Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Say what you mean and do what you say!

By saying what he meant and doing what he said, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became a Mahatma. Obviously not of the same exalted stature, but Rata Tata of the "Promise is a promise" fame was still considered impeccably honest for an Indian businessman until the red hot Radia tapes scorched many carefully cultivated reputations. He is on an audio tape strategising with his lobbyist how to put A. Raja up again as the Telecom minister in the UPA 2.0 Central government and this in May 2009 when Raja's alleged malfeasance since October 2007 was common knowledge.

Now Tata has moved the Supreme Court charging those who have leaked the tapes to the press of violating his and his lobbyist's privacy, he has also appealed to the court to stop publication of more tapes. Perhaps he has the letter of the law on his side and the court would grant his requests, but it will take a life time to rebuild his reputation of utmost probity. And at seventy three, Ratan Tata does not have that kind of time.

Politics as a magical wand

Under the heading ‘JAGAN’S COMPANY AFFAIRS’, today’s Times of India (New Delhi edition) writes that in 2004 Jaganmohan Reddy had declared his total assets worth Rs.9.19 lac but for the first half of the current financial year, 2010-11, he has paid an advance tax of Rs.84 crore on a projected income of Rs.500 crore for the full year; then the news item goes on to give out details of his stakes in various companies. For having a net annual income of Rs.500 crore it is reasonable to assume that his present net assets would amount to at least Rs.3,000 crore. If it be so, it would mean that his net assets went up to more than 30,000 times in a mere six and a half years. This type of asset growth in such a short period was not achieved even by Dhirubhai Ambani’s history-making Reliance Industries.

Of these six and a half years Jagan’s father, late Y.S. Rajsekhara Reddy, was the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh for about five years and four months, from May 2004 to his untimely death in a helicopter crash in September 2009. Jagan was already in the business of mining, cement, power, etc. when his father first became chief minister but his phenomenal rise, nearly all of it in his father's reign, perhaps could be explained by the extra-ordinary powers enjoyed by YSR not only as the chief minister of a major state but as the Congress' plenipotentiary in the south.

Most Indians have been feudal in their outlook and are not known to be in the habit of asking their masters the source of their out-of-this-world riches but the others who are not, should not keep quiet. They should ask Jagan and his counterparts in the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Reddy brothers of Karnataka, such inconvenient questions and also compel the central government to act, for a change, to uphold the law of the land.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Should sedition charges be filed against Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Arundhati Rai?

My answer to the question is an unequivocal 'No' and this for two reasons. First, what the Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Arundhati Rai had recently said in Delhi on the Kashmiris' right to freedom from Indian control has been said over and over again by thousands in the Kashmir Valley for years. This year itself has seen hundreds of processions of young people in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley shouting slogans of 'Azadi'. Since Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, all those slogan shouting young people are Indian citizens like Geelani and Rai; and if they have not been charged for sedition the government has no business to do that to Geelani and Rai.

Secondly, by filing a first information report against the duo a halo of martyrdom has been put around them quite unnecessarily and the lady with the poisoned quill will take the fullest advantage of it. She has already lined up some greats of India's recent history on her side and will do everything possible to garner more and more publicity and sympathy for her cause. She feeds and lives on publicity and the only way to see the last of her is to deny that to her but in their thoughtless bravado the government and the court have ended up doing what she would love them to exactly do.

The U.S. has no control over the Pak nukes

Some of us have had the belief that there was no chance of the Pakistani nuclear bombs or fissile material falling into the hands of Al Qaida or other jehadi terrorists because the U.S. forces would be proactive enough to spirit them away to safety at the first sign of any danger. But as the latest Wikileaks expose of the U.S. State department's correspondence reveals, the Pakistani government had been successful in completely denying to the U.S. technologists access to its nuclear plants fearing that they wanted to exercise some kind of control over the fissile material in the name of protecting it from terrorists. And even after much diplomatic wrangling Pakistani authorities refused to budge from their position.

So, the possibility of the jehadi terrorists' stealing or in some other way getting enough weapon-grade fissile material to make a dirty bomb is very much there and India must take this into account while charting out its defence strategies. Even otherwise, it does not behove India to bank upon another country to protect its vital interests; it is time India finally realised that being one sixth of the world's population it had to depend on its own capability to defend itself.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cheap technology imports from China could be a threat to India's security

Indian power companies are today sourcing almost fifty percent of their power generating equipment from China. Even Indian public sector telecom companies are now buying high technology products and systems form the Chinese giant Huawei, a leading global telecommunications solutions provider. Now this revelation that A. Raja of the Rs.1.76 lac crore or US$39 billion scam had developed a soft corner for the Chinese simcard exporters. According to government reports tens of millions of simcards were imported from China in just one year, 2008-09, even when in violation of the Indian government's instructions the Chinese companies had not established simcard personalisation centres in India.

India's increasing dependence on China for high technology equipments and solutions in the power and telecom sectors may not bode well for national security, considering the Chinese record in scientific and industrial espionage and hacking. At the moment it may not be possible for the Indian entities to put a stop to these cheap imports but the government must see that they showed a declining trend from now on. For the sake of saving a billion dollars or two the national security can not be allowed to be jeopardised.

Ex-soldiers on the streets

It is a shame for the government that ex-soldiers, who in their time gave security to the nation by guarding its land border, coastline and airspace day and night, have had to take to the streets demanding their inalienable right of 'One rank, one pension'. It is not that this principle of calculation of pension is foreign to the government. Right from the president of India, prime minister, judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, members of Parliament to the secretaries to the government of India, they all are beneficiaries of 'One rank, one pension'. That it should continue to be denied to ex-soldiers defies all logic and fairness. Even the argument that the government could not spare a few thousand crores to give out arrears and increase in pensions to about two million ex-servicemen does not hold any water, not at least now when the same government could splurge seventy thousand crores on the inconsequential Commonwealth Games and the prime minister could tolerate the revenue loss of a GDP-scale Rs.1.76 lac crore or US$39 billion in the 2G spectrum scam absolutely nonchalantly.

Earlier, I was very upset that thousands of ex-soldiers had returned their medals to the president of India, the supreme commander of the armed forces, as a mark of their protest. But today having attended their protest rally and seen more medals being collected to be returned to the president, I am not too sure whether this extreme step could have been avoided. As the protesters said they were registering their disappointment and frustration at the government's unsympathetic attitude by giving up something very dear to them. They knew that their returning the medals could affect the morale of the serving soldiers adversely but the government had not left them any alternatives.

I am glad that I was with the retired soldiers supporting them in their fight for justice, and since I was the only civilian there I got a chance not only to address them but also to freely interact with quite a few of them, from old sepoys to a retired 3-star general, and learn of the fierce pride they still feel in the defence forces they once served. And how can I ever forget what Malerkotla's Beant Singh, a wizened ex-sepoy, told me, that people would always do the right thing if they let their mind's Arjun be guided by their conscience's Shri Krishna? I am grateful to the Sikh gentleman for sharing with me the essence of the Bhagvad Gita's wisdom.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We have so much to learn from the U.S.

The former U.S. House of Representatives majority leader Thomas DeLay has recently been convicted for money laundering by a Texas jury and can be jailed for up to 99 years. His crime was that he gave US$190,000 to three republican candidates for the Texas State Legislature out of corporate donations. In 23 states of the U.S., including Texas, corporate donations to candidates in the State election are banned.

Not an ordinary politician, DeLay was a powerful majority party whip in the U.S. House of Representatives and was rewarded for his good work in 2003 by the Republic Party with promotion as majority leader. He, however, fell from grace in 2005 on being charged for felony.

By Indian standards, DeLay had done no crime, there could not, therefore, be any punishment for him. In any case, what is US$190,000 for an Indian politician? Not even a crore of rupees! The standards here have gone up so high that anything below Rs.1.76 lac crore or US$39 billion is liable to be dismissed as small change.

So, the heading of this post is wrong, it is the U.S. that has to learn so much from us. Our per capita income may be one forty seventh of that country but the appetite of our politicians is scores of thousands times that of theirs.

I won't have to walk alone

Tomorrow, I am going to take part in Indian Ex-Servicemen's Movement's protest at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar against the government's dilly-dallying on its demand for 'One rank, one pension'. I have been a supporter of the demand for quite some time and that is how the IESM has come to treat me as one of its own. I think it is a shame that these retired soldiers, who gave the best part of their lives to the defence of the nation, should be forced to take to the streets for getting their eminently legitimate right recognised by the government.

At the protest, I will also take the opportunity to inform the members of the IESM about my five year mission to make India one of the fifty most honest countries of the world, at the moment we are at the 87th place. There are more than two million retired soldiers living in all parts of the country and if they could be attracted to my mission, realising it would be a real possibility. Let us see how it pans out tomorrow. One thing is for certain that my invitation won't be accepted too readily because from what I have seen, everyone, even after retirement, is busy doing something or the other for money. Expecting them to give up all that to work for an idealistic mission could be a bit too much. But what is the alternative for me? I have to try to involve as many people with this mission as could be humanly possible for me and I shall do that, come what may.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is there a way out?

The Supreme Court today adversely commented on the quality of justice meted out by some judges of the Allahabad High Court, one of the biggest and most celebrated High Courts of the country. The apex court observed that the relatives of some judges have been influencing them to deliver wrong judgments.

So, where to go from here? In the ranks of scamsters there are politicians, judges, bureaucrats, defence services officers, police officers, businessmen, media celebrities, lawyers, top bankers, medical doctors, IIT professors, preachers and evangelists and many belonging to other professions. The situation is pretty bad and is getting worse with a new scam breaking the surface every day. Mahatma Gandhi, had he been unfortunate enough to be living now, would have gone on a fast unto death in a last ditch effort to re-moralise the society. But unlike his previous fasts unto death there could be no way for him to break this fast because today's society would stubbornly refuse to listen even to the Mahatma.

It may sound heretical to say that where Mahatma Gandhi would surely fail we the lesser beings stand a chance to succeed if we, the concerned and dismayed, come together on a platform and launch ourselves as a movement to take the message "Perform your duty and then demand your rights" to every nook and corner of this land. It is a hope worth living for.

To a gentleman of the eyes closed and the lips sealed

I could not have said it better than this little poem, it has both wit and pathos - not an easy combination. And what touching commentary on the state of our beloved country! So, over to the poem.

Scam ke baad scam, Bauji. Desh ka bajgaya hai baaja.
Everyone is corrupt aaj-kal, from army honcho to Raja.

In the behti Ganga , sabne haath hai daala.
Pavitra paani ko banadiya in kambakhton ne, naalah.

Government needs to give some answers. Daarji, kuchh to bolo.
Aankhen chahe band hon, par mooh to apna kholo.

In this dirty chukker, is there anything that is clean and pure?
I cannot think of any except Harvest Gold for sure.

--- The 'Bakwaas Advertising, First Class Bread' advertisement of the Harvest Gold White Bread published in the Times of India ( Delhi edition) of the 26th Nov. 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Media’s conspiracy of silence

The nation’s in-your-face conscience keeper, the ubiquitous mass media, both print and electronic, seem to have been hit by a sudden attack of paralysis when it comes to discussing some senior journalists’ extremely cozy relationship with lobbyists and influence peddlers. The media persons, who go overboard describing every minute detail of scandals involving politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, sports administrators, players and what have you, have lost their voice completely now that some of their own tribe have been caught on tape promising to act as messengers for a lobbyist for some of the country’s top corporates, even deliberating on the choice of ministers for the Union cabinet.

It is understandable that the media houses implicating conversations of whose journalists have been taped by some investigative agencies will remain silent about the entire affair but how about the others? They have also got the ‘silence’ contagion, is it because their journalists are also in the same boat, only their tapes have not yet been made public? Or is it that they want to present a united front to safeguard what is left of the honour of their ‘noble’ profession? Whatever be their reasons, this conspiracy of silence is totally condemnable. The media persons, celebrities or otherwise, owe an explanation to the public, their readers and viewers who keep them gainfully employed by buying newspapers or paying to watch television news or by simply paying for the goods advertised in their newspapers or over their channels.

BJP’s day of electoral victory and moral defeat

Seats fought 102, seats won 91, no, it was not in Egypt or in one of the so-called democracies in the Middle East. This happened in India, to be more precise in the just concluded elections for the Bihar Assembly, the results of which were declared yesterday, and the political party getting this magical success ratio is the Bhartiya Janata Party. The party’s candidates even won from a majority of the constituencies where the Muslims formed more than one fifth of the population and against Muslim rivals put up by the RJD-LJP combine and the Congress. Almost a clean sweep, it is a phenomenal achievement the like of which any political party in India may not be able to repeat in a long time. BJP deserves the nation’s congratulations and its coalition with Janata Dal United good wishes not only to last for the full term of five years but also to attain its ambition of making Bihar one of India’s developed states by 2015.

So far so good, but on that very day, at the precise hour when the victory in Bihar looked certain according to the trends thrown up by the state-wide counting of votes, the BJP president Nitin Gadkari announced that the party’s chief minister in Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa, would continue in his position. Only a couple of days earlier, on studying the state government’s files on land denotification and allotment by Yeddyurappa, the top leadership of the BJP had confirmed his culpability and had asked him to step down. BSY quickly set up a judicial commission under a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court to inquire into the land scam and his own role in it, but he refused to resign, adding insult to the high command’s injury by saying that no one had asked him to do so.

BJP’s volte-face on Karnataka has taken a large part of the shine off its unprecedented performance in the Bihar election. It has also considerably weakened its case for instituting an inquiry into the 2G spectrum and Commonwealth Games scams by a Joint Parliamentary Committee by giving the ruling Congress-led alliance at the Centre a chance to accuse it of practicing double standards.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bihar rises above itself to re-elect Nitish with unprecedented majority

In the general atmosphere of gloom due to scams all over, Bihar has given the country an occasion to smile. By re-electing the JDU-BJP coalition led by Nitish Kumar by an overwhelming 206 out of 243 seats, the much maligned people of Bihar have shown that they know how to reward good governance and genuine efforts to bring about development. It is almost a mortal shock to all those who had condemned the state to the casteist politics of the worst kind and at the same time had been its biggest beneficiaries. With the opposition badly mauled, rather decimated, it is a great opportunity for Nitish and his allies to set Bihar firmly on the pathway to economic and social development.

There is, however, the danger of the chief minister beginning to suffer from illusions of grandeur and invincibility, after all it is not every day that some one wins five out of every six seats and that in a large and populous state like Bihar. Rajiv Gandhi had won four out of every five in the 1984 Lok Sabha election but that actually was a victory for her assassinated mother, his was clearly a sympathy vote. While in power, Rajiv floundered badly because of inexperience and the singularly bad advice from his confidantes. Nitish does not have to fear on those counts, he is a seasoned politician as against Rajiv’s accidental politician and has come to know his state as the back of his palm in the five years as chief minister and above all he has a mind of his own. His decision to keep Narendra Modi entirely out of the electioneering and not to share the dais with the BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani looked very harsh, even counter-productive, but he stood his ground then and now stands completely vindicated.

Let us, all Indians, wish Nitish success and Bihar five more years of good governance and speedy economic growth and social development. If Bihar progresses, so will India.

Media persons making common cause with lobbyists and fixers

The Hindu of today carries an article ‘The spotlight is on the media now’ by Priscilla Jebaraj on its editorial page, according to which Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, Diptosh Majumdar and Rajdeep Sardesai have reportedly made statements to the effect that to get information out of a source, it is in order to make a promise to do a favour, like carrying the source’s message to a Central minister, because these promises are not meant to be kept. I do not at all agree with this assertion. Do these ‘famous’ journalists seriously want us to believe that a top level lobbyists, having both Mukesh Ambani and the Tatas as clients, would let the journalists break such promises with impunity? In the nether world of influence peddling there are no written contracts, it is the oral word that has the force of a contract, and even heavens can not help those who do not keep their word.

In fact, the transcripts of taped conversations between a lobbyist and some journalists have only confirmed what the hapless readers and viewers have been suspecting for a long time that there is an unholy and deep nexus of lobbyists, fixers and some of the country’s most celebrated journalists with those holding in their hands the levers of political power.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don’t look at success dispassionately!

If we do, one thing is certain that we will never be successful. The reason is not very difficult to fathom out. After all, it is our passion for the intended success that drives us to work hard to achieve it, ignoring distractions and overcoming impediments in the way.

Looking with passion at success, howsoever distant at that point in time, we sort of bring it within our reach, we can sense it and smell its sweet aroma. No wonder then that in course of time we can go ahead and attain that success.

Corruption is not our way of life!

What is the biggest hurdle in the way of launching a campaign against corruption? It is not the scarcity of resources in men or money, it is the pessimism that nothing can be done, that any struggle against the corrupt is doomed to failure because the corruption is all pervasive, it is part of human nature, that the Indians have always been like this and this is how they will remain, et al. Equally damaging are the views that the nature will take care of it, that we should wait patiently for a movement against corruption to rise from among the oppressed, that whatever goes up has to come down and so corruption too would come down.

I agree that the situation is pretty bad but it is not entirely hopeless. Even in our own country there are examples of things made to improve. It may sound incredible but in the Maoist-infested Chhattisgarh the public distribution system has been improved to such an extent that hardly any poor family goes without getting its normal quota of highly subsidised food grains. The DMK is no paragon of honesty, as has amply been demonstrated on the national stage, but Tamilnadu’s public distribution system is functioning very efficiently and surprisingly equitably. This just goes to show that whenever sufficient political will has been mustered the system has overcome corruption. Our job, therefore, is to compel the political class to summon the necessary will, and we can do so only when we are sufficiently organised and focused.

Our five year mission: To make India one of the fifty most honest nations of the world, as against the 87th now

Through the use of mass media and lectures in schools and colleges and at other public forums, we will launch a mass movement for informing, educating and moulding public opinion to abide by the law and to say ‘NO’ to the demands of bribes. Our slogan will say this in Hindi, “Qanoon se ham chalenge, rishvat kabhi nahin denge!” In fact, if people act according to the law and meticulously follow the rules they would eliminate quite a few opportunities for corruption by public officials.

As the first step in this direction, we will form a Core Group of eight to ten persons of unimpeachable integrity, indomitable courage and total commitment to the cause of establishing the rule of law and combating corruption. All members of the Core Group will be residents of the National Capital Region, and no two of them will be related to each other even distantly, by blood or through marriage. At the time of forming the Group and then every year they will have to submit to the Group a detailed statement of their assets and liabilities and a broad one of the last year’s income and expenditure. To ensure the highest level of probity each member of the Group will have to be always open to peer-level scrutiny. Each member will contribute every year to the Group’s finances 1% of his or her total annual income, including that not taxable, less income tax paid, with a minimum of Rs.3,000 and maximum of Rs.10,000. All contributions to the Group, either by the members or the others, will have to be by way of cheques or bank transfers giving particulars like the payers’ PANs, addresses and phone numbers.

Besides setting in motion the above mass movement the Core Group will also identify and support honest government officials and encourage them to resist, oppose and expose wrongdoings of their peers and seniors and curb those of their juniors. Further, it will intervene in a few high profile cases on behalf of victims of official high-handedness and gross injustice. Success in these cases will win many supporters to the Group and its methodology to fight corruption. After some experience in the field, we will contact like-minded people in other towns and cities and help them in forming groups of their own to carry out the fight to stomp on public officials’ malfeasance. In addition, we will buoy up the efforts of many groups and non-government organisations in the country that are working meaningfully on simplifying laws, the government’s duty to inform on all its works and contracts, better and more comprehensive e-governance, people’s oversight of government schools, primary health centres and public distribution system and many other issues having a direct bearing on reducing the opportunities for corruption.

Monday, November 22, 2010

When the night is at its darkest, the morning is not far

This applies to the state of India’s politics as well. All of us common men and women, in whose name the elections are fought and won and governments formed and for whose ostensible benefit a plethora of development projects are launched, would perhaps agree that what we are now witnessing is about the darkest part of the night of Indian politics, almost its nadir. The morning or the reprieve, therefore, should not be long in coming.

There is a difference, though, the night and day cycle is natural and definite but that of the political night and day is not so. We have to put in an effort to make that work. However, compared to the other parts of the night, when it is at the darkest the push required to change into the day is within our capacity to impart. And impart it we must for the sake of our survival as an independent, democratic nation.

Yeddyurappa is right, the Reddy brothers, too, ought to go!

One of the reported reasons for B.S. Yeddyurappa’s open defiance of the BJP high command’s diktat to resign his office for having indulged in nepotism and other corrupt practices is his feeling that he is being singled out, that there are others in his own cabinet with far more serious charges of corruption levelled against them but they have escaped any penalty. He has indicated that if he should resign, so should the Reddy brothers, both his ministerial colleagues, for their illegal mining of iron ore, even its illegal export, and other acts of malfeasance. I think that Yeddyurappa has a point.

The Reddy brothers are understood to be the biggest financers and benefactors of the BJP and to them goes a large part of credit for the lotus blooming for the first time in any of the southern states but this should not give them a carte blanche to do what they like. Now that the BJP again wants to be the political party with a difference and is engaged in spring cleaning, it should not be doing so selectively. If only for the sake of consistency, it must ask the Reddy brothers to put in their resignations at the same time as Yeddyurappa.

Rid of the Reddy brothers and Yeddyurappa, the BJP will regain the high moral ground in its crusade against the ruling UPA’s serial scams.

The Central government is losing its balance

Badly rattled by a series of scams and the Opposition’s relentless demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the infamous 2G spectrum affaire, the Manmohan Singh-led Central government seems to have lost its moorings. There is no other way one could make sense of a statement made by its principal law officer, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, in the Supreme Court today. Replying to the bench’s observation that the Central Vigilance Commissioner should be a person with an absolutely untainted record and that the appointment of P.J. Thomas, who had been charge-sheeted in the Palmolein scandal, to this office may not have been in order on this very count, Vahanvati said that had a blemish-less record been a crucial criterion for appointment, many appointments to the judiciary could also be questioned. His retort was not only in bad taste but also revealed the government’s determination to ridicule all, including the land’s highest court, who have the temerity to question its judgment.

What the court had said was unexceptional. The Central Vigilance Commissioner is the chief conscience keeper of the government, by exercising continuous vigilance he is supposed to ensure that the bureaucracy plays strictly according to the rules and it is his to institute enquiry against the offenders. If he himself has been on the wrong side of law and service rules, what moral force can he bring to his position? But this government appears to have sacrificed all ethics and morals at the altar of expediency.

It is not just the matter of selection of an undeserving person for the high post, the way the government made a mockery of the laid down selection procedure is more damaging. A board comprising the prime minister, the Home minister and the leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha had to select a person with impeccable integrity from a panel of three retired bureaucrats chosen by the government. When the prime minister and his Cabinet colleague showed their preference for P.J. Thomas, the leader of Oppositon, Sushma Swaraj, drew their attention to serious charges in the past against him and wanted them to pick up either of the remaining two who had much cleaner records. But It remained two against one and Swaraj had to settle for noting her dissent. It is a no brainer that the prime minister and his Home minister would always align and together they will have their say if a simple majority is going to decide on the selection, what then is the great point in having the leader of Opposition on the selection board? The Supreme Court should also dwell on this and rule that the Central Vigilance Commissioner has to be the unanimous choice of the three members on the selection board.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

To boldly go where no man has gone before ....

Remember the ever magical lines at the beginning of each episode of the serial Star Trek? “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” At the age of sixty one, when I know I am not getting any younger (the fact of the matter is, though, that no one, whatever be his or her age, ever gets any younger!), I have made it my five year mission to make India one of the fifty most honest nations of the world, as against today when we are at the eighty seventh place according to the latest Corruption Perception Index of the Transparency International, Berlin.

Not an easy task it is going to be taking into account the scams which seem to be tumbling out of every cupboard one could be opening, but there is a sunny side to it, a silver lining to the dark clouds of disappointment and frustration all around. The people of India are really getting sick of being treated as the ultimate sucker by the ruling classes, the unholy trinity of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen. When the proverbial worm can turn, cheated and hurt people can do it more purposefully and they shall, let nobody say that they were not forewarned. With common people with me, I shall go where no man has gone before … fighting corruption and scoring a victory over it!

Every moment we have a choice, to go up or down or do nothing!

Imagine ourselves sitting on a step of an infinite staircase always enjoying the full liberty to walk up the stairs, as many steps as we like, or to walk down in a similar fashion or to keep sitting where we are. That is exactly how life is. At every moment we can exercise the choice of doing something good which will take us higher not only in others’ estimation but more importantly in our own, or of doing something bad with predictable consequences, or of doing just nothing. In other words, there is no ceiling above which we can not go, nor is there a bottom below which we can not fall; everything depends on the choices we make. And this is what makes a human being special in the entire nature, only we are capable of writing our own destiny and meeting it.

Et tu, media!

I have heard today that a famous anchor of a TV news channel and the editor-in-chief of a national newspaper have been helping a liaison agency which had a close relationship with A. Raja and several applicants for UAS licences and 2G spectrum. I do not know if it is true but if it is, one of the last pegs on which the common man could hang his hopes has fallen.

The rot had started some years back when paid news had made news at the time of general elections. In exchange for advertisements or even cash, newspapers gave favourable news coverage to election rallies, eulogised achievements of particular candidates or pegged up their chances of victory. Then a leading newspaper group made path breaking ‘private treaties’ with corporates, through which they took share holdings in those corporates in consideration for publishing sponsored news items but passing them as normal ones. The ethical standards of the news channels have generally been even lower than those of the print media, what with parts of coming episodes of TV serials splashed as news! This said, that well-known media persons could have nexus with professional lobbyists still shocked and saddened. Most of us, who think of ourselves as educated and aware, form our opinions about different happenings on the basis of what we see on the television and more than that from what we read in newspapers, and we regard the editorial page as an institution in itself. Since we can not have our independent sources of information, what should we do now?

Even if the rumour about the media persons’ wrongful involvement turns out to be a mere rumour, now on we have to be more watchful and incredulous about what we see on the television screen or read in broadsheets. If we treated it so far as the gospel truth, we should not now on. If we have access to internet, we could also widen our catchment area for news to include some independent news blogs. In the final analysis, we have to rely more on our own thinking to form an opinion on a certain event than on what is dished out to us as news and views by the print and electronic media.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dr. Manmohan Singh’s culpability is the real issue

Whether the prime minister replied effectively to all the communications received from Subramaniam Swamy and without undue delay in the matter of Swamy seeking his sanction for prosecuting A. Raja is to be decided by the Supreme Court next week. But it is only a side show to the real issue of Dr. Manmohan Singh’s own culpability in letting the UAS licences and 2G spectrum scam happen.

In October 2007, the newspapers had started commenting on unsavoury situation obtaining in respect of the coming allotment of licences and spectrum by the Telecom department under the Telecom and Information Technology ministry headed by A. Raja. The Telecom secretary D.S. Mathur was demonstrably opposed to Raja’s policy of not selling the licences and spectrum through an open auction and remained so till his retirement on the 31st December 2007. As is now well known, an unencumbered Raja made the sale in January 2008 on a variation of first-come, first-served basis at 2001 prices completely ignoring advices from the ministries of Finance and Law and instructions from the prime minister himself. Widespread criticism of Raja’s decision followed in the press, some of the Opposition leaders also took up the matter with the prime minister in 2008 itself. Even then the prime minister took his own time and ordered a CBI inquiry only in November 2009, that is, two years after the newspapers got the whiff of some wrongdoing. I am sure the prime minister’s office would have come to know of it through the Telecom secretary and Cabinet secretary or through the Intelligence Bureau much earlier than the press. Then what can explain this delay of two years in initiating an inquiry by the CBI?

There can be no explanation either for the CBI already having taken a year on the inquiry and not completing it. It is a straight forward case, CBI just had to go through the reasons for policy changes, at times in the face of advices to the contrary, arbitrariness and iniquity of the minister’s decisions, and irregularities in the actual process of sale. If Raja could master the intricacy of the entire process in a few months, the master brains of the country’s premier investigative agency should have done so in half the time. But they don’t seem anywhere near solving the riddle even a year after they were given the brief. Why is the prime minister tolerating the obvious lethargy of the CBI?

Then there this fundamental question Dr. Manmohan Singh should answer – Can the prime minister discipline and dismiss a minister of his only after a CBI inquiry damns the minister’s conduct? Could Dr. Singh not move when there were so many important functionaries making allegations about Raja’s misconduct?

These are but a few questions out of so many the prime minister ought to be asked by the people of India. He has to satisfy us that all along he has been worthy of the high office he has been occupying. It’s not easy now but he must give it a sincere try.

What can one with integrity do in a political party?

A lot I must say! For a start, this person can assign himself (for convenience I am taking this person to be a male) the role of the unofficial conscience keeper of the political party. When ever and where ever his fellow party-men deviate from the party’s ideals and ideology or the society’s fundamental values, he can sound a warning. Constant adherence to agreed values and principles not only promotes esprit de corps but also gives strength to the group to always do the right thing. A political party can have its own equivalent of the U.S. marines’ “Honour, courage, and commitment” at all times, and our protagonist can play the part of the standard bearer for such morale boosting exhortations. If I were to join a political party, I would promote “Integrity, Humaneness, National security, and Progress” as the watchwords to inform every word and action of my party.

Politics in India has become a dirty word, naturally then clean and honest people avoid it, giving rise to a vicious cycle of mostly unscrupulous people joining politics and by their unprincipled acts making it more untouchable for the right kind. Once in, our man can pull more and more of his own type into politics having convinced them that politics is not dirty per se and that it can be cleaned if persons with clean record come in, in large numbers.

He can also help devising methods to attract legitimate donations by cheques and bank transfers, giving Permanent Account Numbers and other essential particulars of the donors, to the political party. Parties are so much used to be financed by unaccounted for or black money that it will take very hard and determined effort on the part of our man to convince his to contemplate a change in the source of funding. But with continued and sustained persuasion, over time, he can make the party’s income and expenditure more above-board and transparent.

Playing it straight is its own reward!

Recently I met an agreeable gentleman who after retirement at sixty years had held a very high political appointment for a number of years. This was my first meeting with him, yet after a few minutes of introductory exchange he expressed his disappointment that he could never use his office to make money for himself while another person on a similar position had made roughly five hundred crore rupees. He did not even agree to my remonstration that he could at least sleep well at night, saying that that man was sleeping better because he had 24-hour air-conditioning in his house due to a powerful stand-by diesel generating set! As I was meeting him to seek his advice on an important matter, I veered the discussion to that.

But I found his thought process greatly disturbing; instead of feeling happy and proud of himself that he did not fall victim to temptations, irresistible for lesser mortals, here he was full of regret. Perhaps the changed value system of the society finally got him. But does it have to be like this, does someone ever rue the fact that he or she did not pick up muck from the street to eat it? Accepting bribes or resorting to any other form of corruption is no different from eating muck – I know I have made a very strong statement but I believe every word of it. And I want that this should be written in bold letters at several vantage points in every government or municipal office; let the corrupt feel the taste of filth and muck in their mouth every time they use public office for private gain.

Honest public officials are as such in a very small minority in our country and if some of them start getting discomfited and disheartened seeing the others’ ill-gotten riches, it is only a matter of time when they will also join the ranks of the corrupt. We can not afford to let that happen for obvious reasons. So, each one of us who consider ourselves honest should provide succour and support to one another in our moments of doubt about our own steadfastness to the values and principles we have been holding dear.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Do not level charges when you dare not name names!

First it was Ratan Tata, now it is Baba Ramdev and Arun Shourie, who have levelled serious charges against people they have not shown courage to name. Ramdev says that a minister of Uttarakhand had demanded a bribe of one crore rupees from him for the favour of changing the land-use of a plot of land to enable its purchase by Ramdev and that when he complained to the chief minister he observed, to Ramdev's horror, that the minister, instead, could have asked the money as a donation for the trust managed by him. Shourie has revealed that there is an officer in the department of Telecom who has got full knowledge of all wrong doings in the allotment of 2G spectrum and sale of licences. Obviously, Shourie, who has been Telecom minister in the NDA government, would be knowing this particular officer but he has chosen not to name him. He says further that some officers of the Telecom department are aware of this officer's involvement and, therefore, are very surprised that he has not been so far questioned by the agencies investigating into the 2G scam.

What do these people, in this case Ramdev and Shourie, seek to achieve by making open-ended charges? Even without this extra information from them, the people of the country are thick with stories of all sorts of corruption, but they are not specific enough to nail the wrong-doers. By giving them similarly vague anecdotes regarding corruption, Ramdev and Shourie have not advanced the cause of probity in public life. One wonders what has held them back, is it the fear of reprisals? In that case they should have kept the information to themselves. By telling half the story, Ramdev has in fact condemned two, possibly three, ex-chief ministers besides the present incumbent. Like-wise, Shourie has put a garland of suspicion around the neck of all officers of the Telecom department who have not yet been examined by the investigative agencies.

Public figures should carefully weigh every word before uttering it, particularly when they are casting aspersions; little carelessness on their part can ruin others' reputation irreparably.

Is India an ‘emerged’ power?

If you believe the U.S. president Barack Obama, yes, it is. But can we close our eyes to the reality around us and give credence only to the words of the so-called most powerful person on the earth? No, we are not yet there, in fact we are many leagues short of the destination. We still have tens of millions of children who, instead of attending school, have to look after their younger siblings, freeing their parents to do wage earning labour or themselves do back breaking work on agricultural fields or in rudimentary factories weaving carpets, rolling beedis or making fireworks to support their families. These children are a hostage to their parents’ poverty.

We have to liberate them and compulsorily educate them till the age of eighteen, not fourteen as the Right to Education envisages, thereafter send the academically oriented to colleges and the rest to vocational training institutes. And this has to be at zero cost to their families. This will be country’s most paying investment in its own future. Let India do this year in, year out for two decades and then yes, it will have emerged as a real power.

Cleaning up Indian politics is a Herculean task, but is doable!

The 2G spectrum scam, Commonwealth Games scam, Adarsh Co-operative Building Society scam, Karnataka land scam, Tamilnadu land scam … ; Indian politicians in cahoots with bureaucrats, corporate houses and sundry others in business, legitimate or illegitimate, have been materialising scam after scam with monotonous regularity. Those in control of the government at the Centre have immensely large resources at their command in comparison to the others ruling in the states, that’s why the scale of scams at the Centre has gone well beyond one lac crore rupees as against the maximum of, say, twenty thousand crore rupees in the states. Otherwise there is no choosing between politicians of various hues and colours, a monstrous majority of politicians, ninety nine per cent according to Baba Ramdev, are corrupt, they have only one mission in life, to make as much money and grab as much land as possible, wantonly and shamelessly misusing their public offices and the trust the people had reposed in them. But the situation may not be allowed to continue like this for ever; the media, the Supreme Court and High Courts and even the ever tolerant Indian public are increasingly finding their voice against the open loot and their combined opposition could raise the price of corruption to an unacceptably high level at least for some of the corrupt.

The question which comes to mind is – how do the controllers, uniformly called high command, of the political parties look at this? It is not a secret that they need massive amounts of money to run the party machine and fight elections and then offerings have to be made to everyone’s personal greed and sense of insecurity. Even then at least some of the top managers in the two principal political parties would be concerned about the “lowliest of the lowly” image of the politicians and would be looking for a way out of the mess. This should be treated as an opportunity by the ethical and law-abiding people, who so far dared not go anywhere near politics and politicians, to join politics in ever growing numbers.

Politics undoubtedly is the most potent means to transform the society and put the nation onto a virtuous cycle of growth and all-round development. If it stinks today, it is because of the dirty politicians having greed as their pole star. It is, therefore, incumbent on the right type of people to enter the pool of politics and push the scum to the periphery. The scum will resist, fight, even try to kill by poisoning the pool but will ultimately yield to a determined adversary having with it the forces of law, ethics and morality.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's a matter of credibility

Mohan Subramaniam, Solicitor General (SG) of India, was being interviewed over the television about the Supreme Court earlier today directing the prime minister's office to file an affidavit with it by the next Saturday detailing the correspondence it exchanged with Subramaniam Swamy who, in November 2008, had sought the prime minister's permission to prosecute A. Raja for gross irregularities in allotting 2G spectrum. To the interviewer's observation that this was the first time that the p.m.'s word conveyed through one of the government's senior most law officers was not considered good enough by the court the SG said it was not unusual, after all it was just a part of the adjudicatory process. He also tried to differentiate between the p.m. and the p.m.o. by saying that it would be one of the p.m.o. officials who would be signing the affidavit, not the p.m. himself. As if he meant to say that even if an affront was there it was to the p.m.o. and not to the p.m. Not very convincing!

The SG also said that in the p.m.o.'s communications the situation was explained to Swamy in some detail and that all relative files would be produced in the court to substantiate it. The p.m.o. had nothing to hide. Then he said that he as a lawyer he would like to assure the nation that the p.m.o. had acted in this case according to the law. I could not take it anymore and changed the channel. When his principal, the prime minister, through his conduct in the entire 2G spectrum case, had lost his credibility with the people of India, who would be taken in by the assurances of a mere solicitor general?

Should Ratan Tata have uttered the ‘B’ word?

Some days ago, in a reminiscent mood, Ratan Tata had expressed a regret that he could not form an airline, that his repeated efforts, in 1995, 1997 and 2001, for that had failed because of stiff opposition to his proposal by a very determined person and also because of Tata’s refusal to pay a bribe of Rupees fifteen crore reportedly demanded by a Union minister. The unnamed minister’s avarice did not shock, what shocked was that even the celebrated House of Tatas, which is known for its scrupulous ways of doing business, was not spared. But, if after so many years Tata thought it fit to recount the experience, he should have gone the whole hog and named the minister – these were my first thoughts when I heard the television news. But the next day there was a clarification, Ratan Tata said that on a plane journey many years ago his co-passenger, himself an industrialist, had ridiculed him for not paying the fifteen crore bribe to the particular minister and thus forgoing his chance of setting up an airline in the country, Tata’s long held dream.

This was not fair on Ratan Tata’s part to bring into disrepute an unnamed Union minister, obviously in-charge of Civil Aviation, and that on hearsay. What made it worse was that between 1995 and 2001, when Tata finally gave up the idea of establishing an airline, there had been four different governments at the Centre and five-six different persons, one now dead, as Civil Aviation minister one after the other. By not naming the offending minister Tata has put all these persons in the arc of suspicion. That may not have been his original intention but this is how it has panned out. And what did he get in turn for his labours, some tongues clucking in sympathy? It was, definitely, not worth your while, Mr. Tata!

BJP should walk its talk – open letter to Mr. Nitin Gadkari

Dear Mr. Gadkari,

As someone who, in a letter to him, had questioned Dr. Manmohan Singh’s non-interventionist conduct in the 2G spectrum scam and this good three days before A. Raja’s resignation, I fully support you and your party in demanding from Dr. Singh an explanation for his utter failure to discipline and control Raja and put a stop to his arbitrary and iniquitous decisions which ultimately caused a loss of revenue of the order of Rs.1.76 lac crore or US$39 billion to the national exchequer. I do not know whether a Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by a Congress M.P. would be the right agency to investigate this gigantic scam but the strident manner in which the demand for a JPC probe is being resisted by the Congress party could only mean that the Opposition is on the right track.

I am, however, afraid that your unambiguous stand against corruption is being undermined by the less than exemplary ways of your own party’s chief minister in Karnataka. His act of denotifying government land to allot it to his own children is regrettable and more so is his explanation that in doing so he was only following the precedents set by his predecessors. Instead of conveniently repeating the others’ malfeasance why can’t these people show some character and set good precedents by their righteous conduct – Is it too much to ask from a politician? B.S. Yeddyurappa, too, won’t be able to answer this. He has used his public office for private gain, and this is the classic definition of corruption. His obvious act of nepotism is no different from that by Ashok Chavhan of the Congress party and the punishment to him should be the same – he has to go!

Karnataka is an important state for you, your first success in the southern India, and in the likely event of your party not finding a generally acceptable replacement for BSY, the government may fall. But do not let this or any other consideration come in the way of a decision to ask for his resignation. Corruption is corruption and it ought to be abhorred and condemned whether it is yours and NDA's or the Congress party’s and UPA's, and the least punishment that can be meted out to the corrupt is to remove them from office. Please do this to Yeddyurappa without losing precious time; and you will see that it will give your party a new impetus and vigour in its battle against those responsible for the mother of all scams.

Thanking you,


Kanan V. Jaswal

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Corruption is not a laughing matter

The joke goes like this – Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the Commonwealth Games’ organising committee, was absolutely fed up with newer and newer charges of corruption levelled against him and the organising committee. He decided to put an end to this, as far as he was concerned, by committing suicide. He locked the room from inside, stood on a stool, tied one end of a sturdy rope, a good decision considering his corpulent shape, to the ceiling fan, the other he made into a noose, put it around his thick neck, tightened the noose and pushed the stool from under him….. Instead of reaching the world beyond, he hit the ground, but why? Because the ceiling collapsed – the building had been built by the CWG organising committee.

Then we have the BJP president smilingly telling the press, “Raja bajayega UPA ka baja” or A. Raja (who has resigned recently in the wake of the CAG report holding him responsible for a colossal loss of revenue of Rs.1.76 lac crore or US$39 billion to the national exchequer through his arbitrary sale of telecom licences and 2G spectrum) will sound the death-knell of the UPA government.

One may enjoy this type of jokes or smart alec rhymes but this replaces with hilarity, even if for a brief moment, the emotion of anger that we must always have against corruption of all types, macro or micro. Corruption is a serious matter and it must not be trivialised or trifled with in any manner.

The Lakshminagar building collapse

On the 15th instant, at 8 p.m., a five storey building in East Delhi’s Lakshminagar, to which yet another storey was being added, collapsed like a pack of cards. The building, in its 70 rooms, had housed a handicraft factory and three to four hundred persons – all poor migrant labourers and their families. Caught under the falling masonry, close to seventy people lost their lives and hundred others were injured. The rescue operation is still continuing but after almost two days of the disaster, chances of some more persons being pulled out alive from the rubble are getting slimmer and slimmer. The 20-25 year old building had been constructed violating all municipal laws and rules, it had no proper foundation but had five-six floors instead of the regulation three, the building material used was substandard and what made this all a deadly combination was ankle-deep water in the basement due to the unusually high water table even two months after the high flood in the nearby Yamuna river.

There are thousands of buildings, residential and commercial, in Delhi which have been built flouting all types of municipal laws and bylaws, sacrosanct principles and established practices of structural engineering, and fire safety regulations. Land is so expensive that unscrupulous owners and builders are always looking to add an unauthorised floor or two, to convert balconies and other open spaces into additional rooms absolutely unmindful of the extra weight they would be putting on the foundation and other load-bearing structures not designed to bear it. They also save by using second or third grade of building material and that less than the requirement. And the government and municipal officials which are there to ensure compliance with building regulations conveniently look the other way if their palms are sufficiently greased. For a price, approved building plans can be given a go by and completion certificates are sold as a commodity. The officials, including those of the police, greedily feed on the owners’ and builders’ greed and the consequence is an accident waiting to happen.

When it happens, like it did at Lakshminagar, the politicians promptly announce compensation to the families of the dead and the injured and order magisterial, sometimes even judicial, enquiries to fix responsibility and throw up lessons to learn to prevent similar tragedies in future. But that is only in name, in reality nothing ever changes. The government in this country is dead and defunct, coming to life only when money is to be made. The civil society and the people have to take charge if they want some semblance of order in the society. In their own interest they have to abide by the law and make public officials work to earn their salaries, and last but not the least they must come down collectively and heavily on the corrupt among these officials. The mass media and the aware and educated in the real sense have their roles cut out, they should make bold and live them. In that, and in that alone, could be the hope for the nation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The more it changes, the more it remains the same!

Day before yesterday, when I saw over the television that Baba Ramdev, Swami Agnivesh, Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and a couple of thousands others had collected at the Parliament Street in New Delhi to protest against massive corruption in various agencies of the government epitomised by the Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Building Society and 2G spectrum scams, I decided that I had to be there lending my support.

On my way to the rally I passed through the Jantar Mantar Road and found parked there, in a haphazard manner, thirty to forty buses, each sporting on the bonnet a big plastic banner announcing the protest rally under the auspices of Ramdev’s Bharat Swabhiman movement. Banana skins and other remnants of edibles were strewn all over. Plastic banners and garbage on the road, of course, did not do much credit to the movement’s environment-friendly image.

Anna Hazare, with his monumental work for socio-economic development of Ralegaon Siddhi and surrounding villages over almost half a century and anti-corruption fasts which have led to resignation or dismissal of many corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in Maharashtra, surprised everyone, me in particular, by saying that he would be glad to take instructions from Baba Ramdev in this country-wide war against corruption. I asked myself whether it was the great man’s humility or his acknowledgment of the people power with Ramdev.

In his concluding address, Ramdev gave, in his inimitable style, a stirring call to banish corruption from the country. He also exulted on the “biggest ever rally” at the Jantar Mantar which the people had joined merely at his call. He claimed that for organising a rally like that the political parties would have to spend lacs and crores but the Bharat Swabhiman did not spend a paisa; on their own the people had hired 500 buses to come to the protest spot. But in an informal talk, some of the organisers quite innocently told me that the Bharat Swabhiman units had been given a target number of bus-loads of people to bring. And the number of buses, as I have said above, could not be more than forty and this corresponded well with the total number of people at the protest – about 3 to 4 thousand, of which about a thousand would have been on their own, like me.

When this all ended I was left wondering whether those sworn to fighting corruption should adopt some of the very methods used by the present day politicians – ferrying in buses people from near-by places to artificially swell the number of one’s supporters and making wildly exaggerated claims about the size of the crowd or the level of support one had. So, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, that is, the more it changes, the more it remains the same!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Does the 2G spectrum scam go beyond A. Raja?

After the categorically damning CAG report on the 2G spectrum scam and under tremendous pressure from the opposition parties, and not out of a freshly revived sense of political propriety, it is certain that the prime minister will have to dismiss A. Raja from the Union Cabinet and it will be sooner, than later. But that won't end the story in so far as Manmohan Singh's conduct in the matter as the prime minister and head of the government is concerned.

As has been reported by the press, in 2007 there waged a running battle between A. Raja and the then Telecom Secretary D.S. Mathur on several issues relating to the imminent sale of the 2G spectrum; Raja wanted to do the things in an arbitrary manner and Mathur resisted for all he was worth. Should not Singh, through the Cabinet Secretary or otherwise, have then intervened and formulated a transparent policy in the national interest? Had Singh been even a little perceptive and pro-active at that time, there won't have been an occasion for Raja to feel free after Mathur's retirement on December 31, 2007 to allot 2G licences in January 2008 at the 2001 prices, on a first-come first-served basis and to close the window of opportunity post facto so that he could cherry pick keeping out a number of competent applicants. The consequence of these well-calculated moves of his - loss of revenue to the order of Rs.1.76 lac crore or about US$39 billion to the national exchequer according to the final report just submitted to the President of India by the Comptroller and Auditor-General. To put this revenue loss of Rs.1.76 lac crore in proper perspective - India's defence budget for the entire financial year 2008-09 was much smaller.

Having failed to act in 2007, in January 2008, Singh could have over-ridden Raja's decision and cancelled the spectrum allotment even if it meant sacking Raja. In Singh's defence it would be said that the coalition dharma stopped him from doing so. But what kind of dharma is this that prevents the prime minister from opposing the adharma being practised openly and brazenly by a coalition partner? What is more important - the survival of the coalition or that of the nation?

And even if Raja's party and its close allies had withdrawn their 30-35 Members of Parliament, the government would have survived for the simple reason that Singh and his political party have mastered the art. Did the government not hold out when a much larger body of 64 M.P.s of the Left walked out just six months later in July 2008?

Therefore, the real reason for letting Raja continue unhindered and undisturbed for all these years despite his obvious wrong-doings castigated by the CAG, TRAI, CBI, CVC and the Supreme court of India could lie somewhere else, it may not be in the so-called coalition dharma. Let us be clear that post-Lal Bahadur Shastri, Singh's political party does not have a name for probity and rectitude in financial matters but he himself is supposed to be honest, however, after this scam his own reputation is at stake. He can reclaim it only by acting purposefully and forcefully on the CAG's and other investigative reports, prosecuting the indicted and recovering to the last paisa the sum of Rs.1.76 lac crore from the looters whosoever and wherever they are. It is the real test of Singh's character and it is going to be extremely tough but with a clear conscience, indomitable courage and loyalty only to the people of India, he can come out successful. And in the true interest of my country, I wish he did!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I shall look for solution, I shall look for solution, ...……

Start talking about the worsening crime situation or the ever increasing grip of corruption on politicians, bureaucrats, policemen, judges and now even the armed forces brass, and you will find more and more people joining you in narrating incidents after incidents of crimes of both varieties, blue and white collar. In almost no time great amount of negativity is built up and at the end of the discussion the discussants are in a more pessimistic and depressed state of mind compared to what they were at the start.

So, let us decide that we will not just stop after having described the problem in its unfortunate details and analysed it minutely but will go on devoting time, effort and energy on looking for its solution collectively. That will not only take us a step closer to the solution but also give us a high. Not a bad bargain!