Millennium Post

The truth and the lies

It is a grey area that we consternate over daily. The truth is that the chasm of our belief is widening, as is our redoubtable appetite to digest the indigestible

The truth and the lies

My name is India. I have had more than a few little ones of my own. My problem is that through my life, none have seen my cute and chosen babies, only the few rabid ones. And before I could name the cuddly lot, some friends and many non-friends rushed in, hijacking the christening ceremony. Worse still, the names they chose for my little ones were less than benevolent. Some were named Bofors, others 2G, Agusta Westland and Coalgate. Some slant-eyed ones were named Sandgate, Foddergate and Chiselgate. Atyachaar it is that I have an extended family; others still have been called Sushantgate and Lakhimpur Kherigate. And preposterously enough, some were even been named Rafalegate, Pegasusgate and Farmersgate.

Amidst all these gates, one door was slammed shut in my home, a door that I used to provide access to my little and close ones. What do I call it now – Shutgate?

Today, me, a woeful mother laments. Why? Perhaps, because just last week, a peculiar development happened – former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai allegedly unconditionally apologized to Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam for 'wrongly mentioning' him as one of the members of Parliament who had pressured him not to name former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the CAG report in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

To quote legal history, Sanjay Nirupam filed a defamation case against Vinod Rai after these events. After the former CAG, in a book authored by him in 2014, made the allegation and repeated it in media interviews, Nirupam took up the cudgels. The court disposed of the case after recording Nirupam's statement, declaring that he had accepted Rai's apology. Rai has since been discharged, the court has ruled, admitting that his apology has been accepted.

Killing an industry

I was part of that now-killed industry for 15 years, give or take a few months. Some time back, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, no less, ruled that there had been no '2G scam' at all, leave alone one that purportedly amounted to a comfy Rs 176,000 crore. So what was the ground-level truth? Years later, well after a once-strident and now beleaguered telecom industry has capitulated and suffered a painful near-death, the Supreme Court has finally cleared the air. There was no scam.

What did we achieve here as a nation? Well, we did manage to kill a buoyant industry, we rendered thousands upon thousands jobless and ensured that foreign investors worldwide become increasingly wary of the world's new emerging economic chameleon – our very own India. Me.

It is little wonder then that Vodafone Plc bluntly announced a few months back that it would not invest even a rupee more in India, forget dollars, and its India Executive Chairman Kumaramangalam Birla stepped down as Non-Executive Chairman, offering to sell the company to anyone whom the Government deemed worthy for a princely sum of Re 1. What a fall for a sunrise sector.

Sadly, we seem to be prone to and even coerced into systematically killing the goose that awaits us feasters, even as we cook its innards while the heart still thrashes around in the death throes. That is our approach to reform – economic, human, or one that involves other character traits. We are all hammer and tongs, billets and bullets, and sublime spit and polish.

New kids on the block

We have a sublime new mess now, one that involves Aryan Khan. Munmun Baweja. Arbaz Merchant. These are my three little ones that perhaps deserved a little reprieve, let me say some basic human decency in the larger scheme of things, but were bewitched by me, our country. Did they have more than a few grams of illegal and banned substances? I have no clue. What I do know is that this troika, at a tender age when most go about discovering their priorities and leanings, has now been taught a vicious lesson that shall mark the course of the rest of their lives. Please do remember that these are people of resources and that we may have robbed them of their last few festered impressionable years. They are surely on track now to finding ways to ensure these 27-odd days never happen to them again, regardless of how they lead the rest of their lives. In their shoes, I would do the same, mother country that I am.

And that, children, would be the death of me, and of us.

I have no idea who NCB's officer Sameer Wankhede is, or what he stands for. What I read in the newspapers is that Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik recently took some mighty potshots at him, claiming that this NCB Zonal Director is biased and that 'the genie is (now) out of the bottle'. Malik has also leveled allegations against Wankhede in context of the 'drugs-on-a-cruise' case, accusing the Government of misusing central agencies to defame Maharashtra and the Hindi film industry based out of my holy Mumbai.

What is the truth in the matter? I have no clue. What I do know is that my own are making me a laughing stock and putting me on the stake.

I am India, remember? Someone has to take care of me.

Moral of the story

Today, me, India, is crying. For I have witnessed sycophancy and deaths, burning pyres of people with no new place to go to for their last rites or rituals. I stand numbed, predominantly because my dying children (and those without parents) have been muted, perennially scared. Why? Perhaps it is because we have decided as Indians that we should not lose the little bit of chutzpah that we still have left in our repertoire.

That leads me, as India, to wonder. Are we, as a nation, turning belligerent? I ask this since I see my children now skulking in corners, licking their hungry and still-wet wounds. I am further pained when I see some of my still well-endowed going on long drives. Some go to Manali, others to Corbett Park, some to Goa and to Puducherry and others still to Lonavala and Khandala. Some that are blessed some more head overseas.

Throughout, I smile at my little ones and pray. For I am India, even as my little ones indulge, exult, even gouge in their moral ineptitude, pretending that there is no scourge to ward off. I pray for them because there is an improbable yet omnipresent demon baying at their behinds, one that has taught my children a lesson they refuse to learn – a whippersnapper of an orchid that has proven can be beckon mayhem.

Let's momentarily talk Uttarakhand, Kerala and Maharashtra, where nature lashes the first like never before, and COVID-19 and its new variants beset the latter. I see possibilities of more of my little ones succumbing, even as their mastiffs play politics. I could come down hard on them, but I shan't; for time has taught me what they are yet to learn – that when life and nature bite you in the nuts, you shall appreciate the misery well before the pain sets in. You have already felt the ache; you have perhaps yet to learn the angst of true anguish. That could be the true punishment.

Did I say punishment?

I did, I guess. It should be tough, this punishment, except that it is way smaller than it needs to be. A battery of lawyers from various tentacles of power pulled their mighty weight together to get our three little Mumbai kids out of custody for whatever crime(s) they committed, or didn't. The media went berserk, as only it can, with all key anchors crying foul and brandishing their verbal weapons and temerity at the seedy injustice. I agree. The kids are off the hook; rightfully so, having been taught the lesson of their blessed lives.

But I am India, remember? Who all are pulling their weight to get my farmers their true justice, 11 months into a seemingly unwinnable battle? Why are they still sitting at my border lines, with no mercy or tweets about them? I am India, my dears, but I am evolving too. It disgusts me that all the 'hits' that I am getting on Internet apps mostly show me and my children being ploughed down mercilessly by rampaging and unapologetic SUVs, and the outcome be damned…

I warn you today. Let's not challenge fate or history.

The writer is a communications consultant and a clinical analyst. Views expressed are personal

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