November , 2018
Crumbling Institutions
13:54 pm

Buroshiva Dasgupta

We are confused. So long we have been blaming the media for misleading us with false or ‘fake’ news. But now it seems to be the turn of the ‘executive’ to mislead us with ugly reality. Are we supposed to get ready to witness the demolition of every social institution? We saw the revolt in the Supreme Court; but luckily the judiciary seemed to recover from the initial jolt. The Reserve Bank crumbled under unseemly controversies on the appointment of its Governor – a dilution from which we are yet to recover fully.

And now we see the unseemly fight within the hallowed portals of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – on which we, the common mortals, had rested our faith for cleaning our land of corruption. Instead, we witness the top two executives of the institution trading charges of corruption against each other! This is no misleading – or biased – report of the media. It is almost a surreal reality. This time it is not the media, which is failing us, but another essential arm of democracy.

The government apparently acted promptly and sent both the top executives of the CBI on leave, but not before the event had dented our faith in the proper functioning of our democratic institutions. We suspected that our beloved country has been sinking under the weight of corruption.

The World Corruption Index from Transparency International was suggesting this slide downwards for several years now. But we could not believe our eyes when the institution - like the CBI - which was supposed to guard us against acts of illegality, financial irregularities and the rest, was itself drawn into allegations of such crime among its own men!  Where is the country heading to?

Media so far has not overreacted. As the events unfolded, it watched them, as we all did, with stunned silence. There may have been cases of some ‘biased’ reporting – trying to link the officers to different political camps – but on the whole, in this case at least, none could make the media the scapegoat. But what was remarkable, none of the leaders interviewed could answer the question as to why the rot had been allowed to come this far. Were they not aware of such erosion within the institutions? Who will be held responsible for such events that have caused a loss of faith among the common man?

Optimists might try to interpret these troubled times as a ‘churn’ that will lead us to a lasting good. But the turn of events, so far, has not shown us any hope. As we march towards the general election of 2019, we suspect such incidents will be on the increase. Transferring someone to the Andamans or another to one’s state of origin will not stem the rot. We need restoration of our faith in the institutions of democracy.

Instead of trading charges against each other, we wish the political parties could suggest solutions to the crisis. Media so far has shown restraint; but it should not be misled and be drawn into this political battle of charge and counter-charge. Instead, it should help find solutions. We should help cleanse the system, not hasten the process of any further crumbling of democratic institutions.


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