Of Kettles and Pots

An education minister can cheat, help his son cheat and by rational deduction actually cheats his own blood as well. Normally, it should shock anybody. But ask anyone on the streets of Kashmir, you are most likely to come across dismissive disinterest.

That reaction is not worrying, but the commonplace understanding of the environment such craftsmen of peoples’ destiny have created, in which horror does not horrify, reveals a deep rot where kettles and pots co-inhabit a darkness as potent as a black hole. And, to expect this most recent ‘expose`’ to mean that corruption is being dealt with at some level in the government is to believe that a blind man can actually find a black cat in an absolutely dark room where none exists. In the end, that is what the Crime Branch’s indictment of our education minister may mean.

It is a travesty. Gone are the days when dedicated men of repute and accomplished educationists of high moral caliber used to handle the task of building futures and informed societies. It is not a party matter. The Chief Minister in any case, in an event as shameful as this, should have wasted no time in exercising the moral responsibility vested in the chair he occupies to jettison the minister in question. But in not doing so, and by waiting for the minister’s own party to take action, the CM could be sending out a message saying that ‘coalition dharma’ accommodates crimes like murdering a future and the captain of the ship shares no responsibility.

This situation unfortunately only inspires cheap comparisons or analogies. Raj Kapoor’s ‘Ram Teri Ganga Meili’ has a scene where a simple and innocent woman is cheated by an undercover pimp masquerading as a blind man read to offer help. When the young unmarried mother discovers what has befallen her, she says to the pimp: By doing what you have done to me you have forced humanity into not believing a blind man ever. Coming back to the ‘protector turning murderer’ paradigm, the feeble public reaction one encounters to this travesty also indicates that this government’s subjects have no expectations from it. That perhaps emboldens the minister to ignore any precedence of accepting moral responsibility.

Even a selfish approach should have motivated the government or the Chief Minister in general and the education minister in particular to step aside and save face for another day when facing people for their votes. Or, could it be that he does not believe that it is the people who send him to work for them in the corridors of power? That perhaps is a much larger question to ask, one which points to the extent of crisis the practice of democracy in the state is faced with. It is much more Orwellian than George Orwell himself could stretch his imagination to contemplate.

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