Remember the famous remark of presidential candidate Ronald
Reagan: “It is the economy, stupid.” Everything must begin with
the economy, on which we don’t have much to write home about.
After all, what is optimistic in Standard & Poor’s report about
our growth story? That in April industrial growth rate was 0.1
percent and in March – 3.2 percent?
The strategic affairs expert and Time magazine columnist Fareed
Zakaria wrote recently that if the economic decline was not
arrested quickly, the “I” of BRICS would be for Indonesia not
Statistics and strategic affairs are not the staple of aam aadmi.
What concerns him / her is whether they are getting their daily
bread, have a proper roof on their head and a stable job, or some
other source of income. Also, whether they are allowed to live a
life free from state oppression.
On all these counts we are in dire straits. But what bothers one
more deeply and consistently is the grim human rights situation,
to which we will get back in a while.
There is a general sense among the preponderant majority of the
country that the prices of food like grains, vegetables, edible
oils and fruits, besides fish, chicken and mutton have virtually
shot through the roof. This is one issue that is top of the list
for most wage earners and housewives.
The point is whether hundreds of millions of people can go on
living in such a severe situation. The ruling UPA does not have
much to offer, but its counterpart, NDA, has even less. That is,
if you do not count NDA leader BJP’s great talent for constructing
spectacular anti-minorities stir.
That leaves us with the airy-fairy idea of a “Third Front”, which
some people are enamoured of, even though it is a symbol of hope
overcoming experience. Interestingly, the uncontrollable ambitions
of individual leaders, who have never been known to compromise for
a larger cause, are already manifesting themselves in different
So, where does the aam aadmi find shelter? The answer is: Nowhere
at present, but things would change and aam aadmi would get the
opportunity to decide the fate of the political class.
Finally, the human rights situation. It is at a record low, and
Muslim organisations have made representations to government
leaders regarding the lawless campaign of Central and state
agencies against Muslim youth.
We have written to the Prime Minister, the UPA chairperson and the
Union home minister several times, bringing all this to their
notice. Over the last week, too, we have repeated the exercise,
followed by a press conference. We have still to hear from the
The two latest high-profile cases (there are many others that are
less known) show the connivance of state organs. We are talking
about the murder of Qateel Siddiqui in Yerawada high-security
prison and the disappearance of Fasih Mahmood. The UPA government
has much to answer for. We are looking forward to hearing from it.