The crooked little man who lived in the crooked little house on a crooked little lane obviously lived in India.
The Great Modi Experiment, as history will record, was on track for becoming the finest hour in India’s search for fidelity and honesty and a new era. It might still be.
His speech in Panjim, Goa, this morning had the tone of a messiah and hit all the right buttons. He declared an open war on the venal and the corrupt and cancer in the system. After 70 years, give him due credit; a man stood up and said it like he meant it.
But has the cancer reached the stage where even NaMo’s chemo cannot help?
The good intent has failed to factor in the power and the depth of Indian corruption and its tentacles. So widespread are the roots of this tree and overhanging are its branches that mere good intentions won’t let the sun through.
One example of this is enough to know that malignancy is still alive.
The very fact that a counterfeit Rs 2,000 note was in circulation and used to dupe an onion grower in Karnataka is indicative of how well-organised this sector is and in its monstrous hydra-headed avatar, the more heads you cut off the more swiftly new ones grow.
As a nation we are still willing to fight the good fight, but it is just that awful suspicion that some of the very people who are the 'good guys' have supremely overlap interests with the ‘bad guys’ and the ‘really bad guys’ and between hundi, hawala, satta, makta, deceit and deception and multi-functioning hierarchies in both private and public sectors (not to mention the political arena) that have made an art and science of corruption, I am beginning to doubt that the Modi government is going to win this war.
The Trojan Horse is within the gates and its troops will thwart the moves made by the authorities.
When the defenders of the faith are themselves party to the callous pact, can Modi’s strategies outflank these traitors in his midst.
How do you fight a political system that is the Fort Knox of corruption and built on black money and bribery?
Of course, we will have a few prisoners of war and pat ourselves on the back and fling impressive figures and what he said this morning will resonate and be thunderous in its ovation. In a perfect world it was a perfect speech.
You cannot criticise it even if you tried.
But will we say, hello, this is fine rhetoric so then why has the Punjab chief of the BJP not been asked why he had a photograph of the Rs 2,000 note in advance and who sent it to him. Ask him. Tell us.
Open up the investigation into the sale of those printing presses from Nasik with plates and dyes in tact. How did they get to Pakistan? Find out. Tell us.
When people can be happily interviewed and tell you they opened accounts for their domestic workers and divvy up what was in the cupboard, and social media is replete with helpful hints on how to beat the system, you wonder if the system is just shadow boxing and wants to be beaten.
Oh yes, Modi is absolutely on the right track and his juggernaut leaves tangible trails of righteousness. I am just afraid of his mechanics and the others in his legions who might set the chariot on fire. There are just too many of them deeply hurt not to conspire against this meddling chief.
Thing is, corruption has become a member of the family. We have espoused and accepted it. It is our lubricant and our weapon of choice and tolerated as chai paani until it has integrated into our DNA.
While we might cheer lustily, who amongst us can pick up the first stone? Cinema ticket in black? Bribe for a railway seat? Cutback to get a paper cleared? Paying for a gazetted officer's signature. Using clout. Coughing up money to put traction on file movements. Lining a palm to jump the queue.
Jumping the queue… it’s our national sport.