Saturday, 6 October 2007

India and Pakistan--Lost at Birth?

Just think about this coincidence--as Mr. Jagdish Tytler was being given a "clean chit" for his participation in the 1984 riots by the CBI, General Pervez Musharraf was absolving Ms. Benazir Bhutto and her spouse, Mr. Asif Zardari, of all corruption charges. So does this mean that justice, like political alliances, is also a matter of convenience? What about a scientific investigation of crimes, trial according to due process of law and conviction or accquital by a court of law? This disregard for the law and due process leads to lawlessness and vigilanteism, if not an encouragement of the J. Edgar Hoover style of political management--get some evidence on your political opponents, so that you control them.

It seems that politicians, whether they dress in khadi, silk or khaki, share a similar disrespect for all legal forms and niceties. When they are in power, they act as though they are not just the law, but beyond it. They misuse the law as a weapon against their political opponents. The Mayawati-Mulayam Singh Yadav vendetta is an example of this scenario. No one can be sure that Mayawati, who says that the recruitment procedure to the UP police was mismanaged during Mulayam's tenure, is acting in good faith or not. This is because we all know how partisan UP politics is--if Mulayam favoured a particular policy, it is likely that Mayawati will want a 360 degree turn when she comes to power.

This happens at the national level also. Look at the 123 agreement, signed between the US and India. While the BJP was in power, it did its utmost to improve Indo-US relations, despite the 1998 Pokhran tests. In fact, the BJP did its utmost to establish the fact that India and the US, not India and Pakistan, were natural allies in the war against terror. However, this did not stop them from criticizing the 123 agreement.

Why is it so difficult for politicians on the subcontinent to look beyond their petty political interests and focus on the national or state interest? This is the land in which the Bhagavad Gita is considered holy--the Gita states that focusing on the fruits of an action is beyond the scope of individuals--they should only focus on the action itself. This obsessive focus on petty individual, dynastic or party goals and interests in preference to wider provincial or national goals is demeaning.

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