The grand illusion

Amitav Ghosh in The Hindustan Times:

In the great torrent of words inspired by the anti-corruption movement, what is not being discussed has proved to be almost as significant as what is being said. As a writer I have always been fascinated by the silences that suddenly congeal within the ceaseless argumentation of our collective life. In this instance some of these silences are so striking as to make one wonder why nobody ever mentions the herd of elephants in the room.

Here is one relatively minor instance: on innumerable occasions over the last couple of weeks commentators have excoriated the Congress for its ‘lack of leadership’. Yet, not once have I heard anyone remarking on the fact that this is not just a figure of speech – it is literally true. Sonia Gandhi, the actual leader of the party and the fount of its power, is indeed absent, and is known to be incommunicado because she is recuperating from an operation. It is as if some kind of taboo had arisen around this subject.

But here is a much more significant example: several members of the Congress have spoken with great eloquence about the importance of respecting the sovereignty of Parliament and about the dangers of creating an extra-parliamentary source of legislation. Thus for example P Chidambaram: “Do not diminish the sovereign right of Parliament to make laws. The day this right is diminished even by one millimeter, that will be the saddest day for our democracy.” More:

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