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The sound of silence deafens democracy?


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Courtesy: Osho News

 

 Before anything critical of our crumbling republican government (the ‘GG’s) is further essayed, one thing must be said. The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on majestically and serenely; sans untoward ramifications. 

That is to say: there seem to be no egregious repercussions for journalists or civil society activists who dare to defy the establishment when it errs. However able or accomplished the previous regime was, the charity of its <um> gracious responses to Untitled-2chastisement or castigation by the Fourth Estate or other well-meaning folks Untitled-4could not be attributed to it without <er> fear or danger of being laughed out of court – except, perhaps, by some hypocrites or sycophants (the ‘JO’s) who still beat their erstwhile political masters’ drum under the guise of being “jointly opposed” to the incumbent administration.

There. Someone has said it. So have at me or us, you JOs or ye GGs!

With that said, one thing must be added. While the previous regime was good at beating about the bush (e.g. #ZERO civilian casualties), the present coalition against corruption (as it claims it is) is good at proving that even good wine needs some bush from time to time (viz. #ZERO tolerance for corruption) if it is to be consumed. 

We may have gone – in terms of successive governments’ statements on successive governments’ policies (or successive governments’ propaganda) – from the ^ridiculous to the ^subliminal. It is a sea-change. But blink and you could miss the difference. Because the richness of the difference is in its seeming sameness; its strangeness in its apparent, awful, familiarity. So legislative commentators and literary critics alike cry that the more some things change, the more they sometimes remain the same… 

By the way, there *is* a difference. 

One was a churlish administration of no mean arithmetical complexity, where one plus one was once proven – quite brutally at times – to be equal to three, or tau or pi, or a gazillion (depending on what the powers that were wanted the answer to be or not to be). ZERO civilian casualties was a complex number: it was the square root of one chauvinist cabal’s desire to whip frightened rabbits into total surrender and abject submission. It was a magic number aspiring to endear it to the watchful and unforgiving West which had a vested interested in ‘how the war was won’. 

Other less-complicated coalitions are no less capable of mathematical chicanery a.k.a. ZERO tolerance for corruption, or wooing Western allies and aid-bearers. That between the begging bowl and hot soup to the tune of $ 1.5 billion there is many a slip is now being demonstrated, albeit ironically at the hands of the vindictive revenge-oriented JOs. Which doesn’t mean to say, of course, that the GGs are one whit less culpable of deceit or duplicity. 

One of their number is presently facing a no-confidence motion in parliament this week for being “liberal with numbers” or “economical with the truth” – which is the perennial prerogative of number-crunchers in finance ministries as much as in financial markets. Another has maintained in the face of his incorrigible critics (formerly leaders of reputable business chambers) and some incontrovertible corroboration (a few naysayers have refused to nod in agreement with the most genteel of gentlemen in government who maintain no wrong was done) that there’s no difference between one billion and ten billion. >What, none? Well, hardly any!> That government has maintained a stoic silence in response to demands for investigation, exposure, and closure of the so-called central-bank (alleged) bond scam has shown – at least to the JOs – that the GGs can pull a Untitled-1rabbit out of a hat, any time, with the best of the magicians.

There IS a difference. 

Those who pull rabbits out of hats by maintaining a stoic silence on one front (#no-scam/move-on) while giving good or bad wine some badly needed bush on the other (#GDP/GSP plus/GG all going strong) are merely sophisticated con-artists at best… Or adept manipulators of fickle public faith and fragile market economies at worst. Magicians. Machinators. Time-servers, with no real long-term plans for long-tenure stewardship – no matter how solid or sincere the political leadership that maintains a stoic silence on their friends’ and associates’ Machiavellianism (or their own type of it) may seem. 

Those who once whipped or stripped frightened rabbits into maintaining their silence on civil- and fundamental- and human-rights abuses at war’s end, on the other hand, are worse than Loki-like tricksters – they’re subversive terrorists in the form of semi-ordained demigods. Semi-ordained by presidential diktat; demigods in populist dreams. Fu Manchus. Mings the Merciless. Mongol conquerors.

It’s the difference between the corruption of the worst Caesars and the cupidity of best Croesuses. 

However there are still those unsilenceable critics who would claim that we have not gone from the ^sublime to the ^ridiculous, but only from the Titanic subhuman to the ludicrously Olympian. The Titans won the war against terrorism by dint of might and main. They trumpeted it aloud for all the world to hear. But the Olympians are losing the battle against corruption by oversight and by virtue of overlooking the sleight of hand of their band of brothers. They are doing it by remaining stoically silent in the face of Promethean (media activism) and Epimethean (civil society leadership) challenges to their virtue. 

Would that our Olympians’ only lapse was in maintaining that now legendary stoic silence on where their semi-divine siblings and offspring have erred? But corruption comes in many forms: more unrecognisable than graft; being granting of favours to favourites. Nuff said! Maybe the final test for GG and JO alike will be an exam like the one below:

Good Governance

A midterm exam

To be attempted by all GG and JO candidates.

(Do not write on both sides of the paper at the same times.)

  • What is Good Governance? (Be careful.)
  • What is Joint Opposition? (Be silent.)
  • What is the state of the economy? (Be liberal.)
  • What is the state of liberalism? (Be economic.)
  • Would you defend Govt.’s appointment of Anusha Pelpita? Could you? (How could you!)
  • How would you characterise Govt.’s silence? (Speak now – or forever hold your peace. Or your piece.)
  • When will this ever end? (Don’t attempt an answer.)
  • Nuff said. (Be silent.)
  • What’s the difference between Machiavellian regimes and Republican manipulators? (There is one – you just can’t guess it.)
  • Be silent.

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