Abstract Art of Taj Mohiuddin

If cow has eaten the grass, then where is the cow?

BREAKING VIEWS

NAEEM AKHTAR

Corruption in this part of the world is no more a fine art that should require solitude and confidentiality but it has become more akin to prostitution. Brazenness has become the stock response from its practitioners and of course from the institutions of state that eat up significant share of our resources for enforcing probity without doing anything. The episode involving the stillborn probe against Taj Mohiuddin the minister who is the solitary common thread between two successive governments would however fall in the category of abstract art.
The scale of corruption in the subcontinent is however so humongous that the numbers involved in J&K look peanuts or loose change. A few acres of land in a nondescript forest, away from Srinagar, is no big deal in a country where thousands of hectares grabbed or acquired inexplicably make it to headlines for a day and then disappear. Rs. 500 million is just chiller in a system where the CAG estimates losses in a single transaction in astronomical figures of hundreds of thousands of millions. Our politicians would look pickpockets by comparison with dacoits on the loose whether it is the amount collected by the late Haji Yusuf for arranging MLC, ministerial berths, Rs 50 crore withdrawn on bearer cheques from the cricket association accounts or adding a few hundred kanals to landed estates of politicians.
It is not the amounts involved but the response of the state, its institutions and its leaders that is important in assessing the rot. Whether anything shames us or not is crucial to determine our moral state. World’s most powerful general heading the CIA fell like a rotten fruit on the first whiff of an extramarital affair and it is threatening one more general who holds the most important military job on the globe. We, Hindu and Muslims, of this country who revel in pontificating and demonizing the west for its ‘moral weakness’ keep electing people even when involved in sex scandals, murder, open loot and plunder of public resources.
And the brazenness displayed in the issue involving Taj Mohiuddin takes the cake without any competition. This has also to be viewed in the background of the grouse of Omar Abdullah about coalitions being responsible for promoting corruption. It was not a sleight of hand that has historically been responsible for achieving the desired results in Kashmir elections but a very aggressive, unabashed and arrogant misuse of power to subvert the ultimate institution of the people, the legislature. Nothing worse is ever going to happen in this state to prevent state institutions from discharging their duty.
As we all know, the probe against Taj was an in house development of the Congress. National Conference was against it for obvious reasons because Taj Mohiuddin is seen as heading the pro Omar faction in the deeply fractured JKPCC. Whatever its own state of affairs, the NC has achieved miraculous results in destroying other parties that came anywhere near it. BJP is almost wiped out from its bastion in Jammu following the cross voting by its MLAs in favor of NC and Congress candidates in the last council elections. The Congress is tarnished as never before in public eye in the aftermath of land grab allegations and scrapping of the house panel. And, Omar Abdullah, having the clout of Rahul Gandhi’s recent reassurance behind him can now certainly boast of his own following in that party beyond Azad and Soz factions.
The National Conference may try to befool people by claiming that it was not in favor of dissolution of the probe panel but there seem to be no fig leaves available to it anymore. Ironically for Omar the fact is not lost on many that the Taj affair takes all merit out of his coalition corruption claim. It was a probe started by the Congress, the ally, against its own minister and sabotaged by the chief minister’s party. What worse could a two thirds majority for NC have achieved? Earlier also it was only the Congress minister Saroori who lost his job and Peerzada who was divested of his portfolio that any action, one and a half exactly, that this government could write home about as anti corruption measure. It is clearly not the coalition that is the culprit but moral weakness that forces compromises upon the leadership.
Taj Mohiuddin is the stereotype third world politician who gets stronger with every accusation of adding rapidly to his family fortunes. He is considered a doer as a minister, keeps his high command happy and wins elections in alien territories. But this Sedhav land grab probe looks like a piece of abstract art. Looking at the sequence of events it reminds one of the exhibition by an artist who was explaining his master pieces. When the visitors reached a blank canvass and asked the artist what this was he replied: look at the scenery, the lush grass and beautiful plants with flowers. “But there is no grass, no plants”, said the surprised visitor. The reply: it is eaten by the cow. But where is the cow? “It is gone”, the artist replied.
 Between Saifuddin Soz, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah, Amrit Malhotra, Abdul Gani Vakil and Murtaza Khan, Taj Mohiuddin played the master abstract artist.

(Feedback at akhtarandrabi@yahoo.com)

Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 15 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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