Desperate Days are Coming Again – Brace up, Belt up! Chawm Ganguly

chawmzzAs we ramble towards the end of what many claim, will go down in history as a watershed election for India, it is time to take an objective, even holistic view of things. Are we really casting a mandate for Change? Will India be better off the day after the results come in? Or are we in for trouble, whose very proportions are beyond our comprehension?

Let us start with Corruption, which has been successfully projected as litmus, if nothing else. And start by admitting that We the People are a corrupt lot, in Absolute Terms. We sermonize about morality while our representatives watch sleaze videos in the temple of governance. We shed crocodile’s tears about the death of our Mother Tongues all the while paying donations to admit our children to elite English Medium Schools and are at our xenophobic best when we run out of political rhetoric. Le-De Ke Salta Lo is our religion and we believe that democracy has given everyone the right to bend rules, while the right, to break them comes with money and power. That is why; even while we rant on about empowering women we see nothing wrong in leaving our legally wed wives in the Blank, even in legal documents and can still maintain a holier than thou image in public. In being double faced, we have put Janus to shame as we have conveniently shifted the stigma and shame to the Bribe Takers while we ourselves have sought refuge in the faceless and ubiquitous crowd of Bribe Givers. Can one man, whoever he is, transform us into honest, law abiding citizens, that too almost overnight? Can any Messiah do it? Can God Almighty do it, even with the necessary numbers in Parliament? Cross your heart and ask yourself. The answer is not as difficult as it is made out to be. Misplaced Optimism, should be the first Mocking Bird to be gagged, and maimed, if not killed.

Now consider the political scenario. In all probability, we are headed for another fragmented mandate with no political force getting an absolute majority. The Result will be on predictable lines – Horse Trading, hard bargains for the lucrative ATM Ministries and a prolonged aftermath of scams and shady deals. Will such a scenario eradicate corruption from public places? Will our Messiah, even if I do not question his intentions, be able to shift the bribe-enriched, rotting bodies that he will be forced to decorate his Hot Seat with? Mark my Words: the same Chest Thumping and senseless schoolboy oratory that is bringing in the cheers in electoral rallies of illiterates today, will be likened to a primate’s antics for a bananas in a circus or the zoo. More so, on the other side of Governance. Who knows, in five year’s time, the same vocal loyalists who are singing slogans today will be not be saying that “at least Manmohan Singh, who we lambasted for the Policy Paralysis and for running a Lame Duck Government, had the dignity of bearing it all with a grin and had not ridden to power on a Landslide of Lies”?

Forget about the Regional Satraps and consider the industrialists – the men bearing gifts. If media reports are to be believed, a whooping INR 5,000 crores have been spent to help a man wash the stench of the blood of innocents from his hands and build him up as a larger than Life Answer to all Queries. Now that is a lot of money and more importantly, where did the money come from? Even your friendly neighborhood tea-boy will not believe, if you tell him that the money was raised by way of donations from people like you and me. Now, this debt will have to be made good to those who have invested in the IPO for the Racehorse for Racecourse. Surely, the horse will not only have to run the fastest, but after it makes the finishing line, reward those who had backed it against all the Odd’s? And you believe, that will be done in the highest spirit of transparency keeping in view the pre-election noises that were made? Investors will demand their pound of flesh, friends, and don’t be surprised if you see the Nation’s resources and her crown jewels compromised. Remember, how we were once forced to pledge our Gold? This time around, it can be worse!

That brings us to another strange phenomenon that is playing itself out. India is unanimous that the economy is going through one of its worst phases. Inflation, stagnating industrial activity, stalled investments and myriad other factors have ensured that there is a heavy burden on the common man. Yet, the Barometer of the Economy, the Stock Markets are celebrating a victory that may well never happen with unceasing fireworks? Does it make economic sense? It doesn’t. But ask the brokers and they will tell you that the FII’s are pumping in money buoyed (and emboldened) by the response Serial-Sisters are getting in so-called “family-fiefdoms”. Fellow Indians, think. If the logic was so irrefutable, why are so many construction projects desperately looking for Sushma? Surely, the average Indian would have put his money where his Vote is, much before some analyst sitting outside the country would have sunk his investor’s funds? Do I need to add that flows of hot monies like these too, come at a cost and you and I will have to bear it, with our resources.

Take a look at the campaign now. When it started, the terms that were thrown about with ceaseless abandon were Good Governance, Incorruptibility, Nationalism, Economic Development, Inclusive Growth among others. It was like a stream in the higher reaches of the mountains – the waters crystal clear in thought and content, empowered by a desire to deliver. Then, as the same river reached the plains, not only did it lose its steam, but gathered all the pollutants that made the once clear water, muddy and soggy with impurities. Today as it ambles towards the sea it is but a meandering mass – resembling the proverbial Ganges that itself is terminally sick, having washed the sins of all those that took the dip. Have you noticed how the topics that are being debated today are so far removed from the lofty ideological discourse it stared as – Caste Cards, Bangladeshi Refugees, Dynastic Rule, Hate Speeches, Religious Fanaticism, Vote Banks… As the desperation sinks in, the masks that were created so painstakingly are falling off and the fangs are being bared. Messiahs, after all, are humans too, if not the outright Monster some are wont to call them.

What then, cried Plato’s Ghost, What then? The apes that are aping the leader of the pack will not have a change of heart in a hurry. The wounds that have been opened, the raw nerves that have been pressed will also not heal overnight. The balms of secularism, inclusion and fraternity that our founding fathers had given us in legacy have been thrown away by those who have claimed victory even before the war was fought. The schisms of division that successive generations worked to fill with love have been torn open with hatred and naked opportunism. Deranged Minds, fuelled by their self embraced delusions of grandeur are talking of cleaning corruption all the while refusing to acknowledge their corrupt minds and ways. And everybody – that includes you and me – is waiting for the gong to sound so that we can all join forces to resume our sustained, systematic and sustainable plunder and pillage.

India is not going anywhere in a hurry. Cast your Vote and go back to slog your ass off idiots. The Bills, they are a-waitin’!

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