How the Indian PM was abused & denigrated in the name of democracy

Reading the excerpts of Sanjay Baru’s book on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, The Accidental Prime Minister (, I am somehow reminded of a cartoon that was done by the brilliantly nonchalant Abu Abraham. Published in the tumultuous period of the Emergency, it shows a rather ungainly President in the bathtub, signing off the proclamation. Indeed, on midnight of June 26, 1975, the office of the President of India was delivered such a body-blow, that it has not recovered even till today. Not surprisingly, the president of the nation, was considered to merely a rubber-stamp, a puppet in the hand abu_abraham_cartoon_20120326of the government, who signs off the bill, the ordinances, proclamations of Presidents Rule, etc., living off the lard in a cosy colonial palace, the Rastrapati Bhavan. Indira Gandhi, who selfishly wanted to avoid the embarrassment of having to resign following a verdict of Allahabad High Court, decided to enact the most brazen and oppressive abuse on Indian democracy. The rest of the government, including the President, were merely stooges or at-best hapless no-bodies, who could no nothing.

Somehow, the stratagem that was deployed by Indira in 1975, was mastered by her daughter-in-law in 2004, who foisted on a nation a political cipher as a prime minister, just to warm the seat for the eventual transition to her son, Rahul Gandhi. Manmohan Singh as a prime minister in 2004, was as much as an accident as much as it was a design. Just like her mother-in-law, who was under fire for electioneering crimes, Sonia Gandhi was under pressure over her Italian root. The then President APJ Kalam too had apparently raised the issue of her origins, and showed reluctance in ordaining her as the PM. After having burnt her fingers with a thankless PV Narsimha Rao and ambitious Sitaram Kesri, Sonia decided to find a PM that was not only pliable and amenable, but also deferential to the 1st family, and drawing his support from the family itself. Thus by a curious tragedy, in 2004, we never really got a prime minister but rather a care-taker prime minister, someone who was always “caring” the needs of the family and careful not to fall out of favour with his mentors.

While the stratagem deployed by Sonia Gandhi was vintage Congress-stuff, the implications and ramifications were far wider. Over the course of reign from 1966 down to 1984, Indira Gandhi had ruthlessly destroyed all the power-centres that could pose a challenge to the PMO. Stooges were given positions of power, and those who stood in the way were somehow sidelined and cut to size. For instance, not many were surprised when Giani Zail Singh on being made the President had apparently remarked, that “If my leader had said I should pick up a broom and be a sweeper, I would have done that. She chose me to be President!”. Little wonder, when Operation Bluestar was launched, the President did not even know a thing about it beforehand. India was Indira, and Indira was India, truly speaking. Continue reading

Tale of the Farmer, Rats and a Cobra

Long long ago, in a not so far-off land, there lived a farmer with his prosperous land. The piece of land was much fertile, in fact so much so that it could easily feed the farmer and his family, and even leave him a decent surplus. Sadly, wherever there is prosperity, follows the crisis. Not surprisingly, the farmer’s land was invaded by a bunch of fair-skinned rascals, who took over the land, made the farmer toil, and took away all the surplus. Suddenly, in the field which used to feed and leave a surplus, the farmer and his family were facing starvation. For what seemed like a long age seemingly stretching for two centuries, the farmer suffered, starved and toiled. The land was his but the produce was not. He strove hard against the new lords, and finally was able to evict them. And he heaved a big big sigh. His land was his again, the food was his again. He dreamed of a good future, quite unlike the time before the fair-skinned crooks had come.

With a renewed vigour and zeal, he started toiling, it was his time in the sun. And then one day while taking a stroll in his field, the farmer heard a squeak, and spotted a little mouse. Looking at the field that produced so much, the farmer thought how much could the poor famished rat eat. So he let it be. Time passed, and as the farmer toiled through the day and night, getting his rewards, he could hear the squeaks getting multiplied. But then he was too happy and glad, to bother about a few or more rats.

‘God has been kind, and its his wish’, he say to his family. This went on for a long time, and in the same time the mice turned into medium sized rats, and then into huge bandicoots. They thrived on the land and its surplus. And then came a time, when the pestilence grew so much that the farmer’s output was affected. First his surplus was steadily wiped off, and then his subsistence ration was. The farmer realised his folly, but alas it was too late. He tried killing a few with sticks, scaring them, but it would make no dent. The rats had reached a point, where a few dead was no issue. Newer ones were quickly added. Continue reading