Friday, August 8, 2008

Sting Operations : Open Your Eyes And See the Reality

Even if the sting operation tape had been shown by the news channel concerned would it have erased the black spots on Indian democracy?

The ethical concerns of parliamentary democracy that 80 percent people have forgotten about, would they have been restored and reinstated in the body politics?

MPs who openly auctioned and marketed their conscience or those who influenced by the so called patriotic fervour of some political parties lost no time to switch over loyalties, could they have been rehabilitated and regained their lost glory or credibility?

Leaders who played pivotal roles in pulling down governments or saving governments could they have been given some other nomenclatures instead of middle men?

Indeed the manner some politicians who were themselves involved in the sale/purchase of MPs are now questioning and analysing the reluctance on the part of news channels to telecast the sting operation tape, and their own murky and conspiratorial involvement, if brought to light, would prove to be another hair raising tale.

How these politicians glued to power for past ten years have been playing with the destiny of the nation and mocking at the democratic institutions needs no reiteration, ten years because almost all political parties across the spectrum have tasted power during this period. Before questioning the news channels and imputing motives it would be fair to objectively analyse the role of the political parties and the politicians in our country.

It was Tehelka that first exposed the underhand defence deals involving politicians and ministers who in order to promote their own selfish interests compromised the security interests of the country. We saw how national security interests were bypassed to make quick money through cuts and commissions in defence contracts. But what happpened even after the sting operation expose? The media was intoxicated by the success of the sting and elated with a sense of justifiable pride after long years.

All parties and MPs thoroughly enjoyed the sting operation, both the ruling and opposition benches. For days and weeks the country soaked in controversies and comments relating to the sting operation, everyone made to believe that the Gangotri of corruption had at last been breached. What more proofs were required, the man on the street asked. The MPs woke up, the matter soon reached the courts after the parliament got bogged down with procedural niceties and wrangles, but at the end of the day did a single MP land in jail? Was anyone punished?

After Tehelka another sting operation exposed the "rupees for question" in parliament involving a dozen MPs belonging to almost all parties. Once again parliamentary democracy was brought to shame as a result of the corrupt practices by some who claimed to represent the people of this country. The people of this country did applaud and appreciated the work of the media persons involved in this sting operation, but did a single MP go to the jail?

What then is the meaning and role of sting operations in a democracy? You might say that India is a democratic country because of its system of checks and balances. True. But the media's role at the end of the day is to just keep an eye like a watch dog of the society or as the fourth pillar of the estate. That is all.

The basic question confronting us remains: the remaining three pillars are not only not performing their roles but to make matters worse parliamentarians have converted parliamentary politics into granting them immunity if they indulged in corruption or crimes. And their wrongful or anti-people acts are treated as sanctioned by the system -be it at the community or the party level. Not only that, while pursuing anti-people policies , the rulers are openly declaring that they do not give a fig about anything including the prospects of losing power. The conditions in which the elections are held are so vitiated that no reasoned debates on public policies take place and people are conned into casting their votes on narrow selfish social calculations.

Even the system of checks and balance provided for in the constitution has been sacrificed at the altar of crass political power within the parliamentary democracy. When people elect a certain political leader from among many candidates fighting the elections , this selection by the people of a particular candidate is subverted by the political parties forging alliances of convenience among themselves on the morrow of elections. So much so that in a particular state the parties fiercely opposed to one another ideologically and otherwise come together on the basis of the so-called cmp and form govt. this is tantamount to insulting the constitution. Even those parties and politicians indulging in all this have the temerity to organize sting operations to expose the system.

There is no denying that the system suffers damage but still retains morality. And it is this morality that explains why politics is not averse to using media to its advantage. But the truth about them can be revealed only by having a look at what they do when in power. Even today 70 percent people of the country are woefully dependent on agriculture. All govts be it the bajpayee govt or the manmohansingh govt all of them without exception have been unfair and cruel to the farmers. In one of the most developed states maharashtra sixteen thousand farmers committed suicide as the then bajpayee govt failed to buy their grains. The farmers kept waiting to get the proper price for their produce from the middlemen year after year.

But the middlemen had so manipulated things as to compel the farmers to sell their produce for a song and thus forcing them to take loans to continue with their farming. The farmers’ crisis has continued unabated and no govts whether the previous or the current one have done anything about it. Consequently, farmers are getting still poorer and many of them dying .

during the the present regime a record breaking figure of 70 thousand farmers have committed suicide as against i6 thousand during the bajpayee govt. in other words, not that the middlemen exercise a decisive control over the govt but the govt itself has assumed the role of the middlemen. While earlier in the name of making it profitable through reimbursement a large portion of the nation’s wealth was handed over to the private sector , now there is a move to handover the agricultural land to the foreign companies. Both the center and the state govts are oppressing the farmers in their respective spheres. The govt machinery including the police-bureaucracy and the judiciary began asserting that the nation’s development was all important and that this overwhelmed all other considerations. The process of alienation of land began through what is termed compensation.

The whole energy of the govt got spent on ensuring conditions for the growth and expansion of the foreign companies. Of course in all this the govt is entitled to its own commission. Even the communist govt in west Bengal which carried out land reforms in the interest of the peasants, went out of its way to take away the land from the farmers to give it to the salim group from Indonesia Suddenly the cadre that swore by the dictatorship of the proletariat began spilling its blood in the defense of the dictatorship of capital and market.

In the past ten years or so no political party in India remembered the quintessence of democratic value system. Ruling parties in the last 13 Lok Sabhas have been expressing their commitment to the fulfilment of the basic human needs, but for the first time the concept has been buried alive that education, health and drinking water should receive the top priority of the government.

To open a primary school in a village hardly a lakh or one and a half lakh rupees are required but this government has no funds for this, a reflection of our distorted priorities. The sale of cars registered 300 times more than the total number of schools or primary health centres opened in the country. The special economic zones concept being flaunted about will further sharpen disparities and in the name of providing jobs to some 60 lakh people, render crores of farmers landless to suffer in chill penury.

The moot question is which parties and who all MPs are raising the question of the failure of the media to show the sting operation on moral grounds. How does it matter for the majority of the people of this country whether the government stays in power or goes. You might ask if the culprits shown in earlier sting operation tapes had been jailed what then?

The fact is that the other side of the coin is equally tragic. When MPs who are already in jail for various offences have played a crucial role in saving the government of the day by arriving to vote in the parliament, what relevance does this question have and how does it really matter to the system? Actually the truth that you have waited long enough to see in the sting tape is already there in bold relief right before your eyes, and we all want to close our eyes and see the virtual reality through the camera eyes to protect some and punish others to keep alive our faith in the hypocritical open society.


रवि रतलामी said...

welcome to bizzare world of blogging. I liked the idea of dual blogging - ie blogging in hindi and english both.

But it looks like pure PR thing. Nah?

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स्‍वागत ..........

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गुरतुर गोठ


Punya Prasun Bajpai said...

A gentleman commented that it seemed a PR thing. Sir, we are more comfortable in Hindi, but everybody doesn’t know Hindi in this country. This is also posted in English so that it can be read and discussed by as many people as possible. Nonetheless, I’ll try to post in few more languages in coming days.

Brij Khandelwal said...

great idea. vajpayee has written well and highlighted some serious issues. his ideas merit discussion.

Brij Khandelwal said...

vajpayee should be brief and to the point. at times he seems to go astray, losing sight of the original issue. perhaps he has too many things to share. i would advise him to cut down the size of his blog, maximum 500 words. pick up a variety of subjects. so far in his three blogs he has not shown any flashes of originality or genius. so many people before have said the same things over and over again. what's new?