The nation wants to know …
S. Madhusudhana Rao
Now-a-days, avid newspaper readers and keen television watchers are confronted with a variety of relevant and irrelevant issues which raise more questions than answers. Open a newspaper in the morning or tune in to one of the umpteen number of news channels any time of the day or night, their contents leave us confused and quiz-faced.
Let’s look at some of Thursday’s top stories that grabbed public attention and generated a lot of political heat and comments on social media. The Congress Party is livid over altering the lineage of the Jawaharlal Nehru family in Wikipedia. The roots of the first Prime Minister of independent India were ‘traced’ to Mughal ancestry. More damaging was his alleged affair with Edwina, wife of Lord Mountbatten, the first Governor General of independent India. Apparently, the Wikipedia pages on the Nehru dynasty had been edited to include the malicious content without leaving a clue about the authorship. However, the ‘editor’ is said to have used a Government of India website IP (Internet Protocol) provided by the National Informatics Centre.
While Wikipedia has deleted all the alterations and interpolations, a blog that was posted on December 30, 2011 under the title “The Truth of Nehru Family” has not been removed. Posted under “Uncategorized” sub-head, by “Nehru family” the article had photographs of Nehru and Edwina, Rahul Gandhi and others as well as the Nehru-Gandhi family tree. The blog also contained many salacious details with source references. It could be accessed at https://nehrufamily.wordpress.com.
WordPress is a free publishing platform. Anyone can write anything and publish on it. According to WordPress.org, “This (Nehru Family) is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.” Which means the government can do little about it.
Not surprisingly, a furious Congress has gone on the offensive, demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology as well as a thorough probe into “concerted efforts to malign the image of Nehru” and distort Congress legacy.
Indeed, prudence demands a high-level investigation into deliberate attempts that had been made to interpolate what has already been written and mislead the people, that too from an IP ID provided by the apex National Informatics Centre. Does the BJP government accept its moral responsibility and act or not? The nation wants to know.
Now, there is little doubt that the former IPL chief Lalit Modi has turned out to be India’s Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame. In a way, our self-assumed vigil blower is following in the footsteps of American fugitive more out of necessity to stay put in London than with the noble intention of cleansing a corrupt system.
LaMo’s relations and connections with political classes of all hues to serve his interests need to be looked into in an unbiased manner. Instead, we keep hearing denials, accusations and counter-accusations and demands for heads of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. While the PM practices silence yoga on all controversial issues, the ruling party and opposition keep the fire burning with nightly calls “the nation wants to know…” Needless to say, the fuel for the fire comes from Lalit Modi through his tweets implicating almost everybody who had bumped into him.
At local level, what we want to know are countless, both trivial and serious. It looks the two Telugu states have more than a fair share of the national average. Cash-for-vote scam, for example, has given more fodder to the sparring sides than anything else since bifurcation a year ago. “Did AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has a hand or not” is being debated endlessly amidst a probe and vehement denials from Telugu Desam Party. Is it asking for too much if the Telugu people demand to know “truth, nothing but truth?”
In the political horse-trading that has been going on in Telangana State, one of the high-profile Congress leaders to quit the party and join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi is D Srinivas. A Congress veteran in the Telugu region for four decades, DS switchover is a shocker, though not totally unexpected. Whether the rumoured offer of Deputy Chief Minister’s post or some other ‘respectable position’ is a bite to bring him into the TRS fold is something people have to wait for some days to know. Nevertheless, do they actually come to know the reason behind DS decision?
The public will never know, of course. There is a class of thinkers who opine that it’s better not to tell people everything. Disclosures beyond a certain limit pose more problems than resolving them. Discretion is the watchword. Agreed, as far as national security and interests are concerned. If the issues in question are outside the security ring, is it fair to keep the country’s people in dark? Is it not political chicanery?