Calamities are famous for coming in battalions, not singly. We are seeing this all over again, with our ruling parties and neighbours unleashing a cascade of calamities upon us. Is it the swan song of a dying government? Are vultures in the neighbourhood sensing mealtime ahead?
The aftermath of the Congress Party's cynical politics over Telangana is a case in point. Not a file is moving in the state Government. Ministers are away and nongazetted officers, suddenly divided by geography, are holding rival demonstrations, sometimes on the verge of fisticuffs. Telangana's chief agitator, Chandrasekhar Rao, asked people from other parts of the state to be ready to leave Hyderabad. Will he now set up a Raj Thackeray Sena to beat up outsiders? Ironically, it now looks as though the Congress may not reap any electoral benefits from its Telangana gamble after all. That would be poetic justice. Who would bear the whips and scorns of time, the oppressor's wrongs, the law's delay, the insolence of office, even if these come from the High Command?
The High Command herself is affected by the calamity wave. Her celebrated inner voice was initially a convenience because it gave her absolute power with absolutely no responsibility. But its underlying premise was that the handpicked Prime Minister would go through the motions of a Prime Minister. Once Manmohan Singh proved to be motionless, actionless and speechless, his usefulness as a buffer was lost and people began directly blaming Sonia Gandhi for the Government's failures and the great scams.
The Trainee High Command didn't help either. Despite repeated appeals and cajolings, Rahul Gandhi refused to give up his lifestyle. Quite right, too. Why would anyone want to give up the freedom to appear as national leader for some of the time and disappear for most of the time? Seen or unseen, he will get the credit for good rains anyway, while the blame for bad floods will go to party underlings. Life is beautiful.
Receiving no help from her son and heir, Sonia Gandhi has taken to writing letters, no doubt with the idea of producing a new book, A Further Bunch of Letters. The letters are addressed to the Prime Minister. That way she can be sure that there would be no replies to bother about. One letter put Pakistan in its place by telling the Prime Minister (ours of course) that India would not be cowed down by the dastardly Pakistanis killing our brave jawans. Jai Hind!
But her letter on Durga Shakti backfired for no fault of Durga, the IAS officer of UP who offended some of the ruling Yadav clan's sand mafia buddies and was punished for it. Of some 200 IAS officers punished for being upright, more than half are in UP. The Akhilesh-Mulayam Government has been unabashed in its collaboration with criminal elements. The voters who wanted to escape from Mayawati's frying pan landed in the Yadavs' fire.
For all that, Sonia Gandhi's bonafides were suspect and Mulayam Singh seized on that. Why didn't she write to the PM, he asked, when Haryana's Congress Government gave two punishment transfers to Ashok Khemka? Fair question. Khemka had taken action against what he considered illegal land deals that favoured Robert Vadra, the nation's son-in-law. The Haryana Government went to the extent of arranging a "clean chit" to the in-law. Sonia Gandhi's letter on Durga Shakti exposed a double standard for which the Congress had no explanation.
When criminality and hypocrisy rule the domestic scene, do we need calamities from beyond the borders? Our perennial tormentors are not the type to miss an opportunity when they see one. The Chinese loiter into Ladakh whenever the mood seizes them. The Pakistanis, disguised to fool only our Defence Ministry, behead or shoot some jawans whenever the mood seizes them. We destroy the Chinese and Pakistanis by opening fire from our news-channel studios and parliamentary benches. No TV anchor in the world and no MP in the world is more lethal in bravado than ours. Or more counterproductive. So, will we go the way our rupee goes?