By T.J.S. George
Justice Katju is known for using language of the extreme kind. But his words hit the bull’s eye last week when he spoke to a regional channel. India, he said, was in the hands of goondas; they must be shot. He recalled how the so-called “aristocrats” were guillotined in the French Revolution. We have to do the same, he said, because this great country is ripe for revolution. Without discriminating between parties and ideologies, he said “these politicians will not change their nature; they are enemies of the country; they must be shot.”
There may be penal provisions under which Justice Ketju can be prosecuted for propagating violence. But that would invite derision because not only is his honesty of purpose beyond question; his views — minus the guillotine part, perhaps — are a reflection of public opinion. These politicians, be they in UP-Bihar, or Rajasthan-Gujarat, or in the South, are indeed taking the country to ruin. And they will not change.
Once upon a time, corruption was the most discussed aspect of the ruination that politicians had brought upon the country. From Bofors we have graduated to the banking system with the glittering gems of Nirav Modi demonstrating how all-encompassing cheating can get.
Simple corruption has yielded to mafia corruption. Criminals have been in politics for a long time, becoming MPs and Ministers during the glory days of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav. The South of the country was relatively free of this kind of advanced democracy. But the South made up for it with VIP fathers trying to promote their sons to VIP status by hook or by crook, preferably the latter.
Indira Gandhi ushering in dynastic politics led to the triumph of Parentology as the ultimate ideology in India.
Kerala’s self-anointed “leader” K. Karunakaran even left the Congress party and formed an outfit of his own in his attempt to make his son and daughter the political commissars of the State. With his manoeuvres failing to click, he finally returned to the Congress as a de-fanged “leader.”
In Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa as then Chief Minister spent what was considered the biggest amount till then to ensure his son’s election to Parliament. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, sons have already been elevated to positions of high responsibility. These Telugu sons are educationally and technically qualified people, even then the enforcement of Parentology has led to criticism.
When the sons are unqualified, they make up by cultivating dubious affiliations. The Party Secretary of the ruling CPM in Kerala recently found his son caught in financial dealings running into many crores of rupees in Dubai. How did a communist leader’s son get involved in big business with Arab financiers? What did he do that led to Government actions like denial of exit visa? Did Kerala’s UAE-based business tycoons help settle the cases out of court? Honest communists are puzzled — the more so because the Party Secretary conducted himself more as a father than as a communist when the controversies hit the fan. Parentology is above Marxism too.
Worse was a display of brutality that shocked human conscience in Karnataka a few days ago. A man at a restaurant table had stretched his leg which was in a plaster cast. Congress MLA Haris’s son was so irritated by this that he and accompanying goons assaulted the man savagely; nine chest bones broken, facial bones shattered, eyes left haemorrhaging.
The MLA’s formal apology cut no ice because the son had been involved in similar incidents before and apparently nothing had been done to stop him. On the contrary, he was made leader of the Youth Congress and posters featuring father and son were put up in Bengaluru as part of grooming the son for higher leadership in the party.
The latest gangster act, however, attracted so much publicity that the party suspended the son for six years. Was this a show because of the approaching elections? Why was this Youth Congress leader who shamed the party so unpardonably not expelled from the party and his promoter-father told that there would be no Congress ticket for him in the next election? Should minorities be cultivated by encouraging the wrong elements among them? Karnataka is not UP. If the Congress condones gangsterism, the Congress will be the loser.
In the circumstances, who can blame Justice Katju if he says that India has gone into the hands of goondas? Politicians have indeed become enemies of the country. But let us use votes to shoot them down.