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In defense of MMS, Shivraj Patil and others

3 December 2008 63 views 20 Comments

In other words, Stop blaming the politicians

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Namrata Goswami, Associate Fellow at IDSA quoted in rediff:

...A start…can be made if we stop blindly condemning politicians or, at least, suggesting that they are solely responsible for the problem. “That is bad analysis, to suggest the Mumbai attacks are solely attributable to bad politics. And bad analysis produces worse solutions

Arun Shourie on IBN:

Things to do.

First, act on recommendations that are made by committees you set up. Second, that will not happen unless we send a better type into legislatures and, thence, to governments. When we select leaders who treat the police as their private army; when we select leaders for whom investigating agencies are instruments to fix rivals or let off allies, don’t expect the police and agencies to suddenly turn around and forestall terrorists.

Oz on Mumbai Terror Aftermath: The Top 10 Pinheads from India (excerpts)

Pinhead #1:We The People

So why are we the biggest of Pinheads?

(a) For believing that something good will come out of this

(b) For thinking the politicians and bureaucrats will do something to prevent this incident from happening again. Yeah right! No one will do anything for us… it is to each his own… we all have to find our own ways to survive day to day

…(e) For thinking that politicians and bureaucrats will now wake up and create this whole central anti terrorist federal level body where all information will flow fluently between all national, state level security agencies. You need a head, a brain and then the motivation and passion to go ahead and create it. All four need to be present in a person to do that. But if you have all four you are not in politics

…(g) Change can only come if all the venting, discussions, pressure on the government to change is done when the common man drops a day’s of work and simply converges with all on the street. Just sit on the street. The whole city in front of the politicians houses, Mantralaya et all. Remember the Azad Maidan March pre 1947? But then Shiv Sena or MNS wouldn’t be interested to organize such a sit on the street day… so here I’m doing what I do… blog about it for which I’m no smaller a pinhead than any in the list above… Jai Hind!

Amitabh Soni of BJP UK in a comment yesterday:

The last thing we need to do is blame others. At the end of the day it is us who are responsible how the outside world treats us..

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Moral of the Story?

Let us stop blaming the politicians, the police, the intelligence agencies, Jihadis, Pakistan, D-company etc…

I am as much to be blamed for this as MMS and Shivraj Patil…

For preferring to stay quiet when I should have said something

For choosing to do nothing when I should have done something

For pretending not to look when I saw evil around me

For hoping that everything will be fine when it clearly was not

For believing that this is someone else’s problem, not mine.

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The single-point agenda for the Skype call today was, “What can you and me do to help fight terrorism in India?”

The answer: Go out and raise the political consciousness of people. Go out and make others aware. Go out and connect with other link-minded people. Join a political group…Start discussing initiatives for change. Start dreaming…Dream of a better, stronger and proud India. And then, begin work on the dream…one step at a time…The first step? This time around, don’t forget to cast your vote.

Remember, to clean a pond, you have to step into it.

Related Posts:

Changing India – One Step at a Time

Changing India – Step I

Changing India – Step II

20 Comments »

  • 1. K.Harapriya said:

    I read Arun shourie’s entire interview on IBN. Very important point he made about jihad being taught in public schools in Pakistan. If that is so, we are going to face terrorism for a long time to come. We better start examining closely what is taught in madarasas within India too.

  • 2. Bharat said:

    MJ Akbar wrote: “Even Pakistan is treating the Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi government with total contempt. They know how weak it is.”

    This is a fact, the whole world knows it. Even a tiny Sri Lanka don’t care India today. Imagine, Vajpayee was the PM and Sri Lanka behave that way. Or Pakistan.

    Only solution:
    Remove Congress-UPA, save Bharat/India from total collapse.
    Vote-BJP-NDA, save Bharat and our common future.

  • 3. Indian said:

    I think by going through this link, I will blame administrators and politicians for this attack. This link says they had all information regarding attack on Taj. My single reason for blaming them is- many lives could have been saved if they have acted atleast they could have been little bit serious about it.

    Public has no knowledge of such information what govt are sharing with others. Make the information bold in public so they can be more alerted and vigil.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE4B16S020081202

  • 4. K.Harapriya said:

    Perhaps blaming politicians is not enough. We also need to seriously examine if these people and parties are really committed to national integrity and unity. We have a communist party whose most public leader Jyoti Basu once said that India was never the idea anyway, and whose current most public figure, Karat, seems to be more in touch with China than India.

    We have a Congress party which allows 30 million (yes, million) illegal bangladeshis to live in India and vigorously opposes any move to have ID cards for Indian citizens and refuses to deport the illegals.

    We had the BJP who rose to power partly because they promised to have a uniform civil code and abolish special status for Kashmir. Of course they did neither.

    So who exactly has national interest at heart?

    John McCain once said during the course of running for US president that he would rather lose an election than lose a war.

    Where is our John McCain?

  • 5. Praveen GK said:

    Can you please enable full RSS syndication on your blog? That would enable me to read directly from Google reader. Thanks!

  • 6. Ram said:

    Hi Harapriya,

    The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance can fulfill the 3 promises (Ram Mandir, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code) only if gets a absolute majority on its own in the Parliament.

    If the BJP-Shiv Sena needs the support of other NDA coalition partners (ex: secular parties like JDU, Samata Party, Biju Janata Dal, Trinamool, AIADMK which were in the past government), then they will be forced to follow the NDA’s Common Minimum Program (CMP) which does not include the 3 issues.

    Lets ensure that the BJP-Shiv Sena get a clear mandate (absolute majority) from the voters this time – with no need for the other coalition partners.

    I also hope they choose good alliance partners this time around.

    Unless the BJP-Shiv Sena get a clear mandate (absolute majority) from the voters this time, their choice will be to either pragmatically govern India (to the best possible level); or let the Congress-UPA mis-rule India again.

    Inspite of pressure from the irritating NDA allies in the past, BJP still tested the Nuclear Bomb, crushed Islamic Terror groups (to the maximum possible extent) and fought & won the Kargil war with Pakistan. Nationalist Hindu organisations faced no pressure of being banned etc under NDA rule.

    During the 5 years of L.K.Advani as Home Minister, the entire land-border with Pakistan was fenced and sealed. (The Congress did not care to do this in the last 50 years of its rule). That is why the Mumbai Jihadis had to sneak into India using the sea-route.

    During the 5 years of L.K.Advani as Home Minister, nearly two-thirds of the border with Bangladesh was fenced and sealed. The remaining one-third borderline has riverine boundaries and marshy borders, which are difficult to fence and take longer to seal.

    The West Bengal administration, which had taken a serious view of the illegal Bangladeshi invasion problem in the initial stages of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government, has now seems to have accepted it as a fait accompli since the Congress-UPA coalition took power in 2004.

    The West Bengal chief minister had adopted some steps to contain the illegal Bangladeshi invasion menace when the BJP strongman L.K.Advani was the union home minister from 1998-2004. But his initiative has slackened after the installation of the UPA government at the Centre since 2004. The rest of the Indo-Bangladesh bordered has not been fenced by the Congress-UPA government to facilitate the increase their potential votebank.

  • 7. B Shantanu (author) said:

    All: Thanks for sharing your thoughts…

    ***

    @ Indian: We elect our politicians…That is why I believe that the blame lies with us.

    ***

    @ Praveen: Full RSS syndication now on. Thanks for alerting me to it.

  • 8. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Very Bad Idea:

    Dozens of Mumbaikars are expected to gather at the Gateway of India for a protest campaign, ‘Don’t Vote 09′ to demand answers about the failure of the political leadership.

    The protests will be led by prominent citizens including actor Sanjay Dutt’s wife Manyataa and Farhan Azmi.

    ***

    Very Good Idea:

    The last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai have left music director Vishal Dadlani furious. He says, “I want the television media to have a code of conduct. During the terror strikes, the two days that I spent watching the various news channels made me furious. I don’t want to get personal and vindictive towards any particular channel. I just want to change things because during a crisis, the media has to behave in a certain manner.”

    He adds, “I think it is totally unfair – the terrorists took at least six months to devise the plan and attack us, whereas the NSG just got about six hours to decode and act. And the media covers each and every move of theirs. There is no surprise element for the terrorists; they know exactly how the commandos are planning to attack them.”

    Vishal has composed music for movies like Om Shanti Om, Bachna Ae Haseena and Dostana. To pass his message across, Vishal has filed filed an online petition against the coverage.

    He further adds, “There is so much that we need to do in the country. The coast guards, the police and security all need to be reformed. I think if each individual picks up a cause they feel for, it will help.”

    (Thanks Shweta for this)

    ***

    See also: Don’t Vote 09 Campaign is an Act of Treason

  • 9. Pragya said:

    What do you think of this?

    Section 49-O of Indian Constitution

    Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section “49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone!

    Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called “49-O”.

    Why should you go and say “I VOTE NOBODY”… because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received
    “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be canceled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system… it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public….

    Please spread this news to as many as you know…Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India… show your power,expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting… so don’t miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on…

    Or even better the“Right to De-elect” an elected leader.

  • 10. Ashutosh said:

    Dear All,
    Please do not fall for this 49-O as this is counterproductive, costly for us as a nation and there is no gurantee that the next leader that the political party annoites is a fit for the job candidate anyway….I also agree with Snantanu that this is treasonous.

    After all, how many 49-O rounds would you want to have as a voter?

    Taking a stand and putting oneself forward for an election is a much more positive and respnsible stand- if taking a stand is what this is all about.

    Pragya- I share your sense of frustration but sadly 49-O is not an answer.

    Thanks,
    Ashutosh

  • 11. Ramesh Srivats said:

    Shivraj Patil debates with Sardar Vallabhai Patel on who was the better home minister. Check http://www.rameshsrivats.net/2008/12/shivraj-patil-versus-sardar-patel.html

  • 12. R K Dash said:

    If he (Shivraj Patil) is sacked may be the act OK but we hope he resigned feeling genuinely compassionate for the common man.
    The RAW, IB, Army, Navy, Air Force, Central Police, State police all are at the disposal of the government. What are they doing for the largest democracy in the world???????

    What is the fault of the common man in India so that the government he elects is unable to take care of his security till he is attacked? Even if the elected government does not feel it right to convene the Parliament to debate over the terror attack in Mumbai & find out a permanent solution. What are they waiting for?? The Parliament to be attacked 3 4 times more or after Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore etc are attacked Like Mumbai???

  • 13. Bharat said:

    Sanjay Dutt, an infamous terrroist who illegally acquired AK-56 and other weapons of mass-destructions from terror groups, is a prominent citizen and lead protests. Wow, what a nation we live today, convicted terrorists lead protests against politicians who represent the people and rule the nation.

    So, why cry against terrorists? If terrorists are prominent citizens, then what is there to cry?
    ==

    Don’t Vote 09 Campaign is an Act of Treason

    My comment in the offstumped blog.

    A citizen of Bharat, who preach non-voting forfeit right to live in the country. They must be declared person non-grata and kicked out.

    If they have so much hate for politicians, why not they join politics and protect the nation? They want easy life, and they expect others do everything for them.

    Voting must be made compulsory for all citizens living in Bharat. Those living outside must be provided facilities for must voting, e.g. in the nearest embassies. There must be penalty for non-voting. In case of sick, accident or other serious matters, person must provide clear evidence like true (not fake) medical certificates etc.

    In a democracy, when a govt failed the people, citizens becomes more awakened and voted that govt out of power.

    These people must make vow to dump Congress from Maharastra and Delhi and work in that direction. Why are they clubing all political parties and politicians at same level? Why not they see, Gujarat govt working to provide better security to citizens.

    http://indiannationalinterest.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/dont-vote-09-campaign-is-an-act-of-treason/#comment-212

  • 15. tarun said:

    as per my knowladge this section 49-0 is there but not in manner it is said to us. yes we have the right say “i vote for noone” but there is no provision that others who cast there vote will not be counted and the decison will be taken as per there vote. in case if vote for noone is more then vote for someone then also that someone will win. there is no provision that those candicate cannot fight again election or of re-election. decision will be taken on the basis of vote casted.

    pls update me if i m wrong abt this.

  • 16. Chandra said:

    While the sentiment of the post is fine, but I am not sure why you need to “defend” MMS and Shivraj and others (assuming others who failed to do their job). There is nothing defensible about what these people in power and organizations did and continue to do.

    As much as one likes to blame ordinary people, not everyone can be a home minister, for example – ie not everyone can be everything. So institutions are set up to deal with tasks of the society and people responsible are in charge of those institutions.

    Else one is talking of anarchy – every person for him or her self.

  • 17. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Pragya, Ashutosh and Tarun: I believe Tarun is right re. 49-0. I have a pending post on this topic for a very long time…Perhaps I will try and pull it together next week.

    ***

    @ Chandra: You are right. Defense is probably too strong…I should have been more careful in my choice of words. They have been amiss in their duty. Thanks.

  • 18. Sanjay (author) said:

    A Political Awakening – Ramesh Ramanathan

    For years, India’s upper classes have been waltzing through life making minimal contact with the government. We have been going above the government, below the government or around the government, but we never really engaged with the government. Possibly because we didn’t ever need the government. A telling sign of upward mobility in India is a reducing dependence on the state—the sump/overhead tank to smooth out the erratic water supply; the UPS system to protect against power cuts; the chauffeur-driven car to offset the inconvenience of an indifferent public transport service; the security guard at the gate to make up for the ragged police system.

    Last week in Mumbai, all that changed for India’s aspirational class.

    We’ve come up against the one issue where we can’t dodge the dependence on the state: terrorism. Suddenly, we are waking up to discover that the same state that we have ignored for the past 60 years is necessary for us to make sense of our lives (a visceral glimpse into the life of the poor). And with it comes a whole new definition of the citizen-state relationship. This is existential exfoliation.

    Talk of unintended consequences. The war on Mumbai was meant to undermine the country, but could become a dramatic inflection point in India’s political trajectory where a weak democracy suddenly finds its elixir vitae—the coming of age of a new Indian voter, one whose livelihood is not dependent on the state, but quality of life is. The political system has never felt the heat of an irate middle-class such as it has in the Mumbai aftermath. Already, the term “political leader” is getting replaced by “public servant” with greater frequency. If sustained and channelized correctly—a big if—this anger has the potential to fundamentally change the behaviour of the political class. Because, unlike the poor, who can often only act once in five years by booting the incumbents out of office, this breed of voters can make life hell on a daily basis—demanding more accountability, transparency and responsiveness from their political and administrative representatives.

    Our past attitude of benign disregard is being replaced with ferocious annoyance. Witness the public declamation of R.R. Patil, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Narendra Modi, V.S. Achuthanandan—the barrage of criticism has been swift, handed out to all parties and has had serious political consequences (salaam to the media). These developments are good for the country, irrespective of whether one is poor or rich (this isn’t the time to sermonize to the upper classes about where they were when the state was failing the poor; ultimately, political engagement will open the third eye to the larger reality of India). Political awakening is a good thing.

    But there is another dimension, a troubling one, to the fallout from the Mumbai attack. Our agitation in demanding more from our politicians is going so far overboard that we are overlooking our own flaws. After all, we are the ones who provide the breeding ground for the disease of identity politics—of caste and communalism. We don’t evaluate our candidates for their development vision or administrative competence, only whether they fit into some quota of some subcaste that has little consequence in our lives. And then, we are shocked when these same representatives prove to be utterly incompetent in discharging the complex responsibilities of running a modern state.

    We ask for a tough state, when we ourselves are a soft people. I mean it in the harshest sense: Most of us are selfish, inward-looking cowards who quaver at the slightest hint of risk to ourselves or our family. Witness what happened in Kandahar—most of those who had family members as hostages were pleading with the Indian government to release the terrorists. We salute those who defend us, or light candles, but don’t do much more.

    Another example: Mandatory military service of all 17-year high school graduates, an idea that is being floated now in India. Singapore has a law that demands this of its citizens. Thousands of Indians have lived in Singapore for years, if not decades. But most retain their Indian passports—or at least those of their children—not so much out of a sense of patriotism, but so that they can avoid this year of service. The new home minister should include this as part of his solutions, and then see the public palpitations.

    The truth is that we haven’t fully accepted our own obligations as citizens. But crises such as these are also crucibles to reinvent ourselves, to think beyond the boundaries of our own limiting lives.

    The Mumbai attack could be a significant moment in our country’s history in an unexpectedly affirmative way. As we demand more of our politicians—and we must—it’s time to also demand more of ourselves. Maybe the latter needs to come first.

  • 19. Indian said:

    http://news.google.ca/news/url?sa=T&ct=ca/0-1-0&fd=R&url=http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5g7S9ASdP9kAJVs2tGD4nK22OK4fA&cid=1277652387&ei=cTc5SZmELIb2gAOGiIzICQ&usg=AFQjCNHagSOyzFyxTc4iGXBkvymNOsk32A

    Above link already says in the end that in February one person (name given), was already arrested with sketches of Hotels, train terminals etc.. from N. India.

  • 20. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Excerpts from Death Of A Salesman And Other Elite Ironies by Tarun Tejpal (Thanks to Sanjay for the link)

    ROHINTON MALOO was shot doing two things he enjoyed immensely. Eating good food and tossing new ideas. He was among the 13 diners at the Kandahar

    …Rohinton caught seven bullets, and by the time his body was recovered, it could only be identified by the ring on his finger. Rohinton was just 48, with two teenage children, and a hundred plans. A few of these had to do with TEHELKA, where he was a strategic advisor for the last two years. As Indians, we seldom have a good word to say about the living, but in the dead we discover virtues that strain the imagination. Perhaps it has to do with a strange mix of driving envy and blinding piety. Let me just say Rohinton was charismatic, ambitious, and a man of his time, and place.

    …For me there is a deep irony in his death. He was killed by what he set very little store by. In his every meeting with us, he was bemused and baffled by TEHELKA’s obsessive engagement with politics.

    He was quite sure no one of his class — our class — was interested in the subject. Politics happened elsewhere, a regrettable business carried out by unsavoury characters. Mostly, it had nothing to do with our lives.

    …In the end, politics killed Rohinton, and a few hundred other innocents. In the final count, politics, every single day, is killing, impoverishing, starving, denigrating, millions of Indians all across the country. If the backdrop were not so heartbreaking, the spectacle of the nation’s elite — the keepers of most of our wealth and privilege — frothing on television screens and screaming through mobile phones would be amusing. They have been outraged because the enduring tragedy of India has suddenly arrived in their marbled precincts. The Taj, the Oberoi. We dine here. We sleep here. Is nothing sacrosanct in this country any more?

    What the Indian elite is discovering today on the debris of fancy eateries is an acidic truth large numbers of ordinary Indians are forced to swallow every day…something is grossly wrong. The system does not work, the system is cruel, the system is unjust, the system exists to only serve those who run it. Crucially, what we, the elite, need to understand is that most of us are complicit in the system. In fact, chances are the more we have — of privilege and money — the more invested we are in the shoring up of an unfair state.

    IT IS time each one of us understood that at the heart of every society is its politics. If the politics is third-rate, the condition of the society will be no better. For too many decades now, the elite of India has washed its hands off the country’s politics. Entire generations have grown up viewing it as a distasteful activity. In an astonishing perversion, the finest imaginative act of the last thousand years on the subcontinent, the creation and flowering of the idea of modern India through mass politics, has for the last 40 years been rendered infra dig, déclassé, uncool.

    Let us blame our parents, and let our children blame us, for not bequeathing onwards the sheer beauty of a collective vision, collective will, and collective action. In a word, politics: which, at its best, created the wonder of a liberal and democratic idea, and at its worst threatens to tear it down.

    We stand faulted then in two ways. For turning our back on the collective endeavour; and for our passive embrace of the status quo. This is in equal parts due to selfish instinct and to shallow thinking. Since shining India is basically only about us getting an even greater share of the pie, we have been happy to buy its half-truths, and look away from the rest of the sordid story.

    …Interlaced with numberless lines of potential divisiveness, the India framework is highly delicate and complicated. It is critical for the elite to understand the framework, and its role in it. The elite has its hands on the levers of capital, influence and privilege. It can fix the framework. It has much to give, and it must give generously. The mass, with nothing in its hands, nothing to give, can out of frustration and anger, only pull it all down. And when the volcano blows, rich and poor burn alike.

    And so what should we be doing? Well, screaming at politicians is certainly not political engagement.

    …The first thing we need to do is to square up to the truth. Acknow ledge the fact that we have made a fair shambles of the project of nation-building. Fifty million Indians doing well does not for a great India make, given that 500 million are grovelling to survive. Sixty years after independence, it can safely be said that India’s political leadership — and the nation’s elite — have badly let down the country’s dispossessed and wretched. If you care to look, India today is heartbreak hotel, where infants die like flies, and equal opportunity is a cruel mirage.

    …India’s crying need is not economic tinkering or social engineering. It is a political overhaul, a political cleansing. As it once did to create a free nation, India’s elite should start getting its hands dirty so they can get a clean country.

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