Monday, January 03, 2011

The Silence of a Buddha

Buddha: (Sanskrit) बुद्ध : awakened, wise, one who is aware, full of knowledge
Honest: amongst other meanings: 1.honorable in principles, intentions, and actions 2.showing uprightness and fairness 3.respectable; having a good reputation
Integrity: amongst other meanings: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty

For too long, the people of the country have been led to think that the country is privileged to have a person with honesty and integrity like Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister. Back in 2004, when he was nominated to become the Prime Minister by his party boss he did carry with him the image of an honest man with integrity and the people rightly took him at face value. Although honesty and integrity are supposed to be the basic qualifications for anyone professing to serve the country, setting great store by this super-honest tag the people gave him wide latitude and glossed over the mismanagement and the follies of his government. Thanks to a straying opposition, the new elections did not result in a badly needed change and once again saw him back as the PM in a coalition with some changes in partners. The mis-governance continued and massive scams, including the largest scam in the world, which had their roots in his first term, reared their heads and shocked the conscience of a hitherto believing and trusting public.

It is time now for the people to shed their indifference, stop being condescending and bring into focus the mismanagement, failures, wrongdoings and deliberate inactions in governance under his leadership. It is time to show that a bloody spade must be called a bloody spade. Let Manmohan Singh’s oft-cited virtues of honesty and integrity as well as competence, so enthusiastically propagated by his party for its own ends, be tested on the touchstone of his performance in a few key areas.

Of internal security
In his first term, in the face of terror attacks and naxal-maoist insurgency gaining ground on a scale never seen before, Manmohan Singh sat unmoved, choosing to rely on Shivraj Patil, the most indolent and incompetent Home Minister ever. He had no courage to sack his Minister under whom the internal security situation had been drifting towards a morass. He could not even muster the courage to state clearly the policy of his Government towards terror. (see here) Only the 26/11 terror attack finally made him to sack Shivraj and start taking the internal security threats somewhat less indifferently. The situation has since improved only slightly. (see here) Since 2006, despite continuous public outcry against the delay in deciding the Mercy Petition of Afzal Guru, he has not done anything to ensure that the decision on his Petition as also on many others was expedited, except merely calling for details of pending mercy petitions just once in Sept. 2008 but has kept on talking about “legal process” taking its course when the judicial process was already over in 2006. (see here) But Manmohan Singh is an honourable man (as Mark Antony had said of Brutus in a different context).

O-Mamma and Obama

Of external affairs
His proclivity for pursuing the gentle dictates of the USA in foreign policy and global issues is already known. For this, he seems happy to occasionally get a meaningless approbation like “when he speaks, everyone listens – Obama”. His blunder in Sharm-el-Sheikh (Sharm-el-Singh) in July 2009 in the Indo-Pak Joint Statement compromising the Indian position presumably under pressure from USA is not forgotten by the people. Even his own party had then seriously doubted his ability in the conduct of foreign affairs. And whether it is border disputes with China or failure of Pakistan to co-operate in the Mumbai terror investigations, the country seems to remain at the losing end. He has ensured continuance of the poor performance by hanging on to S. M. Krishna, the mirror image of Shivraj Patil in terms of ineffectiveness. But Manmohan Singh is an honourable man.

Of economic management
His stance on domestic economy too follows the American ideas of globalization. In his role of an economist steering the economy he has been obsessed with GDP growth (India’s Mr. 9 %), stock exchange indices and to a smaller extent FDI in Retail which he has been hell bent on allowing in the country by propounding false rationale. In his mind, all he needs to prove himself a successful PM is to deliver on 9% GDP growth. (see here) All else other than this, seem to be of small consequence. The 9% growth has so far proved to be a mirage but the PM as also the good-only-for-talking Montek Singh and the Finance Minister at every available opportunity keep bandying about GDP estimates which do little for the ground reality. The negative sides are no one’s responsibility. The infrastructure sector has been lagging behind with no serious concern or control being visible. Worse, six years of utter neglect, mismanagement and manipulation of the agriculture economy for private ends has brought the present and long term food security on a brink. The most incompetent and indifferent Agriculture Minister Pawar whose legendary greed and corrupt ways are known to the world, continues to mess around. Yet, nothing has been done by the PM about either Agriculture or the Minister. He also does not seem to be concerned about the systematic mismanagement of the national airlines and the stories of massive corruption in matters related to Civil Aviation, a portfolio under Pawar’s coadjutant Praful Patel. (see here)

And the man who could not sleep at night because one Indian was wrongly arrested in a foreign land losing his freedom for some time, has not told the people that he has lost any sleep for the thousands of farmers who end up actually losing their LIVES. At the same time, the back-breaking and soaring inflation has continued to give sleepless nights to the common man for over six years now. (see example) The supposed expert in economics and his team look on helplessly. Perhaps he thinks that it is inevitable and acceptable. For umpteen number of times, he and his cohorts - the irrelevant Montek, the two Finance Ministers and the Agriculture Minister – have knowingly repeated false assurances of inflation coming “under control” when the situation on the ground shows exactly the opposite. In a blatant effort to fool the people, indulging in tomfoolery, they are even projecting FDI in Retail as their solution to meet the problems of inflation, the farmers and the common man at the same time! (see here) It is inconceivable that what the common man can sense and experience, they do not. They know their salve is ineffective. But Manmohan Singh is an honourable man, so are they all, all honourable men.

A helpless lot

Of Governance
Manmohan Singh became PM in a coalition government in 2004. In any coalition, compromises are to be expected, because parties having different ideologies and different views and approaches to policy and governance would have to find acceptable middle ground on contentious issues and the people would have to contend with such situations.

But Manmohan has fostered a concept of coalition that suits his party and also other allies but is causing immense damage to the interests of the people. First and foremost, he has sought to give a complete go-by to the principle of collective responsibility of the Cabinet enshrined in the Constitution:

Art.74(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head xxxx
Art.75(3) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.

This means that all policies of the Government are deemed to have been formulated collectively and all the Ministers are collectively responsible for it to the legislature. On the principle of collective responsibility, he cannot put the onus and accountability merely on a minister for any wrongdoing, he (as also every member of his Cabinet) is necessarily a party to whatever wrong may have been committed. In practice, Singh is continuously trying to avoid his responsibility as the head of the Cabinet.

Giving a perverse meaning to coalition government, the system functioning now is akin to an intra-cabinet federal system where the coalition parties each having domains which they have chosen themselves in the first place, are free to take any decision in respect of their fiefdom particularly relating to the spoils of office. In fact on every occasion the PM does not act against a truant minister or set right a wrong policy, the media quickly jumps in to rationalise it as “compulsions of coalition politics”. This is the first justification, manufactured by his party minions, by mindless or manipulated media and accepted by the public that he has capitalized on. The second justification, assumed by most to be a reason for his inactions, is that he is constrained by the wishes of his boss. Without saying anything, he has allowed such an impression to gain ground. Around these two excuses, a carefully nurtured façade of a helpless, innocent man impeded from doing what is right has been created. Far from being embarrassed, he finds it beneficial to hide his defaults behind this façade.
But Manmohan Singh is an honourable man.
Of Probity
The first important test of his probity was the Lok Sabha Vote of Confidence on 22nd July 2008, when he won the vote due to a brazen display of money power to retain power. No matter that the plans to buy the votes of MPs with cash or other temptations was executed by Singh’s party, it was he as Prime Minister who directly benefited by retaining his position. He revealed his other side when, confronted on the talk of money being offered, he bluntly asked for ‘proof’. The means deployed did not mean anything to him and he felt justified in asking for “proof” of wrongs committed for his benefit which he ought to have known. It is worthwhile quoting from the article on the matter in Prajatantra:

“And finally it is also hoped that, Manmohan Singh, a man of impeccable integrity and with the supreme national interest of the country always at heart, will reflect deeply upon his victory. Just as he asked the MPs to vote according to their conscience he will, hopefully, also ask his own conscience whether what he has won was worth the serious dent to his image that he has undoubtedly suffered. For the present, it does appear that he has adjusted himself to his surroundings even if that means lowering the high standard of probity that he might have once had. He also seems to be rejoicing for the moment, having fulfilled a solemn promise that he made to the U.S. President some time back. At least on that score he has convinced himself that the end justified the means.”

The pious hope has since been belied. But Manmohan Singh is an honourable man.
More relevant at this time is the handling of the subjects directly under him and for which he alone is responsible. In an important matter like Right to Information, he has been favoring the bureaucrats who want file notings to be removed from its purview and continue to avoid their responsibility. The appointment of P.V.Thomas as the CVC which he cleared ignoring the opposition leader’s objection and even the Home Minister’s reluctance has come under judicial scrutiny. What is really unconscionable is the misuse of CBI which falls under the Ministry of Personnel under his charge. No one has any doubts that the CBI is blatantly misused particularly in cases with political implications and it is clearly seen to be working under directions from above. Can anyone believe that some bureaucrat in the PMO is merrily going about directing CBI how specific cases should be handled? Can the Minister of State dare to do so, on his own? Or does the PM let PMO or his MoS or the CBI take orders from some extra-constitutional unseen hand that holds sway over him? The answer is a clear NO and the real answer is that whatever happens or does not happen is only on the basis of what the PM directs either himself or through his MoS or concerned Secretary. He is aware; he is full of knowledge – a Buddha. But Manmohan Singh is an honourable man.

Of the ultimate in guile and deceit - Cover them up
The biggest test of his probity, integrity, honesty and all that he stands for has been the handling of the hugely-huge scams which took place under his very nose and the efforts to save the corrupt which have exposed him thoroughly. In the CWG Scam involving thousands of crores of public money, all steps have been taken to ensure that those who are really guilty never get their just punishment. The CBI investigations have been confined only to relatively small specific transactions of expenditure by the OC. Even preliminary actions on the larger ones from the OC expenditure as also the many times larger ones involving the Delhi government, its agencies and the central ministries where the beneficiaries are believed to be his high and mighty have not been initiated. Where action is initiated, it is ensured that unlike any normal investigation, the progress is slow and more than enough time has been given to the culprits to cover their tracks. To top up these make-believe actions, Manmohan Singh has set up a completely irrelevant and useless Shunglu committee which everyone knows to be an undisguised diversion.

Sitting guard, half-exposed Cabinet
The 2G Scam, the world’s biggest, involving Rs. 176,000 crores of loss to the public exchequer, shows a similar but more damning course of events. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister has been aware of the scam in all its ramifications since 2007 having been repeatedly alerted about the smoke and fire emanating and having virtually observed the progress of the scam at various stages, including when he himself made a half-hearted attempt to stop it from going further. He did not lift another finger to stop the loot. In this Scam as well, apart from most reluctantly sacking A.Raja when he was pushed into doing it, he and his government have taken similar make-believe actions including setting up of a committee by his Telecom Minister that means nothing for punishing the culprits. The talks of taking actions against the licensees, recovering fines etc. are just lollipops without sweetness. Like in CWG Scam, the CBI investigation is moving at less than a trot and once again, plenty of time has been given to the perpetrators. In a major insult to his government even the Supreme Court had to make harsh comments on the casual approach shown by the government agencies. But there is also a more serious aspect to this Scam that probably he at least apprehends about. The fact that he has all along been aware of wrongdoing in the matter and did not take steps which he was bound to take to prevent it but allowed the Scam to continue could, just possibly, make his personal position vulnerable if the case turns into a criminal matter. If not in legal terms, at least in moral terms he is culpable. Even recently he obliquely defended the culprits and partially himself too. Addressing a CBI conference, which discussed measures to make the anti-corruption law more stringent, Singh said,
"We must learn to make a distinction between an honest mistake and deliberate malfeasance. In dealing with a mistake, rather than a wrong-doing, we should not discourage individual initiative." TNN 18.11.06 Significantly, in his address to AICC recently, he had said that he might have made mistakes, which could as well refer to his inaction on the Scams.

In tandem with the insincere actions by Manmohan Singh’s government, his party too has been stalling the completely justified demand for special Parliamentary Committees not just for one but both the scams, which is what the people of the country want. The people are holding them to account for their own misdeeds and in that context, their rhetoric of the opposition parties being also corrupt is not relevant for the people. He and his party are desperately trying to diffuse the focus of the nation in both the Scams so that the actions do not reach the logical end of catching the prepetrators and the ultimate beneficiaries. Is it because of coalition compulsion or the wishes of his boss? He will not say but the people have already reached their conclusion. And for all practical purposes, the people will have to write-off the nearly Rs. 2 lac crore lost in just these two Scams due to trusting a man with “unimpeachable integrity” and allowing his Government to function. But Manmohan Singh is an honourable man.

Of Loyalty

Important to know one's place

Once when he decided to be his own man, went against the Left Parties’ views on the Nuclear Deal and brought the government on the brink, the people thought that he had it in him to “break free” whenever his conscience told him to. He had said of the Left parties “They wanted me to behave as their bonded slave.” (
see here) It is sad that he does not think the same way about his boss even now but has kept himself most willingly in shackles no matter what the compromises and damage to his own image. His actions speak louder than words as to where his loyalty lies although he keeps reinforcing the same by ingratiating words towards his boss under whose power of attorney he functions. Perhaps, with a twinge of conscience nagging him he has pondered over once again “breaking free” but like Hamlet, has not found the answer to the question: To be or not to be.

There are echoes of his condition in
a song by The Clash:Should I stay or should I go now?

If I go there will be trouble, An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know!
This indecision’s bugging me, If you don’t want me, set me free

Manmohan Singh may also care to read the following lines and decide how very appropriate they would sound from his mouth:"All men make faults, and even I in this, (Everybody commits faults and even I, in doing this)
Authorizing thy trespass with compare, (Justifying your crimes by comparisons,)
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss, (Making myself a corrupt pleader by trying to remedy your misdeeds,)"
(Shakespeare Sonnet XXXV)

Not finally….
Taken in totality, he is heading a corrupt government that has no conscience, one that is virtually holding the country to ransom. Today it seems that there are no depths to which they will not go to mislead the people. Being the man on the spot in whom the people once laid their trust, he cannot consider himself to be a lotus, untouched by the mud and slime surrounding him. Whether he is strong or weak is beside the point. He remains fully responsible and accountable as the Prime Minister. He has tolerated the laggards, the incompetent and the corrupt. (
see here) He is the leader, the “Sardar” of the entire pack and by tolerating them he becomes the most dishonest of them all. His own credibility now matches the credibility of CBI. As a leader, in which direction has he led the country so far and where is he now leading the country?

Those who countenance and exculpate him should understand that his actions on the scams are not of someone with the “supreme national interest” at heart. Rather, they are designed to serve the cause of the corrupt and protect private interests regardless of the cost to the people.

Comments in an
earlier article in Prajatantra are worth repeating:
“In the reply to the debate on the Trust Vote on 22nd July 2008, the Prime Minister had said:

”When I look at the composition of the opportunistic group opposed to us, it is clear to me that the clash today is between two alternative visions of India’s future.”

Although the entire country has realized it by now, some day soon it will dawn upon Manmohan Singh too that actually it is he who, willy-nilly, is a part of the opportunistic group and his words will come to haunt him. After all, the truly opportunistic group is not one in the opposition, but one that manages to retain power by fair means or foul and whatever be the credentials of the parties forming the amalgam that is born out of compulsions to cling on to power.”

And it begs the question as to why is he continuing in spite of what has happened? He has already shown earlier that he is prepared to stand for what he thinks is right, as in the case of the nuclear deal. If the same willingness is absent in the current situation it can mean only this: that he does not stand for what is right or that he feels that what has happened was right. If he is continuing for the altruistic reason to serve the country, then he is doing the greatest disservice to the country. And why do the people accept the continuance of the Government either with or without him? Is it that if he or his government is not there the nation will collapse, or that we cannot afford elections at any cost even if it means that lacs of crores are lost and the mis-governance continues? The man who puts his government, his party and his party leader above the interests of the country is not fit to be called an honest man. He may not be corrupt but is he honest? Does dishonesty mean only making money? Is being allowed to continue as the Prime Minister not a kind of quid pro quo? The main qualification he has left now is his loyalty to a party leader whose own credibility too is fast eroding. Why should the people continue to countenance a Prime Minister just so he can continue to claim credit for being honest and continue to be loyal to someone? Going beyond him, why should the people tolerate a corrupt, incompetent government at all?

In trying to defend the indefensible, his veneer is peeling off, exposing himself as well as the vermin who have been hiding and thriving beneath the veneer of his integrity. The brand equity has been encashed and has now lost its value. He knows, he is aware but remains silent. His silence proves his acquiescence. The Silence of this Buddha, in words and in deeds, tells the whole story. Empty words like “Caeser’s wife must be above suspicion” do not carry any meaning any more except to invite further ridicule for Manmohan Singh.

Everything said, it IS quite sad to see an otherwise sincere person like him who could have done good for the country placed in this situation in trying to protect those who do not deserve it, for no one's personal interest can be above the country's interests. But it would not be fair if he alone has to suffer the ignominy of demitting office, his entire team must suffer the same fate and be ready to face the consequences of their collective failure.

Listen to this :


At January 06, 2011, Blogger BK Chowla, said...

I couldnt agree with you more on any point that you have raised.
It is the misfortune of this country that we seem to have got stuck with Sonia G via MMS.
How long will this country carry MMS's tag of honesty and get looted.Honestly,today, MMS himself cant say a word about his own achievement or honesty.
History will not forgive him.

At January 06, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your views.. MMS has been the most impotent PM India ever had who miserably lacks even the essential qualities required to lead the nation.

Lack of vision, lack of probity, leniency towards corruption, lethargy towards security (be it internal or external) and his unexplained loyalty to Gandhi family (which is actually the Nation's liability) clearly shows he is unfit to lead India anymore.

At January 06, 2011, Anonymous Namrata Singhvi said...

The line in the audio at the end is the masterstroke!

very good article indeed.

At January 06, 2011, Anonymous Alka said...

Excellent article. Here I would like to quote DR. Swamy as he said Dr. Man Mohan Singh is just a puppet so no need blaming the puppet. Blame those who control this HONEST puppet.

At January 06, 2011, Blogger keepcool said...


it is not a question of blaming alone. we know that it is sonia who is the real culprit but blaming her does not help because she is not running the govt. officially.
people have to find solution only from the constitutional govt. which is headed by him.

At January 07, 2011, Blogger aman said...

Are you saying the BJP or the communist led 3rd front is a better option for India the MMS? if yes then tell us what POWER a BJP president holds when he cant sack a state chief minister, over there in BJP party is nothing in front of their chief ministers. Atal Bihari Vajpayee wasn’t even aware what His telecom minister Promod Mahajan was doing in his ministry, forget about advising him on anything.
Your power of writing is good just balance it a bit.

At January 07, 2011, Anonymous Anil Kumar said...

This post could very well be alternative biography of Manmohans since he walked into PM's chair.

At January 07, 2011, Blogger prashhanthkpp said...

Sir, it is nothing more than an excellent AUTOBIOGRAPHY of our Prime Minister, insipid, helpless, speechless and dominated over and under by an Italian Homo Sapien!

Honestly, feel sorry for a pioneer who could have earned his way to the history books of India without any political compulsions regardless of his personal preference of being in the wrong party.

Because of a latino transgression, Manmohan Singh will only find his way into those dark chapters of Indian and World history where a emerging economic & military power has been looted out of its might and left choking at the hands of a handful of anti-nationals under his ineffective and insipid leadership.

....and I shall have the save dagger for myself as my country choose my death! Hail Brutus!!!

Thank you!

At January 07, 2011, Blogger I-Ore Trading said...

Nicely done.

In a nutshell we have a Failed Prime Minister at the helm of a Corrupt Government.

Which is clueless about Governance and welfare of the people.

100 days promises have not worked. GDP growth song is not working anymore.

Damage to the country is tremendous, effects with overseas clients and businesses will shortly follow.

This PM and the Government needs to be replaced without delay.

At January 07, 2011, Blogger kick-da-scoundrels said...

you seem to be carried away by the trap of MMS's prty to point fingers at others.
the real issue is the unprecedented harm they have done to the country for which they deserve to be kicked out without delay.

whether later on bjp or someone else comes in power elected by the people, is not an issue today. the people will decide and they will definitely weigh the positives/negatives of all parties.

Incidentally, the topic of the article is specific about MMS not about PMs in general.

At January 07, 2011, Anonymous Keki Dastur said...

very imaginative use of images which fit appropriately into the contents and enhance the impact.


At January 07, 2011, Anonymous MGK said...

the three skeletons on the top of the cabinet really take the cake.

very creative idea you have

At January 08, 2011, Anonymous Indian going crazy said...

regarding the audio.... sad that such a wonderful melody has to be wasted on this man.

but it is very appropriate.

At January 08, 2011, Anonymous Rajeev Dubey said...

Congress is on a path to self destruction. They are playing most divisive, corrupt and irresponsible politics. They must go!

At January 08, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog is superb, but just blogging cant change the situation .it can only make people aware of the reality.
There is need to organise likeminded people to bring the change. Its hard but not impossible, just what required is a strategy and an execution.
We all know what is happening the country. Its time to raise voices and make the shameless mms & his party to admit the wrong they did with the nation of 1.5billion.
Catch me on twitter @gr8winners.
We have to unite in search of a better solution to uproot the greedy, irresponsible and unaccountable government in the country.

At January 10, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

superb blog. even mms will appreciate it.

At January 20, 2011, Blogger Raj said...

More than agree!

At January 28, 2011, Blogger Kapil Gosain said...

A well written article again.As always.
I agree that MMS is leading a pack of dishonest people and he has bought the largest democracy of the country to a shame. The leader of this democracy has no say on anything that happens in the country. A country is only as strong as your leader and with him as a leader we are on our knees.
MMS was always known as a great economist. he never had the quality of being a orator or leader and that was the whole reason he was selected by Sonia Gandhi. She wanted a rubber stamp PM and she got one.
However is it only the power greedy corrupt leaders responsible for our country's disrepute? Did not the majority of us voted for the surname 'Gandhi'. I bet 50% of the poluation that voted for congress would not be aware that Sonia or Indira Gandhi has no connections to Mahatma Gandhi. But the vote and not so much for Gandhi but for money. They are more concerend about the daily bread and rightly so they should.
However there are people whom we call the journos or mass media to make the people educated and bring them into light. But Are these people now worth trusting after what we have seen in the Niira Radia tapes controversy. Don;t you guys manipulate the message that you want to send across to us depending on your personal greeds.
So Blame it on MMS, blame it on Madam, blame it on people or take the blame. We all are equally dishonest, corrupt and with a few exceptions most of us do not want anything to change or come into light.

At January 29, 2011, Blogger Lokadhikar said...

thanks for readers' comments.
on comments by Kapil Gosain, although in the larger context he is right about the people also being responsible, it is a fact that if those in government at the top are determined, the environment can change soon.

when we blame the society and everyone else, it provides a ready argument for those who are supposed to lead by example, not to change anything.

At January 31, 2011, Blogger Kapil Gosain said...

For those in the top to be determined, we have to be determined to send the right people at the top and to make them do the right things.
I am not giving them a ready arguement but just staing the facts. And they are well aware of these facts.
Like you I am also a Congress Basher as i believe they just want to rule. But after the Niira radia controvery I am in doubt if you like me truly believe that congress is a corrupt party or is it only for other reasons?
No offence meant. I love your blogs and the research behind it.

At February 18, 2011, Blogger Dipankar said...

i always like your Article.i am posting it on facebook.

At March 07, 2011, Anonymous Z.Conecrusher said...

I'm agree with you. The some points you have raised may do bad for the country.

At May 02, 2011, Blogger asanandan said...

he is keying by someone. But administrative super



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