In a candid conversation with The Telegraph, former bureaucrat Kannan Gopinathan spelt out some very unpleasant realities. Scathing in his critique of the BJP government he has compared it to a crazed pack of dogs that will chase any car that enters the mohalla. He said, “They don’t know what to do when they get closer to the car. They start something and don’t know how to conclude or steer. They are so short-sighted that they cannot think beyond elections.”
“But CAA-NPR-NRC is going to be the most thoughtless act and they can’t even imagine what will happen to this exercise in hatred. It will also promote bribery and corruption as it did during the NRC process in Assam. Even if they identify, say, one crore of so-called infiltrators, what will they do with them? They can’t push them back to any other country nor can they build detention centres and feed them; they’ll need a whole state to keep them confined.” he added.
Ex- IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan quit the civil services last August in protest against the abrogation of Article 370 and the halving of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Gopinathan revealed in this conversation with The Telegraph scribe how he had never imagined of quitting civil services. “When I joined the service, I thought being part of the government and the system gives you the best opportunity to serve people. But then I realised that I was just part of a sub-system; there is a larger political system. It is easier to influence this political system from outside than from inside.”
According to Gopinathan, the most important thing is to ask questions and not accept any move by the government at face value.
Questioning demonetisation, Gopinathan said, “When demonetisation was thrust upon us, everyone should have asked what is kala dhan or unaccounted money? Most of us thought it is the money of the filthy rich locked away in Swiss banks. Nobody thought that the private savings of a daily wage labourer are also unaccounted for.” He raised certain pertinent questions related to NRC and NPR; who will be considered an infiltrator? Those who don’t have proper documents? How many Indians have the requisite documents?
In Gopinathan’s opinion, demonetisation was the beginning of a dogged othering policy of this government, stated The Telegraph.
“During the demonetisation exercise, the rich were the other. When the key provisions of Article 370 were abrogated, the Kashmiris were othered. Now with CAA, Muslims and Dalits are the other. The government has been thriving on infusing sadistic pleasure in a section of people who are encouraged to believe that they are not going to be affected; that they will be safe while others suffer. The idea is that we can’t do anything good for you, but we’ll make you happy by doing something bad for somebody else”, he said.
Explaining this process of ‘othering’ Gopinathan added that this othering, and the bluster around it, are all symptomatic of a “stupid” leadership; “Otherwise, why has the GDP touched the nadir, why is the unemployment rate so high? If you have a carefully crafted policy, how could you throw the informal economy out of track through demonetisation, foist a half-baked GST to derail the formal economy, and then abrogate provisions of Article 370 and impose a clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir to shatter its economy?” he asked.
When asked if public protests will be successful in bending the current stubborn Government. Kannan said, “All these parallel forms of resistance — legal, federal and public — will surely work; one must not lose heart.”
“Besides, if I don’t fight today, our children will never know what freedom is. They will never know what a democracy is and what it means to go well beyond social media, join the protests on the streets and question the government.”, he added.