Masters of Mediocrity

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
17 June 2014 15:21 IST

My lawyer friend from Mumbai phoned me yesterday . After the usual hellos and the shop talk the discussion veered into the political arena.

"Do you know that there is a near total clamp down on freedom of press?" He asked.

"Why are you saying so?" I countered.

"Ambani issued a cease and desist notice to Amazon and some others involved in the publication of a book detailing how Reliance got the previous Government to double the price of natural gas. The book was stalled. Almost immediately Ambani moved to buy a whole swath of Indian media" He said.

"What about Wendy Doniger's book on Hinduism?" I asked, "Why was it pulped?"

"That is a big story" He said, "Do you know who Modi's National Security Adviser is?"

"Yes" I said, "Ajit Kumar Doval -- ex director of the RSS thank tank Vivekananda International Foundation. He was also the chief of the Intelligence Bureau"

"Exactly" He said. "Doval played an important role in pulping the Doniger book through Shiksha Bachao Abhiyaan"

"That completes the picture" I said "While VIF stresses that it is nonpartisan, the institution did play a role in providing a platform to bring together forces who went on to launch movements against the UPA. As reported by The Indian Express in August 2012, it was at the VIF that a decision was taken to form an anti-corruption front under yoga guru Ramdev. A year earlier, the foundation together with RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya’s Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan had organised a seminar on corruption and black money attended by Baba Ramdev, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. At the end of the seminar, an “anti-corruption front” was formed with Ramdev as patron and Govindacharya as convener. The members included Doval and RSS ideologue S. Gurumurthy."

"The height is the total disrespect for democratic norms that Modi showed in getting the TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra as his Principal Secretary." I continued.

"Why so?" he asked.

I was taken aback. Although a lawyer, he was not aware that Telecom Regulatory Authority Act bars TRAI Chairman from ever holding a Government office. " This public interest bar was actually enacted by Atal Behari Vajapayee's Government in 2000. It is meant to prevent favoritism and promote impartiality." I said.

"Then how could Modi get Misra as his Principal secretary?" He asked.

"Through an ordinance" I said.

"What??" -- He could not believe me !

"But the Supreme Court's 1987 judgement in D.C. Wadhwa case clearly says -- ordinance power cannot be allowed to be perverted to serve political ends." He stated angrily.

At last I felt a little comfortable with his knowledge of Law. 

"And what about Smriti Irani?" I asked. "How is it that a person who has filed contradictory affidavits in court about her educational status can become an Education minister?"

"Her education is of the highest order." He said -- sarcasm oozing through his tone. "It is saffron education, and she knows her script too well."

"Rather than saffron glorification, I would love it if the nationalists teach Constitution of India in schools" I said.

....... As I kept the receiver down I asked myself what the take home message of the entire conversation was.

We have a Principal secretary to the Prime Minister who has been appointed by patently unlawful means by a Prime Minister.

Our National Security Adviser is a political fundamentalist who sees the world -- money as well as people and their ideologies -- in black and white. This is amply clear from the interview published by The Economic Times on 9 January, by a journalist Nistula Hebbar, also available on Doval's Blog

QUESTION: As part of your work for the Vivekananda International Foundation you have also issued a paper on black money along with RSS ideologue S.Gurumurthy, which was commissioned by the BJP. Would you say you have right wing sympathies, ideologically speaking?

DOVAL'S REPLY: The paper was written first and BJP took it up later as a part of their campaign to bring back black money from abroad. As for right wing, just what do you mean by that ? As far as I am concerned the entire country is right wing as we do not have collective ownership of resources and have the concept of private property. That is my understanding of right and left wing ideologies. I stand for a strong nation with a strong economy so that we have enough resources to spend 2.5% of GDP on strengthening defence capabilities, enough to compete with China and others. You need to spend and you have to take a strong nationalist view in these issues.

QUESTION: It's being said that you might find an important place in any future NDA government, even as National Security Advisor? Are you a member of the BJP?

DOVAL'S REPLY :That is absurd and hypothetical. I am not a member of any political party, have never been. I don't think I'd like to accept any position in any government.

In such other interviews Doval has advocated the "shoot first ask questions later" policy vis a vis terrorists -- real or imagined. 

The question is how long will it be before all those who try to create a just state by just means start stopping bullets of those in power, or start finding themselves behind bars ??

And all this in the name of economic development !! I remember the song from the mega movie "For a Few Dollars More".........


So she'll cry just a little for a few dollars more.

She'll lie just a little like she's done it before........

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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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