CONSTITUTION AND CORRUPTION

No doubt, the Constitution of India won today, when the Supreme Court of India announced the results of the floor test it ordered to be conducted in the Uttarakhand assembly yesterday.

A democratically elected government that was forced out of the state assembly, thanks to the machinations of the BJP led NDA government, was forced in today with the Constitutional remedy effected by the top court of the country.

We all, who care for democratic norms and India’s federal structure, must be thankful for this moment in our contemporary political history.

But, what about the worrying symptoms that don’t leave even these moments of trust?

Judicial intervention to uphold the Constitutional sovereignty comes with its natural by-product in the prevailing political circumstances of the country – willingly or unwillingly acting as a shield to the corrupt practices going in the backdrop – like we all saw in these months – all that happened in Uttarakhand.

Obviously, whenever such a condition of political uncertainty prevails, horse-trading or selling or buying of legislators becomes the norms of the day. It’s an open secret that all know – be it Uttarkhand or Arunachal or even in case of a minority Union Government.

It went a step ahead in Uttarakhand.

The open secret became bare here.

Congress legislators were caught on camera involved in horse-trading attempt. The whole nation saw it – twice. Even then, Harish Rawat, whose Uttarakhand government has been facing allegations of corruption, looked taking high moral ground today after the apex court made the result of floor test public.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ANNA HAZARE’S RENEWED CALL FOR LOKPAL

Anna Hazare has begun his fast, again, to demand the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Though it made for peripheral headlines, and it didn’t mobilize the crowds to be there at his fast venue in his village Ralegan Siddhi in great numbers, and so it didn’t make for the lenses of the media already overworked with the deadlock on the government formation in Delhi after a hung-assembly verdict on December 8.

But the effect of AAP’s stunning victory in Delhi was clearly visible in the responses by the main political parties, Congress and BJP.

The Congress-led UPA government was guarded in its response after the drubbing it had in the recently held assembly polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. PMO Minister V Narayansamy said on the day-1 of Anna Hazare’s fast that the government had written to the Rajya Sabha chairman for tabling of the Lokpal Bill.

Anna Hazare himself had recently told of a letter written to him by the Union Government a week ago detailing its stand on the Lokpal Bill and reiterating its commitment (not to be take at face-value) for the Bill in Winter Session of the Parliament.

And BJP, too, was not away. On day-2 of Anna Hazare’s fast, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, wrote to Anna Hazare expressing party’s commitment for the Lokpal Bill blaming the Congress party of diluting the Bill and backtracking on its promise to pass the Bill.

The Parliament is in session. All five days so far have been washed out. Issues like Telangana, Communal Violence Bill and JPC report on 2G Spectrum Scam are expected to maintain the logjam.

And anyway, even if the Lokpal as proposed by the government is tabled in the Rajya Sabha, it doesn’t ensure its passage. There are many bottleneck points where the political parties still differ.

Also, the government Lokpal, passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2011, if institutionalized, is going to be a toothless entity, much different from the Jan Lokpal sought by Anna Hazare and the activists from the civil society associated with it. True, what is being sought by the civil society is not practical, but it is also equally true that what is being given by the government, is nothing more than a misleading exercise.

Politicians don’t look to pass even this ‘diluted’ Bill. Sitting over it for two years, after the high of the anti-corruption movement of 2011, from December 2011 to December 2013, clearly tells of their intentions.

But what makes it different this time is AAP’s brilliant but unexpected performance (for the mainstream political parties) in Delhi elections, a clear message to the political lot that public is looking for political change and is ready to experiment.

It is true the existing political lot is very thick-skinned but the timing of the next general elections, due next April-May, also makes it difficult for them to ignore this warning signal.

So, expect some verbal exercises from them, looking sincere and working to present and pass the Lokpal Bill in the ongoing session of the Parliament.

But, the fight remains. Even if the government’s Lokpal is passed, the next stage of the fight then will be to make it a ‘practically’ viable entity than can work effectively to check and prevent corruption.

It was good to see Arvind Kejriwal talking of supporting Anna’s movement during his victory rally at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi today. He said that he was going to Ralegan Siddhi tomorrow and would act the way Anna wanted. Though on separate paths now, Arvind Kejriwal and AAP should participate actively in Anna’s agitation, to payback for leaving the anti-corruption movement of 2011 midway!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

‘KING CAN DO NO WRONG’ AND ‘POVERTY IS JUST A STATE OF MIND’ – TWO ENLIGHTENING DISCOURSE-POINTS IN A SINGLE WEEK!

The enlightening comments by our dear lords, the evergreen kings, the valiant usurpers of fiefdoms, the rigorous practitioners of duplicity, our very own, near and dear politicians continue unabated enlightening us on what we should do, what we should think and how we should perceive.

But, at times (and at regularly random intervals), there come some observations, some statements, that stand tall, that look apart, that sound to set a precedent, of a vision that our dear politicians want to project for us.

Last week has given us more than one such thoughtful observation by our dear lords. Two are important for us to understand that given their long-term impact. Unfortunately, as has been the case, most of us have misunderstood, and so have reacted negatively.

The first and the foremost is from one of the leading claimants to the prime-ministerial chair in the next parliamentary elections, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, who came with a simple yet innovative measure to reduce poverty (read chronic poverty) found in Indians of a not-so-poor country India.

He proposed: “Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean the scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty.”

See! So simple!

Just follow Mr. Gandhi and start believing that you are not poor and see the miracle happening. A panacea to address the billions of dollars of the fiscal deficit and the billions of dollars of the subsidy burden that have their genesis in the large base of thankless economically backward and poor Indians!

Next in the line is a comment about and at the behest of one of the youngest chief ministers in India who is currently at the top of the affairs in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

Here, a young and brave IAS officer (Indian Administrative Service) could not understand the vision and intent of the young chief-minister and took on the sand-mining mafia.

She could not understand the modern-day political symbolism of the tradition ‘family comes first’ and that too, when every politician in the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh is like a family member of Akhilesh Yadav’s government.

She took on the sand-mining mafia in an area where the activity was being patronized by the local SP leaders, one of whom is a claimant of a chair in the highest policy-making body in the country, the Lok Sabha.

Also, establishing an empire needs some sacrifices and what if some SP leaders are earning wealth from some the so-called illegal activities. They, in fact, are creating assets to build loyal party cadres and votebanks to build stabilized political base in a time when nothing else but money speaks and commands. That leaves them with no other chance.

The lady IAS officer could not understand this underlying necessity and did all to scuttle this serious ‘fund-raising’ work.

See! How naive she was that she took on this politically pious family tradition!

The young chief minister ignored it for almost a year before he was ‘unwillingly’ forced to take some stern action.

And, ‘we, the stupid Indians’ did not understand the spirit of his act. We should learn from Mr. Naresh Agarwal, a senior SP leader who so beautifully defended the ‘selfless’ act of the young chief minister of India’s most populous nation.

He said in an interview: “King can do no wrong” justifying suspension of the 28-year old IAS officer.
In fact, it is such an enlightening and refreshing interview that all of ‘we, the stupid Indians’ must watch it. (Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI9H6l4Id-8)

Why, we, as a nation, are still suffering?

It is exactly because we fail to understand (time and again) the intent of our dear politicians like Rahul Gandhi or Akhilesh Yadav.

When would we understand?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A YOUNG IAS OFFICER, A YOUNG CHIEF MINISTER, A YOUNG PRIME MINISTER IN WAITING AND A DEMOCRACY IN TATTERS

How deep is the rot is evident from this incident where an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer was allegedly, wrongfully shunted and suspended on behest of the sand-mining mafia of the notorious criminal belt of western Uttar Pradesh?

It was an incident of the district Gautam Budh Nagar (popularly known as Noida and Greater Noida), that earns maximum revenue for Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with a distinction of giving the country maximum number of prime ministers and ironically a state now that can be termed as the worst place for development politics and a haven for the criminal goons entering the mainstream of Indian politics.

The cities high on growth radars, not just in Uttar Pradesh, but anywhere in India, are the hot-spots for corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to earn quick money. And instances where bureaucrats, in this case Durga Shakti Nagpal, are rare who cannot be predicted to be driven by what but display rare honesty and follow integrity, in a world infested with corrupt bureaucrats in brazen cahoots with the equally menacing politicians.

It is not about certifying Durga Shakti Nagpal. But yes, she is a young and brave IAS officer who has worked with iron hand to establish the rule of law in a lawless land her brief career record of almost three years shows.

It is about the symbolization that her harassment has created (and any other similar incident sets) and its subsequent implications.

It can be said the hyperactive Indian media has played a sensible role here by highlighting Durga Shakti’s issue giving it a campaign sort of coverage with follow-up stories.

But how deeper is the rot can be gauged by the responses of two other directly involved stakeholders in any such issue – politicians and bureaucrats.

Once the media made it an issue (mind you, such issues are, indeed, non-issues, as Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot was saying over the transfer of the Jaisalmer Superintendent of Police who dared to open history-sheet of father of a Congress MLA, or as the Samajwadi Party politicians are saying over the suspension of Durga Shakti), the political class had to take position based on the side of political opportunism it was.

The political opposition in Uttar Pradesh saw points to score and the BJP, Congress and other outfits came out in open support of the suspended IAS officer though each of these political outfits have manipulated and colluded with the bureaucracy to indulge in corrupt practices to gain unfair advantages.

So a senior and honest IAS officer Ashok Khemka is transferred on questioning suspicious land deals of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi and every democratic norm is subverted in giving Vadra a clean chit.

So, the top-wrung administrative officers of Gujarat turn a blind eye to the riots that take lives of hundreds. Many of them, for reasons known only to them, carry out fake encounters and are facing trials now.

So, the honest IAS and IPS officers and whistleblowers are either victimized or killed and the bureaucracy and the polity play silly politics on how to protect the ‘honest’ breed.

But, in fact, no one from these two stakeholders (bureaucracy + polity) wants to protect the remaining vestiges of honesty in bureaucracy. (There is no need to write on honesty in Indian politics. It was killed long ago.)

Victimization of the honest officer by corrupt seniors from bureaucracy and polity – it has been so routine in India that even the dumb filmmakers of India (they are in majority) have been weaving mainstream cinema stories around it for years. The subject has grown into an evergreen theme by now. Yes, in films, the victimized officers come out stronger winning over the final battle establishing the values of honesty and integrity.

Alas! That doesn’t happen in real life. (The reel life in this case, and in every such issue, is an extension of the suppressed emotions in the real life. And in India of the day, the difference between the reel and real life over such issues is there to stay.)

Politicians cannot loot this country so brazenly and shamelessly until they are not hands-in-glove with bureaucrats.

In fact, the lobby of IAS and IPS (Indian Police Services) officers is so strong that if they decide to raise an issue, politicians would think hundred times before taking an obstinate posture like Akhilesh Yadav and his party took in Durga Shakti’s case.

It is never wrong to say that bureaucrats run (and so manipulate) the system and so the country. Instead, their stronghold on the system is increasing with increasing criminalization of Indian politics where a growing number of half-baked and quality-illiterate politicians are finding chairs in the highest seats of policymaking.

But expecting a war cry (and indeed, by now, the nation should have heard the war cry by the lobby of bureaucrats loud and clear) on victimization of an honest IAS officer is like expecting from the Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s Haryana government that it would reopen the dubious land-deal cases of Robert Vadra for further investigation.

How can we expect this from the class of bureaucrats who, no matter how poor they were born, die filthy rich; who amass millions and millions of disproportionate wealth; who rush to touch feet of politicians to be in their good book; who brazenly allow and cover-up the wrongs of the political goons; who seldom visit the hinterlands but frame policies deciding fate of millions; who plot to siphon-off the public money by being complicit in the chronic political corruption eroding whatever little left in the name of democratic weaving of the country.

No surprise then that the Indian bureaucracy is among the most corrupt and least efficient in the world.

Yes, the issue is still raging, though slightly pushed to the background in last two days due to the ugly display of politics over Pakistan killing five Indian soldiers at Line of Control in J&. It reflects in the continued debate over the issue, in the suppressed emotions of ‘we, the bystander Indians’, and so the media is expected to cling to it for some more days. But what once the TRPs start drying up?

And that has started happening. So don’t think long term.

Anyway, don’t expect that some miracle is going to happen.

Some senior, obedient and ‘reverent’ bureaucrat of Uttar Pradesh would have advised the state government to exploit the system to put the brave lady in the dock as the chargesheet served to her says. It can be safely said politicians of Uttar Pradesh do not have that much of intellectual capital to implicate her falsely until they get advice from some seasoned bureaucrat.

But yes, true to the trademark brazenness of politicians, some cooked up cases were imposed on the lady in addition to the chargesheet served by the government of the young chief minister of Uttar Pradesh who had won the office with a landslide victory on promise of giving a reformist government.

But badlands of Uttar Pradesh remain the story of everything, where every parameter of a civilized society is taking a regular fall.

The issue also, once again, unmasks the doublespeak of yet another young face at the political forefront, Rahul Gandhi. It goes without saying that nothing in the UPA government can move if Rahul Gandhi doesn’t approve of. But he didn’t speak vocally on Durga Shakti’s harassment. Why of it – only he can answer, like on many other vital issues.

Yes, Sonia Gandhi did write to Manmohan Singh to look into the matter. And thus spoke Manmohan Singh, the comfortably numb prime minister of India, promising that rules would be followed in the case.

Now, the developments into the matter, as expected, say of some backdoor understanding between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress. Congress needs SP support for the Food Security Bill. So, the emphasis, now, is on to hush up the matter.

So, the possible outcome in Durga Shakti’s case is going to be:

Her suspension would be revoked once she replies to the chargesheet as Akhilesh Yadav has indicated. It will satisfy the political ego of Uttar Pradesh government as well as will address the compulsion of the UPA government to act in the matter as Sonia Gandhi has publicly written for it.

After some time, once the controversy dies down, Durga Shakti, as reported, would seek and be given a cadre change to move out of Uttar Pradesh.

Three young faces, a 43-year old prime-ministerial nominee and dominating face of the largest party of the ruling coalition, a 40-year old chief minister of India’s most populous state and a 28-year old IAS officer, all, willing or unwilling, characters of yet another tragic drama in the botched history of Indian democracy – they sum up the irony of Indian democracy – that its weaving is increasingly becoming undemocratic.

An increasingly undemocratic atmosphere where the political class is getting more and more intolerant, alienated, lineage-based and corrupt; where political and bureaucratic corruption has percolated to almost every part of the society; where protesters and activists are targeted, suppressed, silenced or killed; where democracy is being pushed backward every passing day!

Indian democracy – a democracy in tatters and we are not doing enough to address it!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY IT IS REFRESHING TO SEE DURGA SHAKTI BECOMING A RALLYING POINT AGAINST THE POLITICAL HIGH HANDEDNESS

It is refreshing to see someone like her becoming a rallying point against the political high handedness and the incumbent corruption.

What lies beneath cannot be said but what is evident from the goings at the moment is she is an honest and dynamic Indian Administrative Service officer who is being hounded by the political ego and elements of corruption in Indian politics.

It is encouraging to see the symbolism reflecting in her victimization and the subsequent media and political uproar because it is not what the activism norms in India elicit.

In fact, it is still premature to term it as activism.

But it is good to see an anti-corruption symbolism in her for the reasons that push us to think that we need to raise voice for her; that we need to raise voice against the wrong; that we need to protest.

Any such symbolism, any such issue is a desperate need in India of the day – a democracy reeling under increasing political apathy and chronic corruption.

Dots are just small points of reference but they add up to form a line and so the larger frame of reference to mobilize support over an issue. Her case represents one such dot that could be a reference point in fight against corruption owing to its uniquely placed thematic elements:

She is a not a corrupt bureaucrat: Indian bureaucrats are notorious for their elitism, social alienation, corruption and insensitivity. So, someone from this class standing against the norms of bureaucratic corruption and norms of bureaucratic machinery in India is refreshing.

She is a young bureaucrat: Though there are no set benchmarks on which age-group people are more corrupt, it is the common and the right observation that youngsters are relatively purer and so better than the middle-aged and the elderly in reacting honestly on the wrongs in the society. Only an honest reaction on something wrong can motivate to act further to have a corrective action.

Certainly, Durga Shakti’s act is thought-provoking for many youngsters including her young colleagues in the bureaucracy.

It is foolhardy to think that her case is going to change how the bureaucracy and the polity function in India but it also tells us the younger and the purer thought in an otherwise rotten Indian bureaucracy is not fully dead yet.

She has stood her ground in the worst bad land of Indian politics: Anyone who knows the functioning of India’s bureaucracy and polity understands that she would be under immense pressure to toe the government line, even at the cost of becoming scapegoat to satisfy political ego and political corruption. But she has stood firm and that too in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh, a graveyard for issue-based politics. That is certainly encouraging.

Whatever happens to the outcome, but it certainly tells the spark is there. Let’s see when the fire is lit. Let’s work to light the fire.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

VICTIMIZATION OF DURGA SHAKTI NAGPAL: NOT EVEN A CONSOLIDATED VOICE AGAINST THE INJUSTICE BY THE IAS LOBBY!

The war cry that should have been heard by now – loud and clear!

Though it is true the thousands and thousands of IAS and IPS officers are spread across the length and breadth of India and so lack a coherent structure of unity but it is equally true that they come from a same source and are trained in same schools and such issues should be clarion call to raise the voice for the cause.

Feeling for the fraternity, camaraderie or simply the professional lineage to belong to place!

But! Alas!

The honest IAS and IPS officers and whistleblowers are either victimized or killed and the bureaucracy and the polity play silly politics on how to protect the ‘honest’ breed.

How deep is the rot is evident from this incident where a young IAS (Indian Administrative Services) officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was allegedly, wrongfully shunted and suspended on behest of the sand-mining mafia of the notorious criminal belt of western Uttar Pradesh (including a politician from the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh)?

But no one from these two stakeholders (bureaucracy + polity) looks in mood to protect the remaining vestiges of honesty in bureaucracy. (There is no need to write on honesty in Indian politics. It was killed long ago.)

In fact, the lobby of IAS and IPS (Indian Police Services) officers is so strong that if it decides to raise an issue, politicians would have to think hundred times before taking an obstinate posture like Akhilesh Yadav and his party have taken in Durga Shakti’s case.

It is rightly said that bureaucrats run (and so manipulate) the system and so the country. Instead, their stronghold on the system is increasing with increasing criminalization of Indian politics where more and more half-baked and quality-illiterate politicians are easily finding chairs in the highest seats of policymaking.

But expecting a war cry (and indeed, by now, the nation should have heard the war cry by the lobby of bureaucrats) on victimization of an honest IAS officer from the fellow bureaucrats is like expecting from the Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s Haryana government that it would reopen the dubious land-deal cases of Robert Vadra.

How can we expect this from the class of bureaucrats who, no matter how poor they were born, die filthy rich; who amass millions and millions of disproportionate wealth; who rush to touch feet of politicians to be in their good book; who brazenly allow and cover-up the wrongs of the political goons; who seldom visit the hinterlands but frame policies deciding fate of millions cursed to live in those parts; who plot to siphon-off the public money by being complicit in the chronic political corruption eroding whatever little left in the name of the democratic weaving of the country.

Don’t expect that some miracle is going to happen. Some senior, obedient and ‘reverent’ bureaucrat of Uttar Pradesh would advise the state government to exploit the system to put the brave lady in the dock. It can be safely said politicians of Uttar Pradesh do not have that much of intellectual capital to implicate her falsely until they get advice from some seasoned bureaucrat.

And while writing this, the reports say the lady IAS officer has been served the chargesheet by the state government.

Indian bureaucracy is infamous across the world and is seen as among the worst performing bureaucracies. A study last year by the Hong Kong based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Limited rated Indian bureaucracy as the worst in Asia. Corruption figured as a major factor responsible for its inefficiency.

Findings of yet another study done jointly by the Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University and the Department of Economics, Iowa State University, say ‘Indian bureaucracy attracts more corrupt people than the private sector’.

It is no surprise then that we haven’t yet heard even a consolidated voice from the bureaucrats on this injustice being done to one of their colleagues, a young, brave and honest IAS officer.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

POLITICIANS LOVE A NATURAL CALAMITY: THE COLOSSAL UTTARAKHAND DISASTER AND EQUALLY COLOSSAL GREED OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION

Officially, the rescue operation of the stranded pilgrims and tourists in Uttarakhand is over. Government figures say over 1,00,000 have been evacuated. There is still no official clarity over the death toll. Initially, the government was capping the death toll at around 1000. Speaker of the Uttarakhand assembly said some 10,000 could be dead while the chief minister of the state said exact number of deaths would never be known. On July 3, the Uttarakhand chief secretary clarified that the ‘official death toll so far’ was 580. Mass cremation of bodies began more than a week ago but still, bodies can been seen all around in the affected areas. Also, digging out bodies from the mud sludge with boulders, almost three metres high, remains an uphill task.

And midst all this, the cry that was always there, desperately looking for a voice, is now finding its listeners, introducing us to yet another horror tale that we all knew, but wasn’t hearing about. Many cities of Uttarakhand stand devastated. With homes gone and connectivity snapped, most of the towns and villages in affected areas wear a deserted, ghost-town like look.

Now into the fourth week, the Uttarakhand disaster, like any other calamity of this scale, has given humanity a pain that will be felt forever.

But, at the same time, the developments in the aftermath of the man-made disaster have also reaffirmed the strengthening perception of the masses about the callousness of politicians and politicians-controlled bureaucratic apparatus in dealing with the concerns of the common men, the proclaimed basic entity of the masses in a democratic (read pseudo-democratic) set-up like India.

Three days before the disaster, to the ultimate devastation of June 16-17, to the aftermath of the cloudburst, glacier-melting and flash floods, and since then, every detail cries out loudly to implicate the political apathy and administrative delinquency.

As usual, in the aftermath of a man-made disaster, the blame game got uglier each passing day with more skeletons tumbling out. There are clear indications that the state government was alerted multiple times from June 14-16 of heavy to very heavy rainfall. The state Met department of Uttarakhand had even asked the state government to evacuate the pilgrims. In fact, a reporter told one of his relatives, who was in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand, was advised by a high-level bureaucrat of Uttarakhand to climb down two days before the catastrophe of June 16-17. Every finding into the ‘hows and whys’ of the disaster every passing day tells us the political administration did nothing but slept over the alerts.

Experts say Uttarakhand has witnessed a boom of unplanned development in recent years. Fragile ecology of the state has been manipulated beyond a point of reconciliation with the nature. Riverbeds and riverfronts are encroached heavily. Dozens of hydroelectric power projects (45 operational and over 100 under development) and hundreds of big and small dams crisscross the state. Environmentalists, activists and scientists have been regularly raising voices against sanctioning so many hydroelectric power projects and dams without the necessary scientific studies. But politicians always slept on the reports; always killed the warnings. In fact, they vehemently pleaded with the central government to denotify the preserved areas and not to notify more areas as sensitive ecological zones that prohibit any activity detrimental to the ecological balance.

In order to earn quick tourism money, the relatively inaccessible areas like Kedarnath, which are under snow for half of the year, were made accessible with poorly laid roads while the hills of Uttarakhand needed roads built with specialized technology. These bad roads aided to the calamity monumentally. A report by the Indian Institute of Technology (Roorkee) and the Bureau of the Bureau of Indian Standards blames bad roads in contributing significantly to the landslides.

These bad roads did increase the tourist influx. But, being one of the major infrastructural casualties in the aftermath of the disastrous floods, these very roads stranded thousands in various parts of the state. The resultant loss of connectivity further hampered the relief and rescue efforts.

Why didn’t the politicians and the politicians-controlled bureaucracy take into account the expert warnings and views before connecting the remote parts of the state with a fragile ecosystem of relatively younger and unstable Himalayan region?

Each of these factors is a direct outcome of the human greed of political corruption. Without politicians and the politicians-controlled bureaucracy, such unrestricted and obscene exploitation of nature damaging the ecological balance of the area wasn’t possible.

But it wasn’t enough. The obscene display of political corruption continued unabated even after it emerged how massive was the devastation in the Uttarakhand hills.

EVERY POLITICIAN LOVES A NATURAL CALAMITY

It is unfortunate and one feels sorry about it but it has been the truth and in fact we should say ‘it is the truth’ now after the sustained shameless bravado of Indian politicians that came to the surface once again, so soon after the blame-game over the Uttarakhand disaster that is still ongoing, with the ugly politics over the serial blasts in the Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya on July 7 morning.

The calamity in Uttarakhand became a sort of disaster-tourism opportunity and the devastated hill state became a tourism zone for the politicians. What else inference can be drawn after witnessing what all that happened. But whatever that happened also reaffirmed the fact strongly that politicians across the parties are similar under the skin – insensitive, inhuman and irresponsible. Who else can do politics over the dead and the dying?

Almost every party was busy taking credits and shifting blames while thousands had died, many were dying and thousands were imminent danger of losing lives.

Choppers were busy ferrying politicians while the people stranded were crying for help. Also, it remains a mystery that why very limited number of choppers were put in rescue efforts in the initial days by a country that claims to be one of the major powers in the globalized world.

After the unforgivable failure of ignoring the warnings before the disaster of June 16-17, more horror was unleashed by the politicians by denying the people precious hours of relief and rescue efforts.

Those responsible for ignoring warnings must be tried for culpable homicide, isn’t it? But that is not going to happen. And those responsible for denying the precious hours when many more lives could have been saved must be sacked from the public life by the public. Even this is not going to happen.

India and Indians need to treat the politicians this way. But when the day would come – the day that would herald the country in a direction to become a true democracy?

The Uttarakhand disaster was a calamity where the ordinary Indian became victim of the nature’s fury due to the human greed of political corruption when he faced simultaneous ferocious attacks from the parties, the nature and the politicians, at the same time.

Whatever be the inside story into the bad play by the weather, it was certainly worsened by the administrative apathy that ignored the pre-disaster warnings and by the political debauchery that aggravated the post-disaster misery.

Politicians and administration controlled by them were first in denial mode about the scale of the disaster. Politicians then crossed all the limits of decency by putting an audacious front to deny that there were preceding warnings and finally did away with whatever little inhibition that they had to put their brazen shameless votebank maneuvering in full throttle.

So we heard headlines like:
– a minister of the state got the relief material unloaded and used the rescue chopper for his own ride;
– the son of a top politician of the state with political ambitions got a chopper diverted in his personal service to draw the political mileage;
– unhappy with Vijay Bahuguna’s efforts, other Congress CMs had to come into damage control mode to contain the political crisis by coming to the aid of the state;
– the disaster hit Uttarakhand refused aid from Gujarat as the government there was of the political opposition;
– the imposed code of conduct not allowing any further VVIP visits to the state to facilitate the relief and rescue efforts was subverted for a top politician of the ruling party that caused further delays;
– the reports of corruption in distribution of the relief material;
– the claims of the state government on the progress of the relief efforts that were found to be unsatisfactory

Sadly, the list is long and is growing longer.

It is now over three weeks of the disastrous flash floods and the media cry over the issue is losing steam. So the politicians that made the nature’s fury a man-made disaster will be relatively free to manipulate the huge funds that would go into the rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts. The aftermath, like in case of any other disaster, is going to be a free run for corruption.

P Sainath writes – ‘everybody loves a good drought’. It can rightly be rephrased as ‘every politician loves a natural calamity’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A MAN-MADE DISASTER, THE HUMAN MISERY AND OUR SUPERHUMAN POLITICIANS

Many thousands estimated to be dead, over ten thousand still stranded and in imminent danger, yet our politicians maintain a figure hanging around 1000 – see, they have this ability to lessen the impact of death and disaster by manipulating the data – superhumans! Aren’t they?

Like a man is totally helpless and hapless when the nature strikes with its fury, in the same way, the miserable Indians have resigned to their fate on being trampled over and manhandled by the politicians.

What else one should say when we, who form the nation, witness the politicians shamefully slogging out verbal volleys to hide their failure and score their prospects midst one of the biggest disasters the country has seen in the recent years – the Uttarakhand flash floods.

Failures and prospects – these two are relatively contradicting terms. What hues failure takes directly affects the prospect. It has been the norm. It is and it should still be the norm.

But like the socially responsible role of politics has been pushed to the oblivion with rampant human greed of the political corruption in India, a trend, becoming a norm, that, indeed, is not the norm, this interdependence of ‘failure and prospect’, too, has no functional dependence left.

In fact, Indian politicians of the day don’t believe in normative forms of ‘failure’. They feel they fail only when they are not able to score personal gains.

Failing in carrying out responsibilities for which they have been voted in or have been accepted as political leaders doesn’t amount to failure for them any more.

And so the governance failure in making a natural calamity, that the Uttarakhand flash floods is, a man-made disaster, doesn’t even register on the faces of the politicians when they react on it.

Instead, they are busy hobnobbing the state as if it is some election campaign battleground and so an opportunity for photo sessions and rallies. They don’t care if them rallying around by air, when air-lifting is the backbone of the evacuation operations, hampers the relief and evacuation process.

Politicians are scrambling to visit the disaster-hit state as if they are rushing on government sponsored irrelevant study tours that every year costs the exchequer millions from the public funds. It all looks so crassly insensitive.

So, if biggies like Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Narendra Modi and many other known and small politicians including some chief ministers were not enough to delay the rescue operations, another biggie, Rahul Gandhi, who had become a matter of debate by his absence as he was not in India, too, took the plunge yesterday by visiting the flood-ravaged state.

Now who cares on the worthiness of such debates as delayed responses or prolonged silences on issues of wider social repercussions have become trademarks of Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi. One is the prime-minister in office now while the other is the next prime-ministerial candidate of the current ruling party! See the misery of ‘we, the Indians’!

But, they are superhumans, like most other politicians – entitled to act so. So, they are trying to mitigate and lessen the impact of the disaster in their trademark ways. They are making statements that nothing could have been be done as they were not informed of such heavy rains yet they have done impressive work and have saved many lives by acting in time.

But what about those thousands who were still trapped while the helicopters were ferrying politicians?

But what about the unplanned development promoted by the human greed and political corruption that has made this calamity so disastrous?

Politicians like Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Narendra Modi, Digvijay Singh and others cannot answer it and they won’t bother to answer it.

A report about a biggie politician says he evacuated 15000 trapped pilgrims from his state in one day; another politician says the people from his states are being ill-treated in Uttarakhand; another politician responsible for governing the environmentally fragile state refuses aid from a state as the government there is of political opposition; a powerful political duo sitting on top of the decision-making process of the country still doesn’t find enough reasons to declare the calamity a national disaster – the list about self-made and self-followed reflections of the disaster, that is just 10 days old, is long.

Our politicians, superhumans they are! They don’t buy what the reality says. They follow what suits their interests, manipulating the reality of the masses with the feasibility of their own interests.

They believe they are not answerable to anyone. Denial is their primary weapon and manipulation is their ultimate weapon, even if it comes at a cost of thousands of lives struggling to get out of the imminent danger they are in.

Many thousands are still trapped in Uttarakhand while the weather has started taking bad shape again making the rough terrain even less accessible for the relief and rescue work and sadly, our sincere and honest soldiers, carrying out the operations at many ‘ground zeros’ of the massive devastation, are not superhumans!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/