Thursday July 31 2008 07:58
Source: The NewIndPress
I HAVE a friend, who happens to be the editor of a large circulation Indian newspaper, who advised me that the best way to write an article was to start with something positive, so as to make people feel happy.
It is good advice, and I have tried to stick to it, because not only are there so many negative events happening in the world, but also the media, both in India and abroad, thrives on sensationalism, on negativity, on falsehood even.
This week, however, it is going to be difficult to start this article on a positive note, as my heart — and the heart of so many ordinary Indians, who are not politicians, who are not journalists, who are not part of the Intelligentsia — is heavy and sad.
Let us say then, that I did start positively by mentioning my friend’s advice, which I still deem as the right one — and that I will speak of silence, rather than of noises and fury. There was a deafening silence, after the UPA won the vote of confidence in Parliament, on the part of the Press and Indian politicians, on the ways and means used to secure that vote. In the flush of victory, everything was forgotten on how MPs were bought right and left through a certain party, with money from a certain business house that needs favours; everything was forgotten on the extremely sad and debasing spectacle of the Parliament which is worse than a fish market.
There was a deafening silence on the role of Rajdeep Sardesai and his channel CNN-IBN’s role in helping the Congress win the vote. Sardesai sat on a sting tape which clearly showed someone who was close to Amar Singh handing over a crore to BJP MPs. If the tape had been aired it would have immediately led to the postponement of the trust vote and the UPA would have ultimately lost it. Instead, he handed it over to the Speaker only at 5 pm, knowing that it would be too late and that most likely Somnath Chatterjee would avoid taking immediate action.
There was deafening silence on the role of the Speaker as well. Should he not have satisfied himself on the veracity of the allegations before allowing further proceedings in Parliament? Should he not have deferred the trust vote?
Posterity will also judge him on the ‘History’ museum he built in the Parliament annexe which shows Indian history starting with Asoka, continuing with Akbar, and more or less jumping to Subhas Chandra Bose and Nehru, without any mention of the great political and spiritual leaders, from Kalidasa to Sri Aurobindo, from Sri Krishnadevaraya, the last king of the last great Hindu empire, that of Vijaynagar, to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a true nationalist. So much for the communists’ view of Indian history.
There was a deafening silence on the part of the business community on the ethics of what has happened in the last two weeks. One can understand the silence of an Anil Ambani, who stands to directly benefit from the deals made by Amar Singh with the UPA. But what about others who may be swayed by the prospect of doing big business with the Americans, or by the possibility of the government going for last minute liberalisations, after it got rid of the communists’ hurdle.
There has been a deafening silence on the part of the government and the press after the Bangalore blasts and then the 17 horrible Ahmedabad blasts. Does the UPA think that the common citizen of India does not understand that on the one hand, if the Government of India keeps pointing the finger at Pakistan’s ISI, or at some Bangladesh outfit, it is to deflect the fact that most of the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Indian Muslims, with or without Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or al-Qaida) help?
It is not only a matter of vote banks in times of coming elections, but also the fact that politicians in India want to keep a blindfold on their citizens and pretend that nothing is happening.
Does not the government, on the other hand, understand that we have all become cynical about its usual conduct on these occasions :
a) condemn ‘in the strongest terms’ this ‘barbarous act’;
b) appeal for calm and ‘communal harmony’;
c) give a few lakh each to the families of the deceased or injured, so that they shutup; and
d) never catch the culprits and go on as before till the next terrorist act.
But look at America. It has not suffered a single terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. Which Indian politician wil have the courage to call a spade a spade and tackle terrorism with determination?
The scriptures tell us that we are in Kali Yuga, the ‘Dark Age’, the time where people are the furthest possible from God. Can India even go lower than what we have just witnessed in the past two weeks? Yes it can! Yet we need all to hope and pray, for if the Light in India dies, if this country sinks deepest in debasement, corruption, cynicism, if India becomes totally Americanised at the hands of the so-called nuclear deal,then many of us love will be doomed in the long run.
( Francois Gautier is Editor in Chief, La Revue de l’Inde) firstname.lastname@example.org