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Fathers and sons: The perils of love

Fathers and sons: The perils of love

Author: TJS George
Date: August 6, 2005

Love, a beautiful sentiment, can also be evil. In our public life, since the mid 1970s, it has been mostly evil. Instead of enriching life, it has been destroying the decencies of life. It began with the overdone motherly love that transformed the lives of Sanjay Gandhi and then of Rajiv Gandhi. It has now reached the ugly stage of fatherly love making fools of us all in Bihar, in Karnataka, in Kerala, in Maharashtra. It has turned governance into a farce.

Bihar Governor, Buta Singh, has managed to do what is evil even by Bihari standards. He has let lose two big, burly sons of his to do what they please. The inappropriately named sons, Lovely and Sweety, are dreaded even more than Sadhu Yadav was during the Laloo years. Transferring police officers for obvious reasons is their principal hobby. The shenanigans made the Central Government issue a warning to Buta Singh. The Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi have expressed displeasure. But Buta Singh and his lovely and Sweety darlings go on; knowing full well that the Congress Party will not dare recall the Governor at such a crucial juncture in Bihar Politics.

Shenanigans in Karnataka are more stupefying if only because we expect better-than-Bihar standards there. Well, abandon those expectations. Deve Gowda's determination to destroy Siddaramaiah would have been the stuff of comic opera if it were not so tragic in its implications.

Actually Deve Gowda's career history is revealing. His considerable skills were used to demolish anyone who even remotely looked like a threat. Thus were destroyed Janata Dal luminaries Y.K. Ramaiah and S.R. Bommai. Sane, intellectual elements like Lakshmisagar were also eliminated. So was B.L. Shankar, once Deve Gowda's manasaputra. Ramakrishna Hegde and J.H. Patel were sometimes their own enemies, but Deve Gowda contributed immensely to their ruination.

Now that he is ex-Prime Minister and all that, there is neither any need nor much scope for personal consolidation. All the more reason why Deve Gowda wants to consolidate the position of his two dearly beloved sons. They are already installed in positions of power, but Deve Gowda knows that once he is gone, his sons would not be as unchallenged as they are now. So he wants quick action. He is a man who lives on a fistful of pills every day. So he wants real quick action. So out must go Siddaramaiah, a man with a relatively clean record and some ability to think and therefore dangerous to his sons' future.

The crisis this pursuit of self-interest has brought about takes governance in Karnataka from miserable to scandalous; infrastructure in Karnataka from scandalous to unbearable; corruption in Karnataka from high to higher. These are problems that bother people. Not one honest politician will pause to think about them. Even if the Government falls and Karnataka slips into a holy mess, Deve Gowda's focussed thinking will be on how to ensure that a son of his is crowned the Maharajah of Karnataka.

Precisely the situation brought about in Kerala by K. Karunakaran who went long ago from scandalous to destructive. Precisely the situation in the once-unassaiable Shiva Sena where Thackeray's love for his son has ruined all that he had built up. Precisely the position of Dhritarashtra whose love for his sons made him conspire to burn the Pandavas alive in the lac house. Dhritarashtra's sons failed miserably. The same fate awaits all other sons who are conspiratorially crowned by selfish fathers.

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