India is currently being ruled by the forces of fear, distrust and money, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has said. He was delivering the second V.R. Krishna Iyer Memorial lecture as part of a public meeting organised by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI).
“Who rules India? I will not mention the name of a person. I shouldn’t say who. I should say what. Fear rules India. How does fear manifest itself? Why is the lokpal still dangling in mid-air? Why is the whistleblower’s protection Act not yet notified? There is a kind of fear to face reality in our legislatures, not just Parliament, but in our State legislatures too,” he said.
Result of compulsion
Criticising the imposition of the National Anthem on the people, he said that being asked to sing it under an order is to make that passionate hymn a humdrum chant of official value.
“Try making Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Kalidas compulsory reading. You will not want to read them. Try for that matter, making the reading of Tagore or Gandhi mandatory. I would much rather go through crossword or sudoku, rather than read any text, howsoever great it is. I love our National Anthem. It is probably one of the greatest anthems in the world. I would sing it to myself with full heart,” he said.
He said that the climate of fear had taken hold of the judiciary as well as the Union cabinet.
“Barring the Primeministerships of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, our cabinets have looked upon the PM as a kind of Alpha and Omega. When Nehru was PM, he had distinguished members of the cabinet who disagreed with him. Today that is not so. The randomisation of ministers is matched only by the digitisation of the bureaucracy and the robotisation of diplomats. The miasma of fear does not stop at the doors of the judiciary, it sometimes can seep through the doors as well. It faces the risk from an irritated government and that of succumbing to the fear of public opinion, voiced by majoritarianism, drummed up with covert and overt official backing,” said Mr. Gandhi.
“I was asked recently that if fear is a fact, how am I speaking all this and writing what I write. In Delhi, the suspended particulate matter which make up the pollutions is a fact. Imagine if somebody is told, why do you complain of pollution when you are breathing. The fact that you are breathing does not mean there is no pollution. Pollution is a fact,” he said. He said that distrust is extremely active in today’s polity, leading to the supercession of honest persons, be it officers, diplomats or judges.