And why our politicians do not get angry when they should
Prasanna Mohanty | December 15, 2011
Something extraordinary happened on November 25. Our democratically elected representatives actually conducted some parliamentary business, only for a little while though, without bringing the houses down – something that hadn’t happened before and wouldn’t for the next five days of the winter session.
That day the presiding officers began the day’s proceedings by ‘condemning’ the assault on agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. This was followed by more of the same from leading members of the houses who were livid at the development. The prime minister, his cabinet colleagues and all major political parties had expressed their anguish the previous day itself, minutes after a youth slapped Pawar at a public function not far away from the parliament house saying, “This is my answer to corrupt politicians.” One veteran minister wondered aloud: “Don’t know where this country is going.”
For once, politicians of all hues buried their differences and united in venting their anger. This done, they proceeded to bring the houses down, that is, until December 7 when the government managed to cool the frayed tempers on FDI in retail.
One man is angry at this. He was then too when he was told about Pawar being slapped and asked his informants, the TV reporters: “Just one slap?” That was Anna Hazare. He did subsequently express remorse at his ‘non-Gandhian’ comment and does so again in his latest blog posting but this time he asks the politicians to think why Pawar was slapped.
Why was Pawar slapped? Because there is public anger against unbridled corruption and runaway inflation, he writes. Then he proceeds to list some of Pawar’s contributions to public life. He says Pawar and his ministerial colleagues never bothered to redress Maharashtra farmers’ problems he has been raising for the past 22 years. As agriculture minister, Pawar imported wheat worth several crore of rupees, which was found unfit for human consumption and dumped. Pawar promoted corrupt ministers, and corrupt officials, against whom Anna had provided evidence and which led to the sacking of some of them but never prosecuted for their crimes. On the other hand, he and his colleagues have been hounded for years through inane inquiries and false cases for exposing the corrupt around Pawar.
Why a slap to Pawar evokes so much anger in our politicians who are perfectly at peace with Pawar’s many misdemeanours? Why they never lose cool when distressed farmers commit suicide across the country and for several years in running? Or when the farmers are killed in police firing for peacefully demanding their rights?
“Ek thappad ka gussa kai logon ko aaya, lekin pura jeevan samaj or desh ke liye arpan karte hue itni takleef di jati hai uska gussa kisi ko nahin aata. Yeh durbhagya ki baat hai.” (One slap evokes so much anger in so many but no one is angry when somebody who has dedicated his entire life to people’s welfare is being constantly persecuted.) The last reference is to Anna himself.
Quite a bit of food for thought.
Also see: Slapgate: is Pawar Dr Dang?
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