning for dowry or maltreatment of widows. A few years ago , Shankaracharya of Puri declared that women have no right to learn Sanskrit the language of Hindu Shashtras or read Vedas. A Shankaracharya , mostly a Brahmin ,tries to be like an Ayatollah Khomeini ,a jurist –consult in Shia Iran, to maintain Brahminical control over Hindu society and has been used to deny education to non-Brahmins and women. Brahmins , about five percent of India's population including obscurantist cranks and charlatans continue to rule the spiritual life and flourish all over India ,with many of them named Ananda (bliss ) spreading swamis ,preachers and priests on religious TV channels . Some have been charged with , molestation ,rapes and other crimes somewhat like Catholic priests all over the world.
When I write about the damage done to Indian polity and people specially to the Dalits by Brahmins by keeping it fossilized for their benefit , many Brahmin friends protest vehemently and narrate the contributions by Brahmin scholars since ancient times ,including in the field of science , mathematics and engineering , apart from spiritual, religious and cultural fields. My response is if five /six percent of educated Brahmins could contribute so much what if they had not deprived the rest of the society of education , specially of Sanskrit .And Finally just try to imagine yourself in the position of a Dalit and how will you or your children will react if put to the same torture , discriminations ,deprivation of education and social intercourse.
It is not necessary to read the writings of Dr Ambedkar, Kancha Ilahia and others which make for very disturbing readings for any human being. Said Ilahia for example in an interview a few years ago , even now the "key areas such as higher education have come under their [brahmanical] control. --, in the post-buddhist/ jaina period, temple power... characterised as hindu power, very securely remained in the hands of the brahman priestly class. This power arrested the hindu gods/ goddesses images in the tight grip of the brahmans -- a small caste in the all-India context. This spiritual power not only casteised the divine, but also reserved the highly resourceful temple-based funds for one caste -- the brahmans. All the wealth coming from the masses as well as the state was converted into a huge economic resource of this caste. During the nearly eighty-year RSS-led campaign for 'homogenous hindu nationalist unity', they have not talked about: one, the right to initiation [dwijahood?] of the shudra, chandala, adivasis (SCAs); two, no right to priesthood was given to them; three, the age-old brahmanic notion of Sanskrit being the language between people and gods was deliberately not sought to be changed; four, while all the SCAs were 'meatarians', the spiritual authority was confined to those who followed the vegetarian food culture."
Ilahia explains–"The brahmanic assertion started in the early nationalist period. The Maharashtra chitpavan brahmans and the Bengal, U.P., Bihar brahmans organised the early nationalist movement as basically a brahmanic movement against christianity. The larger term 'hindu' became more popular only when Gandhi, a baniya, and a kayastha like Rajendra Prasad entered the Indian National Congress. Beyond the 'brahman boundary' hinduism was sought to be constructed by a kayastha man like Vivekananda... but even today in the temples of hinduism he is not a respected or worshipped saint. He basically emerged form the bengali nonbrahman Kali cult and was drawn towards the nationalist hindutva ideology. That is why he is portrayed as a hindu hero in the political realm of RSS hinduism, but not in the spiritual realm controlled by priestly brahmans... The brahmans within the Sangh Parivar and the priestly class in the temples respect and worship the Shankaracharya(s)... to some extent Dayanand Saraswati... but they do not respect Vivekananda and Gandhi. As I said in my DC article, Gandhi was killed by chitpavan brahmans. But nobody knows the cause of the early death of Vivekananda. He was said to have died at the age of 33 and he was a very healthy person all through his life. The mystery of his death should therefore be unravelled... The anti-SCA and anti-woman ideology of hindutva used (appropriated) different historical images as was suited to it... but it failed to convince the priestly brahman caste to decaste the hindu temple system—"The organization of Jat and other Khapps ( caste councils ) in north India are nothing but maintaining the caste purity as laid down by Brahmin designed system described as tradition reeti or 'Dharma'. The obscurantist medieval custom of honour killings ordered by khaps for marrying outside the caste and out casting of the families of the victims is still a common practice in many parts of India , specially in the north .The Khaps even want modern Constitution based laws on marriage and social intercourse be reversed and take the country back to medieval practices.
Pinstriped Brahmin led Khaps in external affairs ministry
For almost half a century pinstriped Brahmin led Khaps in external affairs ministry ,in total violation of India's Constitution, destroyed many diplomats' lives and careers for wishing or marrying foreigners. Thus the medieval mindset permeates even in the so called modern highly educated milieu . Brahmin Foreign Secretaries persisted in this obscurantist attitude to the end eg with a vindictive Maharajkumar Rasgotra telling a lie ( on record with eminent journalist Jyoti Malhotra ) and Venkateshwaran dismissing legal opinions of Justice Rajender Sachchar and eminent legal luminary Soli Sorabji that the Ministry's rule on the subject was ultravires of the Constitution with Tamban arrogance and disdain. The Ministry had never once consulted the ministry of law on this rule since 1947 . It only highlights Brahmins belief in their manifest destiny to lay down the law as they see it and even defy the law of the land .(Watch this space for full story)
The caste system is still rigidly followed outside the metros.I request my Brahmin and other high caste friends who protest against my observations and conclusions to just venture into the countryside .
Evolution of Indian polity !
From the 7th to the 11th century, lack of interaction between Indians and their Iranian cousins and others in Central Asia, conquered and dominated by Arab-led Islamic forces, made India inward looking and fossilized its caste-based polity. Indian polity lost its mobility, resilience ( as claimed by Brahmins and some others ) and the capacity to synthesize and assimilate new ideas. It went on the defensive against the conquering Islamic religion and Muslim polity. It withdrew into its own shell and became frozen. But rigid caste based hierarchy and rules of conduct were implemented with even greater severity as mostly happens to societies under siege .And so it remained throughout the Muslim rule and British rule over Hindustan. The latter only perpetuated the static nature of Hindu polity, reducing Indian rulers as their menial aides, notwithstanding some social reform ripples. Indians never had a revolution, like the French, Americans, Russians or the Chinese or the Turks and Iranians , which did away with all outdated and obscurantist feudal systems and medieval practices .
The Dharma (religion and duty), put one in one's place. A headman's son could aspire to be a headmen, an untouchable would remain an untouchable.
Yes ,the process of peaceful massive social engineering through competitive party politics and reservations in favor of the disadvantaged since independence has unleashed social, political and economic forces hitherto unseen in Indian history, in the process rearranging the powers by the castes . It shattered the Brahmin-imposed village autonomy based on a rigid hierarchy of priests, landowners, traders, artisans and untouchables, which had survived Muslim and British rule.
Soon, former bus conductors, petty smugglers, village pehelwans (wrestlers), and the progeny of peons could rise to the highest levels of government as chief ministers and cabinet ministers, as shown by the Lals of Haryana, the Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh and others. Imagine the creative and other energies released into the system, with the profession of politics providing an ambitious and determined person, but poor, uneducated, socially and economically disadvantaged, the opportunity to work his or her way up the system.
Unfortunately, in this free-for-all environment, without the constraints of the rule of law , many criminal elements, after first helping the politicians in vote "gathering and controlling", soon muscled their way into the halls of power .Slowly the system's so called inbuilt resilience for corrective action through independent institutions was eroded. After watching the slide into dishonesty, chicanery and total disregard for all civic norms, first the Election Commission and then the Supreme Court took some measures to strengthen these independent institutions, but with little success so far.
Chief Justice Verma's initiative and recommendations for an independent Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVO) , and a Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) under him and an Enforcement Directorate have been undone by the corrupt ruling classes across the political spectrum. This can be seen by the current controversy on the appointment of the new CVO with dubious integrity. The political elite refuses to give constitutional authority and independence to the office of CVO or CBI . In the current pointless cacophony politicians have rightly criticized the bias of CVC and CBI but they have not demanded statutory and constitutional independence to these offices . They want to continue to misuse these offices by appointing pliable civil servants when in power.
The "Hindu" perception of Dharma and the rule of law is often quite ambivalent. Hindus believe that by propitiating local deities and gods (now the local politician, now the police sub-inspector), one can escape punishment. For the implementation of the rule of law with the proper checks and balances of a truly democratic system the institutions of the judiciary and the media, so easily tempted by wily politicians, have to be above suspicion and exercise their duties without fear and favor , have been co-opted.
Post-independence Brahmin dominance
Soon after independence in 1947, the lawyer-led Brahmin-dominated Congress party, with electoral support from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (dalits) and post-partition defensive Muslims ,for no fault of majority of them , ruled India, with the Brahmins monopolizing the levers of power. Majority of the cabinet ministers were Brahmins .
But many Dalits also seem unhappy from the weight of the creamy layer of Jatavs, Minas and others who have become the major beneficiary and become the "neo- Brahmins" .But having been deprived , discriminated and tortured by upper castes since millennia ,they are happy to see their caste persons occupying positions earlier monopolized by higher castes. The majority non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, and land-owning elements in Telgu Desam, Kanara and the Maharathas have already asserted themselves against Brahmin domination and squeezed out Brahmins from posts under political patronage . Thus the process of the heterogeneous and frozen polity being split into myriad pieces of castes and sub-castes still continues.
Soon the number of Brahmins occupying senior government posts doubled , which were earlier dominated by Kayasthas , defacto almost a caste of bureaucrats since the Moghul era in India . From the mid-1960s, at the ideological economic level, the new Congress elite was opposed by maharajas, big industrialists, traders, landlords and free marketeers through the Swantantra Party, and at the social level this elite was challenged by Jats, Yadavs, Ahirs and Kurmis, that is, petty landlords and cultivators who had benefited the most from the post-independence abolition of zamindari (tax collection on land).
The challenge was first led by Chaudhary Charan Singh, a Jat, and then by various Lals of Haryana, Mirdhas of Rajasthan and the Yadavs of the cow belt. But this process left the Dalits squeezed out. Prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, leading a minority coalition government, panicked in 1990 and resorted to the "Mandal card" (further reservations for other backward classes, OBCs) to outflank his deputy, the overbearing Devi Lal, leader of the Jats (not included in the OBC list then). It was a devastating mistake in instituting and promoting divisiveness in the polity.
But it did initiate the loosening of the heterogeneous OBC grouping. Disenchanted with the "Yadavs only" policies of Laloo Yadav, the Kurmis in Bihar founded their own Samata Party. At the lowest rung of the ladder, the dalits, first organized by B R Ambedkar in the 1930s through the Republican Party of India, gathered under the umbrella of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Kansi Ram, and then under Mayawati in the north. She now leads the government in the largest state Uttar Pradesh in north India .She has outdone the Brahmins and other high caste leaders in building statues for their leaders and naming streets , towns to honour Dalit leaders , mostly Buddhists , a religion which the Brahmins squeezed out of India , while it continues to flourish outside India specially in Asia .This shows the power of Brahmin enforced Dharma to guard its flock and maintain domination .One of the major weaknesses of the Hindu religion is its rigid norms of purity , which force those converting back to Hindu religion back into their original low castes ,the main reason they left to become Muslims and Christians to feel at par with the then ruling elite and escape Brahmin laid torture ,discrimination and deprivation.
Do as I tell you to do and not what I do myself
But all in all the results since independence have been somewhat distressing , depressing and counterproductive in promoting equality ,nationhood and the rule of law .New families /dynasties from OBCs and other lower castes and classes have become the neo Brahmins and occupy the top ladder in their caste groups as do Brahmins among Hindus .They copy and behave like Brahmins ie behave as if they are above the law. They do not want equality of all before law .So it has not and unlikely to bring about equality before the law.
The entrenchment of caste system has only been strengthened because India copied the flawed and unsuitable British Electoral Law of the first past the post for elections which was OK in UK because of their history and political evolution . (British is a highly stratified polity :us and they ) . This does not speak well about our so called wise men who framed India's Constitution .Britain had evolved a two party system after many centuries while no such experience or evolution existed in India prior to 1947 nor it appeared then that it might evolve any time soon .It should have been obvious that India's heterogeneity needed a different electoral system .Perhaps it was a clever strategy by the Brahmins , who ,however gave credit to a Dalit leader Ambedkar as the father of the Indian Constitution. Cleverer than even the perfidious Albion .
The irrational outcome is that any united caste group with even 25% of the population in a state can acquire power after getting around 35% of the votes cast .This regularly happens in Haryana where Jats with about 20% of the total population rule the roost .Lalu Yadav misruled Bihar for 15 years combining Yadavas ( less than 20 % ) and Muslims .The manifestoes cater for caste groupings only , a fraction of the total electorate .All political offices are then cornered by the family and the caste group .All political parties nominate candidates based on caste calculations .Thus the caste and sub-caste divisions have been strengthened.
As far as coverage of foreign affairs is concerned ,Indian media's record remains abysmal, relying and bribed by Western nations specially USA, where five corporate conglomerates of financial military-industry , energy , communication interests dominate 90% of the media. But even on internal affairs , Indian media mostly owned by corporate houses , who are faithful allies and followers of the fast declining US led liberal capitalist system ,is equally unsatisfactory .Truth comes out by default as sections of media owned by one political or financial group expose the other side.
Elections in Bihar
On recent elections in Bihar , Indian media was again info-challenged and incorrect .Prior to the elections forecasts were made about the victory of development policies of the incumbent leader of the least developed OBCs , Nitish Kumar .Almost predicting that he might even get majority on his own without its alliance partner .( It is as well that the trivia and celerity obsessed TV channels , easily influenced by money and political clout have been barred from forecasting biased opinion polls before the elections are complete .The exaggerated role of development under Kumar to falsely claim that the beast of casteism has been tamed is much off the mark .Caste based politics emerged victorious again.
After the disastrous 15 years of misrule by comedian dhoort Yadav leader Lalu , development , law and order could only improve .What Nitish has done , is to create a new caste calculus .He has denied development benefits to Yadavas of Lalu and Dalit subcaste of Ram Vilas Paswan , who fought the elections in alliance and directed them to his new caste combination .He also gave attention and gave financial and other benefits to women at large ,thus successfully courted them.
Nitish's Janata Dal ( JD(U) and rightwing Hindu Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance won the election with a huge margin. It won 206 assembly seats (63 seats more than in the 2005 assembly election) while the nearest rival, RJD-LJP, managed a mere 25 (39 seats less than their total tally in 2005). The Congress managed only four assembly seats (five less than 2005). The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) won one seat each while independent candidates got six seats. In terms of votes, the JD(U)-BJP alliance polled 39.1 per cent votes leading the RJD-LJP alliance by 13.5 per cent votes (RJD-LJP polled 25.6 per cent of the votes).
According to Sanjay Kumar of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi Nishit Kumar " aimed for Dalits, who traditionally favoured the LJP, and Muslims, who traditionally voted for the RJD. Kumar announced various welfare schemes that benefited all lower-caste Dalits referred to as "Mahadalits", only leaving out the Dusadhs, the caste to which Ram Vilas Paswan himself belongs. Similarly, he announced several schemes to benefit lower castes amongst Muslims, referred to as "pasmanda Muslims". While these policies benefited those for whom they were meant, they also helped Nitish Kumar effectively split the Dalits and Muslims and reap electoral gains for himself." Another important factor was the higher castes , favoured neither by Lalu Yadav alliance nor Nitish Kumar's JD(U) went over to BJP, which did unexpectedly well, even beyond its own expectations . Thus caste still remains the main arbiter in elections.
It can be easily seen that with many parties in fray and the first past the post system ,the ruling coalition with 39.1% votes won 206 seats while the main opposition alliance of RJP-LJP won only 25 seats with 25.6 % of votes .Quite clearly something is wrong with the system and it can hardly be considered representing the will of the electorate .
All around the world electoral systems are designed to make them as representative of peoples will as possible .Not that they are completely satisfactory , but the Indian system is one of the least representative and undemocratic ,but Indians continue to persist with this electoral law .
But then Hindus still swear by Vedas , which were not even divined in India ( there are no proofs of remains of horses in India at the time Vedas sprouted out of divinity).Not written either and even much latter transmitted only orally and restricted to Brahmins and their families .It is a well known fact that transmission by memory can be and has been changed to suit certain objectives .The power obtained by secrecy remains the Hindu and Indian creed .It needed an Italian born leader to loosen the stranglehold of secrecy by enacting the Right To Information Act , with which the ruling classes are not happy at all since it unveils their illegal and evil deeds in black and white. There are efforts to curb or dilute the RTI act. Some RTI activists have been killed.Now that a 3rd political party has emerged in Britain, they have announced possible changes in the electoral law .The voter will have first and second preference votes .One who gets one plus 50% of the votes cast will be elected as peoples representative .But not in India where we ,otherwise ,look to Britain and now to Washington for eternal guidance and inspiration , for almost everything .We will not change what we have copied from the British .There is almost no discussion to change the flawed electoral law , which is prima facie against the principle of democracy and peoples' representation in the Parliament .Only one Harish Salve has mentioned it .The village yokels , the urban riffraff and criminalized elements who now occupy the legislatures ,seem quite happy with shameful happenings, like fights and violence and the sale of votes at every change or likely change of the government. Democracy has been perverted.
Many people say that MP (member of parliament) stands for maha pindari (big time highway robbers–eliminated by the English colonialists) or maha pakhandi (big fraud). Many politicians would certainly fit this description. Some rightly say that elections only mean one set of the pindaris replacing another.
During the state-supported pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 against Muslims, the ruling BJP would not admit to its crimes. Instead, it brought up the issue of how under Congress rule in 1984, after the assassination (by her Sikh bodyguards ) of then premier Indira Gandhi, many thousands of Sikhs were killed and burnt alive, mostly led by Congress goons who remain unpunished, to justify the murders and killings in Gujarat. While some progress under the Supreme Court monitoring has been made , Hindu criminals in collusion with a polarized bureaucracy and the police have been let off. As a result, many Muslims in India have started joining subversive organizations. The chickens will come home to roost.
The same attitude prevails when the BJP and its allies are caught with their hand in the till. They start accusing the Congress and other parties of corruption in the past, as if to justify their own corruption now. And it continues unabated. The people of India continue to suffer as they have over centuries. The political class and their supporting "industry" have become a burden on the poor masses. Indian democracy has been reduced to ritual festivals of meaningless polls and ministry formations, both occasions for free-for-all money exhorting. With many jaded film stars invited and joining politics and elected with some even getting into the cabinet, the tamasha (play acting ) is now complete. India has verily entered the Nautanki Yug .
Regardless of whoever is in power, though, the wheel of unending suffering of the Indian masses will continue. So apart from defeating the current "rascals" in power, what purpose is served? The political class has totally destroyed the instruments of governance. And no country or corporate organization can last without good bureaucracy or administration. The Ottoman Empire, based on the merit system for recruitment and promotion, lasted for 600 years. When distortions entered the system, the empire rapidly declined and collapsed. The Roman Empire also lasted long because it, too, was initially based on merit. It was possible for a citizen from anywhere to become an emperor. US is also collapsing because of the greed and corruption of its ruling financial , military-industry and other corporate interests .
In the Indian system, under the spreading pernicious system of reservations, a variation of the Brahaminical caste system, the Indian political class has institutionalized mediocrity and decay. The loyalty of the bureaucracy and other levers of power is to individuals, families, caste dynasties, and not to the state. In this situation, dynastic families and mafia continue to misrule.
Apart from the judiciary, the media was to keep a watch on political parties and the bureaucracy. There may be a free-for-all in the Indian media, but they have largely lost their mission and professional integrity. Many of them are compromised by study grants and well-paid visits to the West for seminars and short courses. Many media barons have an unholy relationship with politicians, not for principles, but for pelf and power .Many have become politicians to promote their interests. They feed on each other. Verily an unholy nexus again.
Ombudsman or Lokpal Bill under consideration since 1966!
It is a matter of national shame that successive regimes during the past 30 years have refused to pass a bill to appoint an ombudsman, who would be empowered to look into corruption and other charges against ministers , members of parliament and other politicians. In the wake of current trenchant criticism and widespread disgust with overwhelming corruption by the ruling elite, with one scam following after another , the Central government has dusted up the 30 year old modified acceptable-to-all draft of the Ombudsman or Lokpal Bill. But there it rests .
In 1966, the Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended the enactment of a law for setting up a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in every state. But while 17 states have already set up Lokayuktas — Orissa was the first state to do so — successive central governments have been unable to do much .The question whether the PM and his Cabinet colleagues should be brought within the purview of the Lokpal were the major roadblocks. It has hardly made much difference in states with Lokayuktas , because pliable retired judges are made Lokayuktas .
Quite clearly, politicians are not interested in eradicating corruption among themselves. Many corruption trials have been going on for decades, with the courts functioning at a snail's pace where politicians are involved. The scams are invariably used before elections to throw mud at an opponent.
The body of the fish rots only when its head gets infected. Unless cabinet ministers, members of parliament and other politicians are brought under the ambit of the law and the guilty punished, their ill-gotten wealth confiscated, there is little hope of India taking its place in the comity of democratic and fully-developed nations dispensing justice to all speedily.
There is something rotten in the (Judicial) State of Denmark .
At a seminar in Chandigarh two years ago on the 'Responsibility of Judicial System towards the Society', Supreme Court judge G S Singhvi said that the judicial system had become a business in the eyes of the people. He said that due to the harassment suffered by the common man in his struggle for justice, 95 per cent of the people do not go to courts at all, suffering silently. "Those 5 per cent who do go, wait in queue for many years, empty their pockets to hire a lawyer. It's a nightmare for the common man --," adding that this was the reason people had started taking law in their hands. ( The judicial system is therefore openly and brazenly misused by the government ,the rich , the politically powerful and the criminals)
Corrupted JudiciaryThe judicial redress will remain a far cry in India where eight of the last Chief Justices of India's Supreme Court were proclaimed to be corrupt according to a public declaration by senior Supreme Court advocate Shanti Bhusan ,a former federal law minister of India. He has challenged the Supreme Court to charge him for Contempt of the Court .There has been no takers so far .
On August 17, 2010 the Supreme Court observed that the criminal justice system has almost crumbled since High Courts stay trials and then forget them . According to its information 10,541 criminal trials were stayed by Allahabad High Court. Of these, nine per cent had been pending for more than 20 years and 21 per cent for over a decade. This means stay of trial in 30 per cent of heinous offences continued for more than 10 years. Justice delayed is justice denied .
Recently the Supreme Court passed strictures against the Allahabad High Court about the integrity of of some of its justices , whose relatives practicing in the same court have become millionaires .The last Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan , now head of the Human Rights Commission has been involved in many unsavoury controversies during his tenure and now .The last is about accumulation of wealth beyond his means by his son-in-law .Politicians prefer to have tainted judges and civil servants in important post retirement posts and commissions of enquiries , since they can be easily manipulated .A classic example is of retired Police Chief of Haryana , who after being accused of molesting a minor girl and abetting in her suicide , decades ago ,did well for himself and perhaps did all right by his political patrons.
India resembles the 11th century era in its history at the time of the invasions from the northwest, or during the last centuries of Moghul rule, when every job was for sale .Groups of Marathas, Jats, Rohillas, Sikhs and invaders roamed around the country looting and inflicting misery on the suffering masses of Hindustan. Now these gangs have formed political parties and loot and oppress common people. It is said that to become a police constable a bribe of Rupees 3 to 5 lakhs has to be paid .There are reports that the job of Mumbai's Commissioner of Police is auctioned among the senior policemen .
Incredible Scams-a-day India
'BJP and Congress are one party'
While in 2008, India was at the 85th position, it was ranked at 84 in 2009. Even countries like Rwanda (66), Ghana(62), Namibia (56) and Botswana (33) are ahead of India in terms of transparency( less corrupt than India)
According to media reports it was estimated in 2008-09 that Indians ( it will read like the who & who in India ) have laundered money amounting to 71, 00.000 crores illegally to Swiss Bank accounts . More than half of the poorest Indians live on Rs 20 per day.
Indian economic decision makers led by PM Manmohan Singh and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia , both imbued with the theories and practices of Washington Consensus outfits like the IMF and the World Bank , created to safeguard US interests ,are more or less following US policies , except perhaps with some modifications like not letting normal banks in India to function as investment banks and invent and create hundreds of trillions of crazy financial instruments , benefitting only the US banksters . US economic policies brought down the prestigious institutions like Lehman Brothers and Meryl Lynch among others in 2008 and will certainly lead to US economic denouement sooner than later.
Sucheta Dalal , a fiercely independent investigator of scams , writing in her blog a piece titled "Corruption ;The Mutant Superbug ;" says that a liberal trade wind laid rules, set benchmarks for today's systemic looting." Two decades after economic liberalisation, we are the world's second-fastest growing economy. Decades of scarcity of everything, from telephone and gas connections to foreign exchange, are gone. Isn't it ironic then that on the 20th anniversary of the end of licence raj, what has grabbed the nation's interest is the systematic, large-scale plunder of national resources through ever-larger scams? Each scam was improved on by the following one in fine larceny. Our netas and businessmen, with the intermediation of clever lobbyists and venal babus, dreamt up new ways to skim the cream off every deal, contract, licence, statutory clearance or mining site while at the same time evading and suppressing any inquiry or media attention. Ramalinga Raju even ruined Satyam by siphoning off money to fund the ambitious Maytas Infrastructure and allegedly to bribe politicians.
"In the past decade, corruption in infrastructure contracts and land deals has raged unchecked because those in power began to share the loot with anyone who was likely to object. Throwing crumbs at opposition politicians to buy their silence and rewarding babus through allotment of undeserved flats became a regular feature. "A flat for a signature" seems to have been the policy in the Adarsh Housing Society scandal, where almost every bureaucrat whose concurrence or clearance was crucial (for denotification and conversion of user status) has been allocated super-expensive real estate in Mumbai."
An honest IAS officer of a north India state , where he reached the highest office of the chief secretary , with whom I spent the year of 1976 at the National Defense College told me in 1984 ."Earlier ie in 1960s and 1970s , the corrupt politicians had some sense of shame and decency and would go out of the room to strike their corrupt deals with fixers and traders .But now they are so brash and arrogant that we have to leave the room out of shame at their doings ."
G-2 Spectrum Scam ,CWG and some other recent major scams
G-2 Scam , which has been incubating since the UPA first came into power in 2004, ( and also involved the previous regime of BJP led equally corrupt era of India Shining for the party and its supporters ) , is the biggest scam since it involves a loss of 170,000 crores (a crore =10 million) of rupees to hit headlines .It stopped the functioning of the Parliament .It is only the acme of the defiance by the corrupted ruling elite which is literally telling the public ," You Indian public , you are cattle and sheep .We have and we will keep on doing it. You can not do anything to us " Look at the statements of ex Minster A Raja , allegedly responsible for the Spectrum Scam and his party's attitude , Kalmadi's defiance in CWG scam or statement of denials by an array of Maharashtra's top political leaders and top and senior military officers deeply implicated in the Adarsh Housing Scam inMumbai and earlier by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan .Niira Radia-the Ultimate Lobbyst for all Seasons.
Radia Tapes Unveil the cancerous Nexus of politicians , bureaucrats , Fixers and Corporate houses
"Indian politicians have looted the country much more after Independence than the British rulers did during their 200-year rule," Yoga guru Baba Ramdev
(Before the arrival of the British East India Company in the 18th century, the sub-continent's share in world manufacturing was 24.5 percent in 1750 But by the time the British had finished with India, the sub-continent's share had fallen to 1.7 percent (in 1900) and that of the British increased from 1.9 percent (in 1750) to 22.9 percent (in 1880) - Rise and fall of Big Powers by Professor Paul Kennedy.)
Niira Radia , the lobbyist ,born in Kenya of Punjab parents after many years in UK came to India in 1994 and set up base in Delhi."She became a powerful politician's dear friend, disciple of a powerful religious guru and, most triumphantly, a publicist for India's two biggest tycoons. --Radia invested in the right people and made the extra effort when needed,'' says India Today in its January 3, 2011 issue,
Below are some of the transcripts from Outlook magazine of her intercepted conversations with the rich, the mighty and the influential .The intercepts show the corporate lobbyist deftly weaving her way through power's corridors, and discussing the intricacies of realpolitik with the kind of candour rarely seen in the public discourse.
- From the controversial JDU Rajya Sabha member N.K. Singh, Radia gets a minister-by-minister primer on the pluses and minuses on the 'Shivji ki baaraat' (a reference, as he explains, to a kind of Noah's Ark with many creatures, from scorpions and serpents to elephants and tame deer) that is the UPA-2 team.
"Spectacular jump for Anand Sharma [commerce], spectacular decline for Kamal Nath [highways]," says Singh sagely, adding that Praful Patel would be "unhappy" at not being elevated as full civil aviation minister.
"But he [Patel] has destroyed the sector," pipes in Radia. "He's worked as a minister for Naresh Goyal [Jet Airways] and now Vijay Mallya [Kingfisher]. He cannot brush off this charge.
- "I think that perhaps Mukesh [Ambani] has swung it for him," says Singh in a back-to-back conversation with Radia, on Murli Deora landing the plum petroleum portfolio for a second successive term in UPA-2.
- In a different conversation, her aide, Manoj Warrier, too fills her in on a chat with P.M.S. Prasad of Reliance Industries who told him that the news about the Ambani brothers arriving at an out-of-court settlement in the gas dispute had been leaked by Deora to "deflect attention" from the real matter, the dividing up of resources including gas.
- In a conversation with an unidentified person, Radia pushes the case of an industries secretary in the West Bengal government, an IAS officer of the 1977 batch, who is applying for transfer to the centre.
"A very good guy," Radia says and that she has talked to the minister about it. "He says we can talk about it." She then fixes up a meeting with the unknown person.
- To Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya, she complains that Unitech [the real estate firm which bought 2G spectrum under A. Raja's regime for a song] is avoiding her, even bouncing Tata cheques.
When Bhattacharya mentions that the Unitech bosses probably think that the new commerce minister Anand Sharma is "proprietary", Radia adds her own input.
"Haan, he [the Unitech boss] told me that abhi to Anand Sharma aa gaye hain. Dekhiye kitna confidence hai Sonia Gandhi un mein. (See how much confidence the Congress president has in Anand Sharma)."
Other Recent Scams
In early 1990s there was Harshad Mehta , an Indian stockbroker, known as the 'Big Bull' .He triggered a rise in the Bombay Stock Exchange in the year 1992 by trading in shares at a premium across many segments. Taking advantages of the loopholes in the banking system, Harshad and his associates triggered a securities scam diverting funds to the tune of Rs 4000 crore (Rs 40 billion) from the banks to stockbrokers between April 1991 to May 1992. He died of a massive heart attack in 2001, while the legal issues were still being litigated. He was very popular and an icon for the Indian public .Everyone wanted to become rich overnight like him .
Then there was Abdul Karim Telgi , a convicted-counterfeiter. He earned money to the tune of several billion dollars by printing counterfeit stamp paper. His 300 agents sold the fakes to bulk purchasers, including banks, FIs, insurance companies, and share-broking firms. His monthly profits were estimated in the neighbourhood of Rs 202 crore (slightly more than US $40 million). The size of the scam was estimated to be more than 43,000 Crore Rupees. Such scams can not be operated without the full support of the politicians. Under the influence of the truth serum, Telgi is said to have blurted out the names of some prominent Indian politicians which he was coerced to recant. He has recently been sentenced but the political heavy weights behind this scam remain free.
Then there is the perennial Bihar Fodder Scam , with an alleged embezzlement of about Rs 950 crores (US$ 206.15 million) from the government treasury .This theft involved many Bihar state government officers , business people and even chief and other ministers belonging to various political parties led by Lalu Yadav , Dr. Jagannath Mishra and others .It involved fabrication of "vast herds of fictitious livestock" for which fodder, medicines and other equipment was supposedly procured. Although the scandal broke in 1996, the theft was spread over two decades. It revealed, and is an example of the mafia rule having penetrated several state-run economic sectors in the country.
It is said that the government of India is really not interested in extraditing the notorious Mumbai gangster Dawood Ibrahim, resident in Karachi, Pakistan and now a collaborator with Pakistan aiding ISI in various terrorist activities in India in general and Mumbai in particular. His interrogation, if extradited would indicate his linkages with many prominent politicians and rich persons in Delhi , Mumbai and elsewhere .
Another of the biggest recent corporate scam in India involves one of the most respected (!) businessmen. Infotech Satyam founder B. Ramalinga Raju who resigned as its chairman after admitting cooking up the account books. He showed "fictitious assets with real ones" through Maytas acquisition which failed, and he decided to confess to the crime. It involves a fraud of about Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion). The government stepped in and with help of another private sector company set the affairs right ie sweeping the misdeeds under the carpet .But suspicions remain ! Who knows what is hidden in various accounts of other private companies all over India.
In 1996 CBI seized Rs. 3.6 crores in cash concealed in bags and suitcases from the official residence of Ex-union minister Sukhram. In February 25, 2009,Sukhram was sentenced to three years' imprisonment and told to pay a fine of Rs two lakh. Court also ordered forfeiture of his disproportionate assets worth Rs 4.25 crore. He appealed to the Higher Court and is free and enjoying life .There are many such cases of ministers and Chief ministers who after conviction have got stay orders from higher courts and will enjoy their illgotten wealth till they pass away .
And then there is the other perennial Bofors case , which involved bribes of only Rs. 40 crores (440 million) .It has been used by the opposition against the Congress party at every election time .Opposition parties did little to solve it when in power from 1998 to 2004. Late PM VP Singh , a former Congress finance minister who won elections in 1989 saying that he knew the account no of the Bofors money did little when in power .Gossip has circulated that one of l VP Singh's friends had received the money .
Call for Lobbyists in India
" Numerous times this year, members of Congress have held fundraisers and collected big checks while they are taking critical steps to write new laws, despite warnings that such actions could create ethics problems. The campaign donations often came from contributors with major stakes riding on the lawmakers' actions. "Washington Post"
Unless elections are state funded and institutions given constitutional independence , money power and sleaze would control the politics and economic life of the country and bring ruin as it has to USA , of which Indian elite are great admirers .
Info and intellect challenged empty heads dominate TV channels , media and other discourse about the US led Western model .To eliminate the kind of increasing stranglehold of corporate power over Indian policy making , some have suggested making lobbies legal as in USA , without studying the evil influence of lobbies dispensing billions of US dollars and promoting military industry , energy , communication and other corporate monopolies in USA and bringing down the decline of USA.
At least in US the rule of law still exists and it is implemented .Criminals and guilty persons how ever high , rich or powerful they may be are punished , something which has not happened in India and is unlikely to happen any time too soon .
India has reverted back to decadent Moghul empire end era after the eroding of the Teflon put on by two centuries of British rule of law , which never penetrated below the district level.
As in Hindustan's tragic history , the rulers who have usurped power cannot even provide protection to the citizens of the country with terrorists from Pakistan and elsewhere and from inside , almost having a free run .The last was ,in the glare of the world media ,the brutal rape of India's commercial and cultural capital Mumbai on 26 November, 2008 for three days by Pak trained terror group with possible knowledge if not FBI complicity. India is still discussing the details of the rape with Pakistan and US and has become a laughing stock of the world .Yes, after every such attack the political class increases its own security , to hell with the subjects .It has yet to devise a deterrent against such attacks .
The security system had failed to spy and counter 2611 rape as other earlier disasters .If another 2611 takes place it will find India equally unprepared . Perhaps US is making sure it does not recur.
Even the Indian armed forces have been infected with the malaise of corruption and other ills .The involvement of many top generals of the Indian defense services in the Adarsh Housing Scheme for Kargil martyrs and other scams are only some of the tips of the iceberg.
The country has been taken over for the benefits of a small minority of those who have usurped power and continue to do so with a defunct electoral system .The judicial system has been distorted to favour the powerful and the rich .For all practical purposes there is little rule of law .India remains a collection of identities based on caste ,religion, language , regional and other divisive tendencies.
India is becoming a land of banana plantations .
National needs and policies are drowned in local politics, emotional or outdated ideological illusions, playing to the galleries or simple ignorance .Former Indian Ambassador KS Bajpai gives some examples ,"Tamil Nadu's parties competed to embarrass Delhi's handling of Sri Lanka, states around Bangladesh connive at illegal immigration, UP has no thought for its responsibilities vis-à-vis Nepal. With visions so narrow, who cares about the security of the Persian Gulf or the stability of Central Asia? Or the question of our permanent UNSC membership." Indians will remain frogs in a well or like the scabs in an opened tin ,pulling each other down.
India is unlikely to become a modern nation with rule of law which defines a nation, any time soon .It is becoming worse with an uncertain future .
K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the author http://tarafits.blogspot.com/