Sunday, February 6, 2011


Today it is a cacophony in the public sphere; important people scream judgments about each other and the rest of us sit by and watch a tamasha confused and disillusioned… Scapegoats are hounded in the name of getting at the root of corruption; actresses are made to pay the price to save face of the political fraternity. It’s a game of pulling everyone into the mud…

Let’s take corruption, it is apt to hound Raja to solve the problem… the cacophony is so loud one is not allowed to get to the root of the problem. Can we rise above the din? Where is the root of the corruption? How do we hit it and hit it hard?

Part 1: Judgmental, Blind and in the Ditch
Wool is being thrown into our eyes; a judgmental desposition disorients us
Part 2: Corrupt Individuals or Corrupt Polity?
corruption is at the root of the system; it is not an ailment of individuals alone…
Part 3: Corrosion of the system by Corruption
Corruption eats into the vitals of the system it is a reason for much unhappiness…
Part 4: If You’re Truthful You’re Ineligible
The centre-piece of our public life—the parliament… is there a technical glitch in the selection process to it?
Part 5: Citizens’ (Luhar) Ka Ek…
There is a need for focus in order to deliver a hard blow at corruption… If a billion people ask for it, who will get in the way?


In this first of the five article series, the basic question of being freed from the wool thrown into our eyes is analyzed

There is something wrong with the way ‘struggles’ and ‘revolutions’ of today go about shooting down people in high places who may have erred. Sometimes we come across those who believe that culprits should be put on a donkey’s back with blackened faces and paraded in their constituencies… may be quite a few will still vote for that… but what do we do of those who say we should line them up and shoot them down…! As if the problems of the world would be solved by one magic swish of their sweeping hand…! No! Something is wrong about it and it is not just the violence… There is more…

The saas-bahu serial directors and story writers seem to have a very easy formula to have the audiences glued on to the TV sets. Every now and then, mindlessly, one character is made to ‘shout’ at another in utter condemnation and disdain and in reply the other either shouts back or sulks or weeps or explodes, and the same cycle is repeated over and over again with character after character… And the gullible sit and watch, glued to TV sets, even as those behind the sops walk happily to their banks.

And the News Channels seem to have hit upon the same formula too. A student of politics recently recounted how he has found great relief in switching off the news channels while resorting to other means for gathering news. Truly speaking it is not an escapist’s perspective—running away from the problems in the world; the problem is the ‘manner’ in which the news is presented. What ruffles is the constant shouting that happens in the name of ‘discussion’ or ‘debates’ or ‘interviews’ or ‘breaking news’. Every now or then someone seems to be calling someone else stupid or small or little with a sense of irritation.

One gets a feeling that people on the idiot box are not in the business of bringing clarity on ideas, they seem to be there just to whip up frenzy so that eyeballs will be glued on to the TV.

But why just get after those behind TV programs… the truth is that we have reduced ourselves to finger pointing in most aspects of public life; the same story often repeats in other news media, in academic circles meant for intellectual exchange or in the highest forums of debate and discussion namely the legislatures—particularly the parliament. In fact we see this increasing trend of demonizing individuals even in the courts.

So what is wrong with this finger pointing?!
Ask a well groomed child and clichéd answer would be that, “when one points a finger at another there are three others pointing at oneself”.

Clichéd though it may be, the meaning is not limited to the idea that everyone makes mistakes. There is a deeper connotation—hard to explain completely—but can be represented dogmatically in the three fingers that point to oneself when one is pointing that index finger of accusation…

The middle finger (which is ‘bigger’ than the pointing index) says, “While you are pointing out a mistake in the other person, there is a ‘bigger’ mistake of judgment that you commit”. This disposition of being judgmental about others is discouraged in all spirituality. Jesus Christ says that the judgmental mode is like a huge log in ones’ eye. When we point judgmental fingers at others we are focused on the speck in the others’ eye and forget the log in ours!

Then there is the ring finger; it says “you are tied up in the ring of judgment”. This means that in order to be judgmental about others it necessities that one be locked up into ‘judgment mode’. This disposition is unforgiving. It makes an individual miserable within himself; supposedly a judgmental mind is curdled and incapable of clear thinking. He that judges is judged by God. One that judges others, lives in the hell of his judgmental disposition and is numbed by it.

And the little finger points out to say that “by pointing fingers one is being little”, for it is common knowledge that ‘small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events and great minds discuss ideas’.

Is this true? Most likely it is… And if it is so, can we answer the question “What is wrong with this finger pointing?”

The answer is that in the process of pointing fingers blind men with curdled minds shout at others; and lead by these blind we too point accusatory fingers… and run in endless circles… achieving nothing in the process; “when the blind lead the blind, both fall in the ditch” (Bible).

The reason this needs to be considered in public life is that many of the ‘struggles’, ‘demonstrations’, freedom movements and such other base their course of action on anger or intolerance arising out of judgmental dispositions. If this verse in the bible is the correct representation of the truth, then these struggles have the adjective ‘losing’ added prefixed to them at their very inception… Judgmental leaders are doomed! And judgmental followers follow them into doom…!

The question is whether one wants to join a shouting chorus laced with anger and passing judgments on individuals and groups of individuals… or then should he alternatively search for groups that are reasoned and firm and revel in internal liberty…?

Einstein was right when he said that ‘a problem cannot be solved by being in the same level of consciousness that created it’. ‘Little minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss principles’: unless we are able to raise the quality of our public debate, move from individuals to events and from events to principles, there is little hope for the nation to move ahead.

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