Indian media in feeding frenzy – 26/11 Mumbai terror strike

Posted in Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on December 2, 2008

Too much or too little

There are two schools of thought about Indian neta – especially when it comes to an crisis. One school says, that Indian bureaucracy is the best and can get it done – except it is hobbled by ‘interference’ from the neta.

The other schools veers to the view which says that Indian netas are doing nothing. It is the netas inaction which is the root of all problems in India. Usually, both schools of thought are used by the same set of people – based on what seems more appropriate for the context.

How can politicians become effective without ‘meddling’, and if they don’t ‘meddle’, we will then blame them for ‘inaction’. So, it has been after the 26/11 terror strike in Mumbai.

Feeding frenzy in the Indian media

Feeding frenzy in Indian media

The Indian media (especially English) and the India’s Westernized elite has been hounding for blood ever since the terrorist attacks on Mumbai’s upper class business centres for the first time. After the 26/11 attack on Mumbai prime centres, they have been able to force the resignation of Shivraj Patil, India’s Home Minister. Maharashtra’s Home Minister, RR Patil has also resigned. Maharshtra’s Cheif Minister is expected to be replaced also – soon.

Rafiq Zakaria, a Westernized Indian, now a US citizen, said on CNN, at the Global Public Square program.

This crisis has highlighted one of the peculiarities about India. Its society, economy, private sector are amazingly dynamic. The same cannot be said of the Indian state. Government in India is too often weak, divided, incompetent.

The Times Of India, desperately sombrely, thinks, “it is time to ask our politicians: Are you going to go back to playing politics with our lives? Or are you going to do something worthwhile with yours?” The normally incisive, MJ Akbar,  falls into the trap of blaming politicians, latching onto politico bashing, by saying, “We have been defeated by incompetent governance, both in Mumbai and Delhi … ineffectual leadership (is) turning a tough nation into a soft state. We should have been world leaders in the war against terrorists, for no nation has more experience Instead we are wallowing in the complacent despair of a continual victim.”

The normally vacuous Lord Baron Meghnad Desai,writing in the Indian Express, continued with his inanities, “It is a test of leadership. Can India’s political parties, tested for 60 years in the crucible of democracy, rise to this occasion and save our country?” Hindustan Times joins in with its own two bits. Inderji Hazra, in a very superior fashion writes, but does not see the contradiction when he talks about ‘Frankly, the ‘lack of form’ shown by our political class isn’t a big deal for me … The two things: political meddling and the law of averages.”

Mint, a sister publication of HT and WSJ, was out with its editor saying, “The heads have started rolling — and high time too. While people such as Shivraj Patil, Vilasrao Deshmukh and R.R. Patil deserve to be sacked, this is also a good time to look at the overall leadership deficit in India.”

Anti-neta colonial legacy

From colonial times, the Indian neta has been a favorite target of smear campaigns, innuendo and propaganda. Colonial administration in India worked hard to undermine the credibility of the Indian ‘neta’ -for obvious reasons. Colonial bureaucrats (and their successors, the IAS) covered their incompetence and corruption with this lopsided image of the neta. Indians politicians are possibly as corrupt as any others in the world.

Ask the Japanese about Kakui Tanaka and Lockheed affair. Or ask the British about Mark Thatcher shenanigans. But don’t ask Americans about the son of bootlegger who flouted the US Constitution many times – John F.Kennedy. After JFK’s killing, 60 years on, there are many suspects who had motives. Mafia tops this list.

The State Of Foreign Affairs

The state of inter-government relations in South Asia is a sign of lazy Indian diplomatic corps (the IFS) which considers all these neighbourhood postings as ‘punishment’ postings. The ‘best’ of IFS corps wants postings to Western capitals. Like the IAS, the IFS is another albatross around India’s neck.

A large part of India’s Foreign Ministry budget goes towards Western engagement (for proof, look at the dubious Festivals of India in USA, France, Russia, Britain, etc). Instead if the same money was spent in the sub-continent, it would have been better spent. The huge monies spent on Western embassies are mis directed. It would be ideal if those Western embassies were Spartan, frugal (I should actually say Gandhian) – and the money saved can be invested in the sub-continent.

No neighbour would want to willingly embrace China! After all, India offers a template that others can use – and China offers a road map that points downhill. It is India’s superior attitude which has made it attractive for our neighbours to embrace China.

For this reason, again SAARC has been bombast – and little action. It is our diplomatic corps that are found wanting. The SAARC opportunities in the economic area are huge – and history is on our side. It is our Western pre-occupation and Pakistani Fixation which are to blame

Let us get real, shall we?

The Indian Government (Central and State together) have an employee base of about 55 lakhs. The number of elected representatives total around 5,500. The Indian population totals 110 crores (1100 million). It makes no sense to make scapegoats of 5500 politicians.

Blaming politicians, who are temporary office bearers, is escapist and is a well tuned strategy by the entrenched bureaucracy which bears the full responsibility for this –  the success of this operation and the lack of efforts to kill this problem at its root.

The Indian himself

Is the Indian looking at himself?

Firstly, the Indian does not want to pay his political leaders. For the last 20 years, I have received this chain mail, which talks about how each politician costs this country Rs.100,000 per hour, etc. What does the Indian expect – 10 million Gandhijis who will serve the country for free?

The same goes for the army, the police and the bureaucrats. The logic here is ‘anyway they take so much in bribes that they do not need anything more.” Or one step further, “However much you pay these guys, they will not stop. They will continue to take bribes.”

It is these Indian attitudes which make for a soft state – and not some 5500 politicians – a mix of great and inane, competent and corrupt.

And the solution starts here with me. Are you with me or against me!!

6 Responses

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  1. Anita said, on December 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I stumbled across your post and found it fascinating. You’re absolutely right especially about the Westernized Indian being a Non Resident Indian. When will we – the individual – take responsibility for our own apathy, self-interest and greed in maintaining the status quo? How much does the average Indian really care about democracy for the millions of masses or eradicating their hunger and poverty? I find it shocking that the media (Indian and Western) has not covered the far worse atrocities and threats posed by the Orissa/NE India persecution of Christians, to the open and democratic society that India supposedly has. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this issue. (the website http://www.persecution.org/ has some details on what’s happening with regard to Christians in India). Thanks.

  2. Anuraag Sanghi said, on December 13, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Anita – Thanks for your interest. My reply below is linked to some relevant posts – which will give background to the position I am taking.

    This ‘violence against Christians’ hahakaar is something that needs a 2ndlook.

    The West (and most of the Rest) have the lowest religious diversity in the world. They have followed a simple policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide in their countries. The most examples were Muslims from former Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Herzegovina, etc.) or before that Jews from Europe.

    Hence, any criticism from such quarters rings a hollow bell. The Indian religious diversity is unique. It just does not exist anywhere else in the world. Where else in the world can you find the religious freedom for Muslims that they get in India?

    Can a bearded Muslim with a skull cap go about his life in New York? After 9/11, some Sardarjis were mistaken (for Arab Muslims) and killed in the US. Will Saudi Arabia accept the (at least) 7 different sects of Islamic practices that Indian Muslims follow?
    This tolerance by Indians is clearly being misused by others – and when there are stray incidents of reaction, these are blown out of context, and used against India. The truth is that this reaction by the Rest is a justification for their narrow religious demographics.

    The actions by the Vatican are worth a 2ndlook – as is the Kandhamal story.

  3. mymyboli said, on December 14, 2008 at 7:44 am

    My blood boils Your’s must be. We can’t be mute spectators. We must stay focused and ACT . Now ! Before they destroy us .
    please visit



  4. Unpretentious_Diva said, on January 9, 2009 at 9:49 am

    its just another drive to divert the attention from the problem.

    Static government system includes both politicians and bureaucracy and just like any collectivism, it also sucks individual’s life. There’s nothing new about it.

    And the question is not if some is with you or not, question is, is a person free to be with himself?
    The question is are you with government (which includes bureaucracy) or against it.

  5. […] language media in India is still in its colonial haze – and to see such decadent, colonial ideas, 60 years after the British were thrown out, […]

  6. […] language media in India is still in its colonial haze – and to see such decadent, colonial ideas, 60 years after the British were thrown out, boggles […]

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