Politicians must change before they have no choice

A misdeed or scam, whatever name it goes by, whatever form and structure it assumes, is often symptomatic of a larger, all-pervading rot.

This post is not about corruption, 2G, CWG, Freedom of Speech and Expression, Mining mafia or Anti-graft bills lying on ice-cold back-burners for 40 plus years. It is not even about murdered whistleblowers, electoral reforms or the unparliamentary behaviour inside and outside the hallowed temples of democracy.

This post is about fear. It is about a sense of foreboding.

"I do not care for anybody......" said Mamata.

She is not alone, and the message hidden in those 6 words is not just hers. Many before her appear to have said the same to us - not sans impunity - without using the same words. Some, in fact, do not have to use words; their actions and misdeeds are enough. The singer changes, but the song remains the same.

In some ways, we are being shown the finger repeatedly by those we have elected and transferred our power to, with such a transfer or delegation accompanied by concepts like "responsibility", "accountability" and "good faith".

Are citizens being pushed into a corner, slowly but surely? Will it boil down to the citizens collectively saying "we do not care for you either, so do your worst, and we will do ours?", to some of these megalomaniacal, power-drunk, self-serving elected representatives?

I wonder, and not without trepidation. The trepidation shakes me to my soul.

How close are we to the point where amusement, outrage and disgust results in either of the following 2 scenarios unfolding?
(1) Complete and total apathy, whereby nobody really cares about how people in power run the affairs of this country. Where does that road take us to?
(2) The outrage erupts like an angry, violent volcano spewing forth unforgiving lava, hot and fatal, over every single institution that has been vested with any form of authority by our constitution?

Egypt, after all, comprises human beings with two arms, legs, eyes, ears apiece.....shorn off geographic specificities, geo-political games and religious leanings, deep down, mutatis mutandis, we are all the same - with similar dreams, desires, expectations and tipping-points....

Neither scenario is desirable. Yet, either is eminently likely.

Those in authority can ignore the possibility of either, at their own peril. Wrap yourself not in the bubble of hubris. Fool yourselves not, that scenario 1 would be good for you – for, it can, and it will, transmogrify into scenario 2. We don’t know when.

So Then?

We, the citizens, urge you to introspect deep and hard - it is not for nothing that the political class in India, cutting across party lines, has been reduced to a most despised laughing stock. Kleptocracy, some say, and not entirely in jest.

So please introspect and reform yourselves, else you just might be forced to.

Change trickles down from the top, the very top. Failing which, the bottom adopts the same hue and color as the top, thereby ensuring that rot, arrogance and belligerence becomes the new normal at all levels; and then where does one run? Where?

There are a few good men and women amongst you – bring them to the fore and empower them. Errors have been made, but there is still time to try and repair the structures and institutions that have been most damaged – living in denial and brushing those grave errors under the carpet might push things to the brink.

This is not about utopia, intellectual autoeroticism or idealism. On the contrary, this is about pragmatism and threshold levels of good governance. Levels, which I am afraid, appear to have been violated a long time ago. Go ahead, and re-claim the high water-marks of good governance which have been occasionally achieved in the past. We, the citizens, signed up for an imperfect and imperfectible democracy. And we will do so, each and every time we are asked to re-consider.

We did not sign up for THIS though – the mutant, rotting version of it, which is now labeled by a few as Kleptocracy!

Reform and refresh the way the business of governance is being conducted.

Before the levy that separates uneasy silence from the roaring waves of discontent breaks.

Updated Date: Apr 25, 2012 10:29 AM

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