Another Letter to Rahul

Dear Mr Gandhi

Hope you are doing well. I wrote you a letter a few weeks ago when an incident occurred that made you feel ashamed of being an Indian. Since people like me knew some bit of history, and we had been ashamed several times in the past, I wrote to appraise you that the incident concerning farmers of Noida was not the first such event. As it turned out, it wouldn’t be the last one either.

Just when your shamefulness seems to be waning, a contingent of police swooped down on a gathering of people peacefully protesting against an issue on which the present government has been doing, well nothing.

Black money is a very grey area for most of us in India and Swiss Bank accounts are something that we have heard only in the movies, where somehow within the span of two and half to three hours, the hero makes sure that the villain is punished and the monies recovered. So for decades, we’ve been made to feel good that the black money from Switzerland was being steadily extracted. By people like Amitabh Bacchan, Rajnikanth, Chiranjeevi, Anil Kapoor, and countless other heroes across India.

It is only recently that the curtains actually came down on the screen and we realised that we had been watching movies. The monies had not been recovered and were safe there and even piling up more. With scandals like 2G, it must be getting quite exhausting for politicians like you to even count the money made in the corporate and other deals. So many mines to be discovered across central and east India and so that many mining deals had to be signed and more tribals to be displaced and more ecology to be destroyed…

In such a busy political life, people actually have forgotten that somewhere between signing 2G or Bauxite deals, the American and European governments arm-twisted the Swiss government to pry open their secret accounts. Suddenly the shady accounts with billions of Indian money, made through countless robberies, became available for the Indian government’s scrutiny and even (partial) recovery. As an aside, please excuse me for using the word ‘robbery’. I was quite tempted to use some other word but since this is a pubic blog, I had to exercise self-censorship and restrain from using expletives. I’m sure you’ll understand.

Anyway, using the facility provided by the Swiss banks, countries such as US, Germany, etc., went ahead and got the names of the culprits and even recovered part of the stashed funds. What did India do? Nothing. Actually, that’s unfair. The Indian government actually went ahead and made a deal with the banks not to release the names of the account holders! I was a bit taken a back when I heard you say you were ashamed. Actually you were right. We all should be ashamed.

And then guess what happened? A Yoga guru, don’t ask me which one – there are thousands in India – but anyway, one such guru set out to launch Satyagraha to force our government to act on the black money issue. When I say a swami, don’t mistake him to be an ascetic. He is indeed worth millions and you know something? He is so powerful he cures cancer and even AIDS. Well, I wonder why the government has not introduced him to the WHO officials. Our ministers seem to be a bunch of slackers!

I digress again. Leave this guru’s powers aside. They are still not powerful enough to bring the robbed wealth back into the country. He still had to resort to decades’ old tool to make the government listen.

Here’s where it gets interesting: just stay with me a while. As soon as he announced the Satyagraha, the government lost even the semblance of bearings it had. Everybody, from central ministers to ordinary MPs kept talking in different tones and singing different tunes. They used their media cronies to frame allegations on the guru. They questioned his wealth. They questioned his stand on homosexuality, as if all other politicians are very firmly committed to gay rights. (by the way, what’s your view on that?) They tried every indirect weapon they had to circumvent the real issue and slander the swami. When nothing helped, as the ancient Indian principle suggests, when they failed on sama, dhana, and bedha, they took the dhanda.

Well literally. The police swooped down in the middle of the night as if they were raiding a terrorist hideout. Dozens of police (or were there hundreds?) descended on the grounds, woke up the sleeping swami and when the crowd protested, fired teargas at them. I know, you must be wondering that teargas is usually launched on rioting gangs. But what can I say? I never fully understood your anguish when you spoke about being ashamed. I’m a slow learner. Although the swami was safely escorted out of Delhi, many people were injured and as of now, one young woman is paralysed for life.

The tragedy didn’t stop there. Later on, the Congress leaders called various names to abuse the swami; the same person who was received by four central ministers and a cabinet secretary was being called a thug and a cheat. And Madam Sonia claimed she didn’t know about the raid. And what’s more, there’s going to be a CBI inquiry into the source of his yoga empire. And many Congress leaders have already started linking the swami with their favourite whipping boy, the RSS.

Well, what about the black money issue? You might ask. Exactly my point! Quite clever, did you say? Yes. Quite clever.

That’s exactly what Karunanidhi family must have thought two years ago when the central government buried the 2G issue.