Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tired and Awake

The satisfaction of working late night to finish a task is great.


When you go to bed, you are knackered, exhaustion does not let you sleep, mind is playing tricks, you are in a kind of energy-saving mode, slow, thoughts come to your mind but fail to register, and you are happy that the task is done, but you worry about many things, one worry is that next day in office you will have these compelling urges to sleep at most inopportune moments, these worries evade your sleep, try play a game on your mobile but you are too tired to focus, sleep refuses to oblige, but can’t be awake either, you struggle in this state of suspended animation, and then something in you gives in, darkness, senses fade, battery is run down, you must be sleeping now, and then something happens, soon, your eyes open again, resist sleep, it was a tactical retreat to regroup your energies to fight sleep, your mind has some weird ideas, body implores to go to sleep, sleep fades this time, birds chirrup, the horizon is red announcing dawn, then you wait for the first light, but when you resist not to sleep, and want to get off the bed to do nothing, that is when a surging slumber hits you like a bolt from the blue, finally, you are dead sleep, but rattling of mobile wakes you up, you do not know when, four hours later, the bright sun is staring at your face through ajar window, call from home: how are you?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lama, America, China, Happiness and Cartoon

China is miffed. President Obama meets the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in White House. No marks for guessing it right: they discussed Tibet. Technically, Dalai Lama meeting should have no political ramifications.

Miffed Chinese should know that Dalai Lama is no more the political representative of the cause of Tibet. The Dalai Lama step down as Tibet's political leader early this year. This marks the separation of politics from religion.

The first prime minister of government of Tibet in exile, Lobsang Sangay, is a Harvard scholar (a premier American university; Chinese would be miffed again!).

Dalai Lama is now a spiritual leader, only. It is his befitting reply to communist China’s allegation that “Tibetan traditions” is a ludicrous attempt to protect itself from democracy I read somewhere. Agreed.

Now that Dalai Lama is just a spiritual leader telling Americans some profound truth. "All religious traditions carry the same message ... of love, tolerance, compassion ... self-discipline, justice, truth," he said. And therefore they should not be closely attached to their own religions that they block out all they could learn from other faiths. Well taken. Claps!!!

“Moral principles are not rooted in religious doctrines, but in the pursuit of happiness,” the 76-year-old Buddhist monk emphasizes to a strong gathering of 10,000 admirers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Further, "Moral principals must be based in religious faith not necessarily religious belief," he added.

I read this PTI’s press release. I am trying to reason. The first part is clear: atheist can be moral. And many religiously dogmatic people are crooks of highest order.

But the fact that morality leads to happiness is hard to understand. Simply because morality and happiness both are difficult to define, everyone has their own subjective ways of dealing with these words.


Anyways, I love this cartoon. The message is simple. And is understood. It is rooted in deep philosophical, psychological and sociological understanding of society where people are categorised and stereotyped and they behave accordingly. I don’t know who is done this cartoon, I pilfered it from somewhere, is a work of a genius.

Mumbai Blasts Again

Three blasts ripped apart the city of Mumbai (7/13), second major terror attack within three years left nearly 20 dead. India failed to prevent the attack. Rahul Gandhi, the prime minister in waiting, confirms: 99 percent of the terror attacks are foiled by the vigilant Indian security establishment; but is this a justification for 1% of successful attempts that kill scores of people? He tries to find a reason to rejoice in this grim hour of hopelessness that is replacing the sense of security among Mumbaikars. Though, giving devil its due, full proof security is a fallacious concept, unrealizable, especially in Mumbai where there is a huge influx of migrant population; tentacles underworld is penetrated deep, control city life in significant ways.


Photo: Impulse

The life has to go on. There is no other way. Those dead are gone, injured crippled, their families mourn. The poor families cannot afford to mourn for too long, have to piece their life together, fend for themselves.

The city of Mumbai is working again, crowd, buses, cars and trains ply usually; bank, offices, businesses, markets are open. People are cautious and conscious of what happed 48 hours ago, but not intimidated. It is not clear to me whether this is resilience or indifference? The fear hangs like dark monsoon clouds on people’s psyche.

Indifference is a blessing in disguise in these circumstances. Destruction is such an easy act compared to creation, terrorists know this very well. One act of vandalism can undo years of good work. Life is precious, it is priceless, cannot be allowed to go waste, due to mindless violence that is directed at nothing. It is their constant reminder that the world is not a safe place to live in. Can this stop? People willing to act as human bombs to kill innocent people: can they be reasoned?

This attack came as a surprise to the security establishments were caught napping again. The nation has reacted in the same way. This sameness is frustrating. The blame has been put on a terror group called Indian Mujahideen as we are told that they use ammonium nitrate based explosive, a chemical that can be easily purchased in India in name of industrial use.

This is a sorry fact that needs to be mentioned. India is a soft state when it comes to dealing with terror. The popular sentiment that these terror attacks generates is not outrage anymore. It is that of pity and helplessness, is kind of given, as if nothing really can be done about it. For media it is a significant news item that will keep them busy for a couple of days.

The politicians will do what they always do: talk tough; reiterate India’s zero tolerance to terror, sometimes issue a terse warning to neighbouring Pakistan to dismantle terror infrastructure. The institutional and structural reforms suggested are stagnating in the official files. Some have structural changes have taken place, but still not fully functional. Nothing really is changed between the two terror attacks in Mumbai in last three years.

Now they say other metropolis could be targeted soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The FOXIFICATION of NEWS

The best way for de-foxification is not to be inert but responsible: the media should take a stand based on the facts of the matter and should not be guided by considerations of ideology, inherent bias, opinions or narrow considerations of caste, religion, ideology or language. I am for a clear vision, for accepting the reality as it is and against coloured vision that disfigures reality.



http://www.economist.com/node/18904112?story_id=18904112&fsrc=rss

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Loco Pilots

How random can your blog topics get? As random as ramdomness becomes a way of life.

We have a new railways minister in Dinesh Trivedi. His predecessor, junior minister Mukul Roy, who did not see a reason to visit the rail accident site near Kanpur as he was to accompany his political master Mamata Banerjee to some political meeting, had the audacity to snub prime minister by telling media rather dismissively, “I am not the railways minister, PM is.”

Anyways the topic of the blog is loco drivers, the real hero of Indian Railways. In this hour of doubt and skepticism about the manner in which railways is run in this country, my thoughts go to loco drivers.

(image:TOI)

Every day 8,000 trains, 7,500 locomotives, more than 280,000 coaches and wagons zigzag 80,000 kilometers of railway track carrying about 13 million passengers, 1.3 million tons of freight to 6,867 stations. That makes Indian Railways the lifeline of the nation.

Loco pilots lead extremely difficult and regimented lives to keep the iron wheels rolling, to keep the nation's lifeline alive. It is one of the most thankless and arduous profession. I had interacted with the loco drivers last year for a story that was never published. I was looking at some of the old notes and thought of writing a blog on the loco pilots/drivers.


Within the loco drivers community, the goods train drivers are the most depressed community. Their duty the toughest. They have a 72-hour-long duty at one go. A loco driver in Ghaziabad described his typical schedule: Ghaziabad to Ambala-12 hours, eight-hour rest, then, another ten hours to reach Tughlakabad. Eight hours of rest and then head to Panipat, rest again, and back to Ghaziabad.

"Our life is run by schedules set in hour-scale," says Sharma, a loco driver. They get a 30-hour rest after every tour which is technically one and a quarter day. Strange! This is the only time they get to spend with the family. Since delays are most given, duty hours always eat into the rest time. No holiday. No off. This schedule goes on mercilessly, unchanged, for years together. "Summer, winter, rain; day or night; duty means duty," asserts Sharma.

Quite understandably they do not have a social life outside their community of loco drivers. "I have not met friends and relatives for years," says Vinod, 55 years old electric loco driver. "If wives are educated and wise, children grow up well. Or else they get spoiled," says Ramesh. His son had taken to drugs, a frustrated youth struggling to get a job.

Life is slightly better for the passenger-train drivers as their duty is well defined. “We get a train allotted, and therefore have a fixed schedule," says Amresh, assists electric loco pilot. But it nevertheless remains a high-pressure job.

Two men: loco pilot and his assistant have a whole train at their disposal. Many a times they get off the train fixing minor faults. "If the train makes an unwarranted stop for more than half-an-hour, explanation is called for the headquarters," explains Gautam, a loco pilot. Presumably so as the whole system is so inter-related, delay in one train can unsettle the schedule for that route.

"What pangs us the most is that invariably we are held responsible for most of the rail accidents," says Hem Raj, a loco driver, he was about to retire in six months. "We are made scapegoats," he adds strongly refuting charges that accidents mostly are caused by human error. "We are not killers. Trains are not Maruti cars, you press brakes and they will come to a grinding halt. If somebody gets killed, even a cattle, I cannot eat meal the whole day," explains Raj.

Now the engine drivers have to, thankfully, undergo breathalyzer test before they get to drive the train.

"After all the trouble we take that comes with this job, it remains essentially a thankless job," says Devandra another loco driver. When the train arrives late, some passengers will walk up to the engine and abuse them, “as if we stopped the train to have tea or attend a party,” says Devandra, "We follow this unwritten law, see nothing, speak nothing other than what duty demands. It helps,” he adds.

“Long gone are the colonial days when we were treated like a hero; there were special incentives that came with the job, we were considered at par with soldiers fighting a war. We are now nuts and blots of the engine. It is no surprise therefore that the government and the people at large treat us like nuts and bolts," says Hemraj who is driving locomotives for thirty years now. He cannot chat more, the train whistle is blowing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ugly Reality

Split Me by Me


The framers of the constitution (of India and of many other countries) had this vague concept that most of the people in the society are idealists, they would work to make system work and not systematically abuse it.

It is a utopian fallacy. People appointed to high offices that demand objectivity and apolitical handling of issues, work in violation. There are very few notable exceptions. Exceptions are sidelined.

Constitution creates a rosy picture of how things ought to be, but the picture of how things actually are is very ugly.

Propriety as requirement will never be met. The ideological leanings and bias is okay, bearable. But, when party affiliation, considerations guided by pecuniary benefits come into play in decision making, every time more blatantly than in the past, is frustrating, is a sad reality that has to be dealt with.

A reality that cannot be wished away: journalist, judges, bureaucrats and politicians, and all those who did not get mentioned, are party to this ugly reality. They are having a great party. And people like me sulk.

It is frustrating simply because I know too much and cannot be a blissful ignorant.

Success as we define today is about this great ability to live life of a split personality which is not a disorder. There is one persona for the public consumption that is misleading. The other is the real one but is hidden yet operational.

Maturity demands that one gets into this ‘spilt personality mode’ with ability to readily switchover from one to another, like a chameleon.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Murdoch gets a taste of his own medicine

It is a bad NEWS for both News of the World (NOW) and Rupert Murdoch.

But a mere regret is what comes from Murdoch who has a lot of explaining to do, sooner than later: "I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so. This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret."

He sends email to the staffers of NOW: “have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong - indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company." So the end of NOW came sudden. Email clarifies: Murdoch knew nothing about tapping fiasco, at least that is what is made to believe, so the buck stops at the staffers and journalists who tapped phones illegally to get the story going for NOW. “Murdoch sacrifices his toxic tabloid to save empire” is a great headline in one the leading newspapers that sums up the whole situation.

I am an investigative reporter. I can tell you I like to dig up dirt on. But that is not the only reason why I risk my life, sometimes, to get the facts out in public domain (to me always in public interest http://mihir-wordtothewise.blogspot.com/2011/06/sting-king.html).

There is an enormous pressure to do something different, “exclusive.” The reporters are obliged to do it at any cost, they are told: where there’s a will there’s a way. The tragedy for a reporter is that the whole media fraternity is preying on the same story, even a turn of face, shake of hands get scrutinised and reported. In this clutter how do you get more ‘exclusive’? So, either, you find a bigger sensation somewhere else that will make bigger news and you would be honoured for 'breaking' a story. Or else find new ways of getting more information in the same set of stories.

Dead don’t speak. Technology can make even dead speak. So, to get access to technology, which in turn will help access ‘exclusive’ information becomes a job requirement. Some do it effortlessly. They become great reporters. And all publications play on their information, bring out cover stories, nobody is bothered about the means adopted to procure the information as long as it sells, brings more TRPs or enhance circulation. Ethical question come into play when dubious means get exposed.


Cartoon by Steve Bell

Now the reporters are conveniently blamed for it and they will be put behind bars. But Murdoch cannot just get away sending a note: you did it, I didn't know, I am not happy, you all are fired. He is responsible for creating a work environment where the fending for ‘exclusive’ information becomes biggest job requirement, so much so that even the law of the land is not a consideration.

Since all have something to hide people like Murdoch become powerful because of their ability to prey for hidden, expose and transmit it to every household. He did very well in exposing others. But in the process, he created his own need to hide things; the list was growing all the time.
He is not doing so well when it is his turn to face the media and scrutiny. Pity! This may just provide the opportunity to so many disgruntled people waiting in the wings to wreck future prospects of his business, give body blow to his media empire that has a global spread.

Getting back to his statement he made to his NOW staffers, he says.. "have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong - indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company" and goes on write "..failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose”.

He acknowledges that he ‘failed’ in some respect. Who will pay the price of this failure? The staffers. The journalists. Murdoch’s drama will go on in days to come.
The NOW staff is shocked, they all stand fired. End of a paper that had the USP of "insatiable appetite for scandal” that became a cause of its “ undoing," as Sydney Morning Herald puts it. NOW's political editor, David Wooding, calls the move as a "bombshell", told BBC, the paper was "fantastic" and "decent, hard-working, distinguished journalists were all carrying the can for the sins of a previous regime." Clarifying that the current lot has nothing to do with the phone tapping scandal.

Like Murdock, the current staffers of NOW feign ignorance, and put the blame squarely on former editor Rebekah Brooks is seen as a strategic move to prevent heads rolling at the top of the empire. She will get no help from her political and corporate masters as they want to maintain safe distance with this phone tapping scandal. NOW’s former editor, Andy Coulson, now a key aid of British Prime Minister David Cameron, is already been arrested, with no help coming from Cameron. Some half a dozen journalists will be arrested or are in the process of being arrested. Many heads will roll.

It is being dubbed as the biggest ‘PR’ disaster of Murdoch’s career. Billions of money is to be made by PR agencies to turn tides in favour of Murdoch. The doctor gets the dose of his own medicine. Will he recover?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lyrical Genius, Soulful Singing 2: Evening!

These are two gems from Hindi film music. The common interesting aspect of these songs is the they say evening or the dusk is when the pang of separation of the beloved is felt the most. In the evening the reassuring presence of beloved compensates for a day long of struggle with the outside world.





Song 1:
Shaam-E-Gham Ki Qasam Aaj Ghamgin Hain Hum
Aa Bhi Jaa Aa Bhi Jaa Aaj Mere Sanam
Shaam-E-Gham Ki Qasam
Dil Pareshaan Hain Raat Veeraan Hai
Dekh Jaa Kis Tarah Aaj Tanha Hain Hum
Shaam-E-Gham Ki Qasam



I swear by this morose +sorrowful evening,
I am so anguished today
Please come, please come today my beloved,
I swear by doleful evening how badly I miss you
My heart is disquiet, agonised; this night is vapid,
Come and see how lonely I am today


Chain Kaisa Jo Pehlu Mein Tu Hi Nahin
Maar Daale Na Dard-E-Judaai Kahin
Rut Haseen Hain To Kya Chandni Hai To Kya
Chandni Zulm Hai Aur Judaai Sitam
Shaam-E-Gham Ki Qasam


What peace of mind if you are not there by my side?
The pang of separation might kill me, I hope not
What if the weather is beatific?
What if the night is glowing in the moonlight?
Moonlight is torture,
Your absence is tormenting..
I swear by this morose evening


Ab To Aaja Ke Ab Raat Bhi So Gai
Zindagi Gham Ke Sehraav Mein Kho Gai
Dhoondhti Hai Nazar Tu Kahaan Hai Magar
Dekhte Dekhte Aaya Aankhon Mein Num
Shaam-E-Gham Ki Qasam


I implore come now, even the night is gone to sleep
And my life is lost in the dark, thick haze of sorrow
My eyes crave for you….where are you?
My expectant, tired eyes are wet looking for you
I swear by this doleful evening

Song 2:
phir vohi shaam vahi Gam vahi tanahaaI hai
dil ko samajhaane teri yaad chali aaI hai


Again the same evening, the same sadness, the same loneliness
your memories have come to console my heart


phir tasavvur tere pahalu me bithaa jaaegaa
phir gayaa vaqt ghadi bhar ko palat aaegaa
dil bahal jaaegaa aakhir ye to saudaaI hai
phir vohi shaam ...


Then imagination will take me by your side
Then good, past time will return momentarily
Heart will get consoled after all it is crazy
Again the same evening


jaane ab tujh se mulaaqaat kabhi ho ke na ho
jo adhuri rahe vo baat kabhi ho ke na ho
meri mazil teri mazil se bichhad aaI hai
phir vohi shaam ...


Who knows will we ever meet or not
Will we get to say unsaid between us or not
My destination is not yours anymore
Again the same evening…

<i>phir tere zulf ke rukhasaar ki baate hogi
hijr ki raat magar pyaar ki baate hogi
phir muhabbat me tadapane ki qasam khaaI hai
phir vohi shaam ...


Then your tress will brush +talk to your jowl
We will make love on the night of separation
i have vowed to suffer for my lost love
Again the same evening…

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lyrical genius, soulful singing-1

Hindi feature film songs are soulful, some of the oldies, it is soothing to ears and quieten the unrest within. The lyrics are so good, simple and direct, yet deep, I wonder what the poet went through that made him write these lines, the feelings he harboured, feelings that he could not deal with, is so effectively evoked in songs they wrote, those feelings are relived by every intent listener.

I am pensive, alone; Mukesh and Mohammed Rafi’s voices are like a balm.


photo: singermukesh.com

One of my cousins is such a big fan of Rafi’s voice that he has declared Rafi a saint on just his ability to sing soulful. He has a point, shallow person cannot sing soulfully. Great vocal cords is a must, it is a great heart that makes singing emotive and divine.

In this song Mukesh is at his best. I don’t like Mukesh very much but this song is special and no other singer could have done justice to it given the way Mukesh sang it. I could feel the pain in his voice transcend from the lyrics.

Utube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhImXFInfO8

Dil Se Tujhko Bedili Hai You are heartless in the matters of heart
Mujhko Hai Dil Ka Guroor I am glad hearted about yearnings of my heart,
Tu Yeh Maane Ya Na Maane You may agree to this or not
Log Maanenge Zaroor but people will surely concur

Yeh Mera Deewanapan Hai This is my madness
Ya Mohabbat Ka Suroor or is it enchantment + euphoria of love
Tu Na Pehchaane To Hai Yeh If you can’t make out
Teri Nazron Ka Kusoor then your eyes+sight is at fault
Yeh Mera Deewanapan.. This is my madness...

Dil Ko Teri Hi Tamanna heart pine for only you
Dil Ko Hai Tujhse Hi Pyar , hearts loves only you,
Chaahe Tu Aaye Na Aaye Even if you come or not
Hum Karenge Intezaar , I will wait for you,
Yeh Mera Deewanapan... This my madness…

Aise Veerane Mein Ek Din In this bareness one day
Ghut Ke Mar Jayenge Hum will die of suffocation
Jitna Ji Chaahe Pukaro Howsoever much you may call for me
Phir Nahin Aayenge Hum then I will never come
Yeh Mera Deewanapan... This my madness …




This song from the movie Hum Dono, sung by Rafi, is a lyrical gem by Sahir Ludhianvi.

Utube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81sXxRdnhFU

Kabhi Khud Pe Sometimes on my own being,
Kabhi Haalaat Pe Sometimes on the state of affairs
Rona Aaya felt like crying

Baat Nikli When conferred
To Har Ik Baat Pe Rona Aaya felt like crying about everything

Hum To Samjhe The Ki Hum Bhool Gaye Hain Unko I fancied, I have forgotten her (or him, gender neutral)
Kya Hua Aaj what happened today?
Yeh Kis Baat Pe Rona Aaya What made me cry?
Kabhi Khud Pe... Sometimes on my own being


Kis Liye Jeete Hain Hum Why do we live?
Kiske Liye Jeete Hain for whom?
Baarha Aise Sawalat Pe Rona Aaya now, such questions make me cry
Kabhi Khud Pe... Sometimes on my own being

Kaun rota hai kisi aur ki khatir aye dost, who cries for others, hey friend?
sab ko apni hi kisi baat pe rona aaya everyone has enough of their own to cry about
Kabhi Khud Pe... Sometimes on my own being

Monday, July 4, 2011

Physical is not Carnal

The body’s life is the life of sensations and emotions. The body feels real hunger, real joy in the sun or the snow, ... real anger, real sorrow, real tenderness, real warmth, real passion, real hate, real grief. All the emotions belong to the body and are only recognized by the mind. (D. H. Lawrence, 1955)

There is a percieved rift between the mind and the body. Everything attributed to body is carnal like a blasphemy, immoral, lust, demonish. But when mind is in the focus: it is dubbed as love, spiritual, eternal and what not.

The overriding principle for any respectable carnal interaction is that it should be between two consenting adults. The weightier concepts of love frankly is not understood properly.

So my enquiry was simple: whether there is anything called love devoid of carnality? Also does carnality has no soothing effect on mind?

So I went to a leading psychologist, (who told me that he specialises in the emotion grief) to discuss carnality in love and psychology of carnality.

We were discussing a rebel disciple of Sigmund Freud: Wilhelm Reich. While Freud stressed on working only verbally with the patients, where the analyst would sit behind the patient’s head, out of sight. Touching the patient was taboo, an approach that appears so na├»ve to me. Freud had these over simplistic rule of thumb: if a man could get an erection and then ejaculate, is a sure sign of he being sexually and emotionally healthy. And therefore such a person is not a neurotic.

Reich thankfully disagreed; to him the body language was more revealing then the spoken word. He saw that people form armours to protect themselves from their own INNER desires and instincts, not alone from the uncertainties and insecurities of the external world.

He was for dissolving those armours, which convert into rings, harden the tissue of certain body parts, distort and destroy natural feeling and inhibit, in particular, sexual feelings and prevent complete and fulfilling orgasm. To deal with it he advocated free flow of energy (is akin to flow of blood...which needs phyical intervention), by systematically dissolving blocks of muscular armouring.

He is the father of Character Analysis. That is a very interesting concept, a complete break with Freudian techniques. He even advocated ‘touch’ or physical contact between the analyst and patient. According to him the strong emotional reaction --- screaming, anger, sobbing, violent movements released and healed sexual energy. Sexual energy manifest in electrical potential created in the skin, called it psychogalvanic phenomenon as is emitted as blue radiation, like aura. Which in practical terms means that breathing in a certain way (pranayam), movement (streaching), muscular constrictions, touch and massage can be employed for successful resolution of even the most deeply held character. The point is that canal body can heal mind.


Body is sensitive and most potent interface with the soul. Denial does not lead to some elated concept of self realisation. It surely leads to frustration. Stong emotions say trauma or love, like major physical injury, may result in subtly but relatively permanent changes in the body. Like a sore shoulder over time may affect the neck, the other shoulder, and the hips.

Interestingly, massage on some areas of the body may trigger memories or a deep emotional discharge.

Sensory Awareness is essentially concentration on immediate experience as source of relaxation. It is interesting that a simple act of touch can provide rich experience, can bring inner quiet.

The relationship is causative: a state of balance in the head makes it quieter, quieter head is clearer head, is lighter head, that prevents soreness of muscles, which means better blood flow in the tissues.

Ancient Tantra is all about balance between ‘prana’ (life energy) or ‘chakra’ (energy centers in the body) that are strategically located in a straight line down our body. Tantra is not just a system of spiritual sex. It is a powerful system of holistic energy healing. The carnality of copulation has deep spiritual qualities and generates energies that has immense healing (physiological) properties by detoxifing the mind and the body of all negative energy, ensuing physical and emotional health. It is one of the most most powerful alternative healing methods available to mankind, is not about just about sexual infirmities but also spiritual and emotional disruptions.

We need to develop unarmored bodies in order to have healthy minds. Carnal is not bad.

Friday, July 1, 2011

PM I am not convinced.

Manmohan Singh’s interaction with the top ‘select’ editors was disappointing. He did not say anything that was not expected of a prime minister.

He blamed the opposition, and the media, for painting a false picture that he is heading “the most corrupt government.” He called corruption an‘aberrations.’ He wants us to believe that. If memory serves me well, just a couple of months ago, he expressed concern about corruption, assuring zero tolerance against it.

While he blames others for painting a sorry picture, he seems to be painting a wrong picture.

"The notion that I am a lame-duck prime minister is a baseless one, a complete figment of the imagination," he said. While at the same time says that he will step down the moment party high command asks him to make way for 41 years old baba, Rahul Gandhi. He is holding the position of Prime Minister at the whims of someone else and still insists he is not ‘lame duck.’

He is political lightweight, to the extent that he is described as 'economist' prime minister. That is why he does not know, or does not want to acknowledge if he knows that the position of prime ministers is where the centre of gravity of the polity rests. That is not the case here. A high office like that of prime minister is deviod political stature, leadership and weight that comes with it.

Photo:newshopper.sulekha.com

The fact that he is an economist does not seem to help as the soaring inflation is entering the third year unabated, income disparities are growing and there is consistent and substantial rise in the prices of essential commodities like food, oil; he has a pro-corporate approach and his economic measures, or sometimes absence of them like to correct of mismanagement of food economy, is anti-people.

Let us face this: there is a crisis of leadership. Prime minister is the leader of the country. This position cannot run like a stopgap arrangement.

He wants us to believe this: there was no ‘tension’ between him and Sonia Gandhi. And that she has never interfered in government. Further that her being the ‘remote control’ was a myth perpetuated by the media.

This is interesting. Media suffers from a ‘kind of cynicism' and they are spreading it nation wide. But he also admits that lots remained to be achieved. So, cynicism is not baseless, especially when a trillion dollars of loot is stashed in foreign banks, corruption is become the popular culture. He tries to sell this strange idea of a clean prime minister is heading a corrupt government. Why clean prime minister allows ministers to dirty their hands? Does it not again a point to the leadership crisis?

Prime minister was seen giving spin to issues, which I think, is only the job of editors. There is a partial acknowledgement that there is a crisis. Unless there is an acknowledgement, in full, effective remedial measures cannot be taken. It is not an argument to be won. The actions of the prime minister effects the real life of a billion people.

The present arrangement between Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh is a classic case of divorce between authority and responsibility.