Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rejoice for Egypt; Lament for India

So after 18 days of protest, Egypt is free from a dictator who ruled for 30 years. Its time for Egypt to rejoice, despite the uncertainty of how the Army will behave in coming days. But this event only makes the situation in India worthier of a lament.

The current Prime Minister is an honest man. But his incompetence in managing government becomes clearer with every passing day. From the Commonwealth Games, the Telecom Scam to S- bandwidth for ISRO, he has the singular honor of heading a government which has cheated the people of India out of more than the year's fiscal deficit.  An amount roughly 5,500 times that involved in the infamous Bofors scam which, unfortunately, we still find time to discuss. An amount which could retire close to 10% of the government's outstanding liabilities.

He also has the honor of presiding over the sharpest increase in basic food prices in more than a decade; an increase that drove millions back into poverty as they realized that feeding a family took far more than just honest hard work. 

Of course, it isn't the Prime Minister's fault. He's an honest man forced to make compromises in managing a coalition government. So the telecom scam satisfies the lust of one ally and food price increases purify the cancerous blood of another. And while they were at it, one needed to be fair to one's own party as well, which was served well by the Commonwealth Games and S-Band allocation.

Yet it is Egypt which has the opportunity to protest & overthrow an entrenched dictator and rejoice when the will of the people prevails. We have been taught to believe that our government is the will of the people. but is it, really? 

Do we really elect governments with a mandate to loot the nation? To enrich themselves while millions suffer.  Is this what democracy is supposed to be? Is this the will of our nation?