The brickbats come swooshing in from all over the world as Everyman points his accusing finger at slimy politicians in particular and the greasy state of corruption in general.
Just sample some heartfelt reactions from people who are shocked, upset and outraged by the enormity of what Defencegate symbolises in the wider context.
“At this juncture, India needs us more than we need India. We the people should not be treated any more as objects. We should act collectively against these rogues masquerading as netas. It is high time we responded to the call of the conscience.”
The psychological plight of the NRI, geographically removed from the muck of Indian politics, but who nurses a fierce patriotism nevertheless, is typified by these statements: “As an NRI, I feel so sorry for my motherland.”
“People here in Europe used to wonder why India was not progressing, though Indians are so hardworking and talented; now they know.”
I am an NRI working abroad and I feel India has literally gone to the dogs. All politicians of every party are bothered about is their foreign bank accounts. Where the hell are the morals and honesty these unworthy beings talk about during elections? Trample on these evil men: they supposedly prayed for the peace of the souls of those who died in Kargil but meanwhile, they were digging graves for all of us right behind our backs. Does this bunch of unworthy creatures think that once they sit in Parliament they own the citizens and all their money?”
“World opinion on India has reached its lowest in the Far East and I feel ashamed to call myself an Indian.”
The frequently recurring lament in all these communications is the agonised note of shame that once again, politicians have taken the people they represent for a monstrous ride. “Who are these crooks trying to hoodwink? They go around spreading hatred and indulging in this criminal behaviour and yet they have the prefix ‘Honourable’ before their names!”
“How come politicians in India manage to accumulate so much wealth without being questioned?”
And so, the butt of peoples’ ire is obviously Mr Politician.
“Shove the Bofors gun up the ***** of these b******* and fire the guns!”
“It’s high time politicians stopped their money-making racket and spent the rest of their disgraceful lives behind bars.”
“All these bloody b******s should be publicly hanged.”
“Shame on these pimps.”
“Flog them in public. One Lash for each Rupee taken.”
“Shoot them down like dogs.”
“Life-imprisonment is what all these scoundrels need! Not cozy houses and a fat bank balance while 75 per cent of 1 billion Indians don’t even have a morsel of food to eat.”
“They deserve nothing but public execution after suitable torture.”
“This is a black day for India. Where has patriotism gone? Are these politicians not guilty of selling the country? Are they not compromising national security? If so, why not treat these politicians like terrorists, put a life ban on them and punish them under the severest laws of the land?”
“Handcuff every one of these crooks and throw them in the Kashmir Valley. For once, people will cheer if militants finish off these enemies who do not hesitate to sell their mothers and daughters for money.”
What the citizen is baying for is swift, ruthless action.
“Tomorrow, if Pramod Mahajan and Venkaiah Naidu suffer from constipation and piles, they will claim it is due to an international conspiracy! If you have some shame in you, resign from public office and get out of the country, as you are both a nuisance value and a waste for the tax-payer. Please take all your corrupt colleagues with you, starting from the PMO’s office to the peon in your bureaucracy.”
“It is obvious that George Fernandes has taken decisions with vested interests. He should doubtless be thrown out, but it will not solve the problem of murky deals and corrupt bureaucracy. For that we should have a set of rules in place, even rewrite the constitution and overhaul our judiciary if necessary.”
“Enough of this party donations rubbish. These people are as guilty as hell and they deserve to be roasted alive. Is there any chance of people getting justice for a change? And I don’t mean another dead end inquiry.”
The scandal has touched a raw nerve in almost every citizen and their sarcastic remarks in retaliation are ample proof of the hurt they feel.
“India’s new caste system is as follows: the Coffin People – those that join the forces as jawans and die either fighting insurgents inside the country or at the borders.
The Lost People – those who have a pathetic standard of living due to the idiotic policies of the state, also known as the average Indian citizen.
The Escaped People – the lucky ones who escaped from the country, also known as the NRIs.
The Suitcase people – those who profit from the sorry existence of the Lost People and the deaths of the Coffin People.”
“All politicians are corrupt to a greater or lesser degree; the crime really, is being dumb enough to get caught! The Congress has become smarter and know more sophisticated methods of managing the flow of funds, whereas the NDA has much to learn. Perhaps they can opt to be trained by Congress stalwarts.”
“Shall we cry quietly or shall we demand accountability?”
“Maybe the Finance Minister should consider reserving an amount for giving bribes in the Annual Budget from now on.”
“Thou shall not be caught is the new, 11th commandment: go on stealing from people as long as you don’t get caught and go on denying even after being caught.”
To add insult to public injury, it is no less than the guardians of the security of the nation and the defenders of her borders – the venerable Indian Army – which has been embroiled in the stink; something that the people are unable to forgive.
“Those men in uniform who are involved deserve to be hanged. They do not deserve to serve the country. The verdict on these officers is crucial for the Indian defence services for years to come.”
“This is corruption at its worst, for it betrays the soldiers defending the nation.”
“The scary aspect of all this is that the very people who are responsible for the defence of our nation on the battlefield are involved in this…if this is an indication of their dedication there is certainly no point in maintaining the fifth largest Army and the fourth largest Air Force in the world. Why make this big fuss over going nuclear?
When kickbacks are accepted for a small deal involving thermal binoculars, imagine the extent of rot involved in the Sukhoi or the Barak deals. I’ve been based in the US for some time now and I wanted to return to India in a few years, but now I’m having second thoughts.”
There is a section of the population which refuses to hold out any hope that even this, the latest scam, will amount to anything remarkable in the long term; they regard optimism as yet another candle in the wind: a brief flicker and then, a return to darkness.
“Scam after scam, scandal after scandal involving bribes to politicians…and what is the end result? They continue to rule us.”
“In order to divert the nation’s attention, the concerned parties will doubtless attempt some mind-boggling distraction.”
The Prime Minister is clearly where the buck stops, in the eyes of people, and they feel that it is ultimately up to him to prove that his personal integrity should prevail over petty political considerations.
“Mr Vajpayee, your thieving party president has been caught. If you have even the slightest sense of morality, you should have resigned hours after the scandal broke out. Do not tell us that you will order an inquiry.
We do not believe that a corrupt government is capable of conducting an inquiry. Resign and go home! We no longer believe in you. We are paying for the fact that we did once.”
“The best part of this whole stinking mess is that Vajpayee will resort to his oratory as usual.”
“Mr Vajpayee, do you have the moral responsibility to charge all the people including your party president with treason and award life-imprisonment at the very least?”
There is also a huge sense of disappointment for people who placed their trust in the alleged honesty of the BJP and who are now being forced to deal with the fact that their faith was horribly misplaced.
“Is there anybody in India who still believes the Ram Rajya crap that the BJP has been feeding us? Throw this government out and give us our country back!”
“Don’t burn churches or mosques to create non-issues: burn the rot in your system.”
“The BJP is no different from every other political party. Is there no limit to their shamelessness? In spite of all the proof, these cowards refuse to accept how rotten they are. Should we take pride in being Indians and identifying ourselves with them?”
“The more these people defend themselves, the more foolish and unbelievable they seem.”
“Don’t place flowers on a pile of s**t; clean it.”
“When the public voted for the BJP they thought that the BJP Government would do everything that the Congress couldn’t do in last 50 years. They were right; the BJP Government has tried to sell the country within four years, which the Congress couldn’t succeed in doing in the last 50 years.”
“Why do they bother making a fuss about the national anthem. Isn’t it meaningless, under the circumstances?”
“I feel I should take up arms against these bloodsucking politicians. They talk of Ram Rajya! Well done, Vajpayeeji! You have made a fool of yourself and a fool of the entire country too!”
“The puritan pretence of the BJP and its allies stands fully exposed. Even then, Mr Mahajan, one of the honourable members of Vajpayee’s kitchen cabinet had the gumption to ask for evidence against corruption in the interests of safeguarding the moral consciousness of the nation!”
The Defence Minister, according to people, is as accountable as those who have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
“During the chat that George Fernandes had with indya.com’s users, I recall him saying: “As Defence Minister, I have a responsibility towards my country. If my nation’s security requires a particular decision to be taken, it shall be taken irrespective of my personal convictions.” I want to know, what does he have to say now?”
“For Brutus is an honourable man?”