Isn’t not so? Read what Prof.Mehta writes, yes quite lucid and profoundly:
- The state still has inordinate power over capital. Business is vulnerable at the hands of the state at so many levels: at every moment it is taxed, licensed, stamped, assessed, audited, authorised, given permission. Liberalisation and reform have helped alter the structure of corruption in some sectors. But the blunt truth is that the state has such an extraordinary ability to convert even basic procedural rights into discretionary entitlements that we should not be too sanguine about corruption disappearing on account of reform alone. But the one larger consequence of this is how timid Indian capital still is in relation to the state. The horror is not whether a particular industrialist was lobbying for a particular minister; the deeper horror is how the private sector is still so vulnerable, at every level, to the state. This is one reason why Indian capital has still not been able to act as a “class for itself” as it were; why it still cannot openly take on the political class. The picture that has emerged is not one of capital buying out the state, it is still one of capital in an abject state of dependence, where their very life depends upon getting politics right. But instead of focusing on this structural issue of power, all of us, including Ratan Tata, focused on the morality play.
- We still assume that some kind of public accounting in the full glare of the media reveals the truth. Indian media was under the illusion that it is the sunlight illuminating dark corners. Most politicians, and thankfully most voters, see it more as a spectator sport. There are two ways of dealing with this. One is to play along as most politicians do; the other is to maintain supreme detachment from it.
- Manmohan Singh, roundly ignores the media, engaging with it in a public space as infrequently as is possible. He concentrates singlemindedly on his choices and priorities, on that play of necessity and chance that defines politics. He has artfully free ridden on media’s simple-minded obsession with finding virtuous characters in a morality play; that part he fulfils beautifully by virtue of his stoic integrity. His supposed weakness, his refusal to take public responsibility for his government’s sins of omission or commission, has turned out to be an enormous political advantage in a climate where we don’t ask institutional and structural questions. He has most profoundly understood the deep truth of our times. All of us, the media or capital, may think we have the last word. But only a genuine politician has the last laugh.