Trust Vote 4: Of horses and foxes – the nuclear puny-game hunt in India

Posted on July 21, 2008. Filed under: India, Nuclear, Politics |

Blogger Ashwani Jain ( ) has pointed out that “horse trading” in MP’s are probably fetching 30-50 crores in addition to renaming of airports and berths in hypothetical future governments. A while ago I heard a media commentator talking about the two “old foxes of Indian politics”. Every time I came across the word “horse” and “fox” in connection with MP’s, I literally flinched. Ashwani has quoted Ambedkar, and rightly so. I do wonder – could we even imagine Babasaheb or Sardar as “horses” and “foxes” in spite of all their limitations?

Our elected representatives have reduced in stature to the level of almost vanishing altogether, and are mere shadows of people like Gandhiji, the first two generations of Nehrus, Sardar and Bose, (forget Lal-Bal-Pal). These were people who needed secretaries more for dictating letters to rather than writing speeches for themselves to be read out in broken and halting language. These were people who could write fluently about world and national history and politics from memory in jail, that filled volumes of printed text. These were people who could be dragged out from their railway carriage impromptu, and asked to deliver speeches that moved hearts and minds. In spite of all their limitations and all the wise-cracking that we can now heap onto their heads without going through the situations they had faced, we can see that there was a fundamental difference from modern politicians.

This difference was their absorption of the spirit of India’s millions, and learning to think and feel as they felt, and where necessary to change wrong ways of thinking and feeling to what they felt were the right ones. They were trying to make history against a brutally repressive and ruthless regime, facing a dangerous and potentially lethal future. Significantly, either they knew how to earn, or already had made, sufficient money on their own to maintain themselves if their political involvement forced them to be out of jobs and professions. Almost everyone in this group had a professional qualification and had more or less already proven themselves capable of independent professional earning. Our current crop are survivors of peacetime politics, with long practice in the art of grafts and siphoning off of public funds, or dipping into the pockets of wealth producers in return for favours.

To a certain extent , the common man on the street also has been responsible. We have socially appreciated wealth irrespective of how it was earned. I have heard many times the appreciative quip “oh so and so does not have to spend his salary at all – what he gets through his left palm is sufficient to maintain the flashy car and all the luxuries you see in their house – how lucky his wife is”. But all this remains true for the salaries class, engaged in the pure process of circulation.

The absolute majority of Indians do not even have access to a bribe extraction mechanism – they are honest by default. Where does all the 30-50 crores come from? Through taxes and profits going through many hands, extracted from these very same people. Where will this money from the hunt of puny-game inside the Indian Parliament on the occasion of the Nuclear Deal go? Not circulated within the Indian economy benefiting basic sectors I presume, but converted into gold and precious stones to preserve value and liquidity or surreptitious investments in property in the name of a non-existent 10-th removed cousin perhaps.

The stories about great military commanders like Alexander, Julius Caesar or Napoleon in the West, or Bose during his INA days in the East, of them refusing to eat or drink differently or above the standards of the “lowest” ranked trooper, could be fantasies or myths. But they have remained in people’s memories because they represent an ideal the followers expect from their leaders. I did remember the Bose story of giving up his single hand-made bread because another soldier wanted an additional bread, or that of Alexander throwing away the cup of water scrounged for him only in a particularly dry part of the march, when I read of the enthusiastic throwing of dinner parties and luncheons to do “trade” in “horses and foxes”.

Are the leaders listening, including the Left, whose great guru Lenin shared a lowly potato or thin cabbage soup in the commoner’s canteen, or Mao and most of his army generals and Central Committee members chewed on grass seeds with their army and as per reports by independent (and not communist!) Western journalists, refused to feast on anything more than water melons as the general population could not afford more than that?


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One Response to “Trust Vote 4: Of horses and foxes – the nuclear puny-game hunt in India”

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Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

Tom Humes

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