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Mainstream, Vol. XLIX No 6 , January 29, 2011

The Anguish of the Republic

Monday 31 January 2011, by Shree Shankar Sharan


The Republic is in deep anguish. What has been happening around us is too serious to be dismissed with anger. The Commonwealth Games has brought more shame than medals. Then came the 2G scam and the losses caused by faulty and ill-considered or reckless orders of the then Minister was estimated to be Rs 1 lakh 76 thousand crores, a mind-boggling figure by the CAG, a constitutional office. Then while the matter was sub judice and before Parliament another Minister rose to claim that no losses had been caused and the whole thing was a massive misconception.. The Minister’s claim or bluff was instantly challenged by the CAG.

Then it came to light that the new CVC of the country had been charge-sheeted on a charge of a dishonest exercise of power and his prosecution was allowed to stand by the Supreme Court. This was followed by the unbelievable spectacle of the government defending his appointment in the Supreme Court, claiming that it was satisfied with his integrity and challenging the highest court from treading on the executive domain.

This glorious gentleman could also figure in the 2G scandal but gallantly offered not to look into the telecom scam as the CVC. There could be nothing more scandalous than to appoint a tainted man as the CVC of the country, then the government defending his appointment with an equally scandalous satisfaction and the appointee refusing to resign and spare the government embarrassment, and the government deciding to stand by him.

THEN there has been a disclosure that the German authorities and banks had furnished the GOI a long list of names of Indian secret account holders in Germany but their names were not disclosed to honour an agreement of secrecy with the bank and Germany. The government has decided to ask them to pay 20 per cent of the huge deposits as taxes and escape all punishment. The names are bound to appear but the Central Government showed itself in poor light more concerned with respecting secrecy laws for the rich and the dishonest than the national interests and that of its cash-starved poor. There are others who have different priorities and the names are likely to be disclosed by WikiLeaks.

The Republic’s guardians and sentinels seem to be slipping into the delusion that they are the Republic like once Indira was described as INDIA, but India disowned them.

There has been dishonesty and corruption in all governments but never so brazen except in times of Sanjay Gandhi as the Government of India. The Republic then threw up a leader of the stature of Jayaprakash Narayan, who called the bluff. It seems that unless someone in the Congress party sticks his neck out and cleans up the mess in the government, the mounting corruption and galloping prices will start off another clean-up revolution to bring it back to the values of Mahatma Gandhi, the founding father of modern Indian politics.

A former IAS officer (now retired), Shree Shankar Sharan is the Convener, Lok Paksh, Patna/Delhi.

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