Nothing official about it

Karunanidhi and Krishna — should we say V2Ks in view of the wholesome compliance of the two Ks to V’s dictates? — have truly made governance seem very simple and even pedestrian. Let alone running the day-to-day affairs of the State, but managing even crisis of criminal character has become a very ordinary matter with little need for all those cumbersome cabinet meetings and bureaucratic debates, not to speak of gearing up the police to tackle the problem, which actually falls in their domain.

It does not matter if all those IAS officials and senior police officers, who are all being paid for performing exactly these chores, sit idle, twiddling their thumbs and counting spiders on the ceilings, even as cobwebs are formed in their brain cells. All it takes to govern a State for a duly elected leader of the government is to abdicate his lawful duties without exactly relinquishing office, in favour of dubious but helpful unofficial adventurers and then sit back and relax in the cool confines of plush secretariats, while awaiting the arrival of emissaries to whom the ‘job’ has been entrusted.

For those used to handing out dicey government contracts to pliable, and not necessarily viable, candidates, app-arently governence also has become a commodity that could be outsourced. But in the award of the current Brigand Negotiation Contract, even the customary tender procedures have been given the go by owing to the fact that the eminent emissary editor holds the patent to the jungle trail leadeing to the bandit hideout as also the copyright to the bandit’s mind and utterances.

If Veerappan is unique, then so is the emissary who has access to the former at will and owing to this supremacy is automatically entitled to deal with the brigand, to the exclusion of even the government. It does not matter if the chosen one fails to deliver, he could always be given another chance and if necessary yet another chance, till such time he delivers.

But then there is never the question of switching contractors for men of honour like our rational CM are known to keep their word and in any case, is not Gopal an integral part of Gopalapuram? So it is that while the entire State machinery starting with the CM to CS to the local cop voluntarily remain inert and impotent and languish in a blissful realm of inaction, rank outsiders, who have no business poking their whiskers into what is essentially and constitutionally a lawful government’s very private affair, strut around in the company of super stars and issue statements that reek of unchecked audacity and clearly transgress all norms of propriety.

We are no legal buffs and are indeed totally lost in the myriad laws that govern our behaviour as lawful citizens, but we do recall an act called Official Secrets Act or something that, to put it in lay terms, forbids a man of the government from parting with sensitive official information.

Without getting caught in the legal nitty-gritty one can safely assume that the law is purported to protect the sanctity as well as the security of information that the aforementioned men come to handle in the course of their presence in office. Pray how is it that, such non-governmental characters as the emissary and even his magazine cronies are included in any and every discussion pertaining to the brigand when it is obvious that matters as sensitive as internal security vis-a-vis Veerappan are bound to come up for debate?

How can the emissary and his editorial team be privy to a meeting of chief ministers and home ministers whilst they discuss strategies (?) when even the DGP or high level buereaucrats, who are constitutionally entitled and even dutybound to attend, are not in the picture? (Quite literally too, for the CMs are invariably flanked by super stars and super editors, leaving little room for men of law)

What is the guarantee that these men of the media, who have made a living out of their contacts with a manic killer,could be trusted to keep their discretion intact and act only in the best interests of the State, that too when there is such abject confusion on what the State itself is up to?

But as things stand now it is only these enterprising editors who are the custodians of all official secrets proxying for the true guardians who prefer to be content with picking the morsels thrown around by the former. A despicable reversal of roles no doubt, that cocks a snook at our sanity as well as sensibilities.

Rather one is inclined to conclude from the brigand’s intransigence that the emissaries if anything have only been hugely successful in conveying the governments’ total helplessness thereby emboldening him to remain tough! Not that the brigand is known for leniency but still every bit of info does add up, particularly when it emanates from such reliable sources as the emissary, who habitually dines and whines only with CMs and super stars.

Really, Veerappan as a larger than life phenomenan is of very recent origin when the brigand media and its self-styled mediators assiduously sought him out for crass commercial spoils while in his earlier avatar he was just a lonely poacher pinching sandal wood and bumping off intrusive cops.

This section of the media cannot escape the blame for making V seem like a crusader for a cause besides ensuring effective lines of communication for him to get messages across to no less than the CM of the State at will. It is the members of this brigand media who need to be grilled first and be subjected to a thorough probe for their links with Veerappan but any such talk would be blasphemous now.

What can one do when these men have attained the exalted status of Ambassadors of the TN State though it is now defunct? If it was press freedom that protected these media buccaneers in the past it is now Diplomatic Immunity that has now cast a security ring around them a la Colgate Calciguard!

Given their pavlovian tendency to crawl the moment the brigand blows the whistle, the CMs could be expected to do little better but rational men that they are one could have wished them to take a leaf out of Gopal himself who deems secrecy as his most potent weapon and confine to handing out only instructions to him as we normally do to a messenger instead of making him the presiding officer of every meeting.

But alas, that too may not happen what with superstars throwing in their lot with super editors and jointly venturing to fill the space so effortlessly vacated by very rational leaders. And with men of straw heading governments, small wonder that governance seems like anybody’s business! Or to put it in more familiar jargon, Jujoobi!

e-mail the writer at
[email protected]

Jawahar T R