A ship about to sink… Pritish Nandy

I like Manmohan Singh. He has immaculate credentials. It’s these credentials that have seen the UPA through its most stormy years. If Singh wasn’t Prime Minister, the Government would have collapsed a long time back. No, not because of its inherent coalition contradictions but because it’s simply not possible for so many crooks with conflicting agendas to loot the country together, almost as if in perfect unison. The Indian Political Philharmonic Orchestra must be the world’s most amazing cacophony of rogues, rascals and robbers.

Luckily for the UPA, there was always Singh to fall back on. Most middle class Indians refuse to be cynical. We know exactly what’s happening around us, we criticise it constantly, but when it comes to the crunch we all rally around the nation and the flag. We are not bat-brained paranoids. Neither are we wide-eyed innocents ready to buy into every ridiculous explanation thrown our way to explain the loot that’s taking place in broad daylight. But the latest season of scams has flummoxed all. This is not just Alibaba and his chaalis chors. Everyone among the chaalis chors is another Alibaba with his own chaalis chors. That’s the way the pyramid of crime operates today. But because Singh, soft spoken and self effacing, is the face of this Government, India has kept faith.

But now, enough is enough. Neither Singh nor Pranab Mukherjee, nor anyone else is capable any more of saving this Government. It’s neck deep in its own sticky sleaze. What’s worse, you haven’t seen anything yet. All these scams are but the tip of the iceberg. Talk to anyone and you will get an instant dhobi list of scams in queue to break. No, I am not saying this. Congress leaders are, in private. Look at Singh, wan and waylost. Or Mukherjee going apopleptic in faux anger because he has to defend what he knows is indefensible. They look less convincing than Rakhi Sawant playing Joan of Arc.

The problem is: We have voted into power the stupidest bunch of thieves. They are such losers that they can’t steal a hamburger without leaving ketchup stains all over. Yet they are constantly trying to pull off the biggest scams in history. From Rs 64 crore in Bofors, they have upped the ante to Rs 170,0000 crore in 2G and no, I am not including hundreds of aircraft Air India bought while sinking into bankruptcy and preposterous sums spent on arms deals that have made India the world’s second largest arms buyer when we can’t provide food and healthcare to 60% Indians. Our leaders are making deals on the sly with greedy builders, land sharks, illegal mining companies, corporate fixers, shady arms dealers and, O yes, US diplomats who want to manipulate our political choices. And, what’s more amazing, they do it like bungling idiots. Even Inspector Clouseau can outwit them.

But that doesn’t mean they are not malevolent. These are people who are destroying India from within. They are not just robbing you, me, and the exchequer. They are destroying institutions, subverting laws, vandalising our heritage and history, and trying to build a dazzling, amoral edifice of crime and corruption unprecedented in the nation’s history. It’s a scary scenario that could turn the land of the Mahatma into one gigantic Gotham City with a flyover to hell.

But my question is more basic: Can we trust these idiots to run this great nation? If you travel and meet people across India, you will realise that for every scam that breaks—and currently there’s one breaking every week—there are ten more waiting in line. The media has never had it so good! And it’s the same gang whose names keep coming up. Kalmadi, Satish Sharma, Sant Chatwal, Ashok Chavan. The NCP lot. The DMK. And everyone, in private, is protesting his own innocence, pointing fingers at someone else. It’s a sure sign of a collapsing regime. It’s what happened when Rajiv with a staggering majority in parliament lost his mandate to govern. Rats alone don’t leap off a sinking ship. So do everyone else.

So even though Singh, like Pontius Pilate, may wash his hands off every scam that hits the headlines, the fact is: The longer this Government stays, the more compromised the Congress will be, and the less capable of coming back to power. You can’t allow the sovereignty of a nation to be compromised just to win a confidence vote. You can’t bribe MPs to get your way in parliament. You can’t allow a shady hotelier, with CBI cases against him, to play roving diplomat and, worse, give him a Padma Bhushan for it. You can’t appoint a tainted bureaucrat as the nation’s CVC. You can’t file a FIR against a corrupt CM and then allow him to melt away. You can’t let the prime witness to the nation’s biggest scam, who offered to turn approver, be murdered in broad daylight and pretend it’s a suicide.

If this is the best this Government can do, it’s time to step down.



66 Responses to “A ship about to sink… Pritish Nandy”

  1. Lata Varma Says:

    Excellent blog as always. Your language is a treat to a lover of the English language.
    However, most Indians are firmly convinced that all roads are leading to Rome. The fact the media is largely either avoiding due to some unknown fear or still believe while the rest of the system is rotten the Rome is still sacred.
    Each person or organization under scam is headed by the choice of one person i.e Mrs Gandhi. Why did MMS went by the lady’s pick in the first place ?
    Why not break the fort once and hit the bull’s eye ? Or, will Indian media keep avoiding or flattering the real rulers of this country ?

  2. Beautifully summarised 🙂

  3. “If this is the best this Government can do, it’s time to step down.”
    I liked this sentence and it drew my attention as…thats the ultimate soulution we all look for somehow in life …on personal basis too..

    However…the question here is…Does it work that way all the time..!? What’s the guarantee the next slot would be the better one..!? What’s the guarantee they wouldn’t be the bigger scamers than these..!?

    Are there any honest ppl/leaders lined up to serve the country..!? lol..silly me..! “serve” is an overrated and out dated word… ! anyway..! Lets rephrase it..!
    Are there any decent..uncorrupt ppl/leaders enthusiastically waiting in the line to grab the opportunity..!?

    Wow..! What’s the guarantee …their minds won’t be poluted grabbing the seat and abundance of money and power coming with it..where corruption is a common norm in the entire system..!?

    What happened when BJP was the ruling party in center..!? Are they all clean..!? Well..! At least ppl who elected them then thought so…
    The result…! It’s right in front of entire country.. or else they would have been re-elected for sure..

    The problem is…everyone hates politicians so much because of these scams and other things that..any normal,decent person never think of getting involved into it…even if he does…he would be packed up back very soon…or would be accused of something he is never involved into..even then if he doesn’t budge…he has to face the final course…! Assasination is not a very difficult task in almost any country on face of earth…Its easier in the county like India where there is a very strong underworld running a parallel governance…

    Now many would think that this comment is completely in favor of ruling party and might find it quite disagreeable…

    But here…I am just throwing a thought to ponder upon..
    That before fighting any battle…lots of preparation are required..or chances of losing are far more higher than anything else…winning would not even be close to a Dream word…and might have to be removed from one’s dictionary..

    Are you ready yet..!? 🙂

    • At this stage in India’s life, cleanliness is not even an option. The extent of cleanliness is, if we get a party which is not as corrupt as the Congress to be in power, we have done well.

  4. Btw, the media is not just having a ball with the news it’s getting to cover but it’s also probably minting a lot in the background trying to cover up and protect the Congress. I am sure NDTV has a special cell call Congress Bachao and these days Hindustan Times bloggers are in overdrive trying to rebuke the claims of BJP and showering the tiny bit of praise on Congress politicians.

  5. I am a complete outsider to Indian politics.

    But reading all of this – sounds very much like the nuclear reactors in Japan.

    The pressure is building up from the inside.

    Can the system be kept cool enough for containment? Is it venting steam only? Will it blow up? Is it beyond repair, as the reactors are now?

  6. Mr. Nandy and Sharmila

    I am a common, middle-income Indian. I don’t vote. I have never voted in my own name. Long ago, I cast 600 votes once.

    I have also never paid any direct tax. I never had a taxable income. I wonder how many of your readers are actual voters on an election day.

    However, since you are speaking like Moses from a high moral platform, I’ll assume that you are not talking to me in this post.


    I have never trusted the media. I never had any reason to. I have also never trusted politicians to do what I wish.

    I like to believe that every political party has an economic and social governance model.

    Congress has one. BJP has another. CPM has one of its own.

    I expect one thing is common to all of them. They are pragmatic and do everything possible to protect the wealth and power that their positions offer them.

    I don’t expect their models to result in an outright sale of the nation to fanatics, extremists or terrorists. Some of our politicians are far more efficient on their own than a hare-brained mercenary.


    If the congress goes out of power, BJP will be in. If BJP goes, Congress will be back. CPM is resuscitating on a dying ideologue. Mamta is likely to show them the door this season.

    There is no such thing as a status quo in politics. There is an intrinsic social dynamic in keeping that illusive spectre of hope alive.

    Our politicians work with real people on ground zero. They work with real numbers, not statistics. India is a large country of very large constitutencies.


    Unfortunately, this understanding of the politician is used by intellectuals only to fulfill their private needs. It is not evaluated by them publicly in their so-called analysis.

    India is not betrayed by the politicians and the voters. It is betrayed by intellectuals. Neither the politician nor the voter trusts an intellectual.

    • Those 600 votes were cast on the same day in 10-15 booths. I was all of 13 years old and paid 2 Rupees per vote.

      • What??

        It’s true. I did. Elections are such a joke. 50% of the people in the voters list don’t step out of their houses for voting on election day. Their votes go for a song.

      • it appears that Electronic voting machines that we have recently spent a fortune on can be tampered with? So, maybe more cash be saved..

      • Sharmila,

        I don’t think it is about technology. Our intellectuals do not believe that it is necessary to vote in order to benefit from the system.

        I’ll give you an example:

        After winning a local elections, the local corporator opened a small office outside her house for people to come and see her with their grievances.

        In those days, she charged INR 5000/- for a ration card, INR 25000/- for a school admission and INR 50,000/- for a university course. But this amount was only for the salaried class.

        For the real poor workers, the enterpreneurs and rich businessmen this service was absolutely free. Because they actually voted during elections and also did her work quietly without writing poetry or getting all missionary.

      • Most intellectuals go on a holiday on voting day. Even if they voted, I don’t think it will have a big effect…as 80% of the votes in rural are just bought.

        The most intellectuals can do is keep blogging, put pressure on the media, and if you are brave enough then file RTI requests.

        It’s a long battle.

      • Agreed Ninad,

        It is noticed that the intelleccome and vote only when there is a strong vote for change against incumbants.

        If they were actively involved in the politics of their local areas this should become a normal thing to do.

  7. The point is all this sounds great, looks great, and we know what Mr Nandy is saying is bang on. Fine, Congress must go, what is the alternative, a weak BJP and as Reader says, there is really no third front? I think BJP under Advani is not a good option. If Advani blesses the BJP from the shadows it will be welcoming. I still think Modi & Nitish are better equipped to handle the country at this stage. I am fed up with the Congress playing the minority card and the majority desperately seek a change.

  8. But, this is one hell of a blog, every sentence is a whip.!

  9. However, I do not think UPA ever had Singh to fal back on, how can one fall back on Singh who has no back quite literally! As Lata rightly summarizes, the UPA backs on Rome.

  10. Making healdines:

    Pakistan beat Australia in a World Cup match today.

    Captain Shahid Afridi going gaga. ‘We know we can beat any country. But we are a poor country, we have to lose sometimes for other reasons.’


  11. Shubha M Says:

    Mr. Nandy has once again written very well and given words to what most of us feel. The respect and admiration I had for Mr Singh when he was the FM had begun to fade long back when he was turning into a “Yes Man” of Mrs G. He is one of the weakest Prime Ministers the country has ever seen and his press conference took away all the respect that I had for him.

    Does the TINA factor still hold good and will it come to play again, with all the in fighting that is going on between the higher ranks of the BJP? We need people who are committed to the betterment of this country and not hungry and greedy for power. Nitish and Modi are the only two candidates who I think can do some good. I am sure most of you here would have heard Modi speak at the India Today conclave. If you haven’t please don’t miss it!


  12. SMS Chain messages of the day:

    Couple silent in bed.

    Wife thinks: Why is he not talking to me? Is he thinking of another woman? Does he like someone else? Is he seeing someone? Don’t I appeal to him anymore? Are wrinkles showing on my face? Have I put on weight? Is he upset wth my nagging? Why is he upset?

    Husband thinks: Why the hell did Dhoni give the last over to Ashish Nehra?


    Dear Priyanka Chopra,

    Saw your 7 khun maaf today.

    Please marry Ashish Nehra and kill asap. We support 8 khun maaf.

  13. Anand Khare Says:

    Someone rightly tweeted,

    He started in politics as ‘zero’, then became PM as a ‘hero’ and now on the way out just like ‘Nero’.


  14. God is out, Gambhir is lost.. only time will tell what Yuvi and Kohli can do..

    • Haha, Yuvi just did a century! 🙂

    • Switched channel after Sachin walked out. Must appreciate his fair play. The umpire was not going to give him out, even shook his head at the appealing fielders. Sachin walked away by himself knowing that the ball had nicked his bat. Give it to him for setting highest standards. Plays hard but plays fair.

      • Do you think he would do the same if a game counted? After all, India’s placement was secure.

        What if this happened in the finals? And what would be the country’s reaction if he did?

        Is fair play more abundant in sports than in real life?

      • He is a family man. He has two liitle kids who watch him play. I suppose he wouldn’t cheat. That would set a wrong example for them.

      • All those politicians have little kids, too….

      • Indian politicians are not religious fanatics, missionaries or extremists. They are shrewd and corrupt.

        Thetype you want to contrast are children of religious missionaries. Most of them are born to housemaids in confession rooms. Those are the types who don’t care for integrity of any sort.

      • Shrewd and corrupt, yes. What I wonder is whether their children imbibe this with their Mother’s milk.

      • Not with mother’s milk, unless she is a politician too. But at the moment all the succesful women politicians in Inda are spinsters or widows, like Sonio, Mamta, Maya, Jayalalitha etc. We are yet to reach the Hillary Clinton level like US where the husband is the president and does it with a bible in his hand.

      • Any skepticism about Sachin’s character will be dealt with strongly. He is not just an icon, he is an ideal.

        The epistemic skepticism of ‘how can you be right and why can’t you be wrong’ will not be suffered in some cases. Sachin is one of them.

      • Reader,

        There might be a misunderstanding… haha… something we NEVER had before… lol… 🙂

        What I meant to say is why can’t the politicians take Sachin for an example and teach their kids right from wrong, not the other way around!

      • Ethics are an individual thing. They are not sanctioned by a family, community, religion, society or a nation. Each person follows his own code.

        One person’s code can be imposed on others only when the others have none of their own. That’s rare among popular, elected leaderships.

        All ideals are icons, all icons are not ideals. For instance, a celebrity icon may succeed in buying the nations highest award or a noble prize or a lifetime achievement award, but he may not deserve it.

        In contrast, an ideal is accepted by everyone across the spectrum of social divisions. Sachin is such an ideal.

      • I so agree.. this is one man who leads by integrity..

      • Not Nobel Prizes. They are not bought and sold.

      • Oh yes…. You are right. Nobel prizes are a league of their own. I forgot Alfred Nobel was the inventor of the dynamite explosives. Nobel Prize for Peace sounds like an antithesis figure of speech.

        That’s certainly not iconic, shrewd or corrupt. That’s hypocritical.

        A disciple of Gandhi gets one, but Gandhi does not. Gorbachev gets one for breaking up his nation into 21 small countries. Obama gets one even before opening his mouth. Sounds like an Oscar awards in the foreign category.

      • Lapses in judgement does not necessarily mean bought and that’s what you said originally. Hypocritical in some instances, yes, no argument there.

        Natural sciences may be a little more objective. Then again, that may my biased take.

        In my personal opinion, this is an institution as good as humanity is able to manage on a global level.

      • I’ll keep your personal opinion for the record. I’ll place it as one of your very generous bordering on philanthropic feeling for the institution.

        Speaking for myself, I’ll continue to distinguish between Nobel and Noble.

      • Fine.

        His name was not his doing.

      • With so much of technology used on the field today + the review system = it’s better to walk as the opposition would have surely used their review option against Tendulkar.

        But, having said that Tendulkar would have walked anyways. It’s just how some sportsman are.

  15. Job done.. we won.. good night all..

  16. Good Night.

    And good that other teams can collapse even more spectacularly than the Indian.

  17. If all goes well in quarters, India meets Pakistan at Mohali on Wednesday 30th March.

  18. I’ll be offline from today till the 25th.

    I am leaving for the desert interiors for a site visit from noon today and all of tomorrow. End of quarter plans. A short conference and presentation after that and then fly to BLR and Coimbatore for a fortnight.

    Shall log in from the vodafone connect on 25th morning.

    Happy blogging and have a cheerful time.

  19. Aishwarya Says:


    Read your comment on AB’s.
    That, my dear girl, was the funniest ever! ROFL… 😀


  20. 🙂 Happy Birthday, Reader! 🙂


  21. Reader – Its your birthday!! Wow, happy happy birthday!

  22. Thank you Renate and thank you Sharmila and thank you Aishwarya for the greetings,

    This is normally a day of fasting for me. But I had to break the norm for a strange reason.

    Preparing for my flight to India tomorrow, endorsing the passport and ticketing confirmations etc.

    Shall be online till morning until such time that the cabin crew siezes the laptop.

    • Aishwarya Says:


      Thank you Aishwarya? Why? What? Whatever for? 😉


      The pleasure is all mine, R.

      Have a wonderful day and a beautiful year ahead.



    • have fun Reader.. enjoy the trip

    • Reader,

      And after that you’ll have a phone or two up your sleeves… hehe…

      Kidding! Or am I? 😛

      Have a great flight and try not to break the flight attendant’s hearts.

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