Friday, November 16, 2007

Karnataka CM on thanksgiving rounds

I can’t figure out what our Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is up to. He has been doing the rounds of temples and mutts, has done homa at his official chamber at Vidhana Soudha. He has paid a visit to his village astrologer near Tumkur. And, between trips to temples, Mr Y has ordered transfers of some key IAS and IPS officials. He has also managed to give sleepless nights to several others in bureaucracy, which is as clueless as you and I are on what he might do next.

A media report spoke of elaborate official bandha during CM’s visit to his village astrologer, near Tumkur. Senior government officials had reached the village the night before Mr Y’s arrival, to be at hand, just in case Mr Y needed to have a word with officials. As it happened, the astrologer reportedly advised CM to maintain silence till he returned to his office in Bangalore from the village visit. Such fuss and official fanfare may not be in the official protocol book. It would have been much simpler to have the astrologer over to the chief minister’s chamber, for consultations.

We have a chief minister who turns his official chamber at the state secretariat into a venue for Vedic rituals, including homa. Mr. Y is entitled to his puja at his official residence. Having it at his office in the state secretariat may be good for Mr Y’s soul, but such things wouldn’t go down well with those of us who believe in the sanctity of the seat of government. Mr Y may not think much of it, but there is a distinction, however subtle, between the CM as a person and his seat of power.

Today’s CM is Mr Y. Tomorrow, the seat may be taken by ‘X’Ali or ‘Z’Anthony. Mr Y, I reckon, isn’t conscious, or he doesn’t care, about such finer distinctions in a secular democratic set-up. If anything, our five-day old CM has been sending distinct signals to the people that, in governance of the state, he may well be guided by the Parivar and the divinity, rather than his cabinet and officials.

The media carried the other day a picture showing our CM prostrating before a spiritual leader. For Mr Y this may be personal. I don’t know what our swamijis and sadhus make of heads of government touching or falling flat at their feet. Surely, there must be more dignified ways of seeking their blessings.

My take is such gesture, by those in power, send out wrong signals to people. They can’t be blamed for thinking that they could have their work with the government done, if they seek a reference or recommendation from this guru, that sadhu, or such and such swami. Such public perception, of a close connect between spiritual leaders and the seat of government, is extra-constitutional, Besides, it doesn’t enhance the prestige of the community of spiritual leaders.

Meanwhile, we have the CM’s word that he wouldn't take any official decisions for the next few days and all decisions his fledging government has taken till date would be put on hold as he spends time visiting temples and offering prayers till Nov.19 when Mr Y is scheduled to prove his majority on the floor of the Karnataka legislative assembly.

Cross-posted from Desicritics


Ram said...

It is pathetic to see these politicians indulging in Homa to invoke the blessings of God with a selfish motive of preserving their position or prostrating at the feet of a 'sadhu or saint'for the same purpose without even thinking that 'the hugging saint' or 'the conjurist safron clad seer in front of them is a mortal like themselves, and has shorticomings of a human like themselves! I wish that they knew that a simple precept
'have basic honesty and integrity and belive in practice as you preach' is all that is needed.

narendra shenoy said...

I am told that Dr. Manmohan Singh himself is a big astrology person. He consults astrologers on all important religious events such as India's nuclear policy.