Dirty money, dirtier politics
Written by The Indian Express   
Wednesday, 12 June 2002


Dirty money, dirtier politics

Pakistan has been successful in waging a proxy war on the Indian soil on three fronts. Firstly, through regular influx of terrorism, it has forced almost the entire Indian military to be on the highest state of alert, simultaneously engaging the police and para-military forces like never before.

Secondly, through kidnappings, ransoms and well-planned riots, it is damaging our country’s secular image. Thirdly, by pumping enormous sums of fake currency, it is raising the levels of parallel economy to unprecedented proportions that could cause a near crippling blow to the Indian economy.

To Pakistan’s great advantage is the fact that our intelligence agencies have often been caught napping. The daylight attack on Parliament and the burning of a train coach at Godhra are mute examples of the status of our existing early warning systems.

Sheltered by caste-based politics, hundreds of criminals are basking under our so-called great democracy, consistently reaping rich dividends from divide and rule, adding to the success of the Pakistani intelligence operatives. Compulsions of a fractured mandate and its consequent baggage of umpteen allies apart, absence of a delivery machinery is making our nation run in circles.

The secular fibre of our nation is being systematically torn into bits and pieces, creating a fear psychosis in the mind of the man on the street. It is not difficult for him to visualise repeats of the 1984 riots that killed nearly 5000 Sikhs. The Congress-led government then had failed to file even a single chargesheet. Years later, thousands of innocent Muslims had to face flak for what happened at Godhra. Christians could well be the next target!

Under the umbrella of failing legislative, ailing executive and cumbersome judiciary, one wonders if it is possible for any rearrangement of coalition that could break free of the shackles and put the nation back on an even keel? Lakhs of migrated Kashmiri Hindus have only strengthened our country’s image of being a soft state. War may not serve India’s long-term purpose but the think tank must appreciate that more lives have been lost to the rapidly growing terrorism than all the Indo-Pak wars put together.

After the 9/11 incident, while the war against terrorism has become a globally accepted agenda, India has at best issued warnings to the unconcerned leadership across the border. However painful a cancerous growth in any part of the body, it has to be operated upon and extracted. Sadly however, having suitably surrounded themselves with black cats and commandos, our parliamentarians have not been able to push what should be our nation’s topmost priority, beyond the roadside banners and posters. Sometimes it is best to learn from the experiences of other nations. For example, Britain, Australia and many other nations have been justifiably strict with illegal immigrants that could threaten their economy and society. So much so that last year Britain deported hijacked Afghan Air passengers back to Kabul even at the risk of their being executed by the then Taliban government.

In contrast, millions of illegal immigrants, including terrorists, together with their arms, ammunition etc., regularly sneak into India through the porous borders and are shamelessly sheltered by the regional polity that in turn is guaranteed of its vote bank. Shockingly, till date nobody in the garb of a politician has been punished in our country. When Australia detected substantial counterfeiting in the eighties, it tackled the problem by bringing out currency notes made of polymer, which was found to last longer than the paper notes. More importantly, it proved difficult to counterfeit, was easily recyclable and stayed cleaner.

Studying and adapting similar technologies could immensely help India in pushing the parallel economy to the back seat. We all are sailing on a ship that is on a self-destruction course, traversing at an alarming speed through mined waters. With over a million soldiers lined up on each side of the border, it would be easier for some trigger-happy general to justify his itch of pressing nuclear buttons. It is, therefore, of extreme importance that both the government and the opposition refrain from cheap and self-centered politics and unitedly join the global war against terrorism.
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