The U.S. Embassy cable of 1976, accessed by WikiLeaks, quite rightly foresaw the course of events in the likely event of Indira Gandhi’s death (April 12). The cable even talked of manoeuvres for a dynastic succession. While Sanjay Gandhi’s untimely death changed the scenario, the days following Indira Gandhi’s assassination did witness the seizing of power by her “inner circle” through force of circumstances in 1984.
The WikiLeaks disclosures may pertain to those who are no longer with us. But the revelations show that politicians should not be taken on their face value. Voters should exercise their vote carefully.
They should also keep a close watch on the activities of their representatives. Every citizen should be a watchdog of democracy.
That a U.S. diplomatic cable termed corruption “a fact of life” in 1976 itself is shocking. Should we sit back and relax because the 2G scam and other scandals are actually part of our lives? At least the present government seems to think so.
T. Girijavallabhan Nair,
Observations such as one had “never seen a case where an original low bidder ever received a contract” since “repeated tendering combined with specification changes are instituted by the GoI until the appropriate bidder becomes low bidder as well” are an exaggeration. So is the comment that the embassy finds no evidence that corruption levels came down during the period (Emergency). It was during the Emergency that the common man actually had the best of time. Prices were under control and shopkeepers started displaying the prices of items on sale. Hoarders were sent to jail. Standards for quality, quantity and prices for various food items in restaurants and hotels were fixed and monitored by the local officials concerned. Government employees became conscious of the starting and closing time of their office. Buses and trains started running in time.
True, many excesses were committed during the Emergency, especially in the north, and the voters gave a resounding verdict against the Congress. But even then, there was no allegation of corruption against the political bosses as we hear about our present day politicians.