Ever since, Jawahar Lal Nehru talked of tryst with destiny forty years ago, the high-sounding words pour down year after year from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort on the 15th day of August to mark what originally signified independence but soon degenerated into UN adulterer Hindu chauvinism. With each succeeding year the words assume new shades and new sounds but their intent never changes. There runs through them the same old spirit which is characterized by its insubstantial illusiveness. The mythical glories of the by-gone ages are recalled with all the attendant poetic hyperbole, fantastic dreams are woven and lusty promises are dangled to dupe the poverty-: stricken millions that constitute real India.

True to the dynastic tradition, this year also the ritual was faithfully performed by Rajiv Gandhi. It is different that he spoke from behind the bullet-proof glass enclosure not to the cheering countrymen come to applaud their Man of: Destiny but to the rented crowds brought there in chartered buses supplemented by legions of Security Forces deployed amidst them in civilian clothes. He talked as if he were in a deep stupor and vowed to root out corruption and communalism from the body-politic of the country. Even the rented crowds must have felt cheated at such a raw deal. They could not possibly have imagined that they would be exposed to a kind of hypocrisy that would out hypocrisy itself. The arch villain of the defense deals’ kickbacks and pay-offs and the chief architect of the anti-Sikh riots and Muslim massacres talking of combating corruption and communalism must have shocked rather than amused them.

The growing scale and magnitude of corruption in high places has so incensed some of Rajiv’s own partymen that the former Congress (I) General Secretary and Member Parliament, Mr. Ram Dhan issued an S.O.S. to his party colleagues to “join hands in over-throwing the anti-national, communal, separatist and corrupt elements from the Congress to make India morally and politically strong”. The reference to Rajiv and his coterie of advisors and friends is pretty obvious.

Import and export licenses have been showered upon the favorites and international rackets are being operated through government agencies. Indian government has been playing the role of a petty broker in procuring for the Soviet Union sophisticated equipment that it could never get of its own directly from the Western countries. In so doing his government callously squandered away already depleted reserves of hard currency while allowing purchase from the western countries and then selling the goods for rupees to Russia.

It can happen only in Rajiv’s India that his close friend Ajitabh Bachchan’s four week old company should transact business worth over twenty crores of rupees. Yet he vows to root out corruption for “he is an honorable man” and no Shakespearean “conspirator”. Not that he does not believe in conspiracies. Far from that. He conspires not simply for money but to teach lesson to minorities like the Sikhs. He conspires to stage blood-baths and those who distinguish in this field are rewarded with cabinet posts by him.

In his regime, India has morally touched the nadir. Despite his scandalous involvement in corruption and communal violence, the idol-worshippers of India continue to lift their hands unto their new god. In the land of Ganges and Jamuna, honesty is a much abused street harlot and the multitudes are too imbecile to squeeze the slave out of them. Perhaps, they feel contented with just a glimpse of the fake lolly-pops flashed once a year from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 21, 1987