Issues

Who rules our country?

Salman Sultan

Recently, we have been witness to unruly mobs taking law into their hands. They have indulged in rampant violence, loot and arson while destroying public and private properties. A one-day Bharat bandh cost Rs. 25,000 crore (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/one-day-strike-cost-rs-25000-crore-to-economy-chambers/). More than 800 trains were affected during the Jat agitation and the Railways suffered a loss of Rs 250 crore due to disrupted freight movement (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/one-day-strike-cost-rs-25000-crore-to-economy-chambers/). During recent Patidars’ agitation in Gujarat, shut down of internet alone resulted in loss of Rs 1,500 crore to banks due to suspension of internet banking services.

This is just to have a glimpse of the great loss the country suffers both publicly and privately. Agitators belonging to a single community are emboldened to such an extent that they don’t hesitate in torching police stations, Railway stations, government vehicles and other such public property, apart from inflicting losses on hapless individuals who unfortunately get trapped during these agitations. While government agencies were harsh in dealing with students who, after all, were staging peaceful demonstrations in universities like HCU or JNU, they horrifyingly showed their helplessness in dealing with mobs of powerful communities entrenched in our society. Alleged slogan shouting in JNU, later attributed to a doctored video, was enough to slap sedition charges on these students. Even lawyers, who are supposedly well-versed in legal matters, took law into their hands even in court premises and were brutal in their attacks on a trapped and helpless Kanahiya. Was not Kanahiya in the custody of the police? Are the police not aware of the grave responsibility they shoulder for protecting the rights of an arrested person? Still threats are openly being issued to JNU students released on bail under the watch of Delhi Police.

In Bangaluru agitation of garment workers, which turned violent, compelled the government to roll back the decision on curbing tightening PF withdrawals. Just two days of agitation was enough to make the government arrive at a decision within hours. “It seems good sense has prevailed on the part of the governmeqnt”, quoted a news item. Good sense surely prevailed, but at what cost? Earlier, the finance minister had also had to roll back tax exemption limits as now EPF is fully tax exempted. The government engages so many agencies and experts to finally draft the Union budget proposal. How do these half-cooked ideas creep in?

Turning to the plight of farmers who suffer from drought or failure of bore-wells. While these farmers are mercilessly beaten and their property (tractors) taken away for non-payment of a few lakh rupees of bank loan, well-connected businessmen live lavishly abroad not caring two hoots for government orders/summons. It is really cruel on part of ministers, who use choppers or comfortable cars to go on inspection of drought-affected areas, to get precious water sprinkled on roads or landing pads. While farmers are committing suicide due to lack of water these ministers let precious water to be used for their luxury.

When the PM calls himself “Pradhan Sevak” what are these ministers on whom hard-earned tax payers’ money is spent unscrupulously? If ministers are not healthy, they should not take up the responsibility, or at least they should use some other means of comfortable transportation: train or road. In case of a Maharashtra minister’s tour of Latur, the distance involved was just a few kilometers (Latur to Belkund is 40 Km), for which a chopper was used. Nobody cares for farmers because they are sensitive human beings who know the importance of nurturing crops.

They are creative, hardworking people who patiently toil in extreme conditions to give us our food. They are so much preoccupied with sowing, irrigating and reaping crops and, on top of that, being gentle souls, they never think of organising themselves for violent protests. Sensitive people are aware of the plight of these farmers. Yogendra Yadav and others do write/petition the government, but these gentle reminders never  rustle their feathers.

A drawback of electoral politics is the great importance of en bloc vote, and as government is formed on majority, it works very well if political parties can please a whole community through lure of caste-based reservations. Caste-based Census may well provide data and indicate whether affirmative action is required or not. Presently, it has been observed that government can easily be intimidated with threat of violence and government agencies treat ruffians with kid gloves for fear of adverse action against them. Transfer or even suspension may be the reward for upright officers who dare to obstruct such violent agitations. Mob leaders know very well that government law enforcing agencies are toothless as far as their agitation is concerned and, therefore, they exhort the crowd to violence. Nobody gets punished in a nameless crowd/mob, although law enforcing agencies do know the leaders who perpetrate these crimes and who should be pinned down for the colossal loss and hence for their anti-national activities.

An anecdote: A Roman asked his friend as to who ruled Rome? The Senate, replied his friend. No! Then Caesar. No! Maybe, Caesar’s wife. No! It’s the mob which rules Rome, explained the first Roman.     

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2016 on page no. 2

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