This morning I was listening to Shri Prashant Bhushan a member of Shri Anna Hazare’s team addressing a large audience at Hyderabad. I could not help feel how we have succeeded to run this great country of ours down to -being very often referred to – as the “Banana Republic”. I have grown up with this Nation almost from its beginning in 1947, our first team headed by Jawaharlal Nehru were giants compared to the pigmies of today. The reason was quite simple – they addressed the people and their needs and not their own greed!

I used to be asked especially by the Americans what were we doing being in the Soviet Camp. I had to impress on our friends that we did not fight a long war to oust the British only to become slaves of the Soviets. Yet today the tables have surely turned. It was the East India Company in the 16th and 17th century, it is now the West India Company in the 21st century !

What we are seeing today is a Charade that is being well enacted by the representatives of the people. Once elected they feel that they have every right to do just what they feel like so long as they have a majority in the Parliament. Surely the Westminster model did not ever mean that. The people’s representatives must perform and be accountable for their actions. Failure to do this must be questioned and the representatives of the people must listen and act on it. This is where the modern mantra of “privatization “ must be critically seen. Instead of making the Government run agencies and public sector improve their performance the Government has opted to take the easy path of privatization. Result is more Indian Billionaires and many poorer Indians. This is exactly what happened to Russia. We need to learn lessons from their experience.

Whatever we touch today we see some corporate hand behind it. The private owners can put up the prices as they feel like and milk the public for their own gain. The public is a mute spectator to all of this. In every sector of our existence be it water, electricity, energy, nuclear power, mines, forests, all our resources, environment, indeed life itself is controlled by those with “money’ which is now the latest goddess in this grand design of a minimum 9 percent growth of GDP. Numbers do not fill stomachs, but food does. We lower the calorie intakes and thus reduce those who live below the poverty line (BPL). The budgets for health, education, housing and employment are on a steady decrease. Yet we claim our economy is booming. The question to ask is for “Whom” – The haves. If the policy makers do not make amends it may be too late to retrieve from this inexorable advance towards ‘Harakiri”

 


Admiral L Ramdas served as Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian navy taking the reins on November 30, 1990. Vir Chakra, Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Admiral Ramdas was warded Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal during his time in the Indian Navy.In 2004 he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Awards for peace for his efforts in trying to demilitarise and denuclearize South Asia. Admiral Ramdas is a leading voice of the growing people’s resistance against nuclear energy projects in India.