Politics of lies and loot

The battle of Mahabharata is over. Pandavas won the battle, caused by greed and lust for power on the part of Kauravas. As Krishna proclaims in the Bhagavad Gita, the good must prevail over the evil, and it has. Yudhishthir, the eldest and the most pious among the Pandava brothers, is persuaded to take up kingship despite his desire to take sanyas. One of the most instructive episodes in the epic comes when Yudhishthir meets Bhishma Pitamah to learn lessons in good governance.

The sage, then on his deathbed, tells Yudhishthir: "O King, just as the foot of an elephant covers every other foot, so does raj dharma cover every aspect of dharma, in all conditions. Among all dharmas, raj dharma is supreme, as it provides welfare and security to the entire society."

The true meaning of dharma is not religion, as is commonly misunderstood, but righteous performance of duty. Hence, if the king performs his dharma, it helps and prompts all others in society to perform their own respective duties righteously. Similarly, if the king resorts to adharma, it encourages others to do the same even more brazenly.

Doesn't this sermon from the Mahabharata describe what is happening in Bharat today?

What Bhishma Pitamah tells Yudhishthir next sounds even more contemporaneous: "For kings nothing except adherence to truth becomes the cause for the trust placed in them."

I remembered these lines when the Supreme Court censured the CBI for committing a "massive breach of trust" by presenting a government-doctored and truth-destroying status report on the coalgate scandal. But I also remembered them in the context of the massive raj adharma practised by the BJP government in Karnataka, because of which the party has received a well-deserved drubbing in the Assembly elections.

As remarked by the apex court, the CBI allowed the "heart" of its report to be changed by the law minister, who had demanded that the report be shown to him. Worse still, a senior law officer of the government appearing for the CBI was instructed to lie before the court that the report had not been shown to anybody. The pecuniary aspects of the coalgate scandal are a separate matter, and the truth about who gained how much due to arbitrary allocation of coal blocks, and at whose behest, must come out. But far more shocking is the crime of undermining the independence of the investigating agency, which has become, in the stinging rebuke administered by the Supreme Court, a "caged parrot speaking in its master's voice".

... contd.

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