Sunday, April 02, 2006

surjit bhalla calls a spade a spade

apr 2nd

good for you, surjit bhalla! i have enjoyed his incisive economic commentary, but this takes the cake.

someone is saying the emperor's new clothes are... well, non-existent. of course the 'english media' goons wont do this

talk of a slave media.


Sacrifice and sycophancy
Surjit S Bhalla
Business Standard
April 2, 2006

Yesterday, it was a non-democratic Ordinance; today, it is a
resignation. Sorry, but where is the sacrifice?

There are some things I would like to understand, but am unable to. Ms
Sonia Gandhi recently resigned from her Parliament seat amid much
acclaim and felicitations for her "sacrifice". But it was just yesterday
when her government was planning to bring in an Ordinance at the
midnight hour (tried quite successfully by her mother-in-law, Mrs Indira
Gandhi, when she imposed the Emergency some thirty years ago) just to
protect her from her "sacrifice". Having resigned, she claims to have
been a victim of unfair practices of the Opposition! Now you see why I
find it difficult to understand these exciting times.

There are three possibilities about the planned but not implemented
Emergency-type act of an Ordinance. First, Ms Gandhi knew about it.
Second, she came to know about it only at the midnight hour. Third, she
came to know about it when she read about the government's planned
draconian measures in the Indian Express, the enterprising newspaper
that broke the story.

Is her relinquishing a hip pocket parliamentary seat from the ancestral
home of Rae Bareilly an act of sacrifice, as the Congress party
functionaries, and its sycophants in the media, portrayed it? Or is it
plain old-fashioned political expediency, i.e. you claim the butler did
it. Only if Ms Gandhi obtains her news about activities of a party of
which she is a leader from the Indian Express would her resignation
begin to be construed as one of sacrifice, defined as "forfeiture of
something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater
value or claim".

If Ms Gandhi came to know about "it" only from the newspapers, then the
question arises: who's in charge? Shouldn't somebody be fired? Should we
also assume that in the Quattrochhi case Ms Gandhi knew nothing about it
until she read about it in the papers? Was the request to the President
for signature, on the dissolution of the Bihar assembly, sent at
midnight while Ms Sonia Gandhi was sleeping? And in Jharkhand, was the
minority government of charge-sheeted UPA minister Shibu Soren installed
without Ms Gandhi being aware of what her minions were up to?

There is a pattern here. In the oil-for-food scam, the Congress party
was named as a beneficiary of Saddam's largesse, as several other
socialist/communist parties in the world and individuals like Natwar
Singh, who had to resign. Better that he, trusted soldier, trusted
loyalist, Congress Working Committee member for generations, hang
separately. Or Buta Singh and Bihar - better that the Supreme Court
censure Buta Singh rather than the Congress leadership, which issued the
instructions, take any of the blame.

Is Ms Gandhi a hostile witness? Yesterday, she was part of a party doing
democratic crimes; today, she says she did not witness any
misdemeanours, let alone murders.

With apologies to Paul McCartney, "How she came to know of it, she
wouldn't say, She just found out about it. Yesterday". One can go on,
and on, but let us fast forward to the punch line: Is there a single
domestic, political act that Ms Gandhi's government has undertaken in
the last two years that makes one proud to be a democrat, and an Indian?
If not, then shouldn't the Congress refrain from using words used for
genuine sacrifices, as practised, co- incidentally by another Gandhi,
Mahatma Gandhi. Is there a subliminal Madison Avenue type of
advertisement going on: Gandhi = Gandhi, so sacrifice is equal to

People have a right to know whether Ms Gandhi was privy to prior
knowledge of the UPA's many non-democratic acts. If she did, then the
media may have reached even its own extraordinary supplicant self by
anointing a very cynically political, and expedient act as a moral act.
If she didn't, then either Ms Gandhi should ask for various resignations
from her various advisers for acting not in her interest, or herself
resign permanently from politics because she did not know of several
political acts done in her name. The buck has to stop somewhere.

It is true that Indian politicians resign only in name, and so a
resignation is an act different than others. But really, to compare like
with like, isn't Ms Gandhi's resigning from the parliamentary seat
exactly the same level of "sacrifice" as Mr Vajpayee's many resignations
from the BJP party? And, thinking aloud, wouldn't Ms Gandhi's sacrifice
be a bit more of one if she did not have a hip- pocket constituency
and/or if she were running without the Gandhi name, say Ms Shah?

One final point. How much of the Teflon nature of Ms Sonia Gandhi-led
Congress is due to the nature of the Indian media? There are two forces
at work here. First, several media "leaders" have TV shows with which
they, as individuals or their firms, are associated with. So there is a
built-in compulsion to be "nice" - be nice and thou shall have Congress
guests at your show. Be honest, and .

Doesn't it bother our intellectuals to call a politically expedient act
a sacrifice? Is it just a co-incidence that the first part of sycophancy
is also a major Hitchcock movie? Do these media dons not know any better
or is it the case that they are desperately seeking a government job, or
a committee appointment, or is it the Rajya Sabha seat that they really
aspire to? If they so want to get into Parliament (as several of us, and
I will confess, I myself do) then why not do it the sacrificing way: run
for Parliament. But if they do that, they will have to spend some money,
possibly lose face, and pay some price for their achievements. I realise
that most of us do not have a dynastic name, but hey, worth trying, no?
Much better sometimes to have run and lost than to always play the
sycophant's game? Much easier, though, of achieving goals the
new-fashioned way.


iamfordemocracy said...

The Indian media, clearly, are biased. I am not surprised that they favour the more dangerous troublemakers - the Congress, the communists, the muslim fundamentalists, and the administrators who could harass them or their employees.

What I don't understand is the pattern of patronage. Do we read IE just to criticise it? Do we watch NDTV just to disagree with the way they promote some and put down some? High time someone analyses media and audience behaviour. For example, am I supporting CPM when I watch NDTV? Is there a realistic answer to this question? An answer that will empower me to mould my TV viewing behaviour to express my views?

Non Carborundum said...

Damn straight - By watching NDTV and paying for and reading IE you would be increasing the ratings (and therefore advertisement revenues) of a section of the press that supports the CPM, Congress, Islamic Fundamentalists and all other anti-national rubbish.

Consequently, you would be empowering and enriching those agencies that feed you and the rest of the public half truths and entire lies.

The lazy middle class(which is supposed to be 'well informed and educated') buys into these half truths and full lies and proceeds to vote for its own demise.

I would say watching crap TV channels like NDTV, junk newspapers like IE and garbage magazines like Outlook are anti-national activies.