The indifference of power

In Koodankulam, the people protest the building of a nuclear facility. The government slaps sedition cases on the victims and go ahead without bothering to answer the nation.

In Khandwa MP, the raising of the water level in the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams have left many homeless. People all over state protest. The government in a style typified by its face, is quiet and ignore the pleas of the people.

In Delhi, Anna Hazare and his team try to get the government to pass the Jan Lok Pal bill. The government ignores the movement and does nothing to pass the bill.

No government in my memory has been as callous and unfeeling towards the voice of the common man as Manmohan Singh’s. Mr. Singh seems to operate on a premise that the people and their opinion, thoughts and aspirations don’t matter. His attitude is not surprising given that he has, shamefully, never stood for election.

Imagine that! The world’s most populous democracy is ruled by an unelected leader.

In 2004, the country was up in arms at the thought of a person of Italian descent becoming prime minister of the country. The loud, and often jarring, Sushma Swaraj even threatened to shave her head if the foreigner became PM.

At that historic moment Sonia Gandhi, knowingly or unknowingly, decided to tear off the last vestiges of democracy that this country lived under and appointed an unelected man in place of herself, an elected member of the Indian parliament. As it happened, the decision and the choice was hailed. The danger of her act was not immediately apparent. We were all carried away with the euphoria of the selection of such an eminent personality as our PM. Little did we know that we were witnessing the final nails being hammered on to the coffin of our democracy. During the time he had lead the country, he makes Zail Singh and Jimmy Carter look like dynamic leaders in comparison.

Life certainly comes around to form a circle. In the early days we had a strong central leader, Nehru being the benign form and his daughter as the wielder of the sword, with soft, vassal leaders in the states. Today the center is at the mercy of regional satraps who are just shy of being kings in their domains – Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh, Jayalalitha, Karunanidhi, Narendra Singh Modi, the Thakerays, Sharad Pawar, YSR (when he was alive) and now his son seems to be all set to take over.

In the last eight years later, Manmohan Singh has been leading us inexorably towards the death of our political system. During this time, none of the defenders of our democratic systems have seen it fit to stand up and ask the one most important question facing our political system today, “Why does Mr. Manmohan Singh not stand for election?”

Last I checked, that great defender of Indian democracy still has a full complement of hair on her head.


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