Sunday, March 12, 2006

Got a Detonator?

This was hardly the topic that I had planned to post on, the chosen one having been quite different in nature, but then I happened to glance at the headlines of this morning’s paper and suddenly, it was like a valve popping. At first, all I noticed was the name ‘Jessica’. It was an immediate conclusion for me, that this must be yet another article screaming that the murderers of the lady be brought to justice…but it wasn’t.

For those that are still unfamiliar with the J case, she was shot in open view of over a hundred people, at a party where the former model was acting as bartender. She refused to serve a man a drink and he shot her dead. The courts have acquitted the guilty parties around seven years after the incident, citing a ‘lack of evidence’ as witnesses turned hostile…the police were criticized and the investigating officer, after he was transferred has revealed that his superior asked him to substitute bullets and do all in his power to help the well-connected accused.

This morning’s paper carries the story of another woman, Meher Bhargava, who lies in a hospital in critical condition after being shot in the neck thrice. She’s also largely paralyzed by the injuries and remains in a critical condition and on a respirator. This happened 12 days ago. The reason she was shot? She objected to eve-teasing. The suspects are still at large and the police are not just dragging their heels, but seem to have dug them right in…

The suspects in this case already have cases of loot, arson and attempted murder lodged against them. Once again though, being well-connected to a person in Mullayam Singh Yadav’s government (this has happened in Lucknow), they’re likely to escape scot-free! One of the prime reasons I stopped reading the newspapers here was just this…that here, anyone connected with MSY can very literally, get away with murder. Why just here though, history shows that this is the case right across India.

Circa 1984, the riots that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Rajiv Gaand comes out openly and proclaims that “when a great tree falls, the ground will shake”, thus very clearly authorizing this party-men to cut loose without fear of punishment. It turned out exactly like that. Faces seen clearly on television leading killer mobs, went on to occupy ministerial berths, rather than prison cells.

Cut to a bit later and the Bofors controversy. Rajiv and Sonia Gaand were clearly guilty as was the ever-so-nice Mr. Q. Everyone knows what followed. Cut a bit later and you have the fodder scam involving our ever-so-honourable Railway Minister. Yes, that’s what you get for embezzling over INR 5 billion. It’s India, after all. A land where getting seen with Dawood Ibrahim is considered a status symbol and where, rather than offer a defence, people can question the means used by people to ‘sting’ them.

The first time I heard of the means used in a ‘sting’, I did wonder about the legal aspects, sure. But, one does ask the question of just how easy it is to buy these people. Apparently the ‘sting’ teams succeeded in proving that if someone was to try, it would prove ridiculously easy. So, now the question is not so much of whether the person is guilty or not, but of how corruptible the person is. It may be nowhere close to a legal case, as this operation proves no culpability or any illegal act in the past, but it sure does make me question the integrity of people who are supposedly ruling our Fate as well as that of the nation. All this of course, is followed by the revelation that the ‘sting’ team was sponsored by the rival political party, at which point the entire debate goes off at a tangent and ends up becoming just another pile of muck.

I often question articles and posts that merely rave and rant and present no solution to the problem. That, quite honestly is the reason that I have never posted on this topic – that of justice or the lack of it in India. Somehow, the closest I came to a solution was a course of action that started with simultaneously blowing up every single Legislative building in the country (at a time when they’re fully occupied). This of course, is beyond the realms of even a Mithun feature and even then, this would just be the start. The disease now is linked so inextricably with the system that it appears to have become a part of it.

I am also sick of hearing people say how ‘the people’ are the ones that will end all this. Bullshit! Sad to say, 90% of the people of this country – if not more – don’t deserve the right to vote! If they did, how could you justify any of the political leaders of this country? Mind you, I don’t even need to take a name!!! Name me even one!!! Sorry, democracy may flourish here…but that’s such a damned farce.

It’s a disturbing thought to know that the Fate of the country is largely decided by people who sell their vote for a bottle of country liquor, have little idea of what a vote is and an even smaller idea of whom they are voting for or what the issues are. Politicians know that their fate can be determined by the level of rainfall in election-year. And here, I am not even touching upon the communal, pseudo-communal, hidden communal, caste-based, poll-rigging etc etc.

Equal voting right is a stupid thing in India and I don’t care if you brand me arrogant or a supremacist for saying so. I truly believe that the vast and overwhelming majority of people do not deserve the right to vote. If you’re an Indian, ask yourself if you know the name of your local Municipal representative. If you don’t, well, then it shows you just how responsible a citizen you are.

Solutions for this one? Frankly, I’m fogged. I can’t think of one other than the fact that the right-minded people should get into the system and cure it from within (something that would take a century if not more), but who would enter all that filth, knowing that it could cost you your life? I thought of it too at a time, but it takes more than just the urge to do something. It would take a complete lack of fear regarding a certain bullet to the head. Is it sensible? Can it actually be done in the realm outside the ideal? I was too weak to find out. Who knows? Maybe someday someone will try. Maybe some already have. We’d never hear of them…not in the days when even the bloody media is just the extension of the political system and inches are bought rather than made.

Oh and yes, I too do not know the name of the local Municipal representative of my locality…


StupendousMan said...

you missed out on the BJP poster boy - Narendra Modi's comments, oh-so-similar to Rajiv Gandhi's, in the wake of the post-Godhra riots. but thats just another bunch of quotes reflective of the muck we call a democracy. i have no particular faith in the system. and i don't believe the "IAS join karo, duniya badal dalo" trash that movies typically spurt. the problem as you rightly point out, are the people. i had this discussion with a couple of friends, and they said 'if everyone does their two bits'. but we don't do our two bits. we still evade taxes, and we still ask builders when buying a flat, 'black mein kitna loge?'
i see only one way out here. the fourth estate. media. much as i hate their guts, and their crass sensationalism, they have some effect. ministers do resign, 'leaders' are embarassed into expelling party members, and enquiries are set up. what happens to the enquiries is another story.
they are the only collective entity that can still facilitate citizens like us.
mikey, i'm a selfish citizen, i can't wait a hundred years to see a better system. i want to see it change when i'm still alive. if sensationalist sting ops is what it takes, then so bloody be it. what say you?

Darth Midnightmare said...

Yep, there are so damn many statements and incidents I left out. I have mentioned that. Anyway, I agree that the issues brought out by sting ops MUST be analysed. Like I said, they do not prove guilt, but they DO prove the fact that it's possible. Tehelka may not have proved that the Samata Party leaders had indeed taken bribes for defence deals, but the fact that they COULD and were willing to do so, just can't be brushed aside on some legal loopholes!

Also, I accept that the Fourth Estate can do a Hell of a lot. That's why I am saddened when they sell out! As for the IAS argument, I have a very simple example to give. In Lucknow, the IAS building has a floor that serves as premises for the "exiles". The ones that can't be corrupted. Tehy're consigned to departments like the one that may supervise paper supplies to the House etc... In Bihar of course, these people are simply shot dead... I know personally of two Civil Service men shot dead in Dhanbad, because they refused to be bought by the I agree with I said...working from the just not an option unless you like having bullets in your head.

One last thing against the "inside" angle. How long can you stay and flourish in the company of crooks without giving in yourself? Power and money seduce like nothing else...absolutely nothing... Ideals are great...but I am a realist.

catch 22 said...

Mike, outlining the problem is fine, we have been doin that for quite some time now. We are also taking up each possible solution and discarding it as impractical. We cannot get inside the system for fear of two things one is giving yourself in and another is having a bullet in your head. Another solution is as you said everybody should not be allowed to vote apart from the chosen few, but who decides these chosen few, democracy again ? nah that would be like retreating back to square one. The problem isnt it one dimensional its not just the people or the system , its the combination thats lethal. Both have to change, the system has to become more stringent and people more responsible and just the small group of people wouldn do , it must be a mass movement. Think about the ways to trigger such a movement as sm pointed out fourth estate can definitely play a major role but are they willing to do so? Nah. The only solution I see is trigger this movement, an entire reorganization of the system must take place with every loophole closed. But the first step wud be to trigger the revolution, to make that happen, people must understand why such a revolution is required to make them understand few things can help like education, awareness of whats happening to this country ( media can definitely pitch in here). But I don see this happening in my life time, its very difficult cos people are happy as long as the dirt doesn touch them but they don realize that it could happen to them anytime. I don think even a few explosions will help, the politicians will use them to their effect to get more votes. I just believe that some day such movement will be started cos this cant go on forever, I may or maynot be alive to see it.

surya said...

" can’t think of one other than the fact that the right-minded people should get into the system and cure it from within (something that would take a century if not more), but who would enter all that filth, knowing that it could cost you your life?"

Exactly. I tried contesting to a student leader position in college. Beaten up by the local dominating community, still didnt take my nomination back. My college committe rejected the nomination on the grounds that I belong to a so called Higher caste...hilarious!!!

In the cosmopolitan Bangalore, a Pulsar riding young man honked me. Mind you I was walking on the footpath.I told him that he is not supposed to ride on a footpath and the chick sitting behind him showed her middle finger to me and asked me to suck it up. How I have answered them is irrelevant here.

Mike, the right-minded people as you call are very less in the reality. The railway minister gulped all that money because he had the chance to do it. Most of the people who cry foul about it will definitely do the same given all those chances. It is like someone said.."virginity is not dignity it is just lack of opportunity"..;)

Anonymous said...

hey guys its not the system we should blame. its us. coz we are the damn system. today you talk all the time the system is crap n all bullshit... tommorrow u are the one whos gonna be nowhere in sight if ur needed. so stop chatting and get out of those IIM boundaries and start doing something. being in an IIM u guys should realise u have a bigger voice than u can imagine. pick up the Jessica & Meher case and voice it, with channels, radio, international media. i am telling you coz i know the Meher Bhargava family and its been real tough for them for what i have seen. think about it... mail me at

Anupa said...

Interesting blog. Pardon my inarticulate expression in this area. Adding to that, I'm somebody who's far away from my home land and admittedly ensconced in a luxurious fort of my own with little feel to the realities of day-to-day living in India. Not that we do not witness apathy here in this country. ( Katrina tragedy for example ). Still, I felt like giving my comments.

I can sense the helplessness and at the same time a desperate urge in you to change the things around you. As some other commentators have said here, may be you can start somewhere. Voice opinions in channels where it can make a difference. May be write for mainstream media. And in general, why can't you convince people - people of your generation and parents and so on to start actively participating in politics. I heard this from a fellow Indian the other day - I don't vote, because, I don't think it makes a difference - What B.S! it's quite like saying - India , yes, the largest democracy , but me, no I don't like to participate in that democratic form of Govt. - so, what then of that democracy are you proud of? Anyways, I know it's hard to make a difference with such a system, but look at people like Arundathi Roy. Gutsy woman, she speaks her mind and points her fingers at the possible undertows of capitalistic progress even though she has more people to throw stones at her and none to give her viewpoints a thought ever... hmmm... I'm rambling, but just thought I will mention it anyways... but meanwhile, keep blogging and keep trying folks!