Saturday, December 22, 2012

The first scam of Independent India.

Today corruption is probably the most debated topic in India. It has its roots so deep, it seems impossible to imagine a nation which would be corruption free, an honest state working for the betterment of its people, a paradise where rulers may seek power, but do not seek wealth. A government that is uninterested in profit.

I always believed in goodness of our folks, it always intrigued me, how a country which was united against the British just 50 years back, overthrowing one of the greatest powers of history by practicing non-violence, degrade to such lowly state, where people who are supposed to be our brothers and sisters, exhort bribes from their own countrymen, steal the money for medicines of poor, sell-out their motherland's security for the love of Gandhi (printed on notes).

In the beginning of the great adventure of building a new country from the numerous identities of diverse princely states, linguistic identities, tribes and religions, the people involved were those who were real nationalists, who has loved this country more that their lives, people who had sacrificed their youth for freedom, people who had been lathicharged, assaulted, abused and massacred everyday, for centuries oppressed and enslaved, this soul of India had finally found utterance. For a decade everyone evolved in governance had been a freedom fighter, though now very good in administration, economics, management or statistics, they were guided by the love for their nation. Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru, guided us through the troubled waters of partition, the Kashmir issue, the tribal trouble, the communists, the right wing opportunists and other divisors. But after a decade there finally arrived peace.

But as they rightly say, with greater peace, comes greater prosperity. A country ruled for a decade by a single party which was virtually unopposed, meant that the entire government was running with full accelerator and no-brakes. No opposition brings great evils. And short-sighted communal opposition brings greater evils. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha and similar parties had just one agenda, Hindutva, such communal forces had to be thwarted at all costs, but a progressive modern opposition was the need of the hour, sadly though our country still doesn't have one.

In 1957, the situation was not like today, netas were seen with a Gandhian aura, and well the Damaads weren't like Damaads of today. recently the news about Robert Vadra, being benefit by his mother-in-laws government was quite disgracing for a party of Congress' stature. Ironically the first reported major scam of our country also involved a Congress son-in-law, though in this he was the whistle-blower, he stood up against his own party, his own family, his father-in-laws government, to expose a conspiracy to beguile the stated owned Life Insurance Corporation of India of is funds. Investments were made by LIC in a private firm in owned by an industrialist Haridas Mundhra. Mr. Feroze Gandhi claimed that the shares had been bought by to boost their price well above their true market value, and fool other investors. 

Feroze Gandhi raised the Mundhra question on the floor of the parliament. Standing from the treasury benches, he asked the government whether the newly formed Life Insurance Corporation had used premiums from 5.5 million life-insurance policyholders to buy up shares at above-market prices in companies controlled by the notorious stock speculator named Haridas Mundhra. Thus the prime minister was confronted by his own son-in-law. The fiery Finance minister, himself a noted industrialist, initially snapped "That is not the fact," but had to admit later that this was the case.

The LIC had a publicly stated ‘blue-chip’ policy, which committed it to investing money only in firms of high reputation and sound management. The Mundhra companies were neither; yet the Corporation had seen fit to make its largest ever investment in its stock. After meeting strict dissent from within its own party the Government set up a Commission of Inquiry, which found the fraud has costed Rs. 1.25 crore (a very large sum at that point of time). The scandal was subjected to a judicial probe, in which Mr Haridas Mundhra was sentenced to an imprisonment of 22 years, and the Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari, and his principal secretary had to resign.
The Bane of today's India

The lesson to be learnt from this historical incident is not for the citizen but for our lawmakers. Sincerely you're not elected by the people to bow to some family, some dynasty with rich legacy or to some corrupt party high command, or a group of maniacs with agenda of dividing the country on the name of religion and castes. You represent the voices of millions of people of your constituencies to the parliament. Please stop following the party whips like some dumb driven cattle and take your stand. Its time to speak out against your supremos and promoters, Indian voters aren't the same old simpleton iliterate folks, who could only recognize a symbol and would vote blindly for it, without even knowing the name of the candidate they were voting for. We desperately need new leaders, we'll take a stand for a leader who truly stands up for us. We do not want a prime minister who is made a prime minister just because his grand father was a great leader.

Peace out.

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