I am personally tired of hearing the hackneyed phrase of divide & rule for blaming the British Government in India for every ill afflicting the country, be it integration or unity or economy. The fact of the matter is that the foreign rulers must be turning in their graves after witnessing what our indigenous tribe of rulers has done to the people in less than just 66 years. Our rulers have achieved the most envious record of destroying the social fabric of harmony and fraternity, brutalized every single institution of democracy, reduced governance to a mockery and made the highest democratic position a butt of ridicule everywhere. The people agitate for their rights in the streets everyday from onions to work, education to health care, freedom of speech and expression to life & liberty, inflation to price rise and end of corrupt government to installation of good governance. What they get in exchange is harsher laws, their pernicious implementation to perpetrate greater harshness, increased inflation and price rise, curtailment of freedom to silence their voice. The bureaucracy survives on this enigma of silence, the polity practices it to extremes where it turns in to a fine art and the government sets newer benchmarks every day. It keeps silent, buys time and when compelled to speak blames the global environment, such as the economic slowdown. Crying foreign wolf and nurturing indigenous ones is an art practiced in India which can’t be matched by the past or present British governments or by any government anywhere in the world.
Some people call the powers that be thick skinned. It doesn’t matter if they are thin skinned or thick skinned because they skin the people to their bones while wearing the creation of their own skin themselves! Silence, they have proved beyond any unreasonable doubt, is golden. They blame the agitating masses, classes, parties, judiciary or rating agencies as rabble rousers, motivated or advocacy groups! They engage people in activities like pursuing the right to information, but grant privilege to themselves as exempt from the remit of any such law! They grant the people the privilege to become whistleblowers, but blow their own trumpet even when proved scamsters. The “work” created by them for the people has the quality of being a “work in progress forever”. While the people, the investigating authorities, the judiciary and the media have been given more work than their capacity or capability, the rulers have reveled in the glorious golden era for themselves. All due to “silence”- such is the virtue and value of silence, which is truly golden and yields immeasurable gold to them. It is the glitter of the gold that they can use to divide and disintegrate, subjugate and enslave, subvert and undermine, sabotage and destroy the dream of a democratic India as put down in writing in the form of the Constitution of India. It is worse than plutocracy going by the ever rising crime graph in the country, replacement of the rule of law by the rule of the lawless, anarchy and chaos for governance, violence and atrocities perpetrated on all the law abiding citizens. As such rulers do not envisage the end of their rule, they turn more despotic in conduct of governance. But the law of Nature is that everything that begins comes to an end.
It is not as if they are not being challenged. They are safe only because their challengers are caught in the vortex of countering them in their way only, which ends up as a very feeble imitation. They counter the policy of divide and rule by themselves falling prey to the same policy unwittingly. On that basis they will never achieve success and even if they achieve it, it will be short lived, as has been proved several times in the earlier experiments at alternatives to corrupt governance.
Where lay the secret then? The secret lay in burying the earlier aphorism of divide & rule. It must be replaced by “Provide & Rule”.
The measure of bad governance is when the people are deprived of the basic requirements like food, clothing or shelter. A government that practices, tolerates or keeps silent on corrupt functioning of the system is bad government. A government that demands transparency of the people but denies it to others is undoubtedly a bad government. A government that becomes totally insensitive to the suffering of the people is decidedly a bad government. A government that turns dysfunctional but tries to hide behind legislation or policy or committees is certainly a very bad government. A government that does not respect or deliberately expresses disrespect to constitutional authorities is a bad government. A government that repeatedly upturns judicial pronouncements is not only bad but sinister also. A government that keeps the people on highest alert for decades is a bad government. A government that weaves illusions like Sharm-al-sheikh repeatedly is a very bad government.
Unless the challengers have on offer the option of a better government than the present one, the miseries of the people are not going to be mitigated. The good government has not only to end the maladies of the bad government but provide for the people everything that a democracy is meant to do. People’s aspirations need to be fulfilled. It is no charity or obligation, it is their right and the government’s duty. It is possible only if the country is seen as a single well knit community, a united and integrated India. That India is restless to assert itself. It is only looking for a leader. That is why even a non-descript person succeeded in enlisting people’s support when he stood up against corruption recently. The time has come to deliver, not rhetoric but good governance. It is time to turn the weapon of the corrupt, the Silence of the Foxes, into the weapon of the transparent to serve the people through good governance. There is nothing greater than service to the people, as has been rightly said by the wise that service to the people is service to the Almighty!