Date: 10/21/2005


Mulayam’s Mad Method/// Consider this inevitable scenario that precedes and follows every communal episode that tears apart the social fabric so decisively that the wounds stay alive for years. There is tension in the town. Apparently, it’s a loudspeaker which is turning the situation immediately volatile, though there might be deep-rooted reasons elsewhere, and parasites of mob violence lurking in the dark. The town explodes, its fires threaten to engulf the entire terrain, across the neighbourhood. What follows is even more bizarre: the local mla, a mafia don, takes over the place along with his goons, while the top brass of the police and administration withdraw into the shadows, allowing him free run, even while the ‘secular’ chief minister in the state capital, celebrating his half-monologues, holds his political cards close to his chest. It takes a while for him to discover his administrative responsibilities, and he does it with brazen arrogance: he appoints an inquiry committee headed by a lady bureaucrat, one of his favourites, till recently his chief secretary, listed as one of the most corrupt by her ias fraternity, and who had to be finally removed because of Supreme Court strictures following a PIL. /// The chief minister was not embarrassed then, as he declared publicly, and he doesn’t seem embarrassed now: public accountability or good governance be damned. /// If ‘the State has withered away’ in Bihar, let’s take an objective look at its neighbour, Uttar Pradesh. The communal violence in Mau which left many dead stinks of a realism that is becoming perverse — a rogue mla, who backs the Samajwadi Party, running amok, a tainted bureaucrat appointed to head the inquiry. When hundreds were dying of Japanese encephalitis in eastern UP, mostly children, it took the chief minister weeks to visit the area. The fact is these children could have been saved since the epidemic arrives every year. Who should be held responsible for this mass, transparent tragedy? /// Indeed, pushed eternally into the abyss of poverty, illiteracy, stagnation and stark underdevelopment, UP deserves much more than the artificial tonic of failed socialism and upstart capitalism which seems to be crash-landing even before it could pretend to fly. And the least the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime could do is to hear the voices from below: they might tell him an uncanny narrative which those riding high horses just can’t hear. /// ............................000000000