NOTE: What is said of governments in the secular world can be said with minor changes of the churches in the spiritual world.One has only to substitute parliament with people of God, heart with Jesus, free speech with freedom of children of God, corruption for cartooning with sexploits to rat race for power, position, pelf and prestiege. Sathyameva Jayathe is the goal in both.
Rape of Indian Democracy
Parliament: Heart or Pandora’s box?
For cartoonist stinking parliament is national toilet, scams “rape of Mother India” for PM: negation of democracy, for thinking sections tragedy, for politician’s comedy. Time to sing requiem for democracy?
What is the heart of Democracy? It is the parliament. When it stops beating democracy dies. What is left is a corps. What do we do with a corps even if it is one of our dearest ones? We burry it before it starts stinking and makes it impossible to live with it. Shall we then burry our parliament so that we may live?
For 13 days on end the parliament did not function, more correct to say BJP did not allow it by making it a shouting shop instead of a talking shop. Even Arun Jaitley for whom I have great admiration and dreamt even of his becoming the PM if NDA comes to power, to my surprise argued for making monsoon session a total wash out while Kapil Sibal said: "Political parties are entitled to criticise the government. There should be criticism. There is nothing wrong in criticism; it is the heart of democratic functioning.” Instead hooliganism leading to fist fights was made to prevail even when some other parties which didn’t lose all sense of decency pleaded for it to function. So BJP once again proved to be a party with a difference, this time for turning parliament into a corps.
All this was done in the name of or for a share in corruption which has tainted all parties, some more, some less. It was an exercise of kettle calling the pot black to prove itself to be better than the opponent, to be a small thief beside a big thief. None of the parties had anything to lose. Instead every one gained by pocketing the daily allowance for sitting without sitting. The sole losers were the people whose tax money they were robbing to cover up their bigger robbery or loot of the nation. If the rule “No work, no pay” had been enforced this farce of a parliament jam possibly could have been prevented.
Street-TV Debates No Substitute
Still parliamentarians when comparing themselves with people, wax eloquent clamoring for their perks and privileges as a superior class empowered to make laws as they please and order people around forgetting the basic principle that in Democracy people are the ultimate masters at whose will and pleasure the elected representatives exist and whom they have to serve as their as their masters. This being the case what right have we to claim that we are a democracy? Some one has asked: “If you hang an ‘IAS’ tag on the neck of a barking dog will it become an IAS officer?” Similarly will a dead and rotting democracy come alive by substituting parliament with street demonstrations and TV debates? This is the ridiculous and pathetic picture of the nation we are projecting to outside world.
This is what cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, a 25-year old die hard patriot was trying to shout into the ears of a nation blinded or blindfolded by the magic of Politricks and led by the nose to be dropped to suicidal depths. Like an innocent child he was just shouting what his young, sharp eyes could see: “The Empress is naked”, a shameful, unpalatable truth for the powers that be, but truth nonetheless.
No Wonder former Supreme Court judge and Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju had the courage of his conviction to say: "The charges are stupid and this (cartoon) is not sedition. This is misuse of the state machinery. Those politicians and policemen who have made this arrest should be arrested and put on trial." According to Mahesh Bhatt filmmaker, “a society where you don't give anyone a chance to express their anger via art, very dangerous people is born there. They then tell the same thing with the help of a gun and bullets.... Dissent is the life blood of a free society that is the wealth." And I may add essence of cartooning is exaggeration to help people who are not keen observers or partially blind to take note.
National Toilet for Cartoonist
See how Aseem tried to make us all see the enormity and loathsomeness of the problem facing the nation. According to reports he drew three cartoons to highlight corruption destroying the country.In one he replaced the four lions in the Ashoka chakra, our national symbol with four wolves and the slogan “truth shall prevail” with “corruption shall prevail”. In another he presented his vision of the present parliament as the “national toilet” to show how stinking it is. In a third he sketched a pretty woman as “Mother India” assaulted by bureaucrats and politicians and headlined it: “Gang rape of Mother India”. To my mind every one of them depicts detestable faces of corruption disfiguring Indian democracy and none can be pleasing to the ruling coalition. Nay parliament seems to have become the Pandora’s Box, the source of all evil for the country.
What I am trying to prove has come out from the very mouth of Manmohan Singh himself when he said: what we have is a “negation of democracy” and that every “right thinking people’” should stand up against it. When parliament doesn’t function all democratic institutions wither away due to the lack of much needed blood flowing into various organs of the body politics. As a result decisions are taken without due deliberations. Hasty decisions and flawed executions by wrong persons for wrong motives result in number of small and big scams. People go crazy when they see the poor and illiterate are exploited and the rich and crooked rewarded. Lack of consensus in government, euphemistically called coalition compulsions prevent launching of radical reforms in key sectors.
An instance was the arrest of FDI in retail sector with due control. Mass protests against these on national level led by Anna Hazare and on regional level by strikes, bunds ending in loss of lives and public property project the country as a lawless nation to the outside world. Finally the country itself comes to be ridiculed and devalued like our Rupee by other nations as seen by the derogatory but realistic comments about our Prime Minster as an “under Achiever”, a “Liability” rather than an “asset”, a man unable to speak or act on his own as he is remote controlled, all due to lack of proper public discussion on core issues in parliament.
Talking Shop, Parliament
It is this “Talking Shop” called parliament which makes or mars, feeds or starves to death our democracy. How many are the bills passed with out any discussion on the pros and cons, where as the norm should be no bill should be allowed to pass without due transparent discussion and consensus. Such bills are bound to get blocked at implementation stage due to protests from coalition partners, opposition parties or people’s movements of which we have any number of examples.
One striking example was the decision to get the country goes nuclear in power production. In this case our PM proved himself to be a man of metal with a view of his own due to which he got all needed international approval and went ahead sacrificing the out side support of left parties and even without public discussion about its pros and cons in parliament. As a result of the latter the UPA is now plagued with public protest against the Koodamkulam project completed at enormous cost but facing hurdles to proceed smoothly at the present implementation stage. On this issue many questions still remain unanswered on both sides. Similarly reluctance leading to refusal to discuss issues in parliament on 2G spectrum and Coalgate scams made the government to come out first with the goof of zero loss to the exchequer which it had to swallow and lose face when discussion forced upon by public demand proved the contrary.
All these go to highlight the importance of the sacred sanctuary of Parliament and its proper functioning if we want to claim we are a living democracy and not a dead skeleton. What we have today is a farce called parliament, a literal profaning of its sacred precincts and emasculating it to make it unproductive.. The tragedy is thinking and concerned patriots are forced to call it “Rape of Democracy” or “Gang rape of Mother India”(Trivedi).while our parliamentarians who are supposed to be custodians of democracy and nation treat it as nothing more than a pass time or a comedy to go through to earn a living without sweating which ought to be unacceptable.
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org