Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Unashamed Hypocrisy

Message is important

When Krishna Tirath, the Minister for Women & Child Development, allowed a picture of a retired Pakistan Air Force Officer to find its way in an advertisement released by her Ministry, she joined the select band of goofers in Manmohan Singh’s Government. See here

It was a grave blunder arising from sheer negligence which caused serious embarrassment to the Government. But all she was really trying to do was to remain in the good books of her boss - no not the PM, but Madame Soniaji - by placing her picture in the Ministry’s advertisement. She was hoping that the advertisement, released in the name of the “National Girl Child Day” would catch the eye of Soniaji as she read the morning newspaper and would show that Tirath was doing her job well by placing her picture in the advertisement. The appearance of the Pakistan officer spoiled her party.

When Tirath found herself at the receiving end after the blunder came to light, she defended the advertisement saying: “The message is more important than the image. The photograph is only symbolic.” What is the message that the advertisement displays? Its punch line says “Where would you be if your mother was not allowed to be born?” Where, indeed! It is no use trying to scratch one’s head or any other part of the body trying to find an answer. It is an absurdly idiotic line which is as senseless as the Minister’s assertion. It would be easier to get the answer by posing that very same question to the Minister herself. The advertisement was sent by the Ministry to the DAVP on 22nd and the DAVP, for some strange reason (perhaps to get over authority limits per ad) issued three different release orders the next day for releasing the advertisement in just one newspaper, Times of India, Delhi edition, on the 24th January. As Soniaji lives in Delhi and reads the Times of India, it is natural that the Girl Child issue becomes relevant only for Delhi. The message can thus be conveyed with minimal cost by selecting the right newspaper in Delhi.

Rough layout (may be?)

Pleasing Madame at Public Expense - No Holds Barred

It is, therefore, clear that the real “message” was to show Sonia Gandhi in an advertisement related to her Ministry and win the former’s approval. It is also clear that the entire advertisement was created by her staff (read the Minister) with in-house talent and she could not be bothered what pictures and what matter were included as long as the picture of Madame Gandhi was there. It is to her credit that she did not spend millions of rupees in one advertisement for the same purpose, as the others do.

Mad Scramble to Please

Minister after Minister has been trying to scramble to please Sonia Gandhi by grabbing opportunities to release huge advertisements by their Ministries where they could show her picture. Billions of rupees are being spent on such advertisements. No occasion or opportunity is insignificant enough and if there is no such opportunity, one can always be invented for announcing inauguration of some project or the other or publishing some inane messages in the name of this special day or that. Let it be clear. The content in the advertisements, the pictures of other individuals and visuals are all merely used as props, symbols, embellishments and fillers to fool the people and give the advertisements some legitimacy. The objective of these myrmidons is essentially only one: To show the picture of Sonia Gandhi and along with her, of themselves to promote their image.

More Shocking Abuse of Authority

More serious is the action of the Minister who seems to have recently outdone all others in his bid to become a greater sycophant than the others. That Minister is Kamal Nath. As the Commerce Minister earlier, he relentlessly pursued the agenda of the global retailers and multinationals of allowing FDI in Retail the purpose of which is only to allow these multinationals to make their billions in perpetuity from the Indian customer without bringing anything of value to the country. (see a series of articles here). He did manage to allow FDI in single brand retail – with very little justification from the country’s point of view. Much against his liking, he was replaced in the Commerce Ministry by a junior Anand Sharma and he has been given the Road Transport & Highways Ministry where he has not been able to do much.

Innovative ideas

Now, to get into the good books of Madame, in a shameless show of sycophancy carried out at public expense or by using public assets, he has devised a plan through NHAI to erect 1500 billboards all over the national highways showing pictures of primarily Sonia Gandhi and incidentally Manmohan Singh. This is estimated to cost over Rs. 100 crores. (see here) It is the most audacious and blatant misuse of power so far to promote and perpetuate the image of Sonia Gandhi. The flippant and irresponsible Minister with no sense of shame says: “These billboards are more a way of providing information to public than putting photographs.” If these are a way of providing information, where is the need or justification of putting up any photographs at all, whether of Sonia Gandhi or the Prime Minister or any of Kamal Nath’s friends or relatives for that matter? Going by this totally perverse logic, as long as some information is provided for the public, it would be justified to include pictures or names of any individuals like Sonia Gandhi or anyone that a Minister likes (see imaginary examples above). They are further trying to justify this repugnant action by saying that the money for the same would be spent by private contractors who will also maintain the same. The original proposal was indeed for the NHAI to spend its own money but this devise was worked out after the Planning Commission flatly declined to allow NHAI to do so. What do the private contractors have to gain from spending their own money? Such an explanation itself shows the audacity of the Minister in simply taking the people and everyone in Government for granted.

Gross Plunder of Public Exchequer

Can such gross abuse of authority ever be considered legitimate? No one can use the tax payers’ money or use public assets for promoting a private individual which Sonia Gandhi undoubtedly is because she is not in Government. “Chairperson of UPA” is just a cloak to fool the people into believing that it is an official position. It is even not proper to show the picture of any Minister because the programs are official government programs.

Whether the Madame approves?

We must practice austerity (but if we are spending anyways..)

Sonia Gandhi apparently does not believe that the people are thoroughly disgusted seeing her picture practically every day staring at them and taking credit for what the government is doing. Whatever is done by the Government is its constitutional responsibility and is supposed to be done by any welfare government. It is not done as she ordains. But as her cohorts obligingly place her picture in the advertisements and now even on other public assets; far from being really concerned she is seemingly enjoying seeing her picture every morning.

Mirror, Mirror....

In the matter of the highways billboards, for example, a cleverly worded report was let out saying that she “was not keen to have her photographs on highway billboards”. She is supposed to have written a letter to Kamal Nath asking him to drop the photographs. (see here) It is evident that this is a fake exercise only for public consumption. If she was really of that mind, there was no need to write a letter, a phone call would have put a stop to this hare brained idea of the Doon School product. By merely writing the “confidential” letter and making the fact known to the media, she has only tried to make a mock display of morality as her toady tries to make a mockery of morality. Secondly, she has been seeing her picture being used in the advertisements almost daily, assuming she at least glances at the newspapers if only to see her picture. She has not told anyone to stop such wasteful expenditure or at least not to show her picture. While talking of austerity (also see here), she has been simply grabbing all the publicity at the taxpayers’ expense.

She has clearly shown herself to be free-publicity hungry and an inveterate pretender claiming to have high morals. The Ministers are mere spouts; she is the fountainhead as far as this blatant misuse is concerned.

Now what?

If the Prime Minister and his Finance Minister have any claim to promoting public accountability and if they stand for what is right, let them decide from whom the expenditure on promotion of individuals by such devious means needs to be recovered – whether the Congress Party, their President, the concerned Ministers, the officials or the entire Cabinet on the basis of collective responsibility.

Unfortunately, as freebooters help themselves, these two worthies have chosen to conveniently look the other way. Sardar Manmohan Singh’s justification may be that he is merely following the philosophy of the revered Guru Nanak who had said: “Ram ki Chidiya Ram ka Khet, Khalo Chidiya Bhar Bhar Pet”. In this case, the Chidiya refers to the people’s representatives and the Khet refers to the people’s money.


At January 27, 2010, Blogger stopandstarespace said...

What I find ridiculous to begin with is that a girl child ad should have `successful' male icons on it. Shouldn't someone have thought of having successful women on that poster instead?

At January 27, 2010, Blogger BK Chowla, said...

I heard some one say that the re is no sycophancy in congress party.
We are in a mess.Where is the accountability?Now the blame game will start and we will all forget about this incident.
Who cares?
If the minister had any shame,she should have resigned.At the same time,if the public opinion is not created,such goof ups will go unattended.

At January 27, 2010, Blogger VARON'S BLOG said...



At January 27, 2010, Blogger vasu said...

Hypocrisy & sycophancy are the pillars of Congress where the word of the so called first family is the gospel.

Instead of wasting money like this,we could have spent it on worthy causes-distributing free food to the poor in this year of ever rising prices.But then welfare of the people is the last thing( if it is ) on our netas minds.

Perhaps Sonia's photos all over the country symbolize "Beware,big brother ( sorry sister ) is watching you ."

At January 27, 2010, Blogger Basudeb Sen said...

Good piece Ramu. But merely attacking the Congress will not do. Sychphancy and hypocracy is ingrained in Indian Society since long. When a nation had to survive for centuries under foreiner's rule, they could only learn to be sychophants. The poorer the quality of a person, the more is his/ her sychopancy attitude. Hypocracy is a common trait of human beings perfected by politicians of inherent weaknesses. Psychophancy and hypocracy in Indian national life are just two symptoms of the great cancerous disease that has spread through Democratic Socialist Secular Republic imposed from above. These words did not convey any meaning to crores of India 60 years ago or 40 years ago and does not convey anything even now. One needs to literate, adequately educated and in the habit of wthese words from the childhood through appropriate inculcation of the values these represent. At home or school or local clubs or colleges or Universities there is no attempt to build the character of young citizens for the Constitution that India legislated. So, there is no reason for us to be surprised or critical of a few instances of hypocracy and sychophancy. Better would be to help young citizens to build character that makes a Nation advance qualtitatively as a society. If we depend on political parties or Governments to do that we are living on a fools paradise. They have and will continue to drive the Nation to societal degradation. Ramu think of solutions even as you continue your agility on critical analysis of political leaders of poor quality that we have in our country.

At January 27, 2010, Blogger Basudeb Sen said...

Ramu, as usual has done a brilliant piece of analysis. Hypocracy and sycophancy are ingrained in Indian society for long: after all centuries of of foreigner domination could have taught most people to remain poor not merely in economic terms but also in terms of strength of character, values and intellectual independence. One cannot correct these by imposing democracy, socialism, secularism and republicism through legilation from above. These words convey nothing to crores of Indian today: they had no meaning for crores of Indians 60 years ago or 40 years ago.
Children do not get to live the values these words represent either at home or at school or insocial clubs. The characters remain weak and inadequate to make democracy, socialism, secularism, and republicism work. With weakness of character, society can only witness degradation. That is the illness. Sychphancy and hypocracy are only two symptoms of that cancerous diesease that India is unable to treat. Find solutions to erdaicate that disease. The best way of attacking and eradicating a disease is to treat the disease rather than concentrating resources on treating the symtoms. Ramu you have to find a solution to cut at the roots of the disease even as you attack incidence of the symptoms.

At January 27, 2010, Blogger Aastha Katyal said...

a thoroughly researched and well written piece..good work and very inspiring i must say..! :)

At January 27, 2010, Anonymous Surjeet Singh said...

the thrust of this brilliant article is the shameful misuse of public funds, the example of the girl child day just happens to be a glaring and handy example. whether the minister resigns or not is not important.

what the PM does about stopping the illegalities is important.

must say the presentaion is superb.

At January 27, 2010, Anonymous sunayana pandit said...

the observation of stopanstarespace is very pertinent. however, perhaps according to the minister, the mother only produces famous sons, not daughters. anyway it is not worth bothering about the views of a person who can pose a stupid question like "where would you be...".

this is the caliber in the cabinet.

At January 27, 2010, Anonymous Dr. Karan said...

wrt tirath's silly message, did you ntoice that she talks of 'no to female foeticide'. this statement presupposes that by prenatal tests it is determined that a female is going to be born. she should know that it is illegal to do so.

At January 27, 2010, Anonymous sm said...

good article with pics

At January 27, 2010, Blogger keepcool said...

Basudeb Sen's well meaning and elaborate comments deserve attention.

But then, thinking about such larger issues should not stop us or detract us from addressing serious issues of immediate importance such as this one about abuse of power which is what the article is about.

We must spread our views amongst more people on this matter others and also protest strongly to the PM and the President.

At January 27, 2010, Anonymous Naimish Chandra, Delhi said...

good sense of humor while treating a serious subject.


At January 27, 2010, Blogger news4you said...

I have been vocal about this unhealthy situation set by our politicians in our country to gain a lot from being with top bosses. They are virtually worshiped everyday as Gods at the expense of tax payers money. The sycophancy is liked and loved by these politicians from top to bottom. Dr Manmohan Singh is also a product of same mind set and just to hang on to office of power, he too is bending backward and forward in front of high command.

Our whole political system is become corrupt and moral values are degenerated to such a low that we are witnessing a height of shamelessness.

I am not surprised at all about all these sycophants dancing around Madam Soniyaji, their high Command, because the only purpose they are all in politics is for personal gains.

These family kingdoms created by these political bosses ( Soniyaji, Sharad Pawar,)who are in politics for very long, are today the makers and breakers. Their hypocrisy and sycophancy has no limits. They have created enormous wealth for themselves occupying public offices for very long time and now preparing their family members to take over the throne.

This menace of creating sycophants around by every political boss is a growing phenomena. And it is a dangerous trend started from Indira Gandhi's time, seen more in Congress. There is no democracy prevailing in Congress party. The sycophants decide in their own selfish interest, who is the party boss, who is chief, high command. And all others are YES men around whose role is just to raise their hands.

Dr Manmohan Singh is one of them who is also man of no principles and under heavy obligations of the high command. He therefore does not, can not, and will not perform in the interest of country men.

I am sorry to say this but, 55 years of Congress rule has bread spineless people like Dr Manmohan Singh, corrupt people like Sharad Pawar, Arjun Singh, Kamal nath, Shivraj Patil, Chidambaram, and many other Congressies who are good for nothing for this nation but running the government and making good for themselves at tax payers cost.

It is utter shame
Shame.Real shame.

At January 27, 2010, Anonymous Shome said...

Maya of UP and Maya of UPA.


That is a good one!

At January 27, 2010, Anonymous S.KHAN, hyderabad said...


very good article.

about the main theme, i think people must write to the media more and more about this.

At January 27, 2010, Blogger Lokadhikar said...

Sincere thanks to all those who liked the article.

Some very valid comments made by Basudeb Sen and news4u are also appreciated.

In an article that deals with specific issues, it needs to be focused on the issue under discussion even if in the broader context, there are many other things that we know need to be set right.

At January 27, 2010, Blogger Bookworm said...

Well, what can one say about such irresponsbile ministers! The tragedy is that they are backed by higher-ups. Krishna Tirath should have taken moral responsibility and quit. She does not credit to the position that she holds, and will remain without credibility henceforth.

At January 28, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life is a random draw. You don’t choose your parents. India did not choose Nehru/Gandhi dynasty.

From random draw India got fake democrats like Nehru and US got genuine democrats like Jefferson.

Sorry guys this will continue for many years.

At January 28, 2010, Blogger globalskyearning said...

I strongly agree with u...
If we commit any mistake then we should accept it and take resposibility abt that...

At January 28, 2010, Blogger kick-da-scoundrels said...


you are right.

but the main thrust of the discussion is different and more serious: the misuse of your tax money and mine, for their own promotion.

what blunder this minister did is secondary. the purpose why the ad was released in the first place is more relevant.

At January 30, 2010, Blogger Balvinder Singh said...

I loved the Draft Layout meant for approval. Yes, that is how bureaucracy functions in our country, regardless of the political party at the helms of affairs. World must be having a great laugh at our faux pas.

At January 31, 2010, Anonymous Hamid said...

the message of the article is right.

the pictures are really hillarious but apt.

At January 31, 2010, Blogger korangu said...

The blind devotion to Sonia gandhi shows that India is yet to become independant mentally from foreign rule.The world ofcourse will be laughing at us. How can we remove this slavish mentality?

At February 03, 2010, Anonymous D'Costa said...

nicely written and illustrated.

At April 12, 2010, Anonymous twitterer said...

Just BRILLIANT article!

how this shameless lady has been making full use of the sycophants!


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