Friday, June 10, 2011


The word 'Seven' conjures up many images and perceptions. There was that classic Hollywood western named The Magnificent Seven; there was yet another classic called Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. And of course, who can forget the Seven Year Itch? Recently, pundit after pundit wrote on how the bedraggled Manmohan Singh regime completed two turbulent years in office. Actually, the UPA regime has completed seven years in office. Which is why I am doing some stupid, loud thinking about the word seven. Should the term 'Seven Year Itch' apply to seven years of UPA rule? Actually, most of you would agree with me that a more apt term could well be Saat Khoon Maaf.

But since the UPA regime is so obsessed with the protection of minority rights in India and since Christianity is a minority religion in India, I would respectfully borrow something from Christianity to describe the seven years of the UPA regime. Yes, I am indeed talking about the Seven Deadly Sins. Don’t bother to Google it. Here are the Seven Deadly Sins in black and white: Greed, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Pride, Wrath and Gluttony.

Let's start with Greed and Gluttony. Now, corruption is not something that can simply be wished away from India, no matter what our idealists and activists want. We – as citizens – have got so used to bribing our way through shortcuts that big ticket corruption does not really trigger genuine, moral indignation or revulsion. Yet, so monstrous and gargantuan have been the greed and gluttony of the Manmohan Singh regime that even cranky and whimsical mavericks like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have become bigger stars than Shah Rukh, Salmaan and Aamir. There is palpable public anger at the levels of corruption practiced by top leaders of the regime. Sure, you have brave spokespersons of the Congress tirelessly repeating the lie that it is this regime that has sent A. Raja and Suresh Kalmadi to jail. Sure, many gullible Indians will believe this lie if you keep repeating it. But the fact is, the regime did absolutely nothing about the 2G and the Commonwealth (CWG) scams for months, even though the whole world was talking about the plunder and loot going on. The fact is, it is the Supreme Court which virtually forced a very reluctant Manmohan Singh government to act. Then again, Congress bootlickers in the media – and there are plenty of them – keep spreading the canard that corrupt coalition partners in the UPA are a necessary evil that the Congress has to tolerate since it does not have a majority of its own. They don’t tell you that Suresh Kalmadi is very much a Congressman. There are many things that hacks like me know about but cannot write about because of lack of evidence. Suffice to say that the UPA regime is riddled with rotten corruption at the top and the Indian citizen is finally seeing through the idiotic smokescreen of a truth that Manmohan Singh himself is genuinely honest. Without a shadow of doubt, Greed and Gluttony would top the charts when it comes to analyzing the preceding seven years of the UPA regime with the Seven Deadly Sins.

If Greed and Gluttony are the chart-busting metaphors of seven years of UPA, Sloth is not very far away. I still remember that day in 2008 when serial bomb blasts had shaken up and frightened Delhi (This was before 26/11). The most honourable Shivraj Patil was the Union Home Minister. Do you remember what he did after hearing about the bomb blasts and the death toll and the panic? Well, he went to change into a more natty attire before addressing TV cameras. Even more laughable – and tragic – was the petulant manner in which he defended that act in a television interview! Do remember, Shivraj Patil had badly lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2004. And yet, he was made the Union Home Minister. And his masterfully slothful performance for more than four years, as India was struck year after year by Pakistan sponsored terrorists and the heartland of India was ravaged by Maoists, reflects the peculiar inertia that grips the UPA regime when it comes to taking concrete action. In fact, the UPA regime has actually set a kind of world record by forming God knows how many Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGOMs) to take a call on major policy issues confronting India. Strangely, absolutely nothing is done by these so called EGOMs. Back in May 2004, when Manmohan Singh appeared both smug and surprised at having the prime ministership thrust upon him, his solemn promise to the nation was rapid action on administrative reforms. As a former bureaucrat who has often been more loyal than the king – or queen – Manmohan Singh knows how badly India needs administrative reforms. Yet, in seven years, not a single concrete step has been taken to reform, reshape or re-energize India’s slothful and rotten bureaucracy. The fact is that the so called 'Empowered' group is hopelessly disempowered. The real power lies with an unelected and unaccountable body called the National Advisory Council. Yet, to give credit to the NAC, it has at least given the Right to Information Act and the NREGA to India. Warts and all, they are still movements on the positive side.

The next two Deadly Sins that have been the hallmarks of the UPA regime are envy and lust. I would define lust as hankering after something that is not legitimately yours – directly the result of uncontrolled envy. And I would blame the Congress the most for these Deadly Sins. Let us go back to the early years of the UPA regime after it won a surprising semi-mandate in 2004. Lalu Prasad Yadav – then a staunch ally – actually lost the assembly elections in Bihar. But he, and the Congress, were in no mood to accept Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister of Bihar. So what do they do? They have a Governor of Bihar called Buta Singh – another manifestation of Greed and Gluttony. Heplays havoc with the Constitution of India, and the Manmohan Singh government spits a little more on it by asking President Abdul Kalam, who was in Moscow, to sign the orders implementing Governor's rule in Bihar. The citizens of Bihar have given a fitting reply to Lalu and the Congress since then. The UPA regime indulged in the same dirty tricks in Jharkhand. And another 'more loyal than the king' Governor named H. R Bharadwaj is now trying the same in Karnataka by trying to topple the democratically elected BJP government. Sure, the BJP government in Karnataka may be deeply corrupt; but does that give the UPA and the Congress the allowance to make a mockery of the Indian Constitution? But then, this kind of lust is so deeply embedded in the genes of the Congress that it probably cannot help itself. Remember 1984 when pliable Governors were used to topple the governments of N. T Rama Rao and Farooq Abdhullah in Andhra Pradesh and J&K?

I have deliberately kept the remaining two Deadly Sins – Pride and Wrath – till the last because they have been the leitmotif of the UPA regime. The pride comes naturally because the Congress has been ruling India for most of independent India’s history. Of course, that pride is now frayed because even the top leaders of the Party know that it can never again be the natural ruling party of India. Lest you forget, Assam, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh are the only states where the Congress has a majority of its own amongst major states. That kind of denting of pride often leads to wrath. I can cite dozens of examples of the wrathful and unbecoming manner in which the UPA regime has acted. But I will cite only one. Amitabh Bachchan was literally hounded by income tax authorities even as he was lying seriously ill in a hospital bed in Mumbai.

Need I say more?


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