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Why Antony should observe “mauna-vrata”

May 31 should be the day that India’s Defence Minister observes mauna-vrata — the profound vow of silence. A day of deep introspection through which he could take stock of past life and realise where he may have gone wrong. But the incumbent Defence Minister A K Antony can’t oblige, as he is caught up in street-fighting for his party in a remote corner of India.

The point is, as the curtain comes down on May 31 on the tenure of General Vijay Kumar Singh as the army chief, troubling questions arise. After all, the buck stops with the defence minister. 
The MOD today is like the Aegean stables with the greatest number of cattles in the country and they have never been cleaned. High expectations were raised that Antony would rise to the occasion as the great hero Heracles. But in this Labour of Heracles, government is taking recourse to the washing out of the filth in the time-tested method — appointing inquiries after inquiries whenever the stench becomes too overpowering. 
The ancient Greeks drew comfort that the divinely healthy livestock produced, after all, an enormous quantity of dung. The government congratulates itself that it is setting new records in spending the money allocated for arms purchases. 
But even more troubling are two other issues. One is about the discipline and morale within the armed forces. The country has been witness to a frightening spectacle of the top echelons of the army indulging in political skulduggery, back-stabbing and rabble-rousing that has no precedents in the history of independent India. 
This, in turn, brings the focus on the core issue, namely, the role of defence minister as the political boss of the MOD pyramid. The MOD is an empire rather than a government ministry. Which requires stewardship of the highest calibre at the political level. Which was also why tough politicians ruled this empire starting from V K Krishna Menon. Alas, civilian supremacy took a body blow in the most recent period. 
Part of the reason for this is that when the top brass see how the political class is having a jolly good time without any accountability, they lose respect for the political leadership. Singh has asked some pointed questions in his media interviews. Suffice to say, when the army chief becomes a far more absorbing political personality for the media than the defence minister, the nadir has been reached. Something has gone dangerously wrong. A spot of mauna-vrata is needed on the part of the Defence Minister. 

Posted in Politics.

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5 Responses

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  1. raman govindan says

    some times I feel no action by the politicians at the center and the states is more beneficial to the country not just talk. the should allow the civil servants to decide and not interceed, or guide. they should over rule the action of the civil servants in writing when they find it detrimental to the society and give an alternate decision. that way civil servants will be more responsible and interference by politicians in day to day affairs and normal governmental process will be minimised

  2. Mukul Aggarwal says

    The problm/apathy lies in the lies in our mindset….chalta hai culture…v r moraly a corrupt state……We are being governed by the honest leaders of corrupt followers….what is stopping the PM from resigning a Govt. he barely controls…….i mean, being PM of any Nation IS AN HONOR…but is tthe price right!!!!!! Mr. Manmohan singh has already set a record in terms of no. of years as PM and it is highly unlikely that it can be improved by him any further….Sir, Pl. do this poor nation a favor and stop using ur (lost, honest person) image for the benifit of a cabinet that has already broken all intternational record (including of even authoritarian countries…) in corruption.

  3. NIT DIESEL says

    The author has been silent on Army chief’s attempt to give the promotions a communal tone.He was just showing that he was fighting corruption but his whole attempt was to stop promotions of officers of a particular community by hook or crook.
    This goes to show that he was a bad choice to become an army chief.

  4. bun maska says

    AK Anthony is an honest politician just like PM Manmohan Singh. His wife who works for Canara Bank in Delhi has never ever exploited her husband’s name and position. But the problem with Anthony is that he is not ruthless as a Leader. He is very down-to-earth but also very laidback. India with such huge problems cannot afford to have such laidback politicians. One should be ruthless in taking policy decisions, correcting wrongs, changing the game, bringing transparency in governance, etc. etc. These should be the traits of a true leader.

  5. K A John says

    I think that the author is a stooge of outgoing Army Chief.

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