Cleaning the Augean Stables

The world view of the goings on in the largest (headcount-wise) Democracy globally and its people makes a fascinating read. If one takes the trouble of recording such views, expressed by both persons with opportunity to know first hand the happenings and those who either read reports in the media or hear from others during formal as well as informal interaction, one is both amazed and annoyed with the major players in action behind the goings on, whom we have been identifying as politicians, a euphemistic term for those who should more appropriately be described as vote-seekers in polls to the democratically elected bodies from the Nation’s Parliament down to Gram Panchayats, not to forget Municipal Councils and Corporations of Urban Local Bodies such as in Mysuru. Cashing on money, mostly tainted, spent virtually like water in free-flowing river  and large following of activists, who take their turn to emulate their leaders are the order of the day, with the Election Commission of India lording over the proceedings, resulting in you-know-how-fair the polls take place. At the end of this periodically staged show, the land’s people are staring at their country likened to the Augean Stables figuring in Greek Mythology.

While, according to legend, Hercules was ordered to clean out the filthy stalls of the stables housing a large herd of cattle and had not been cleaned for years, the phrase ‘Clean the Augean Stable’ most often means, in our times particularly, ‘clear away corruption’ or ‘perform a large and unpleasant task that has long called for attention.’ The Nation’s political scenario and its dramatis personae, unmistakably, are to be found, in abundance, in the Nation’s Augean Stables, awaiting action to clean it.

The land’s currently estimated electorate of nearly 900 million, still counting, seem to play their part in the democracy upto and until they cast their votes at the hustings. Thereafter, they have no option other than becoming mute witness to the game of democracy as played by their elected (as well as rejected, thanks to NOTA option) representatives with no holds barred. The biggest chink in the democratic mode of forming successive governments seems to be absence of a system that gives opportunity to the electorate to first identify their worthy representative before casting of votes either favouring or rejecting. The profile of candidates whose name appears on the EVM doesn’t require to be elaborated in this column.

The first paragraph of a news appearing in a widely read broadsheet a few days ago, reproduced here says it all: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday (August 21, 2018) proposed to make political parties accountable for criminalising politics by welcoming crooks who may later win elections on party ticket and grab power.” The matter of cleaning Augean Stables shall remain in the people’s court until the cows come home, and shall never be heard, forget a verdict after hearing!