Rusting steel frame: New India’s bhakt bureaucrats threaten democracy

People elect the government they want. Two recent events highlight the increasing propensity of right-wing HMVs to abuse Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to deflect attention from the failures of their political masters and once again confirmed that an officer need not necessarily be a gentleman. First was the pathetic attempt by a retired foreign service officer and now minister to lend credence to the fake narrative of Pandit Nehru and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel not getting along. The second was an adviser hired to give counsel on matters of economy invoking Shaheed Bhagat Singh to try and rundown Gandhiji in line with the propaganda of Godse bhakts.

India has had a history of bureaucrats joining politics. AO Hume, who founded the Indian National Congress, was a retired British Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose quit ICS to serve the nation. Post independence, Pandit Nehru’s cabinet had CD Deshmukh as finance minister and KPS Menon as foreign minister. Even Narendra Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh was a career bureaucrat. All these officers used their professional expertise for the higher calling of serving the nation unlike the present crop which contributes nothing to nation building but stoop to despicable levels to push the divisive agenda of their political masters.

The modus operandi of this government has been to pick up pliable officers in the armed forces, police and administration and put them in top spots by superseding those with spine for promoting the party agenda, and reward them after their retirement by appointing them as ministers or lieutenant governors or to some post where they can continue to enjoy the perks and privileges. The appointment of serving and retired Gujarat cadre officers in key positions at the Centre and as constitutional authorities in states is a carrot to lure bureaucrats and officers in uniform willing to crawl when asked to bend. While in service these officers toe the party line and after retirement they parrot the party slogans as is evident today from the behaviour of retired bureaucrats, soldiers and foreign service officers now in active politics or on TV channels.

These weaklings and moles are gnawing at the roots of the pillars of healthy democracy. The damage being done to the four pillars of democracy by these unprincipled opportunists working only for their personal gain will be irreparable in the long run. Now is the right time to stem the rot before it is too late and the situation goes out of hand.

The myopic policy of the government to use weak and pliable officers to promote the party interest at the cost of the national interest is a dangerous trend which needs to be checked before the whole edifice of a free and fair democracy crumbles due to the narrow-minded, partisan and divisive policies of those in power.

Another reason for serving and retired bureaucrats and officers in uniform mouthing Modilies to catch the eye of the pradhan sevak is his conscientious effort to not allow grass to grow under his feet and cut political opponents to size by using bureaucrats to run the show with ministers reduced to being titular heads.

A bureaucrat must understand that he pledges allegiance to the Constitution of India and wields power to protect it while most politicians of New India want power so that they can bend the Constitution and the officers to serve their and party’s interests. The despicable tendency of this new breed of 21st century government servants to malign the great national heroes in the hope of creating a false historical narrative for their short-term gains without realising the long-term damage it will do to the bureaucracy and the political system should be rooted out as early as possible. The steel frame is rusting and the resulting tetanus is crippling if not killing the secular Indian democracy. People get the government they deserve.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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