Saturday, 24th December 2016
At last the time of awakening for Rip Van Winkle alias Centre appears to have arrived. No, I am not talking of the elusive acknowledgement let alone redress of the post demonetisation goof-ups. My concern is over our own turf, namely TN, perennially down, and under water, wind, wasted decades and what not!
The BJP rode to power in 2014 on a tidal wave of anti-corruption sentiment. But its regime’s selective slumber since then vis-a-vis TN despite ominous, obvious wake-up explosions and exposures of sleaze evoked little reaction and nil action. And now, out of the blue, the true colours of the State that has been in the red for long is being painted as primarily black with several shady shenanigans darkening the hues further.
So, what made R.V.Winkle stir, shake and swing into action suddenly? J’s demise! If de-M and the resultant old-note scare were the reasons, the raids would have happened in the 4 weeks since Nov 9 and prior to Dec 5/6. Imaginations can be let wild and still be on mark on what was happening outside when the choreographed charade was going on inside the hospital. But the Centre treated the present sinners like profound saints then, believing and acting on the script put out by these sinister schemers stationed outside the sterile sanctum of a solitary ward. And even the dullest of donkeys wouldn’t advance the theory that the officials, politicos and their cohorts turned corrupt overnight, the moment J was declared dead.
Indeed, just as everyone here knew, the Centre too knew, and in greater detail, that the thread ran all the way to J’s life and times. All those under a cloud now, the officials, their unofficial lackeys and political backers were basking cheerfully in the bountiful sunshine afforded by those right on top. But Winkle just chose to wink at it all, feigning sleep and fighting shy to take on the prima donna here, for some strange reason. This criminal inaction has cost the State dear, and how dear will be known as the sleuths dig deep and deeper. And the damage is not just financial, but the destruction of a State and dashed hopes of its people.
That will remain an eternal blot on BJP, nay, all national parties, that have over the years wilfully aided, abetted and taken advantage of TN’s self-isolation wrought by its self-serving politicos. In this Dravidian domain, there is very little of India, at least since 1967. Tamils traditionally feel a better connect with Sri Lanka and Singapore than distant Delhi. A historic, heartfelt hatred for Hindi helped the hive-off further. All-India players preferred easy, lazy coalitions with greedy politicos here to futile solo shows, leaving the voters clueless and choiceless. And the national media, that wants to know everything on behalf of people, avoided even a peep into this shadowy State, unless of course, a Kamal movie is stalled!
‘Ease of financial or favour deals’ apart, the big parties have reason to be wary. TN politicos are touchy and tackling them is a treacherous terrain that has tripped many a PM. Ask Gujral, Vajpayee and Manmohan who were all victims to the Dravidian invasion of the Aryan Capital. UFs, NDAs and UPAs have been felled by lonely TN’s long arms. The present BJP Government is the first in thirty years not to have a Dravidian party as a coalition member. That is also the reason why there are no scams emanating from any Central Ministry so far.
This land is unique. Here there is many a slip between ‘dead’ and ‘declared dead’. TN is a pioneer of big scandals that made the backfired booms of Bofors seem like a burp. If it was Sarkaria certified scientific corruption in seventies, the nineties were when special courts topped the charts, next only to Brig Veerappan’s lair, as media haunts. Sensitive cases were routinely transferred to neighbouring States, a judicial escape from the rulers! CMs were routinely convicted and arrested for corruption. CM’s daughters were routinely arrested for corruption. Central Ministers soaked in spectrum scum were routinely ... well, you know. And all that is part of the rational routine.
A former Chief Secretary and Minister of the present rulers were arrested last year. A sitting CS is in the dock. The State’s much touted self-respect flag is indeed flying high. Now that Winkle has woken, we expect him to go the whole hog, rip every suspected official, councillor and politico of ill-gotten wealth and load the IT vans with the booty. We assure there is enough to wipe out the fiscal deficit and still leave a handsome surplus to buy an ATM for every household. We can always find a Secretary or under-the-table Secretary to fill it up ... with new notes, for sure.
We hope Rip.V.Winkle remains awake and agile and does not get tempted by the elixir of striking deals with the devils here.
About ColumnistA chartered accountant and a cost accountant by qualification and a person of friendly disposition but someone who values his and others privacy, T R Jawahar was not cut out for journalism. But how Jawahar has ended up as one of the most prominent journalists in Chennai and the creator of some important big news brands at such a young age is the stuff of destiny and the dint of hard work.
Born to that doyen of journalism and a legend in these parts, T R Ramaswamy, well known by the affectionate acronym TRR, Jawahar no doubted has inherited his analytical and writing skills from that great man. Apart from this, the father and son duo share another important quality that define their entire world-view, which is humanism. A warm empathy for all beings in the world is the core of their beings.
After the passing away of TRR in the late 80s, T R Jawahar took over the helm of the Chennai’s most popular English eveninger, News Today, and seen it grow through both good and bad times. Through the unceasing publication of News Today, Jawahar is continuing the legacy of his father who founded the paper as a social commitment as well as an entrepreneurial venture.
Jawahar further perpetuated the journalistic memory of his father by founding the popular Tamil eveninger Maalai Sudar. The two papers have carved a unique niche for themselves through an adroit mix of news and views, which help the readers to retain their Indian cultural identity.
Apart from this, the biggest and the most path-breaking journalistic venture from Jawahar is Talk Media, that publication stable that has now become the talking point in the city with a slew of neighbourhood weeklies covering the length and breadth of Chennai. His Point Blank column in the Talk Media is hugely popular for its most forthright views conveyed in cheeky and witty manner.
To discuss Jawahar just in journalistic terms would, however, amount to doing a huge disservice to his rounded personality. Endowed with a sunny sense of humour, Jawahar is a connoisseur of movies both in Tamil and English. He is a virtual treasure house of knowledge on Tamil film music and Tamil poetry. He is a history buff and a keen reader of English and Tamil works, which is counter-pointed by his fetish for modern gadgets. A willing traveller, he has brought to bear those varied experiences in his trips in India and abroad on his writings.
Despite his professional achievements and his focussed administration of a company which employs over 500 people, Jawahar remains essentially a family man, a caring husband and a doting father. He derives his strength from his wife and daughter, and his home and office forever remain his temples.