Share |

Ineffective political leadership, collapsing public institutions and a nation whose future is in jeopardy

Mr. G. Kishan Reddy, Member of Legislative Assembly of the State of Andhra Pradesh, is quoted as having said that there is no administration in Andhra Pradesh.  I am glad that an MLA has confirmed what I have been saying for a while now.  I have been saying that ever since the taking over of the State by Mr. K. Rosaiah, as Chief Minister, the functioning of the State has been becoming less and less evident and in the last couple of months it does look like the police is the only official machinery that is still functioning in public view.  Sadly, theirs is not a job that wins them public accolades, since most people's perception of the police is that they hinder rather than make things easier.  But to say that whatever happens is all because of the fault of the police would be stretching things too far.  Yesterday, in spite of the police being everywhere and causing traffic jams and gridlocks, agitators were able to destroy a local train, an entire train station (this is fascinating because this is the doing of lawyers apparently, all on their own, without any help from any others if the newspapers are to be believed) and half a dozen buses.  All public property, built and run with the help of tax payers' money. This is especially sad because Andhra Pradesh is now a state that hangs precariously on the verge of bankruptcy, thanks to hare brained schemes. These are schemes which have been called populist but allegations are that they benefitted the Congress party workers and not the people.  Whatever the case maybe, they have ensured that there is more expenditure for the State and less income.  


The State is already beleaguered in financial terms and the fresh set of losses that are being accumulated on a daily basis cannot make things easier.  Disruption of services, destruction of property and paralyzing of the economy thanks to the non-cooperation movement initiated for a separate Telangana and the call for bandhs over extended periods of time are all contributing to impoverish the economy and the State further, not to mention the severe inconvenience that it causes to common people.  It is heart rending to see ambulances stuck in traffic gridlocks, medicines not being available to the needy and staff of various hospitals not reaching their work places on time or not reaching at all due to the chaos that prevails on the roads.  All this is indicative of ineffective and gutless political leadership that in the first place foisted this problem on the people.  First it was Dr. Y. S. Rajashekar Reddy who indulged in multiple speak, thereby confusing people about where he ultimately stood vis-a-vis separate Telangana.  Then Mr. P. Chidambaram's double speak and the Prime Minister's statements that this problem will be solved only by consensus. I would like to ask how it is possible to create a consensus when a handful of dubiously motivated politicians (on both sides of the great divide) are presiding over the destiny of the people?  Please permit me to deviate a bit here and express my deep disappointment with the Prime Minister.  I have held in the past that he is a politician with some vision but his conference with the electronic media and his utterance that he was not as big a culprit as he was being made out to be, have left me disenchanted with him.  Am I to understand that he is not a big culprit but nevertheless a culprit?  If that is the case, what moral right does he have to continue as the Prime Minister? Another defence that in coalitions it is difficult to check corruptions (referring to the 2G scam) and governments have to perform with corruption (that implied and not said explicitly) so as to rule out elections every six months, is the most disturbing statement that I have ever heard.  I would rather the country bear the expenditure of elections than that of corruption, indecisiveness, hooliganism and lumpenism. 


But to come back to the point that I was making, a weak leadership lacking in self-confidence and in integrity has been driving the nation down and not up.  The festering Telangana issue is proof of this.  The attitude of both the Government of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh seems to be that of just not doing anything about the issue and hoping that it would die. But that is not going to happen.  It will remain a fire that will be stoked again and again and repeatedly interfere with peoples' lives on a daily basis.  The first thing that has been hit and remains hit for more than a year now is the education system.  With hardly any serious functioning the higher education system which has been under doldrums has now become a haven new lumpen leaders to emerge and bargain for their own pieces of the pie that is being arbitrarily apportioned.  I have been stating that this is not an issue that pertains only to Andhra Pradesh alone but has ramifications for the entire nation.  The country is like a living organism and malfunctioning parts contribute to the death of the whole organism and not just those parts.  Can we imagine a body whose kidneys are dysfunctional carrying on?  Yet there seems to be no attempt being made by anyone to set the situation right by taking a decision and not leaving the issue the way it is.  The drain of finances here will have repercussions for other parts of the country as well, especially since the city of Hyderabad is now firmly tied to the national and international economies.  But no one seems to be overly concerned about this.


That brings me back to the point that I have been repeatedly raising in this blog of mine.  The necessity for a vibrant public sphere and properly deliberative democracy which will see stake holders (the people) coming together in various forums in a non-combative way and rationally deliberating is  the way forward.  Modern democracy has been conceived of by many a thinker such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber to name a couple, as an extension of an organic process of growth in society due to rational mechanisms that bring people closer together based in the notion of consent and agreement.  What we are witnessing in India is the exact opposite; the use of democracy to build barriers between people (by unscrupulous political leaders) and to try and draw mechanical compliance out of them.  Public institutions therefore function only in terms of some procedures and rarely take care of the substantive aspect, for which they are there in the first place. This is to me is indication of the inadequacy of relying only on representative democracy where only leaders play a role in politics. Democracy should be augmented by a deliberative process where people will come together rationally and without preconceived notions to chart a course of development for the country.  Only then can we see an end to the inaction on Telangana, end to scams such as the 2G spectrum scam and manipulative politics.  Deliberative democracy is the way forward to ensure that the young of this country have some future to look towards.  As usual I hope that the future of my country is truly bright.  I am happy to see that the Supreme Court has directed the State Government (of Andhra Pradesh) to pay its dues to professional colleges, which means at least they will not be shut like they were threatening to.