In Ye Olde England, often called a nation of shopkeepers, they had family names for businesses (which is now quite common everywhere). Be it a grocery store or a law firm most of it was run by family. You know, like Charles Dicken’s story “Dumby & Son” (no there is no spelling error in Dumby so don’t fault me) or the law firm ‘Smith, Smith & Smith’. This reminds me of an old Wodehouse-type joke about a phone-call:
Caller: May I talk to Smith
Operator: I am afraid Smith is not in the office.
Caller: Well then, can I talk to Smith?
Operator: Sir, Smith is busy right now in a meeting.
Caller: Fine, put me through to Smith
Operator: Sir, Smith is currently vacationing abroad.
Amazing, isn’t it? Each time the operator appears to know exactly which particular Smith the caller is referring to. So we have Gandhi, Gandhi & Gandhi running a small business in India. It’s called Congress!
After the Maoist attack in Chattisgarh in May 2013 which killed several Congress members the first response from Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh was “attack on democracy”. Taking that cue every Congress member and spokie screamed “attack on democracy”. It may sound harsh but these were clearly words from people who have scant respect or understanding of democracy. They have no respect for courts or judiciary. They overturn judgements by Constitutional amendments or ordinances. Because they like to fool people in this fashion a huge majority of Indians also live under the illusion we are a Democracy. Indians live in disguised dictatorship not democracy. Except for the periods when there has been a non-Congress govt at the Centre and during the tenure of PV Narasimha Rao as PM India has practically been a dictatorship. The latest round of nonsense engineered by Congis is to ban opinion polls because these are increasingly adverse to the party. Read this bit for starters:
“Democracy, no doubt, is the best system if it is run by the best people living in the state. It is unfortunate that India’s democracy is run by the worst of its citizens. There are a few exceptions but they cannot alter the well-entrenched trends of India’s democratic culture. Let us state a few undeniable facts about India’s democracy. First, families and clans act as custodians of voters and political parties. Second, most voters in the rural areas do not cast votes of their own free will and many are not even aware of their basic fundamental rights. Third, corruption and coercion are part and parcel of India’s electoral process. Last, but not least, politics is deemed dirty and dangerous by law-abiding, educated citizens of India. Along with these facts, there are certain misperceptions about democracy that have purposely been inculcated in the minds of India are by politicians. These include: elections lead to the establishment of democracy, parliamentarians are true representatives of the people and voters cast their votes freely".
Disagree with any part of the above? There cannot be any denying that the Congress has been nothing more than the private estate of a family. This is true for many other parties but they don’t claim to own India the way Congress does. Now, the para above you just read was not written by me and you will also be shocked to learn that the description wasn’t written for India. It was written for Pakistan. I have just substituted Pakistan with India. Read the whole Tribune article to know why India can never be a democracy under the Congress party. When I refer to the Congress it mean Congress (I) which is what this party, created by Indira Gandhi is and not the original Congress which had Nehru, Sardar and Shastri.
The author of the Tribune article states further: “The above-mentioned facts, misperceptions and fault lines have produced an electoral system that creates governments incorrectly termed as democratically elected. The political party is the fundamental institution of any democracy and is supposed to be structured democratically. However, in India, major political parties are controlled by a few influential families” (I have substituted Pakistan with India again). Therefore, it is stupid to even imagine that a party which once campaigned for freedom having broken away as Congress (I) and permanently become the estate of one family even claims any belief in democracy. If democracy isn’t the foundation of a political party there is no way it can want democracy for the country. Simple? And that describes the various acts of Congress over the years perfectly.
In a severe mauling of the Constitution during the Emergency, Indira Gandhi brought in the 42nd Amendment in 1976 (with most of the Opposition in jail) that curbed fundamental rights, incorporated the words “socialist and secular” into it and curbed the powers of the courts. Although some of it was repealed by the subsequent govt it describes the Congress’ contempt for democracy like nothing else. In the US the First Amendment stands for absolute free speech, in India the First Amendment stands for restrictions on your speech. We are a democracy! In the satire-movie ‘The Dictator’ (2012) Sacha Baron Cohen, an African dictator under pressure to turn to democracy, explains the values and benefits of a dictatorship and asks Americans why they hate dictatorship. I consider it one of the best movie speeches (Video: 1.15 mins. Text below the video)
“Why are you guys so anti-dictators? Imagine if America was a dictatorship. You could let 1 percent of the people have all the nation’s wealth. You could help your rich friends get richer by cutting their taxes and bailing them out when they gamble and lose. You could ignore the needs of the poor for health care and education. Your media would appear free, but would secretly be controlled by one person and his family. You could wiretap phones. You could torture foreign prisoners. You could have rigged elections. You could lie about why you go to war. You could fill your prisons with one particular racial group and no one would complain. You could use the media to scare the people into supporting policies that are against their interests.”
Which part of that speech isn’t true for India too? Which part of that speech tells you we aren’t already a dictatorship? Among modern democracies India is the only country where political opponents have been jailed without any genuine reason except that they protested misrule and corruption. We are a democracy! We have progressed so far as a brutal dictatorship that our govt even arrested and jailed Anna Hazare merely because he was going to protest. We are a democracy! We have a CM, Nitish Kumar, who is so paranoid and treats his State like a private fiefdom, that he dictates who should enter and who can campaign in his state. We are a democracy!
We have politicians making laws like 66A which can land you in jail for harsh criticism of Sonia Gandhi or mocking her. We are a democracy! We have the Shehzada telling poor people emotional crap like “airports and roads can’t feed you”. It doesn’t occur to the Shehzada that those who worked and laboured to build the roads and airports earned their bread honourably instead of crumbs being thrown at them by the ‘family’. In short, he’s telling them “Don’t bother fishing we will give you the fish”. We are a democracy! Please vote for me in the name and sacrifice of my Mummy who cries, My Daddy who was killed, my Daadi who was killed and my Great-Daada. We are a democracy! Vote for Smith, Smith & Smith!
The late Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin had many statues erected for themselves. Many roads and schemes were named after themselves. Cut to India; every second scheme is named after some Nehru-Gandhi family member. There is hardly any village, town or city where you won’t find statues of the ‘family’. Of course, we are still a democracy. And then when someone talks about honouring Sardar Patel they are upset. They want to own Sardar Patel too when the man would be the first to dump the current Congress (I) in the Arabian Sea. They call themselves “secular” while constantly dividing society by religion and caste through every policy and law they make. They give out laptops and mobiles like a Raja throwing gifts at his poor subjects. They believe in democracy! The fear-mongering is now at its peak. Anything threatening Smith, Smith & Smith… Err… Gandhi, Gandhi & Gandhi is now a threat to democracy.
The most amazing part of their story is that they then tell you that the other party or the other guy is pure evil. The last line of Cohen’s speech in the ‘The Dictator’ is one of the most important ones: “You could use the media to scare the people into supporting policies that are against their interests” (Read lobbying, FSB, Communal Violence Bill, 66A blah blah). We have come so far as a democracy that we have now gone beyond fear-mongering. Political parties are actually colluding with terrorists to get a major opponent killed. Still believe we aren’t a dictatorship in disguise?
To be continued…