Just one question I’m dying to ask A.K. Antony

Without a shadow of doubt, the relationship between the armed forces and the civilian administration is going through its most testing time in the history of post-independent India.

What started off as a simple issue over Army chief General V.K. Singh‘s date of birth has spiralled out of control into a disgraceful bushfire of scams and scandals—all being played through the media without consummate ease, and neither side emerges smelling of roses.

In the middle of all this is Arackaparambil Kurien Antony, India’s defence minister for the last seven-and-a-half years.

Like the other “Mr Clean”, prime minister Manmohan Singh, the taciturn and incomprehensible Kerala politician chose silence while the Sukna land scam was raging and while the Adarsh housing scam was unravelling. Little wonder, when General Singh says he brought the issue of a Rs 14 crore bribe offer to his notice, Antony’s reaction, on available evidence, was neither here nor there.

Now, after Gen Singh’s letter to the PM on the state of India’s defences has become public (and enemy) knowledge, after Parliament has been stalled two days in a row, the focus on Antony is getting even more intense. And questions are being asked if personal integrity is a much-overvalued commodity in our polity.

So, what is the one question you would like to ask A.K. Antony?

Like, has he ever considered resigning from his job?

Like, does he understand the situation in Pakistan better?

Keep your queries short, civil and simble.

Photograph: courtesy India Today

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45 Responses to “Just one question I’m dying to ask A.K. Antony”

  1. raghuvanshi1 Says:

    Too much honest man take more precociousness of his honesty than corruption around him.Antony behave just like Pativarta Hindu woman her husband addicted to evil practice or libertine she kept mum just like Antony behaving

  2. Sharan Says:

    Do U understand what being the defence minister is all about?
    it def does not mean defending the UPA against scams Mr AKA….

  3. Deepak Says:

    He is a joke. We need pro-active defence ministers, not someone like Antony who beats his head when he sees corruption!!

  4. harkol Says:

    While General VK Singh is clean and said to be an upright soldier. he needs to be sacked for setting an unsavory precedent of challenging the Civilians. It is a tough decision and UPA2 with its weak knee is unlikely to take that decision.

    But, alternative to asking VK singh leave, is to ask Anthony leave! That can’t be good for a country where civil authority still stands. We aren’t Pakistan for heavens sake.

    The point isn’t if General is right or wrong in what he has been saying. He is absolutely wrong in the way he has been going about what he wanted to say.

    We may have scoundrels for our civil leaders. But, They are preferable any day to a gentleman of the army, however upright and correct, assuming he somehow has authority to say ‘gurrr’ to a minister!

    This needs to be nipped in the bud.

  5. Omanakuttan Thonakkaraparyil Says:

    Mr. Anton, are you less suitable to your post than is SM Krishna to his?

  6. singh is stink Says:

    This had to play out on TV one day before BRICS summit is starting in Delhi. With the Chinese president visiting, they will all have a good time in the private liquor room at the Chinese embassy, watching ‘Ornob’ Goswami do his semantics tricks.

    Anyway, those who are living in the comforts of Delhi pincode 1 should not meddle with the army. Coming from a place where invasive military presence is a part of everyday life, more than the presence of the municipality, it won’t be a bad guess to make that if god forbid, an Anna Hazare type suddenly rises from within the active ranks of the military, things are going to go real bad.

    One thing, our netas who ‘live’ and see the country from the metros — especially those who are in the city of unearned privileges, Delhi — are so handicapped when it comes to dealing with the military that they take the situation for granted.

    On a hunch, there is some truth to the allegations by the army chief that our air defence system is near obsolete. A simple Google search of the main SAMs used by us will show that most of the SAM batteries are older Russian models. There has been no across-the-board upgrade of SAMs for many, many years.

    But how are netas, who are busy canvasing for votes in the cow belt, supposed to know these facts.

    And as for Anthony, the problem is that he is a victim of silence, for in these times, a silent honest man seems dishonest.

  7. Omanakuttan Thonakkaraparyil Says:

    We need more army officers like Gen. Singh. Why should he be sacked now? The only irksome thing is, he did not disclose this incident earlier.

    I have read that there is too much chamchagiri in our military forces to get favors from their minister. With the type of defence ministers that we have had, this directly translates to misconducts, like Bofors.

    The question is, how serious is the allegation of unpreparedness of our military forces, as stated by Gen. Singh?

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3255466.ece

    If this is even remotely true , then where have all the billions of rupees spent on defense purchases gone?

  8. jolly Says:

    The congress has far too many honest politicians who wouldnt touch corrupt deals with a ten foot pole …

  9. the colonel Says:

    In the procurement of Tatra vehicles here are some simple points to think about…

    1. The Army is the user.

    2. The MOD is the buyer.

    3. BEML, under the MOD is the seller.

    4. The BEML purchases from abroad at Rs 40 Lakhs per vehicle. The MOD fixes the price of Rs 1.10 Cr to sell to the army.

    5. How can the MOD take action on the issue raised by the COAS when the MOD itself is the user, buyer and seller.

    6. The army as a user has to initiate the procurement orders; beyond that they have no role that is why Rs 14 Cr is a very very cheap price

    7. The MOD is the conspirator, the colluder and the collaborator.

    8. Antony should be in jail but like Manmohan Singh he will say ‘he has no idea’.

    9. Kapil Sibal will say with his arrogant smirk “zero loss” as technically the funds have moved from one head of account of MOD ie. the Army to BEML both under MOD.

    10. Ultimately the legal brains in the party of the day will find ways and means to transfer the loot to the party funds.

    I continue to remain appalled at the depth of the debate on all channels wherein no one addresses the basic issues but gets emotional about terms like morale, loyalty and integrity. India is a great country and believes in reconciliation and forgiveness so NOTHING will happen.

  10. Enigma Says:

    @harkol:
    First of all why should an Army chief be sacked for challenging civil authority in court of law? Isn’t it unfair to ask so? Even if he is an army chief where discipline is paramount. What about natural law, justice, fundamental rights?
    What is so wrong is giving statements about bribery charges, previous chiefs have also given many statements which on some occasions went against the govt. You want to take action against an army chief for letting know that he was bribed, when the retired army personal who took bribes and offering bribes were sitting happily.
    If you look at other democratic countries the army generals do routinely give statements on charges, preparedness, threats, etc. Aren’t we pushing the things a little more by judging what and how an army chief speaks his words. You sound very much like a typical bureaucrat when you say i don’t like his way of speaking what he wanted.
    No one even remotely is suggesting for army rule, which is almost impossible in this vast country. But, who will decide whether the scoundrel or a general is good for country.

  11. DailyBread Says:

    >he needs to be sacked for setting an unsavory precedent

    Please go ahead, sack him. Set a precedent, so that no army man in the future dares to talk about the murky deals….

    >challenging the Civilians.

    1.Figleaf used to hide the massive civilian corruption 2. Letters sent to PMO are not safe, they keep on leaking…..

    >is to ask Anthony leave! That can’t be good for a country where civil authority still stands.

    Anthony and authority. I don’t think Anthony has the authority to even order a runner to fetch a glass of water. The guy is sitting there for last 5 & 1/2 years, doing nothing. To paraphrase Marc Antony, the evil that men “allow to” do lives after them.

    >This needs to be nipped in the bud.

    A govt which has not even sacked a section officer for massive loot will definetly sack honorable General Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM. Sad.

  12. AlanJ Says:

    Unfortunately you will die before asking. Have you ever been to New Delhi?

  13. raman Says:

    He’s a minister just because of his loyalty to the dynasty. His Mr Clean image is a mere cloak.

  14. Rastrakoota Says:

    Yep for Sure the General has set a bad precedent! But one should have seen how this Idiot Manish (supposedly to-become a leading law luminary!!!) defended Antony the other day on TV. This guy surely is an asshole!! Anyways, is it hard to see that both the General and Antony are at fault?
    For Antony, the Gs didnt give correct directions I guess which is not surprising. But for the General?
    FOr the UPA it appears, ideally the buck for all scams shud stop at the Gs. Its for the rest of the dogs like manisha and others to do the defense.

  15. asha Says:

    Colonel Sahib,

    The simple reason for not getting to watch in depth analysis of this fiasco is because the people(such as yourself) who can ask intelligent and pointed questions are not invited on these shows. Only rabble rousers with single digit IQs are preferred as the panel members. Indian visual media has mastered the art of showing only news and debates that THEY want YOU to watch….

  16. harkol Says:

    Enigma/Dailybread:

    You guys didn’t understand the fine distinction of fighting corruption and the army discipline.

    I supported General Singh’s move to challenge the defence ministry in his age matter, as it is an administrative/personnel matter- largely an HR issue. It wasn’t challenging the authority of civilians, to ask for one’s record to be corrected. This is not a matter of policy.

    Where he has erred was in undermining his boss, by insinuating Anthony didn’t do anything on corruption, even while he was continuing to be a subordinate. He could’ve done the same 2 months later, and I would’ve had no problem with that. We can’t accept a military that thinks it can take on/undermine the civilians authority.

    This has nothing to do with fighting corruption. As so many top Military men had pointed, if general wanted to punish the ex-army man who offered the bribe, he had so many recourse of his own. He is empowered to order an enquiry under army act, where rules of evidence is not as stringent as in civilian court. A general’s word would’ve been sufficient. He could refuse to accept delivery from the firm an inferior product, Instead he chose to keep quite till he lost a case against the ministry, now is trying to undermine them.

    While I would be the first to enjoy the predicament of the UPA2 govt, for I hate them for their follies, this isn’t one of them.

    Anthony didn’t act in a good manner in this case, but that doesn’t mean a general who ridicules a govt. is let off. That sets a wrong precedent for other generals in future that they can take on civilians, and people would support them.

    This is how military dictatorships begin. Each time an army coup was on the pretext that civilian govt. is corrupt. Believe me – we are better off with corrupt civilians – We can vote them out.

  17. Jayashree Says:

    The day you took over as Defense Minister, you said that you do not know any thing about defense. Have you been able to learn? Have you ever been in NCC?

  18. bengloor Says:

    army general took is revenge for the DoB insult.
    WTF is wrong with gowda and son todo a circus – shameful that they get noticed like this on national TV.
    looks like appa maga are too excited of malavika and pooja gandhi.
    shame on the female artists like bhavana joining any political party in current situation – that too with a character like smk!!
    are they so bankrupt?

  19. Omanakuttan Thonakkaraparyil Says:

    @ singh is stink,
    Nice work!! I suspect why the General chose The Hindu, which has well-proven pro-China stance. http://www.friendsoftibet.org/save/

    Overall, a shame to the country at the time when we are hosting the BRICS meeting

  20. Ranganathan Says:

    Mr.A.K Antony is a very intelligent person .He is very honest and capable to do his work with out much nuisance .He started clean up in his ministry since he became the minister .Angry Singh did not get any chance to make money due to Mr.Antony’s tough stands.Mr.Singh lost his patience ,mental balance due to this .He enjoyed the post and tried to get an another year by cheatin every body and the nation .But deprived by Mr.ANTONY’S brave ,corroption less approach and supreme court order .Mr.Antony did many good things for the soliders as well .Mr.Singh himself is the culprit of leakin the contents of his letter to harm Antony and the nation. The readers should understand this point before commenting on Mr.Antony.He is doing a fantastic job silentely.I wish him all success of his anti corruption movement.

  21. Brahmanyan Says:

    Mr.A.K.Antony is a good man, but not good enough to head an important ministry like defense.

  22. Angry Young Man Says:

    harkol,
    I do not agree that the chief should be sacked. It is becoming clear that he had exhausted all options before he took this route.

    If he had kept quiet without blowing the lid on this scandal, what would have happened? The country would have been completely in the dark on the murky goings-on in the hallowed portals of our defence establishments.

    Corruption has now started eating into the very bones of the system.

    Political System – Rotten to the core
    Bureaucracy – Rotten
    Police – Rotten
    Judiciary – Rotten
    Media – Corrupt
    Military – I shudder to say it, but it is headed the way of the others

    Now, if someone stands up to fight against such a system, we should all welcome it with open arms as a heaven sent opportunity in the battle against these Bhrashtaasuras.

    May the good General’s tribe increase. God bless this country.

  23. Deepak Says:

    BTW : The Gowda-HDK antics has offered comic relief. HDK claimed that he got offers of crores but dad denies it. So probably the conclusion one can draw is sonny boy fixed the deal and gobbled up everything without telling dad…he he he

  24. DailyBread Says:

    harkol,

    >here he has erred was in undermining his boss,

    I don’t think he has done any thing like this.

    >He could’ve done the same 2 months later,

    Even then the agenda driven usual suspects would have asked “why now”. The brave General has got his timing absolutely right.

    >We can’t accept a military that thinks it can take on/undermine the civilians authority.

    We can all relax, no such thing is happening.

    >As so many top Military men had pointed,

    I guess you can’t believe Delhi based establishment lackeys and retired military folks looking for post retirement sinecures.

    >He could refuse to accept delivery from the firm an inferior product,

    I am not sure, I read somewhere that he has not accepted the delivery of trucks.

    >Instead he chose to keep quite

    He has not kept quite. Like any other good General he has tried his best to avoid fighting on multiple fronts.

    >While I would be the first to enjoy the predicament of the UPA2 govt, for I hate them for their follies,

    Lol, you mean to say that UPA2 is now led by a new new Congress, instead of old new Congress.

    >This is how military dictatorships begin. Each time an army coup was on the pretext that civilian govt. is corrupt.

    Strongly disagree, India is not Pakistan. The good General is not talking about the massive corruption & loot of Spectrum & Coal. He is talking about corruption in the Army and as COAS he is duty bound to address it.

    >Believe me – we are better off with corrupt civilians

    Wish we had better civilians.

    >We can vote them out.

    Jai ho! Best of luck.

  25. Manivannan Says:

    @Harkol: I completely agree with you, almost word to word! Corruption and discipline are different issues. Most of us get carried away by short-term euphoria, unmindful of the long-term damages.

    @daily bread, Angry young man: Let the General fight corruption; we all are with him, but within the framework. I can only tell you that, there are 100 ways to fight corruption within the system, if one chooses to do!

    Its not about whether its India or Pakistan. Its about democracy and its institutions. However imperfect they are now, are we going to decry and denounce Democracy and Election process?! My two cents.

  26. DailyBread Says:

    @Manivannan,

    Sir, with all due respects…….

    Lets not the frame this important lucky incident as “military v/s civilian leadership” issue. This line is an entrapment from establishment……

    >but within the framework

    Is there any evidence that what the General has done is not within the framework.

    >Its about democracy and its institutions.

    Army & COAS are equally important institutions, lets not forget that.

    >However imperfect they are now,

    Pointing out imperfections and deliberate undermining of institutions is high treason according to establishment lackeys.

    >are we going to decry and denounce Democracy and Election process?!

    This is hyperbole!!! Who is denouncing democracy?. Now I guess people will suggest the General to contest elections.

  27. harkol Says:

    Dailybread & AYM:

    Obama sacked General Stanley McCrystal for talking ill of his colleagues in public. The question was not if what he was saying is true or not. Truth is not adequate defense when you are in army. The question is also that of propriety.

    A general is within his right to raise any issue with the govt. and fight for it within the boundaries put in by his civil superiors or rules, conventions and decorum of service.

    If a general wants to go public with some information that’s pending or of importance to civilian domain, information that’s of sensitive nature, then he should first seek permission of his superior in writing before doing so.

    This is not to say he shouldn’t fight corruption. He can put in writing his objections, and even order investigations into issues on his own. He can even write to PM and ask to be heard or relieved of command, and if he was relieved he has every right to go public with his grievance.

    We really can’t have a serving officer undermining their superior. This happens only in countries where army doesn’t respect the civilians.

    Having a serving chief who is talking ill of govt. sets political uncertainty. Raises confrontation. Raises rumors of Coup or possibility of coup in the process.

    We aren’t a banana republic to put up with such uncertainty.

  28. Manivannan Says:

    DB:

    About the ‘framework’: As explained by Harkol, there were various options. Indeed, as per the rules, the General should have Immediately informed the concerned, regarding the alleged bribe offer.

    Instead of that, he choose to verbally report it, and ‘does not press’ for any action. But, later, he goes public about it; that too, after his age row becomes an issue.

    As Harkol says, the General appears to have lost the sense of propriety and decorum that adorns his post.

  29. asha Says:

    Mainivanna/DB/Harkol,

    Just to point out, this issue was raised by TMC MP Ambica Banerjee, who wrote to the PM,Defence Minister and the Army chief way back in 2011 to probe the Tatra deal. In the letter he specifically mentioned the name of one Lt-General Dalbir Singh who was in charge of the Tatra procurement. A cabinet secretariat which “Probed” the issue gave a clean chit to the whole procurement process and to Dalbir Singh. Now, in the fresh case of “Probing” by CBI, CBI has refused to question Dalbir Singh as he has already been given a clean chit by Cabinet secretariat. And here we are talking about the VKS having avenues to redress his grievances. Added to this the NRI owner of Tatra company Ravi Rishi is absconding and the CBI has alerted all airports and points of exits to look out for him. This can happen only in our India. This reminds me of another incident when Dawood Ibrahims Mother was frisked away within a single day to god knows where after the bombay blasts. Incidentally she did not even have a passport at that time but she went abroad within one days notice.

  30. Deepak Says:

    @harkol – Your comparison with Stanley McChrystal is totally incorrect. He mocked Govt. officials whereas Gen. Singh has never mocked anyone in the Govt. He only fought for his rights because the Govt. didn’t respond to him. And regarding the letter, he has every right and in fact it is his duty to point out security issues to the Government. If that letter leaked, its the duty of the Govt. to find out what happened.

    So, Gen. Singh has never spoken ill of Govt. and never undermined his superiors. He is a good Army Chief and this bad Govt. didn’t know how to handle him well.

  31. DailyBread Says:

    Manivannan & harkol,

    Gentlemen, lets agree to disagree. The good General has set in motion some very very important things, and I perfectly understand what the so called “framework” is….

    We can see from IE’s hit job yesterday that the empire is hitting back.

  32. harkol Says:

    Deepak: I believe VK Singh mocked Mr. Anthony, when he said he did nothing more than putting his hand on his head. I am not against him trying to get his age rectified (An HR & admin error at best), and I agree he is doing the right thing by writing his problems to Prime Minister.

    My problem is in him undermining his immediate boss, even if he is a simpleton or an idiot. He knew exactly what he was doing when he brought in AK Anthony’s name in that interview. He was saying Mr. Anthony didn’t want to fight corruption even when he told him of the situation, except for tapping his own head with his hands in a display of helplessness. That’s mocking your boss in public.

    I have respect for all soldiers, who are called upon to make biggest sacrifices. But I also understand the hierarchical system is very important in Army, even more so than any other institution. Armymen are not expected to second guess and cast doubts on their civilian masters. That’s exactly what Gen. McCrystal did and paid with his job.

    Dailybread: It is perfectly understandable that there is a strong case in favor of VK Singh. I am not in disagreement with any points he has raised. So, our only point of disagreement is with his chosen method to undermine our defense minister. And yes, we can agree to disagree.

  33. Manivannan Says:

    Asha/AYM/Deepak/DB:

    I am a person who believes in our system: Democracy, Parliament, Judiciary, Executive, Press etc. I do agree that they are far from being perfect or at times, even satisfactory; but they are much better than the other options we know, as it gives us something which is very precious to us, at-least to me: Freedom.

    I cannot agree with anybody who undermines the system. I feel the serving General, with due respect to him, has undermined it, when he went public about corruption, with an inexplicable delay, and by not re-coursing to official channels open to him.

    If my opinion is in disagreement with the views of even every other person in this country, I would still choose to disagree, with all humility.

    Regards!:)

  34. Deepak Says:

    @harkol: C’mon sir, I have seen that interview. The General just factually reported whatever Antony said and did!! I don’t think we can take it to be mocking the minister or undermining a superior. By that logic, everyone undermines the PM :)

  35. asha Says:

    Manivannan,

    Being a able administrator yourself, don’t you think our democracy,parliament, judiciary, press etc are highly antiquated and need a thorough re haul. Just because we are incapable or lazy to do this, we are clinging on to the existing ones as if there is no other recourse to us.

  36. Manivannan Says:

    Dear Asha,

    I agree with you that our system needs substantial change. Indeed every system needs to continuously change, to be relevant. Change is occurring, but, may not be at the rate some would expect it.

    That’s because, for the vast majority of the population, bringing change in the system is not a priority. They have other critical issues to grapple with. If we can empower those masses to realize the need for change, and demand for it, then we will see the drastic and visible change you are looking for.

    So, its not that we are lazy or incapable, but our priorities are defined by the common man. Because, in the democracy, the government does not bring the change, it has to be forced by the people, with whom the ultimate authority rests. Our duty is to empower the common man to make that demand!

    This is how i see it. My two cents.

  37. karhika Says:

    A.K Antony is a wolf in sheep clothings, please remove him

  38. asha Says:

    Manivannan,

    So when things fail, we simply attribute our failures to the priorities of the common man. To begin with did we even understand what the common man needs and have we worked towards that in last 60 odd years that we are independent. Just consider good affordable education, which is the basic requirement of any citizen. Our progress in this area alone is alarming. The powers that be, do not want well informed and intelligent citizenry, so what do they do, they do everything to deny basic primary education to kids so that more and more kids grow up to be ill informed ignoramuses who can be swayed by emotional issues and can be easily bribed to get their votes cast in a particular way. Is it not a shame what one Azim Premji can do through his private trust, our state and central governments are unable to do with the vast resources they have. The same is the case of potable water(Puttparti Sai Baba comes to mind when supplying drinking water), infrastructure, housing, health care etc. The list is endless. Even though we empower common man and as long as he is unable to make the right choices, this charade will go on. Just look where the Lokpal bill agitation is headed.

  39. Manivannan Says:

    Dear Asha,

    You can teach one student effectively. Try teaching 1000 students. The issue lies in ensuring quality and quantity together. With
    increase in quantity, quality suffers. Please ask those who have been working on such private initiatives. They will tell you their limitations.

    ‘Common man’s priority’ theory is not mine. It comes from Amartya Sen, who has shown that, government’s priority in a democracy is decided by what the common man prioritizes.

    I am not saying that government has done its best. Far from it. Indeed I am the among those who blame both the political leaders and officials for their failure in developing this country. The political leaders should have empowered the people to rightly prioritize their need, and the executive should have worked to provide that.

    My point is there are no easy solutions, Anna way or Azim way, unless we involve the majority of the masses. We have to work with the masses to empower them, inform them, and allow them to make their choices, and not thrust our views and priorities on them. Education to all, of-course is the first step. The second is making real-time and relevant information available to all.

    Thus, to bring in the change, we need to work with the masses, and not waste our energy and resources on denouncing the system or expecting magical solutions.

  40. DailyBread Says:

    Manivannan,

    Sir, with all respect you rightly deserve……

    >government’s priority in a democracy is decided by what the common man prioritizes.

    All the evidence avilaible in India is to the contrary & Amartya Sen is a peddler of useless theories….

    >My point is there are no easy solutions

    There are, we don’t want to try them out, I guess its a question of gravy train.

    >Thus, to bring in the change, we need to work with the masses,

    Not always necessary. For example, the Telecom Policy of Raja designed for massive loot has indirectly helped masses. A stroke of pen is all that you require to bring in some changes which will help masses

    >denouncing the system or expecting magical solutions.

    The moment somebody asks for a little bit of accountablity from the system, the system frames whole discussion as “denouncing the system”, and declares the questioner as an anarchist.

  41. harkol Says:

    Manivannan:

    The only problem in this ‘common man’ politics is – there is nothing ‘common’ about citizens.

    No country is made of homogeneous ‘common folks’. So, when ruling class says common man, what it means is ‘everyone except us’. i.e. We are aam admi, and they are ‘khaas aadmi’

    About 30-40% of them may be happy to receive handouts, paid for by 8-10% tax payers.

    About 40-50% are happy to have reservations. Other 50% are upset about them.

    About 10% have 80% wealth. But, the rest of the 20% wealth isn’t evenly distributed. There are about 30% who can’t even live day-to-day. Another 30% that can live day to day, but not much by way of wealth. Another 30% perhaps have majority of that 20% wealth that’s not taken by top 10%. (All the above numbers are broad approximates on the basis of various articles I’ve read.)

    So, who among these are constitute ‘common man’? Most politics involve how to give away money to buy votes, so it is typically the lowest 30% who can be more easily be fooled by some handout. That creates a perverse interest in some parties to keep the bottom 30% poor, just so they can be purchased by giving very little. The bet is the rest of the votes will be split.

  42. Manivannan Says:

    @Daily Bread,

    Thanks for the giving different perspective. While I agree, that at times a stroke of the pen may bring in change, I feel it needs support of the public, overt or silent, for its sustenance.

    I also disagree with you respectfully; on your views about Sen.

    I am fully with you on demanding accountability to bring in change, indeed in a more structured and effective manner, than firing loose cannons, which I believe, the General did. There is a thin line between demanding accountability & change, and denouncing the system. I am for the operation, but, lets ensure that the patient doesn’t get killed in the process!:)

    Harkol,

    I completely agree with you on the common man concept, including the vote split. The heterogeneity is more in India, hence the challenges are more. But, do we have a better option, but to work on the critical mass of population, who are capable of forcing a change on the system?

    If the government fails to empower its citizen, then it’s we the people, who desire a change, should work on our fellow denizens. It’s not easy, but it has worked worldwide, across time. As you would have noticed, it has been education, and reduction in the information arbitrage, which has brought sustainable changes in the course of History.

  43. DailyBread Says:

    Manivannan,

    Sir, at the risk of annoying you……

    >needs support of the public, overt or silent

    This is an excuse for not introducing & implementing good policies. The entire economic liberlisation policy of early 90s happened by stealth. Forget then, there is no public support for those policies even today.

    >There is a thin line between demanding accountability & change, and denouncing the system. I am for the operation, but, lets ensure that the patient doesn’t get killed in the process!:)

    This is just Garhwali hawa speaking ;-). I know Mussoorie is difficult to shake off….

    >As you would have noticed, it has been education, and reduction in the information arbitrage, which has brought sustainable changes in the course of History

    Wrong, there is no evidence to back this theory. Universal education & reduction in the information arbitrage is a recent phenomena. What was the literacy level in Americas when “pursuit of happiness” was declared as an “unalienable right”. It was always few good men/women (educated, semi educated & uneducated) who had greater good on mind changed the course of history. There is a nice post on Sir MV in Churumuri today; one man, supported by few good men, greatest good imaginable.

  44. Manivannan Says:

    Daily Bread,

    It’s not at all annoying. I welcome contesting opinions as they enrich the discussion, and also my knowledge. I cannot fool myself that what I think and believe is always right!

    Whether public support is there or not for the economic liberalization of 1990s is a debatable issue. Let’s not get into that! But, suffice is to say that, the parliament, the formal voice of the people, or the informal voice of the people through media, could not reverse the reforms till date.

    Information dissemination to the masses, who can understand and appreciate issues, has been the root cause of revolutions; starting from Renaissance to the spring revolution. Even in America, the Uncle Tom’s cabin credited with fueling the civil war is not a coincidence.

    About the few men bringing in change, there is a contrary theory which says that, it’s the time and situation, which throws up leaders. In-spite of being a strong believer of Margaret Mead; (‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’), I vote for the critical necessity of an enabling environment. Had India was not under the British rule, would we have got Mahatma Gandhi as Father of the Nation? I am not sure.

    But, I am sure that I have shrugged off the Mussoorie hawa long back! ;)

  45. Jom Says:

    I don’t understand by the comment “the general was exhausted of all options”. I would like to point out one fact that, responsibility of the defense and its procurement does not fall entirely on the Defense Minister alone. Every citizen from the Minister down the General to the very last soldier has a responsibility and duty to the nation. A corruption less state is a combined effort of every citizen. I strongly believe that this came public when those involved were so sure that they cannot hide for long.

    People comment as if, there is no delegation of power in the defense sector. Every one in our country know that the Minister is only a representative of the people heading an armed force and the Minister cannot monitor and scrutinize every deal, to its slightest detail.This work is delegated down the department, on whom the top authorities count on.

    After all you don’t get to play the Bollywood hero style while sitting as a Minister of the Armed Forces and go against the Generals in the worst scenario, who command the loyalty of thousands under him. Even if Antony did play a heroic, soon there would be another set of critics asking “who does he think he is”, “does being a Defense Minister make him the most powerful in the country”. Nobody expects him to be a hero too.

    If the people feel that Antony does not fit to be in that position then, perhaps they could also suggest a credible candidate to his post. Criticism alone won’t do any good I guess.

    Let each Indian citizen do his part for the country and realize that when he lets himself down, he lets the whole country down.

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