Devil’s alternatives

Sonia’s self goal might have predictably put the much tormented Krishna to untold embarrassment, but she has certainly not covered herself with glory by making a remark that borders on stupidity, and incidentally adding yet another ridiculous dimension to the on going farce.

The leading lady of the Congress, of course, has only been behaving the way Congress presidents are traditionally known to behave – finding scapegoats for their inaction and lapses- and there is no surprise in her trying to cover her back retrospectively in keeping with the legacy that she has appropriated.

It is quite baffling how the all knowing president of the AICC was not aware of the impending visit of Nedumaran and Co to the jungles when the entire world was agog about it. Indeed, it is difficult to believe so and one is only inclined to ask her if she was really that ignorant or was she just trying to sound politically correct albeit after the event. To be sure, it is like asking someone if he had stopped beating his wife, an eternal query to which no wise man had so far come up with a credible, face-saving reply. And Sonia is no wise one.

The lady’s foolhardiness apart, questions do linger on the prudence and legality of the emissary syndrome that has gripped the two States much to the exclusion of the official machinery which apparently has been relegated to the garage to rust. If transparency and truth have been the twin greatest casualties, it is wholly owing to two State governments abdicating, post haste, their constitutional obligations in favour of rank outsiders who have no other stake in the issue except promoting their own pet agendas.

If this sounds harsh it is because it is real. And if one needs proof, it is there either in the form the now familiar magazine’s familiar logo at the foot of every of footage or photograph or in the new found importance for the views of time tested anti-nationals. We are not sure if Veerappan has gained any mileage out of his daredevilry, but one can safely bet that the tribe of emissaries are a much better lot these days.

Politocos, both the ins and the outs, may trade charges on who first enlisted the services of the exponents of extremism to bargain with their proteges holed up in the thickets. Again, they may parade the specious logic that you have to remove a thorn only with the aid of another thorn or that there is nothing like vesting they keys to your locker with the thief himself.

They may also be guided, by the understanding there could not be better men to read the minds of criminals than those who pampered them in the first place, like for instance, eminent editors who are sold out on brigands’ benevolence or ideologically ingrained proponents of separitism. But then what about the government that we have elected to govern and protect us, at least theoretically?

We went through so much pain, in heat and dust, rain and shine, trekking up to the poll booths, deciphering our mis-spelt names from the voter list, dirtying our fingers with that indelible ink and then waiting with bated breath to know by whose hands we are going to get strangled, all just to vest our fate with them, and look what they do.

They just abdicate their duties, with impunity and no shame, without exactly relinquishing office, blissfully sub-contract governance to total outsiders and pass on the mantle to men with no mandate or rather, men who can never be trusted with a mandate. Characters, who in normal days would be stopped at the first gate of the Secratariat and frisked thoroughly just breeze in and out of CM residences and the corridors of power as if it was Veerappan’s domain!

Such men, having attained the exalted status of government emissaries, are now the sole custodians of all official secrets by virtue being a party to all official deliberations and strategy (?) sessions held to rescue Rajkumar. Little wonder that the State governments have no minutes to show to the Supreme Court when asked to produce them! How can they when all that is happening is well beyond the orbit of constitutional propriety and all that is transpiring cannot truly be part of official records.

In fact, truth is only what the emissaries, who are not bound by any legal duty, claim to be and their minutes are not certainly available for the perusal of a law courts or lawful citizens. Any effort in that direction would be an assault on press freedom, freedom of speech or such other things we are so familiar with.

How did things come to such a pass and so easily at that? If toxic gases have filled the vacuum created by the exit of a lawfully elected govaernment from its constitutional domain, it is soley owing to the authorities not even bothering to examine any other alternative. The moment V walked away with Rajkumar, among the first persons to be contacted was the long standing emissary who was out of work for quite some time now.

He was summoned within twenty four hours and packed to the jungles with an assurance that V’s ‘reasonable demands’ would be met, even before the brigand had listed out his demands. What was the government’s discretion in vesting such a carte blanche with a person whose easy access to Veerappan is actually an embarrassing reality needs to be probed?

When it is rules and procedures that pervade every facet of governmental functioning much to the torment of ordinary citisens, what procedures were followed in such vital matter as choosing the emissary and why is the CM so committed to hime despite his repeated failures?

For that matter, whatever the consensus behind the choice of Nedumaran, will it stand the test of national interest? Why would Veerappan and his sponsors want Nedumaran and his equally rabid comrades inside the jungles? To discuss the flood situation? Veerappan can rest assured that the governments will never raise a finger against him and instead subject their entire being before him. He could even ask for Prabakaran, and the TN govaernments would secure him for the brigand.

The Karnataka government, of course, would not mind, for all it wants is the safe release of Rajkumar, by whatever means its TN counterpart deems fit. Sonia could always wash her hands off, after of course, dabbling in the muck first. The nit picking over who actually authorised the emissary is really funny. It is Veerappan who did it, obviously. As if our governments and the politicians had a choice.

It is no longer the law of the jungle that prevails here. With hell visiting our domain, devils have taken over. And there is room for more of them.

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Jawahar T R