In a nation where some “scam” or “gate” tickles the sensibilities of its citizens for a few hours every few days, the kerfuffle over the Adarsh housing society in south Bombay is remarkable for many reasons.
To start with, there is the utter brazenness of it all: a project in the name of the “martyrs” of the Kargil war falling into the hands of the inglourious basterds.
A 6-storey building magically becoming 31 storeys tall in the shadow of the city and state governments. Confusion over who owns the land after the skyscraper comes up in a cantonment area. And then, the beautiful names of the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena and their near and dear ones, and their benamis.
What is also remarkable is the sight of an utterly shameless chief minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, “offering” his resignation not to the governor of the State, at whose pleasure he enjoys office constitutionally, but to the president of his party, Sonia Gandhi. And the employment of the standard operating procedure of the Congress to delay, delay, delay so that the people forget.
Above all, what is remarkable is the number of “scams” and “gates” that occur under the benign gaze of prime minister Manmohan Singh, who, it seems, is completely ignorant or unconcerned about his own personal integrity being used by his party and allies like a smokescreen, as long as an EGoM can be constituted.
And then, there are the illuminated assholes of the armed forces, from the army, navy and air force, who are not beyond selling the blood of their own colleagues and compatriots, using the tricolour of pumped-up patriotism as a figleaf.
M.J. Akbar writes in Deccan Herald:
“It is entirely appropriate that a nation whose motto is Satyameva Jayate should discover a metaphor for ravenous loot in a Mumbai building society called Adarsh.
“Greed is the new religion and all are welcome to feed at the trough. Nothing else is sacrosanct; not the highest offices in public service: chief minister, army chief, navy admiral, or top bureaucrat through whom the file must pass.
“If there is a flat to be stolen in a housing society sanctioned for the welfare of war widows, then every single one of these crooks are ready to cheat the blood of Kargil martyrs.
“Thomas Friedman did not know how many puns danced on the head of a simile when he called the world as flat and began his journey in India.
“There is no shame left. It is tempting to ask whether there is an India left when most of its ruling class has abandoned every principle in its composite, vulgar commitment to theft, but hopefully India is larger than its ruling class.”