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Governance By The Unelected By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)

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Indian Leadership Vs Chinese Virus and India on the Mend

I hear the hollow rattle of death racking up our toll of sorrow. The rattle starts when the wail of the siren fades. Today is the tenth day when the death toll has crossed 3000. As the toll inches towards 4000, death is palpable by its proximity. People we knew, who could have lived till tomorrow, are dying today and are leaving a void. Sorrow is spreading without a full stop or a comma.   There is no doubt that some states are recovering. Some states are battling. Some stand on the edge of the precipe; off which, Delhi has fallen without a parachute. The Central Government blames the State Government. The State Government blames the Hospitals. The Hospitals go to High Court. The High Courts’ blame the Central Government which appeals to the Supreme Court which suggests that the IITs and IIMs to take over. Then why do we need the IAS – the non-existent steel frame. We can discuss this after the crisis is over. In this ‘Macabre Round Robin’, which started late in April, more than half a lakh have lost their lives. A sound which is loud and clear over the wail of the death is the ‘Silence of the Elected Government’. That sound is loudest in Delhi.  

 

A lot of loyal and nationally minded people and geriatrics like me say that in this hour of crisis, we should stand by the PM and the Government. The question is where is the Government to standby? Building Central Vista? Those affected by the scourge know that the Government is ‘Missing in Action’. If you have forgotten, the last public appearance of the PM conveyed a message  – ‘Take Care of Yourself’. That is precisely what I am  doing. Following his inspired call! Taking care of myself! In India when the elected government fails, the ‘Governance by the Unelected’ kicks in. It manifests in two forms – the Black Marketeers and the ‘Good Samaritans’. The faceless ‘Government of the Unelected’ is by the people, of the people and for the people. Get on to the social media and you will find help from ambulance to hearse. It is indeed fantastic that India has risen. God bless their souls. NGOs, voluntary groups, students, RWAs, hospitals, Mohalla Committees, social, religious and non-religious organisations have responded to the needs of those in sorrow or panic despite the exalted empowered groups.  Ambulances, lifesaving oxygen, hospital beds, home isolation assistance, medicines, online guidance- everything is a call away, even if it is reached after failing with many fake numbers. Makes you feel proud that in India, someone will at least respond. What if the good Samaritans do not respond? Don’t worry. The black market and spurious drug market is always there to contribute to consumption and  10% GDP growth. In this route, the danger is that it could hasten you to death being spurious or unaffordable. The ‘Government of the Unelected’  can be described in two ways.  First be proud that ‘People Power’ is coming to the fore. ‘Yeh Mera India’ moments and ‘It Happens Only in India’ sentiment. Second. We are tending into anarchy where we are left on our own. Strong words? It has been more than two weeks since this macabre round robin has started.  Delhi my national capital is still wallowing in this unmitigated ‘man made’ disaster with more cities and states to follow. 

 

I am a Gunner. Firepower is always a precious commodity in battle. Never enough. Hence the overriding principle in Artillery is ‘Centralised Control and Decentralised Execution’.  It enables efficient firefighting. Why the Dickens have our brilliant IAS officers and ‘Janta ki Sevaks’ decentralised control or are refusing to take control or ceded control when the need of the hour is to firefight? Paralysis or good old plain Incompetence or abdication of responsibility or all?  Hey man, Dickens is dead. No one reads him anymore. There is a three way hoarding of every item and service meant to fight Corona. The unintended hoarding is by the incapability of the government which cannot deliver its capacity. The Good Samaritans have to hoard with good intent to deliver. Otherwise where will they deliver from? The black marketers anyway have to hoard to profit. So a hell of a lot of capacity is in hoarding when people are gasping for it. If the government centralises, opens channels and garners the Good Samaritans, clogged delivery lines will open up. Back the ‘Governance by the Unelected’ damnit!  When the time comes the very government you are part of might be invisible to you. If you do the correct thing, treatment and service will go into homes of the needy in an organised manner. How can it go? The government is busy with  legal issues and central vistas. The deafening silence of the last PM earned him the moniker ‘Maun Mohan Singh’ and ‘Accidental Prime Minister’. What now? Ah! I forgot. Wrong address. The message won’t reach since the Residence is changing and the postman is working from home.

 

What about vaccination? The game to the fastest 15 crore is achieved and nothing more. Saw it flashing on some TV channel yesterday. Policy paralysis and decentralised control , sliding down the merry vaccination graph indicate the ‘World’s Largest Vaccination Drive’ is driving to a grinding halt sans the fanfare. The ultimate weapon to fight the Chinese Virus was to be our humongous vaccination ability – network and production. Instead of centralised, non-competitive and prioritised vaccination we have migrated into a decentralised competitive privileged vaccination system. States, private players, central government and international agencies are all competing for a mysteriously shrinking capacity touted as the world’s highest with the owner decamped to London in a private jet. Capacity lying idle and an own vaccine which is being ringfenced. Maybe I am right. Maybe I am wrong. How the hell do I know? My ‘Elected Government’ has become a vaccinated ‘Maundhari’ with triple masks. Be sure the Corona cannot go in to infect it nor can a voice come out. The ‘Government of the Unelected’ cannot give me vaccines.

 

Another question I asked myself. With so many people and organisations joining the fight against the Virus why is it that some cadre based organisations, with a national foot print and professed discipline, have not jumped into the battle fray. I do not see them active on the ‘Good Samaritan’ social media. Oh no! They are no more part of the ‘Government of the Unelected’. They are now fully part of the ‘Elected’ and busy with post poll issues of state elections. Its infradig to call them ‘Unelected’.  It hurts their pride and nationalist sentiment and probably what is left of their conscience! Well they gave a national example of Covid Inappropriate Behaviour by holding the Kumbh Mela. Every religious and non-religious organisation is now following this example of ‘Covid Inappropriate Behaviour’. Do not ask me about these organisations. Ask Gaurav Sawant of India Today about them. The poor guy has been losing his temper over some.  

 

Why am I writing all this? Be rest assured, when the time came many of us have stood by the government and nation in true Kennedy fashion. We asked not what the country can do for us. We asked what we can do for the country.  However, when the time has come the Government has not stood by many. The people of my country still do valiantly. I do hope this cynical and despondent piece of mine is read by some of our silent leaders who are not even seen to be doing anything. 

15 responses to “Governance By The Unelected By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)”

  1. A great piece, Shankar

  2. Government is definitely missing in action… But more shocking is the attitude of our citizens… After all this, Even today, in Chennai, I find about 4 to 5 people out of 10 without masks… It's truly baffling…

  3. Excellent eye opener

  4. Silent leaders mentioned in last sentence will read but pitiful as always, do nothing.

  5. General, your outburst shows your panick . Enemy fire is wrecking your mortal fright Have you ever cared for what the not so privileged are facing for the last seventy years. You blame the only government that is surrounded in a chakravyuaha, only because it serves . There are people, healthy and those who fight the enemy virus just by their vitality, are getting crushed by brute powers of some governments, the courts are gleeful spectators, and you don't even have a drop of tear for them . You surely is a selfish nehruvian general, not a voice of the human

  6. Totally in agreement,Sir! It is time people realise that vain jingonistic outbursts, uncouth flambouyance and blatant prevarications can only at best usher momentary euphoria and nationalistic spirit. Setting aside political opportunism and putting its shoulder to the plough was the need of the hour…which unfortunately is not forthcoming. But I am amazed!There are still gullible denizens in blinkers who can only view the last 70 yrs, whenever present accountability is discussed. I have always been appreciative of the superb initiatives of the present dispensation…that they went awry due to improper follow up is another point.. but yes, I lauded those initiatives. But this present crisis, sadly, has embittered me… I see a battle raging on all fronts, but alas, see no General leading our fight! Hats off to all those good Samaritans who are taking on the burden!

  7. So true. But what a shame.

  8. With due respect sir I don't agree with ur views. As Indians we only react when the enemy knocks our door . That's what media ,courts & opposition parties r doing in tandem with our adversaries. Sir in Army jargon , U can't blame the Commanding officer only when U have incompetent coy cdrsWe still have the tried & tested institution Armed forces to save our nation. Amen.

  9. Sir wonderfully eloquent words to express your anguish. But sir there is no one listening, you are simply Barking up the wrong tree. The stranglehold of god's twin gifts to India, the overeducated by rote IAS and illiterate beyond belief politicians will not rest till they have managed to destroy the natural survival instinct of the common man

  10. The Elections in 5 states could have been postponed2. The Kumbh Mela should have been cancelled3. The Experts/Specialists/Scientists views given respect and consideration4. Task Forces formed at different tiers/levels of administration5. Responsibility and Accountability spelt out6. Clear cut directions and monitoring system for implementationWe failed as we did not take the matter seriously and set about the task..we all are to be blamed for the pathetic state that we have landed ourselves inThe Executive failed, the Legislature failed, the Judiciary failed, the Media sensationalized and the citizens conducted themselves with no sense of responsibility and social ethics..ajb

  11. Aptly and succinctly put. Could not be better expressed to the point. Thank You Sir. .

  12. That Gen Shankar was as pointed as the long forgotten precission shoot that could blow a bunkdr from 20 miles. Brilliant piece of writing, as always. But the problem is that the unelected Nobles, christened here for some supposed reason as 'steel (steal being more apt) frame are busy admiring the Emperor's transparent clothes!

  13. A very scathing and eloquent article on the dismal state of affairs. I was eagerly waiting that atleast one General anguished by the sordid performance of the GOI and state authorities will give vent to his feelings. India's hollow boastting has been put paid to and our image sullied in the eyes of the world. any way the citizens must stand up and demand round the clock action to control the situation. Any suppression of information will make the govt's liable for severe indictment.BDo not pay any heed to Amit Malviya's troll army who will work overtime to denigrate any such brilliant exposition. 'Speak up India 'or perish supporting in competent and callous leaders of poor character and mafia like coercive methods

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Perhaps they couldn't afford one.

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