Atanu Dey On India's Development

The Brown-nosers’ Party

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There’s something fascinating about the Congress party which is only infrequently noted. It’s a party of sycophants and brown-nosers. The better a person is at bending, bowing, scraping, groveling, and sucking up to the members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, the higher his or her position in the whole sordid hierarchy.

Pratibha Patil got a cushy job but not without paying her dues. She demonstrated her loyalty by being the kitchen maid for Indira Gandhi. It has not been reported by the press but who knows whether Dr Manmohan Singh cleaned the Gandhi-family stables or the bathrooms. He probably shines Rahul Gandhi’s shoes. But the press did report that Manmohan Singh claimed that the NREGS is the gift of the Italian born Antonia Maino aka Sonia Gandhi to India. Manmohan Singh is the biggest ass-kisser in the whole bunch.

Incredible as it may seem, this sorry bunch of sycophants actually gets to rule the nation. Here’s what the Telegraph of Calcutta reports:

Jaipur, Feb. 9: Pratibha Patil became President because she cooked and washed for Indira Gandhi when the Prime Minister was thrown out of power in 1977, a Congress minister in Rajasthan has suggested.

Panchayati raj minister Amin Khan, who was addressing party workers in Pali district near Jodhpur yesterday, said Patil had sought nothing in return for her service to the first family.

Her patience and dedication paid off when Sonia Gandhi suddenly named her the party’s choice for President in 2007, Khan said. At the time, Patil was serving as the governor of Rajasthan.

Pratibha Patil has been around the block a few times. Or as the saying goes in Hindi, bahut papad bay-lay hain.

Reading the Pratibha Patil story was like deja vu all over again (as Yogi Berra put it.) Three years ago, in Nov 2007, I had a post on “Loyalty Pays.”

A man who has been a cook to the Nehru-Gandhi family for decades has been rewarded for his loyalty by the Nehru-Gandhi family — his son has been given a Congress ticket.

But wait, there’s another story that appeared nearly seven years ago. Here’s a bit from a post from April 2004, “Democracy in India.”

Just as the market is a great organizing principle in the economic sphere, so also democracy is a great and noble organizing principle in the political sphere. Democracy works, provided its pre-conditions are met. The necessary conditions include at a minimum: full information, accountability, economic freedom, institutional memory, and so on. Democracy cannot work when the electorate is nearly totally uninformed, where there are strong vested interests, where the notion of accountability is non-existent, where voters can be intimidated and bribed, where the culture is steeped in feudalism, and where illiteracy, superstition and corruption is the norm.

India’s democracy is at best a cargo cult democracy. Here is a brief news item from today’s The Times of India page 3. The Maharashtra Congress Committee vice-president Anant Gadgil plans to switch to the Shiv Sena because he did not get a ticket for contesting the elections. He wrote to the chief Sonia Gandhi and said:

Our family is known for its loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family, and to the Congress since independence. We always remember the recognition given by Indira and Rajiv Gandhi to my father for his utmost loyalty. Please let me know whether loyalty has no meaning left in the Congress party.

If those words don’t epitomize what Indian democracy is all about, I don’t know what does. Here is a person who wants to represent the will of the people, his constituency. And all he has to show for his qualifications for that task is his loyalty to a particular family. He does not plead that he has served the people of his constituency competently, he does not point out that he is capable of helping his society do better, he does not say that he understands the problems that his people face and that he has solutions, etc. Most likely he has not done any service nor is he capable of doing anything for the people. In keeping with the prevailing customs of the political parties in India — especially that of the Congress Party — all that he has to show is that he and his father have always been loyal lap-dogs of the of the ruling family.

Mr. Anant Gadgil may be an ignorant wanna-be. But he is not alone. His sentiments are shared by practically all “leaders” of the Congress party, from Messers Manmohan Singh and Narasimha Rao to the lowliest party worker. All they have to demonstrate is unquestioned loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family and they will get the nod. As self-interested rational individuals their stance cannot be faulted. The tens of millions of ignorant illiterate voters will vote for the Congress party simply because they recognize the Gandhi name. Therefore all Gadgils and the Singhs and Raos have to do is to plead their loyalty and they will get a ticket and therefore get elected.

To Anant Gadgil: Yes, loyalty still trumps everything else for the Congress party. Sorry that your nose doesn’t appear brown enough, though.

India has a cargo-cult democracy because it appears to be a democracy on the surface. Like a movie set, the facade presents a reasonable facsimilie of the real thing, but behind it, there is little substance. The hundreds of millions go through the motion of expressing their preference. But uninformed preference expressed haphazardly in a system that is corrupt to the core is not a receipe for a system of governance. It is no wonder that India ends up with “leaders” such as Rabri Devi and Laloo Yadav and Sonia Gandhi.

Democracy does not work in India. That is not to say that the fault lies with the idea of democracy. As a system of governance, there are few alternatives, just as markets are the best way to organize economic activities. But markets are prone to failures if its pre-conditions are not met. So also, democracy does not work in India because its necessary conditions are not met.

Back to the Pratibha Patil story. The minister is being asked to resign. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. In India, telling the truth is not without its penalties. The man reported that Pratibha Patil worked as a kitchen maid for Indira Gandhi — but he was saying it approvingly and as an ideal to be emulated by all those who wish to climb up the power ladder by sucking up to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Now the poor sod is being asked to resign. And — wait for this — the idiot BJP is asking that he be sacked.

Earlier in the day, the BJP had seized the opportunity to mock the Congress’s “culture of subservience” and demanded the minister’s resignation.

BJP state president Arun Chaturvedi said the comment about the President was “unacceptable” and the chief minister should immediately ask for Khan’s resignation.

If you have ever wondered why the BJP is not in power, wonder no more. It is packed to the brim with idiots.

Between the party of brown-nosers and the party of idiots, India is royally screwed.

It’s all karma, neh?

{This post has been brought to you by the generous support of my friend Sanjiv and his family in New Delhi — and by readers like you. Thank you.}