ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Romesh ThaparSubscribe to Romesh Thapar

Normality

The slow return, amid the bloodshed and carnage across the barbarian North, to what is called 'normality' is actually the beginning of a tempestuous and chaotic transition to new political and economic alignments. Those who believe that this was the inevitable aftermath of the passing of a strong leader should pause to listen to those who are saying that Indira Gandhi left no political or economic heritage, no system of democratic and responsible functioning, no institutions to buttress the frame of governance, and no experienced successors.

The Paralysed State

The Paralysed State Romesh Thapar THE killing of Indira Gandhi stunned the country in an extraordinary way. For sixteen years she had ruled and literally become part of the daily scene. The systemic failure to protect her, to handle the grim aftermath of the assassination, to break the loot-maar gangs, to arrange the political transition, and keep the people fully informed and free of rumourmongering, has caused widespread concern and despair, even fear of the future.

A Defector Gang-Up

A Defector Gang-Up Romesh Thapar THERE is something terribly predictable, about the strangely named Dalit Mazdoor Kisan Party

Our Young Leadership

Our Young 'Leadership' POLITICAL perambulations apart, there is now a constant refrain in our demoralised political life: let's have younger men at the helm. In a sense, the Congress(I) at the Centre has offered us a recent sampling of this sort of age-group in Nagpur's 'Loot-Maar' Youth Conference, a rabble looking for 'fun', non- descript, and without even a spattering of potential brilliance.

The Alternative A Shadow Cabinet

The Alternative: A Shadow Cabinet Romesh Thapar EVEN as the ruling caucus begins to consider the distinct possibility of losing a majority in the next general elections (even the date for voting is not announced in a civilised, democratic manner!), a host of familiar figures in the Opposition with their familiar posturings are again getting rather over-active to restore the credibilities of the person whom they tell us is their main enemy. The gang leader is the self-appointed Jat godfather, the aged, doddering Charan Singh who is claiming Opposition leadership'! Admittedly, with a certain shrewdness, he has persuaded the media, and some of its spokesmen, to describe him in near humorous terms as the 'alternative' to Indira Gandhi. It's a great game to dismiss the Opposition challenge by making the clown of the old Janata government the contender for power. No one has really bothered to uncover the truth behind the considerable effort to work out a unity strategy for the Opposition which would prevent a splitting of the majority vote which is already with it.

Where Is the Secular Voice

Where Is the Secular Voice? Romesh Thapar NOW that some minimum normalities, confused and contrary though they be, arc returning to the traumatised Punjab situation, maybe Hindu and Sikh will find the time to do a little introspection and begin to understand what communal frameworks can do to wreck the state and its future. Admittedly, the manipulations and conspiracies of the power wielders in Delhi were the source of a major part of the trouble, but only because the people of the state allowed themselves to be played with.

Charisma and the People

Charisma and the People Romesh Thapar BITING the dust, as in Andhra Pradesh, is not a very pleasant experience for a person like Indira Gandhi who is only too aware of the implications of such a performance for her charisma. She survives politically, not because of her performance as the architect of present- day governance, or non-governance, but because a large section of people continues to believe that India cannot do without her. Now, it looks very much as if they have had their fill and want her out of the way.

The Constitutional Fixers

The Constitutional Fixers Romesh Thapar SO, now we know. Even as the developments in Andhra hold the attention of the continent and warn us of the possible breakdown of the First Republic, the Congress(l) Prime Minister who pretends to be oblivious about what is happening has admitted in an unguarded mo- merit in Bihar that she has encouraged the debate on possible constitutional amendments. The servitor politicians of the ruling party can indulge in their usual play with interpretations about what their leader actually said, but we need no more warnings.

Who Rules, and Who Will Rule

Who Rules, and Who Will Rule Romesh Thapar THAT legendary vote-gatherer, Indira Gandhi, has been suddenly transformed into an unscrupulous, unconstitutional, undemocratic ruler, backed by military and paramilitary force. This is the startling result of her outrageous interference in the politics of angry Andhra Pradesh, a state solidly led by the charismatic NTR. Whatever his failings, and they are not a few, he has emerged stronger than ever before in his battle against the defectors of Bhaskara Rao.

Moving to a Rigged Election

Moving to a Rigged Election Romesh Thapar THE Andhra operation, so soon after the pontifications of August 15, is so blatantly fascist, without even the orchestration of concocted charges about foreign conspiracies and treason, that it should take the blinkers off wide sections who tend to see a democratic lining to every political manipulation that entangles us in an uncertain future. After all, we should expect such developments when discredited politicians and civilians are transformed into Governors only too anxious to perform for any flunkey at the Delhi durbar.

What about Our Very Own Hand

What about Our Very Own Hand? Romesh Thapar WITH the new level of servility in the national press, it is left to the cartoonists to guide us to the truth. In his usual little scribble, R K Laxman in The Times of India captures this moment, "Who rules India?" asks the teacher "The Foreign Hand", says the bewildered student! We are being battered with theories on the foreign hand. I regularly receive 'documentation' on the 'CIA Hand', and now a pamphlet has surfaced on the 'Russian Hand'. When will our pen-pushers highlight the hand that really makes our problems, the hand of Indira Gandhi? Our very own hand.

The Militarisation of Indian Politics

The Militarisation of Indian Politics Romesh Thapar WHICHEVER way you look at our present condition, and here I include the private assessments of very knowledgeable persons close to the shadowy centres of power. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has miscalculated massivelyHer military operation against the Golden Temple, made inevitable by her own refusal to implement 'secret' agreements arrived at with the Akali Dal through various intermediaries,was, contrary to earlier concocted reports, terribly destructive. What else did we expect against a fortified position, where the holiest places had been turned into machine-gun nests?

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