Why mum’s the word when sons-in-law are involved

Because our ruling elite has a code of silence. That also explains Khurshid’s threats

ajay

Ajay Singh | October 18, 2012


Kejriwal at Wednesday`s press briefing
Kejriwal at Wednesday`s press briefing

Like the Italian Mafiosi bound by the pact of secrecy known as Omerta, India’s elites are intrinsically secretive. They fight back bitterly whenever this unwritten code is challenged. This is why Jinnah’s eating habits and Nehru’s notings on the Indo-China war remain taboos in public discourse so far. Gandhi, whose life was his message, is the sole exception. But in the age of social media, this code has come under siege.

Take the case of Robert Vadra whose shenanigans were talked about in a hushed tone in Delhi’s power circles. But the whole issue was forbidden in public discourse. Similarly BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s antics that cross the boundary of public morality are never a hidden fact. His dalliances with industrialists of questionable credentials are frowned upon within the Hindutva family. Yet the issue is a taboo not only for the BJP but also for other political leaders.

In this context, the reaction of BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj Arun Jaitley and RSS’s second-in-command Bhaiyya-ji Joshi in defence of Gadkari was predictable. But what is really amazing is the thickness of the hide that the political class has come to acquire over the years to become totally impervious to legal, moral or ethical values. The Vadra-Gadkari episode just exemplified that.

By all standards, it would be ridiculous to say that the charges against Gadkari are frivolous. He is accused of using his political clout to acquire about 100 acres of land near Nagpur which rightfully belonged to farmers. The manner in which his deal was cleared by the Maharashtra government speaks more about Gadkari’s political clout than the urgency of the state government to attend to “public purpose” for which the land was acquired. Farmers were intimidated to give up their claim on the land. The water reservoir built for the purpose of irrigation is effectively used by Gadkari’s so-called “philanthropic ventures” and commercial establishments like power plants and sugar mills.
But what is there to be so chagrined about, BJP leaders ask the India Against Corruption (IAC) activists. “He is making a mountain out of a molehill,” comments Jaitley, an orator and lawyer whose gift of gab has always stood him in good stead.

Of course, Arvind Kejriwal and IAC are not the first to discover Gadkari’s indiscretion. For the past decade, the entire episode was an open secret, kept under the wraps by our ruling elites. The obvious reason is not far to seek. In Maharashtra politics, the culture of promoting wealth creation by politicians of all hues has been consistently encouraged by all political parties. Through sugar mills, power plants and other commercial establishments, these leaders have been seeking to build a political cadre which owes their existence to this political class. Significantly the loyalty of this variety of cadre is far greater than those trained in politics of “mango man”, to put it in words of Robert Vadra.

For the past two decades, the conspiracy of silence of this political class ensured a complete gag on personal recrimination. In the NDA’s regime, Pramod Mahajan’s indiscretions and Ananth Kumar’s proximity with the head of a PR firm were much talked about but never in political discourse. Atal Bihari Vajpyee’s son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya was mentioned in chatterati circle as an overweening influence on the government but never talked about in the main discourse. Obviously wealth accumulations and antics of family members of politicians have gradually fallen out of the public and media scrutiny. The Indian political culture seemed truly inspired by the Sicilian values and the code of conduct.

Law minister Salman Khurshid inadvertently let the cat out of the bag when he threatened Kejriwal. There is a consensus in the political class those who violate the code of Omerta has to be dealt with an exemplary punishment. Unlike the past when the intrinsically secretive nature of the elites was confined to personal conduct, the new elites are adequately criminalized to take a threat to a logical end.

Comments

 

Other News

Making sense of facts – and alternative facts

The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World By Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan HarperCollins / 284 pages / Rs 599 Professor Noam Chomsky, linguist and public intellectual, has often spoken of &ls

The Manali Trance: Economics of Abandoning Caution in the Time of Coronavirus

The brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has left a significant death toll in its wake. Health experts advise that the imminent third wave can be delayed by following simple measures like wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing. However, near the end of the second wave, we witnesse

Govt considers fixing driving hrs of commercial vehicles

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasised deciding driving hours for truck drivers of commercial vehicles, similar to pilots, to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents. In a Na

Telecom department simplifies KYC processes for mobile users

In a step towards Telecom Reforms which aim to provide internet and tele connectivity for the marginalised section, the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communica

Mumbai think tank calls for climate action

Raising concerns over rising seawater levels and climate change, Mumbai First, a 25-year-old public-private partnership policy think tank, has written letters to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, minister for environment and climate change, tourism and protocol, Aditya Thackeray and Mumbai munic

Creation of ‘good bank’ as important as ‘bad bank’ for NPA management

After the recent announcement of the government guarantee for Security Receipts (SRs) to be issued by a public sector-owned National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), there is a surge of interest around this desi version of a super bad bank. The entity will acquire around ₹2 trillion bad debts fr

Visionary Talk: Gurcharan Das, Author, Commentator & Public Intellectual on key governance issues


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter