Child of our Times H.D. Kumaraswamy
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Child of our Times H.D. Kumaraswamy

A Helpline to rule Karnataka’s 6.5 crore people from Lord Buddha!

While I was studying Diploma in Advertising in Mumbai, the first principle in offset printing was explained thus: Water and oil do not mix. Before the May 12, 2018 Karnataka Assembly election, we have seen how Congress and JD(S) fought the election, going after each other’s jugular veins.

Siddharamaiah had launched the Congress campaign on his presumed victory with sarcastic and vindictive tirade against his opponens, specially JD(S). Now after seeing the present coalition government, where the same Siddharamaiah is cosying up with H.D. Kumaraswamy, I remembered my lesson about offset printing. Yes, if Siddharamaiah and Kumaraswamy could MIX, then Water and Oil too can mix. You may call it a miracle.

Should there be a fragmented mandate, I was sure, the Congress would prefer to sit in the Opposition rather than join hands with its sworn enemies, the BJP and the JD(S). However, I was shocked beyond belief when the Congress decided to shake hands with JD(S) to form a coalition, certainly not with the intention of serving the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka but with the sole intention of keeping the BJP out of power.

In a way, Congress has become such an unprincipled party that it is prepared to do anything to achieve its own political agenda. It simply forgot Mahatma Gandhi’s famous moral precept that “Politics without principles” is among the seven sins that one should avoid. As for me, I considered the Congress and JD(S) coalition as a political miracle like mixing of water and oil defying the law of Chemistry.

Watching the ongoing discussions, debates and disagreements in the formation of the coalition Ministry and the delay of over a month, I am reminded of the opinion expressed by Prasanna, the former Director of Rangayana, Mysuru, who in an article published on May 24, 2018 in ‘Prajavani’ Kannada daily had, in the opening paragraph itself, said the ultimate truth about the sinister and unholy coalition government. Prasanna says, “No matter how, no matter by what means, but capture power.” [Hegadaru maadu, Yenadaru maadu adhare adhikara hidi]. This is today’s politics.

I guess it is not just in India but in many other countries too. The principles of political ideology and morality are thrown to the winds like chaff. Prasanna says, “Today the political parties like Congress, Communist, the Local and Regional parties have become irrelevant (in electoral politics). Instead, politicians like Modiji, Amit Shahji, Siddharamaiahji, D.K. Shivakumarji, Rahulji, Soniaji and such ‘jewel-like’ leaders have become too very much relevant.” It means elections today are won on the personality of these leaders, not on the ideology.

I remember the launching of 2018 campaign for Assembly election by the JD(S) in Mysuru district with the most bombastic slogan, nay war cry, ‘Henceforth it is the era of Kumar.’ It means the era of H.D. Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister. [Innu mundhe Kumaraparva]. Being the third political force in Karnataka, many political pundits derisively laughed at the audacity of JD(S). But see what happened, the era of Kumaraswamy has already begun. How is one to explain this? I can only call this a miracle.

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Another significant episode was in the manner Kumaraswamy took the oath of office. Deviating from the standard practice, this time he took oath not only in the name of God but also in the name of 6.5 crore people of Karnataka. Curiously, the very next day while answering to a question this was how Kumaraswamy, the newly-minted Chief Minister, responded. The question was about his election-promise of waiving off farmers’ loans within 24 hours of his becoming the Chief Minister. Probably, he thought he would not become the Chief Minister and need not worry about the promise. Well, but the miracle happened ! Yes, he has, spontaneously spoken the truth. He owes his position to Rahul Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi alone and not to the people. The implication of this answer is that he is answerable to Rahul Gandhi rather than to the people.  Let it be.

The episode of Kumaraswamy taking oath as Chief Minister on 23.5.2018 in the name of God and the people makes me wonder why do our Ministers take oath in the name of whomsoever they like. If this trend continues, a day will come when they will take oath in the name of their Godfather, Godmen, their favourite children or grandchildren, in the name of the holy cow… God knows. This way, these Ministers will be destroying the sanctity of our Constitution and the protocol of taking oath.

I remember the sixth American President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848). In the Presidential contest, he got the maximum popular votes and also from the electoral college, but he did not get clear majority to be declared as the winner. It was almost like Karnataka’s fragmented mandate in the 2018 Assembly election. In order to resolve the stalemate, the House of Representatives elected him as the President.

In a way Kumaraswamy too was elected as CM in a similar manner though not after assembling all the elected members in the Legislative Assembly. Only difference is that a member from the party which got the highest number of seats in the election was not chosen unlike in the case of Adams.

However, what I want to particularly mention here is about the manner in which Adams took his oath of office. Because of the changed circumstances under which he became the President (like our own  Kumaraswamy becoming the CM), Adams did not take oath of office in a conventional way by keeping his hand on the Bible and swearing in the name of God. Instead, he called for the book of the American Constitution, kept his hand on it and took oath. I think because of the bad experience in taking oath of office by some of our elected representatives, it is advisable for our Parliamentarians to amend the Constitution suitably, so that we can put an end to this erratic and wayward manner of taking oath.

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And finally, Kumaraswamy as CM, will certainly find it difficult to please the desperate and also disparate elements among the MLAs in the coalition. However, he must remember that he is CM for the people of Karnataka and not to his coalition MLAs. Here is a Helpline. A parable told by the Buddha.

There was a despotic King. The administration of the kingdom was in a very bad state. The subjects were very unhappy with the King but did not know what to do. An old wise man advised people to go to Lord Buddha and seek help. Buddha invited the King to his presence and told him a story.

There was a rich trader in a village who had four wives. He became old and was on the verge of death. The astrologer, who was called in, told the rich trader that his end was nearing and he could go to heaven if his wives too died with him. The trader, believing the words of the astrologer, asked his first wife if she would die with him so that both could go to heaven. She said, “No, it is not possible because I have to look after our huge property after your death.”

The trader then approached his second wife, but she too refused saying she had to look after her children. The trader then went to his third wife. She said that she loved her husband very much but she could go with him only till the graveyard.

A disappointed trader called his fourth wife and said, “Will you please die with me so that both of us could go to heaven.” The fourth wife happily agreed to the request and said, “Dear Lord, I am always ready to be with you; wherever you are I will always be with you.” Thus concluding the story, Buddha benignly smiled and explained the meaning of the story.

“Do you know who the first wife was? She was our wealth and social status. Both will never come with us when we die. The second wife was our power and arrogance, that too will not come with us when we die. The third wife was our dear and near ones. They will come only up to the graveyard. However, the fourth wife was our deeds (karma) that will always be with us. Therefore, O King, realise this truth and do only good karmas as a benevolent ruler,” said the Buddha.

e-mail: [email protected]

June 17, 2018

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Child of our Times H.D. Kumaraswamy”

  1. skywalker says:

    Commenting about coalition governments , this author says :”I guess it is not just in India but in many other countries too.” I am surprised that this well-travelled author does not follow how the coalition governments are formed in Europe and in Australia. First, the two parties intending to form coalition will let their leaders to draw up an AGREED agenda taken from the manifestos of both parties. Second, the party leaders and their teams work out in detail, the programmes that they want to implement. In doing so, they are aware of why they were voted in by the voters and hence, these programmes are meant to help not only their voters , but for all. Third,only when all these details are put o their elected members, and getting their votes, the coalition takes shape. There is no instance in peaceful times, any coalition government is formed without the above processes, just as it has happened with JD(S) and Congress.
    Hence, the observation: I guess it is not just in India but in many other countries too.” is nonsensical. Look at what happened in Germany , which is known for coalition governments. The Liberal party and National Party in Australia is another example , where two parties have worked out detailed programmes , and have formed in coalition government.
    India is unique in the kind of ” shotgun” coalition arrived within hours with no agreement on major policies- like what has happened in Karnataka and the result is the two parties are already in conflict about to present full budget or not. That is the standard of politics in India, and has been for several decades.

  2. Chief Minister H.D.Kumaraswamy’s statement that he is indebted to the Congress and not to the people is as damaging as his father H.D.Devegowda’s earlier statement that the post poll alliance with the Congress is only restricted to Vidhanasoudha.If the JD(S) is indebted to, responsible and accountable to the Congress they should ponder what will be the fate of the hapless people of Karnataka. They should make it clear that political power they have usurped in a flagrant defiance of the public mandate is to serve and promote the interests of the people or for self aggrandizement. Ironically the the JD(S) has a dubious record in harnessing political power for public good as in the earlier alliance with the BJP they governed for 20 months to subserve their political future and left Mr.Yediyurappa high and dry when it was time to hand over the Government to his BJP as per the prior agreement.

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