Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is President rule at the centre a solution?

I confess that I read just the headlines of news papers and skip cable tv's endless discussions by smart alecs of every hue. But today's innovative article in TOI by Jug Suriya 'Punch Drunk' caught my eye. He extends the advice given by Anna Hazare to deal with alcoholic drunkenness to other forms of drunkenness.

Some nuggets from his article: Anna Hazare wants to beat up people who get drunk as he has done in his village of Ralegan Siddhi.

 Manish Tiwari has said that if Anna's method were to be adopted, "You will probably have to flog half of Kerala, three-fourths of Andhra Pradesh and about four-fifths of Punjab." Tiwari forgot to mention Gujarat, where despite - or because of? -total prohibition, the consumption of booze is said to be amongst the highest in the country.

Others, including his supporters, have suggested ...not go off on irrelevant and impractical tangents which will give his critics an opportunity to dismiss him as a crackpot.

Such fears are groundless. For the sober truth is that drunkenness is a very serious problem in India, ..The people in question are not high on alcohol, .. And that intoxicant, so much in evidence today in India, is power. Power intoxicates, and absolute power intoxicates absolutely. And we see such absolute intoxication everywhere, starting with our Parliament.... Drunk on their own sense of power - a power bestowed on them by the electorate which voted them into office - they seem once again hell-bent on stalling all legislative business while they engage in verbal fisticuffs with each other, like drunks in a bar room brawl. If people can - and should - be jailed for the dangerous practice of drunken driving, what should be the punishment for those who, drunk not on alcohol but on the more addictive intoxicant of power without accountability, recklessly drive an entire country on a collision course with potential disaster?

The intoxicant called power is evident in all spheres of officialdom, be it political office, the ranks of the bureaucracy, or a judiciary which includes members who appear to see themselves as being above the law that they dispense to others. Should Anna's prescription for drunkenness be extended to all such cases? The many victims of such drunkenness - ..might feel that Anna's rough-and-ready remedy is an appropriate antidote to the intoxication of power without responsibility.

Come to think of it, has Anna - who holds no public office, yet wields an increasing amount of power - proved susceptible to this particular form of intoxication? Like charity, can flogging for drunkenness also begin at home?

Joking apart to start with, can the parliamentarians, the top of this ugly pyramid, be taught a lesson? If  states can have a president's rule why can't we have one such in the centre? I am not suggesting a change in the the form of our government modeled after USA but a short term solution, for two years. I know it has been done in a neighbouring country. Thailand did it once. When the politicians and the army were at loggerheads, the constitutional monarch, Rama the 9th, prevailed upon the two factions to accept a very respected personality Anand Panyarachum as the prime minister and he ran the country with a team of experts till new elections were called.

Hopefully it will work to cleanse the system or tell us that India is beyond repair and  we continue to accept the realities and with our present system and proudly declare, we are Indians and this is how do things.

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