Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Silence of the Lamb

One of the finest scenes of Yash Chopra’s memorable movie Silsila comes when Dr. Anand (Sanjeev Kumar) and Shobha (Jaya Bachchan) are chatting in the doctor’s clinic. Both of them are aware of their spouses’ clandestine affair. The good-natured doctor advises Shobha to exercise her right and plunge into action. In return, Shobha asks him, “Aur raja kya kar rahe hai?”, referring him as raja, and obviously showing dissatisfaction over his lack of action. That moment the palpable pain and helplessness over his face is enormous. He is drowned in silence. Whenever I see Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, I am reminded of that scene.

The recent unearthing of some corruption scams have been quite uncomfortable for the PM.  The two most striking ones are CWG scam and 2G spectrum scam. They obviously have dented the image of the country on the global front. Together they might reveal the graft of 200000 crores. But the statistics only does not reveal the true nature of wrongdoing.  What is really unnerving is that these scams had gone on for many years, right under the nose of the PM. By no means, I am accusing him of graft. To his credit, even his staunchest enemies would not dare to blame him for corruption. He is incorruptible, and that is given.  It is not possible that he was not aware of the scams much before the world came to know about it. He chose to remain silent over the whole episodes arises a suspicion in the mind that he was privy and gave his approval. What baffles me is his silence on these matters.

He has been silent for too long. Silence is golden, but it ceases to be a virtue if not backed by right action. Then you become object of public ridicule. Remember the joke doing rounds on internet - Regarding 2G Manmohan Singh said "I know only 2G -that are RahulG and SoniaG"?  The PM’s credibility is at stack.  You cannot claim your right to remain silent when you are a leader of a country of 1.2 billion people. Nor can you find relief in the fact that you were performing your dharma with utmost sincerity, barring these incidents. In more than one ways, his is the situation akin to that of Bhishma in epic Mahabharata. Like Bhishma, he decides to do his duty selflessly, but for the wrong side (the sides are not the political parties, – they are all same  -but the people of the country and their betrayers). In that way he has betrayed the country. All he has to offer is that like Caeser’s wife, the PM should also be free of suspicion. The problem, Mr Singh, is that in the country where family values are still revered, the whole family of Caeser’s wife is expected to be free of suspicion. 

Being a PM, he is answerable to the people of the country. By some strange and misplaced sense of duty, the PM thinks that he is only answerable to Sonia Gandhi because she put him into that seat of power in 2004 by renouncing the crown. No, Mr PM, you were not given any favor but you were favored because of your clean image. There was no one else who could have claimed that.  Sonia, in fact, did not renounce the power; she renounced the responsibility. In the current arrangement, she decides the policies and portfolios while the PM gets all the blame for anything which is not right. That was the reason A Raja was made telecom minister again in 2009 in spite of Manmohan Singh’s opposition. Politics certainly has some place for theatrics. Atal Bihari Vajpayee showed that when he threatened to resign and got his way when he was PM. It’s time Manmohan Singh follows his predecessor.

The country is suffering because of these unwanted happenings and there are not many people we can hope to provide the beacon of light – Rahul Gandhi is also busy dividing the people of the country like many others, Narendra Modi is busy taunting Congress leaders, Advani is busy bringing Uma Bharati back in BJP and other leaders are busy strengthening their little pockets of power. True that the night is the darkest before the dawn, but there is a lingering question in mind – Kya is raat ki subah hogi?

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