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Missing: Custodians of our nation

Missing: Custodians of our nation
A friend of mine has sent me a one liner. India’s choices for the elections are between a bluffer, a duffer and a muffler. It isn’t very funny, but it is tragically valid. In a nation of 1.2 billion people we have no men and women of stature, people who can walk tall and make you admire them. Instead, it is all clay feet and straw.

Ever since Jawaharlal Nehru talked about ‘midnight’s children’ (now in our sixties) and promised a ‘tryst with destiny’ we have always had someone we could put our faith in. There were even forwards and full and half backs and there was a team. We had custodians.

Now it is chaos. Complete chaos calibrated not by intellect but a lack of it. Marked not by any promise of a better tomorrow but by the deceit and sleight of hand of mediocrity dressed up as opportunity.

Is it any wonder then that you have a little over a month to go for the saga to begin and not one manifesto from the major parties, just malice and bad-mouthing. The top three simply attack each other sans any regard for the public priorities and the health of the commonweal is in jeopardy. The cacophony gets shriller and media is integral to it. Huge sums of money are being exhausted on multiple rallies that have turned into platforms for slurs.

One party leader follows the other in a bizarre chase around the country. It has never been such a circus, not even in the worst of times. Corruption, that old buddy, is now in the gym, gaining muscle mass and the touts are out in all their splendour. Our institutions are crumbling like the Lutyens’ buildings from the days of the empire. The intelligentsia has got lost in the babble. Not that they ever got an audience. The middle class is numbed by cheap rhetoric. The poor don’t give a damn so far as they can break some furniture. Half the candidates are crooks and enough of them ‘sanitised’ criminals welcomed back into the fold, cleansed by expediency.

It has always been the saving grace that in the end before the curtain comes down, India finds a saviour. This time there is nothing on the horizon even remotely grand...either in thought, word or deed. Pygmies, all of them, crystallised in the fact that none of the Congress ministers currently holding office have the courage to stand for election. What?

Journalists have joined political parties. How can journalists be politicians? Four star generals sit at the feet of scrawny messiahs in the hope that they will re-admit themselves into the sour limelight.

Our guns don’t work, planes don’t fly, ships sink and TV pundits gobble like turkeys, making a pudding out of issues, trivialising survival, their inanity like Xylocaine, wiping out all sensation. Indeed, we are a nation on a drip, anesthetised by our own idiocy, tumbling towards the cliff like lemmings.

It can’t be that bad? It is. You look around and you see nothing rising, no ashes, no Phoenix, nothing. Think of it, nothing anywhere that gives us hope for tomorrow.

How can we vote for you if we don’t know what you stand for except that you cannot stand the other guy. I take the liberty of speaking for everyone that we don’t want any more of that meanness.

Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal, stop a minute, will you? Where are you taking this country? Gentlemen, you owe us that answer.... or else stop that raucous music and don’t sit on those chairs.

By arrangement with Governance Now
Bikram Vohra

Bikram Vohra

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