” All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell
Today India faces it’s worst crisis, which will affect millions, like me. Today the common man in India gets to exercise his right to vote, a right to choose the way he wants to live. Throughout the last five years he is the one who has suffered; in Mumbai, in Hyderabad and countless other towns and cities. Yet he continues to be a mute spectator, even in R.K Laxman’s cartoon strips. When time beckons him to speak, he obliges, but does he really speak? The nation hears the banal verdict and the events take place as usual. But what can he do? Sometimes he manages to get rid of his tormentor, but instead he replaces him with a new one. And why do I feel as if he doesn’t care anymore? Has the common man become a zombie? Elections have been pretty much the same as they were 50 years ago. But the difference today has been the people who stand to be elected. Even with better chocie of candidates people have made mistakes. Those errors in judgement have costed us dearly. By electing Nehru we saw our contry nibbled away by our neighbours. Indira Gandhi brought the concept of dynasty rule and forged the blueprint of modern day corrupt politics. She demonstrated the art of subjugating the judiciary and fooling the nation. But those times were still better as there was always an alternative available. At least the people had the luxury to feel guilty of making the wrong choice. But today we have lost that privilege too. It feels like one of those riddles by the Joker from “Dark Night”, where you have to choose the correct option; except that none of them is right. Today I am ashamed to be a part of such a system, in which the criminals can escape the law by becoming the lawmakers. But I tried to ask myself what is wrong with this system? Aren’t those people who wrote the constitution supposed to be smart? I think they just thought about criminals and geniuses, but they discounted the possibility of criminal geniuses who hacked and modified the system at their own will. I believe the bureaucrats have done their part for the last many decades by creating a system. I guess it is up to us technocrats now to actually make the system work in this century. Technocracy is the only solution to current problems, provided there is will to do the needful. We need to consider the current problems plaguing the system and try to find a solution for it.
Criminalization in politics and dynasty rule are the probably the biggest problems the country is facing today. Criminals are taking to politics as fish to water. Current political environment based on an hierarchy of lack of accountability, hooliganism, bribes and growing indifference is especially conducive for these mushrooming parasites. Yesteryear’s politicians used these goons as conmen but the political patronage has allowed them to enter mainstream politics and that too at the highest level. The problem starts with our head of the state Pratibha Patil. Her CV is more suitable for a fraudster than head of the state . Not before has our Indian politics has witnessed such a day when the person nominated for the highest office needed to get involved in partisan fighting to get her into office. She was nominated to be the president by none other than the Congress party, which associated itself with Mahatma Gandhi and slept with an Italian high school level graduate waitress to maintain its hegemony. Under the top league are seasoned criminals like Lalu Yadav (Union Minister, Railways), M Karunanidhi, Prakash Karat, Sharad Pawar and Arjun Singh. These breeds of politicians have been scamming the bourgeoisie and earning votes by capitalizing on casteist and communal differences in the society. In this case though, the grass is not so green on the other side either. In the NDA, BJP has also some criminals, though less in number. George Fernandez’s defense scandals, Advani’s surrender to the hijackers in Kandahar and revering Jinnah, Narendra Modi’s genocide of countless Muslims, persecution of Christians in Orissa are some of the incidents which are stuck in my mind. Yet the BJP range of selfish interests has nationalistic appeal to them. On the other hand Congress MPs are get busy in collection of wealth from the day they are elected and stash it into the Swiss banks. Personal coffers of some of these MPs have increased by about 3000% in last five years itself!!  Then we have some incidents, which make me wonder if the judiciary has buried its head in the sand. Sanjay Dutt, on virtue of being a popular film actor is running free on bail and campaigning in UP for the Samata Party. I really feel ashamed of my country when I see people like Amar Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayavati taking the center stage. I can quote countless examples but the truth as Oscar Wilde says, “Every saint has a past and every sinner a future.”
The technocrats can play an important role in the as the salvation army to save the democracy from a painful death. These illiterate hooligans and criminals do not have access high amount of knowledge and technical know how. We have all the information and communication medium at our disposal. There have been precedents where technical graduates from premier institutions like IITs have started to improve the system by working within the system. The RTI act has been used extensively to a great effect and it has been a catalyst in moving the jammed wheel of governance reforms. There have been some campaigns such as “No criminals in politics”  which have been instrumental in bringing out the criminal records of politicians to the people helping them to make the right choice. Even profit making companies like Google and Hindustan Times have put websites which try to compile different kinds of information from varied resources and provide it to people from these constituencies. Village knowledge centers are being built around India  to help people access this information. These efforts may not bear fruits in the near future, but it is criminal to give up the hope. I feel really proud of all the people who are trying. My feelings are summed up with this famous quote by Oscar Wilde “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
 Lok sabha 2009