You are here: Rediff Home » India » News » Columnists » Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Search: The Web
   Email   |      Print | Get latest news on your desktop

Why are we targeting politicians alone?
Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Related Articles
It's time to hold Pakistan accountable

VVIPs don't come to Mumbai!

Mumbai youth rally against terror

'We're mad as hell'

Mumbai terrorist attack: Full coverage

Today is national shame day

Get news updates:What's this?
December 03, 2008
Ever since murderous terrorists attacked Mumbai, the city's residents have been scathing about politicians. There are clips of them voicing their disgust on television -- blaming the netas for all the ills of Indian society and accusing them of not doing enough. The general consensus being -- 'It is high time we do something about them.'

My question to my fellow Mumbaikars is -- do what?

Nobody has any answer and we continue to vent our anger against politicians. Then there are all these armchair intellectuals sitting in television studios who are blaming one party or the other and find an escapist way out.

Ask them to come and join politics and the best answer you'll get is: 'Oh! It is not meant for me. It is a dirty business.'

So what right do they or we have to blame the politicians alone?

In response we give answers like -- 'We pay taxes, don't we?'

Does that mean that we are absolved from all duties as Indian citizens just by paying taxes?

Don't politicians too pay taxes?

If people feel something for the country, then merely paying taxes is not enough. The trouble is that no one wants to go beyond paying taxes and giving lectures about what politicians should do.

Then there is another group of people want politicians to be out of power but have no alternatives about what kind of people or governance should replace them?

If politicians are to be blamed for the recent terrorist attacks, then is it not true that the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard and the Mumbai police too are to be blamed for not taking enough measures to prevent these terrorists from entering Mumbai?

So why are we targeting politicians alone?

Look at our neighbour, Pakistan. Politicians there have abused power so much that the army has become a reality for that country. The army rules Pakistan in spite of whichever democratically elected government is in power.

When these Pakistani politicians were in power, they were ruthless against their opponents -- be it Benazir Bhutto [Images] or her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif. They put their opponents behind bars for some or the other reasons and made governance a one man rule even in a democracy.

Though the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress try to score points over vote bank politics against the background of these terrorist attacks, they will not start a vindictive campaign against each other's leaders.

Last Saturday, I was at the funeral of martyred anti-terrorist squad chief Hemant Karkare [Images]. I saw politicians from all parties sitting beside each other.

I was glad to see Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi at the funeral. I asked him why he had come considering his party was so opposed to Karkare after he arrested sadhvi Pragya Thakur. He said, "Our party may differ on certain issues, but there is no doubt that Karkare was a true patriot and he died for the cause of our nation."

I may not agree with many of the Sena's policies, but it was good to hear such words of wisdom from Joshi at the funeral of Karkare whom his party had called anti-national.

In all my reporting years, I have found that we Indians are a very contradictory people. Perhaps that is the beauty of being Indian.

We may hate politicians with all our heart, but next year many Indians will queue up to vote.

To those who don't want to vote, stating, 'Enough is Enough', my question is: Can they come up with an alternative form of government?

As Winston Churchill [Images] often said, 'Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.'

We have so far not tried any other form of government except for the brief Emergency in the mid 1970s, and we all know how terrorised the entire nation was during that period.

So if you are looking for answers by stating enough is enough, look at Pakistan which was ruled by the military for so many years and is a ruined, failed State.

If you want a theocratic State, then look at Saudi Arabia where women don't have many rights, and if you want a Communist state, then look how China has been suppressing human rights.

Agreed, 'Enough is Enough,' but not only for politicians but also for all those armchair journalists who sit in their studios and don't even do their jobs properly.

These channels spread rumours like the one about firing at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus [Images] last Friday, spreading panic in the city. Do they have accountability?

At least people have the right to vote politicians out, but what about these journalists? Don't you think it is high time we tell them: 'Enough is Enough' of your senseless programmes?

Guest Columns
       Email  |        Print   |   Get latest news on your desktop

© 2008 India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback