Raja is being made the scapegoat. DMK is miffed. Manmohan goes to Chennai to mollify. To send a signal, a peeved Karunanidhi bunks and instead goes for a tamil meeting , saying poets are more important. Next day, they meet , smile , exchange garlands and shawls , say coalition is intact .Then Sibal starts the clever counteroffensive. Others are awaiting their cues.
As we sadly watch the endgame of the 2G scam being played out along a well-worn script , we realise that This Too Will Pass. We are the inheritors of this enormously sad wisdom of our own Gotama Buddha , after all.
Okay , but nobody is truly surprised that ministers , bureaucrats , lobbyists , lawyers , CAs , and mediapersons who are constituent parts of the nizam of “governance” routinely take bribes to favour this or that tycoon/don. This is a given. The great unwashed masses of India know this as a law of nature that the whole caboodle of legislature,executive ,judiciary works and has always worked for the rich and powerful. And this has been so for ages( that is why the wistful yearning for some chamatkari Baba , some mythical Ramrajya, some…). Only the (educated) children and the naive are surprised . The others are merely titillated – “which poor bastard has been exposed this time”! No big deal in all this .
Remember ? The context of licencing for 2G access to the electromagnetic spectrum in 1990s was the Manmohanist mantra of privatisation in order to liberate the telecom sector . Hark back for a moment . The telecom scene was awful , in the hands of MTNL/VSNL and the Deptt of Telecom. Backed by IMF hustlers the native Manmohanists were baying for privatisation , privatisation , privatisation. The worried common- senseists were saying:but , but , but … the private sector , being thuggish and rapacious , will rob its customers and the nation . Wrong , said Manmohanists . This is a new era. We will have the new wand-wielding Regulators – sign of mature(firangi) economies, dont you know? Regulators are genetically aboveboard and neutral watchdogs of the wellbeing of citizen and industry – like Batman , Superman.
Manmohanist men had carried the day , and the rest is history –- as we are seeing today. Remember , till the end Raja has protested and kept turning back to look at Manmohan?
We have learnt three things . Yet again .
One. There is as yet no sensible resolution to the public-private sector dilemma. Both harm the customers and the nation , although in different ways. In some places in Brazil something called “publicly controlled public sector” is being tried out . Insha Allah.
Two. Regulators are not neutral and above the fray in the System; they are a part of it and sail or sink with it. See what happened in 2009 in the best-regulated USA. This lesson is important , because after the dust settles the Manmohanists are polishing more privatisation- by- Regulation mantra scripts – for nuclear power , insurance , pension , labour. More 2G scams are in the offing. Citizen beware !
Three. This is an old one indeed. Market forces are not self-regulating and maximising agents of economic efficiencies and human welfare. Some form of social steering is necessary. Even Adam Smith did not believe in self-perpetuating markets. And after the 2009 Crash even American neocons of Texas and Alaska are muted.
Exposures of scams are always good for the people . The 2G scam has exposed not venality pervading our elites – which needed no exposure – but a main pillar of Manmohanist ideology.