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M J Akbar is reported to have “insightfully” observed,”They went to war through the media…A veteran would have told them, had they but asked, that children in glasshouse nurseries shouldn’t throw stones.”
I have always puzzled that the popadum panjandrums of India’s media are always blaming those who seek recourse to the media for the expression of their views.
What’s wrong with that in a putative democracy ?
Also everybody knows in the subcontinent, nothing happens without “band baja”
I blog, Modi and Tharoor tweet, and our more forceful neighbours in Pakistan fire off their AK 47s and their IEDs.
M J Akbar is too coy to speak the truth about India’s ruling class.
And the truth is that Dr Manmohan Singh and his Congress party have been wishy washy, namby pamby, lackadaisical, mealy mouthed and covertly encouraging of corruption.
As long as the Eleventh Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Get Caught – was not broken, Dr Singh and his party could be relied upon to engage his considerable personal influence and the immense powers of his office to pour unction on roiling waters.
Faced with a eight day long furore and the cold fact of one of his brightest colleagues having been caught red handed, Dr Singh’s reported first response was, ” There are ups and downs in politics”.
Given such dissimulation from the Prime Minister Of India, a scholar with a reputation for probity, for those who stand up for the idea of the rule of law in India, there is only one long, unbroken “down”.
Till date nobody knows for sure whether Shri Tharoor has been fired for corruption or has merely had his Blackberry temporarily taken away from him.
In other words India is so mired in corruption, that it is for all practical purposes an administrative basket case.
Yesterday it was Satyam, today IPL, tomorrow what ?
It is in the context of Dr Manmohan Singh’s indecisiveness and the leading political parties’ ambivalence on the idea of the rule of law in India, that the following recounting of the most perverse injustice may be seen:
Twenty years ago – I had the privilege of having conceived, researched, scripted, edited, presented and produced a 37 minute Doordarshan commissioned documentary in Urdu,”Hyderabad. August 1948″, on the circumstances in which the 28 year old editor Shoebullah Khan of an Urdu newspaper, Imroose, was slaughtered, because of his open defiance of the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad.
The documentary was acclaimed nationally.
Historians of the calibre of Dr Bipan Chandra commended the meticulous research.
Freedom fighters expressed their gratitude that light had been shone on a chapter of history, which they believed had been obscured.
Among the most epiphanic reviews was the one by Dr Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser, currently editor of Business Standard and fellow Hyderabadi Dr Sanjaya Baru.
Under the informal chairmanship of Dr Abid Hussain, India’s former ambassador to the USA, I was able to organise a petition to the former Prime Minister Dr P V Narasimha Rao.
This resulted in a freedom fighter’s status and pension for the martyr’s wiidow, more than four decades after his supreme sacrifice.
However since the past two decades I have been hounded by the bureaucracy, with the Indian editorial class (with an occasional honourable exception)doing its bit to trivialise, denigrate and gag me.
I have been outspoken – wrote an article in the editorial page of The Hindustan Times and The Pioneer- about corruption in Doordarshan – the Government’s so-called public service broadcaster.
Since the past two decades, the Government of India, the Government of my own state, Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh High Court , the Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner have combined to impress on me that what works in India is what I have called the “patronage paradigm” – the paradigm of shoddiness, irresponsibility, cronyism and corruption” – and that ideas of the rule of law and democratic processes are merely spectacles to lull the gullible.
I have been denied the recognition that were commended to me by one former Chief Minister of my state, one former minister of home affairs, one speaker of the Lok Sabha, several prominent ministers of the central cabinet, eminent intellectuals and freedom fighters.
I have been unable to earn a decent living.
The office of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh incited my neighbors to cut off my water supply.
Wajahat Habibullah and C D Arha have conducted themselves as though the RTI Act 2005 does not exist.
The information commissions in the state and at the centre denied me my right to information on spurious, brazenly illegal grounds and punished me for daring to object.
The AP high court sought independent legal opinion on my plaint, which was completely and unequivocally in my favour, and a judge issued a notice, yet the AP High Court high court denied me my right to competent counsel – a right given to the 26/11 gunman – and punished me for complaining.
The Prime Minister’s Office appears to have jumped through hoops to heap honour on a businessman alleged to be a serial swindler.
In the same vein, it has and continues to illegally and fraudulently deny me the information I have sought.
Rashtrapathi Bhavan had issued notices to the Ministry of Law and the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh almost a year ago, presumably it has taken a prima facie view, but since then has been content to let matters fester in limbo.
In other words, even as we speak, Dr Manmohan Singh”s office, “Daredevil” Pratibha Patil’s Rashtrapati Bhavan, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, State Information Commissioner CD Arha are all locked in a most perverse and ignominious conspiracy of silence to deny me justice.
India’s editorial class always narcissistic has decayed and is useless.
Variations of this comment have appeared in almost every major Indian online publication plus in many abroad.
However, not a single editor or reporter has had the professionalism to pick it up and make it “impact”.
My credentials are strong and I have taken much trouble to meet many editors personally, usually on impeccable referrals.
Our “know-it-all-in -chiefs” have had nothing but smirks to offer.
When I sought the solidarity of the press, Shekhar Gupta (editor in chief of The Indian Express) advised me, “You cannot go around taking pangas (quarrels) with people, yaar.”
Even my comments are mutilated.
Vinod Mehta’s “Outlook” has banned my comments on risible grounds.
The Hindu crawled.
It published “spin” by corrupt officials and got hissy with me for pointing out, with evidence, its craven, yellow soul.
The Indian Press (with a solitary exception) blacked out the fervent open letter written by Padma Vibhushan Kaloji Narayana Rao.
That dear man , clear as a bell in his nineties, had laid his head on my shoulder, hugged me and wept.
What about “civil society” in India ?
Since close to a year now, I have written to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Campaign for Judicial Accountability And Reform, Forum For Judicial Accountability, MKSS (Aruna Roy)and Anna Hazare regarding this cascading delinquency of constitutional bodies in India.
There has not been one constructive response.
They all appear to be in helpless denial of the awful truth that an innocent citizen has been hounded and humiliated since two decades, not for any bad behaviour or wrongdoing, but for resisting the dilution of the values of the Indian constitution and standing up for the correct administration of the Right To Information Act 2005.
Please visit and participate at http://sathyagraha.blogspot.com/ :
Andhra Pradesh High Court’s Pernicious Rebellion Against The Law .05/29/09
RTI Act 2005 Abuse In Andhra Pradesh- SIC Cheats! Chief Secretary Lies!05/07/09
Prejudiced CIC Laps Up PMO Lies 05/05/09
Compelling Criminality. Divakar S Natarajan and Varun Gandhi Cannot Both Be Wrong ! 01/28/09
And India’s editorial class will not report the story!
News and views from Divakar S Natarajan’s, “no excuses”, ultra peaceful, non partisan, individual sathyagraha against corruption and for the idea of the rule of law in India.
Now in its 18th year.
Any struggle against a predatory authority is humanity’s struggle to honour the gift of life.