Strange rationality

THE GREAT INDIAN CIRCUS

The whole of India and that includes the Congressmen, is agreed on one thing and that is the absolute irrelevance of a doddering old man called Sitaram Kesri, who would easily qualify as the most criticised and most caricatured leader(?) in recent times. The ‘Kesri hatao’ process in the Congress started with the elimination of his photos from the party posters, followed by him being eased out of the campaign dais too by the star campaigner, who reportedly dreads the prospect of even flying on the same aircraft with him.

And so when the name of the game all over is ‘ignore the rug puller’, Tamilnadu’s self-respecting Chief Minister has sought to defy trends by ‘agreeing’ with Kesri. Now you may wonder what Kesri had said that has now caught the attention of Karunanidhi so as to elicit the latter’s agreement. Was it not just the other day that the CM taunted Kesri for fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi’s wish of dissolving the Congress? Then why this sudden affection?

To end the suspense, the meeting of minds has come about as a direct result of Kesri’s allegation that the RSS was behind the blasts in Kovai. The CM says he agreed with this view and that some foreign forces may be having links with the RSS and Islamic fundamentalist forces. Of course when the same Kesri made several statements against Karunanidhi and his party, especially on the Jain panel revelations, the latter found no reason to agree with him. But now he finds sense in the delirious ramblings of the old man in a hurry. Strange are the ways of the rational mind.

The episode does offer an insight into the psychology of the CM, though. The prospect of an RSS hand behind the blasts is too irresistible a suggestion for the CM to let pass. The Congress president has indeed thrown a life line by making such an insinuation and it makes sense for the CM to find common cause with him, if only on this issue. We say so because it follows a pattern. Ever since violence erupted in Kovai last year, the CM and his government have steadfastly refused to act against the mischief mongers, despite being in possession of overwhelming evidence about their identities and activities. In fact, the genesis of the present problem can be traced to the advent of the DMK regime which made an election promise to remove the ‘restrictive’ police check posts set up during the earlier regime, which put a check on the movement of the terrorists. This was one promise they kept, even against saner advice from the police and ever since the flood gates were kept open for the un-checked growth of the militant outfits.

What did the CM say soon after the Saturday blasts? ‘His government would leave no stone unturned to bring to book the culprits, whether they belong to the minority or the majority’. And again he asserts that his government would act against the perpetrators, irrespective of the community to which they belonged. We all know why these italicised phrases find a place in the Chief Minister’s statements. Such ritualised utterances are now deemed as a political necessity. You never pull up a minority, whatever their crimes, and you never fail to drag in the majority, even if they are innocent. After all, it pays electorally to throw your lot with the underdogs while making a perpetual whipping boy of the majority, who are inevitably taken for granted, but rarely take objection to it.

And all this even after his own government has identified, banned and apprehended only two groups which incidentally belonged to a certain minority community. Despite this the CM would feel protective about them and would seek to include the majority too in his list of suspects, though there is no evidence to confirm his doubts. He would be ever ready to take umbrage at any statement, however outrageous it is and whosoever it comes from, just to perpetuate and justify his covert inaction and overt acquiescence in the activities of the anti-social elements.

Such minority-obeisance, has now reached ridiculous levels. The minorities in reality rarely solicit such pampering, knowing full well that they have to live in harmony with the majority. It is the politicians who play on even minor apprehensions and consistently feed fear into their minds. And given the electoral potential of that vote-block, the politicians, then find it convenient to keep the flames of fear raging among the minorities so that they themselves can prosper in the warmth. And the criminal elements in the minority take the cue and promptly convert the flames into explosions, not caring who it hurts. The guileless among them suffer as the guilty go scot free.

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Jawahar T R