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Friday, August 12, 2011

Rajya Sabha spends time debating on the release of Chisti and the response of Hon'ble Minister for External Affairs

‘There’s nothing wrong in it...these things happen’   "Unfortunately, it happened," he said. "There was nothing wrong in it.  -  words of a high ranking official ……………..  yes to him it was just ordinary !

India is a Parliamentary democracy – ruled by elected representatives of the people.  The Nation decides on whom they should be ruled by.  The elected representatives are to steer the Nation to prosperity and provide good governance.  The concept is not new but as old as humanity – whether it was the Kings or anybody else at the helm, they are expected to effectively administer things in such a manner that the subjects are happy – the concept of welfare state.  Governance is the process of decision making and implementing the decisions in the best possible manner.  Government is an entity consisting of many.  In India, it is not the President but the Prime Minister assisted by select Ministers who are handpicked for chosen roles. !

Leaders should be in a position to connect with their citizens.  Good Ministers will have clarity of vision,  keen understanding of the different cultures in their governance, coherent grasp of domestic issues, good credibility, impeccable integrity, good grasp of parliamentary constituents,  ability to seize the moment, distinct ideas yet able to discuss and hear other’s point of view, statesmanship.

The Nation has had tall leaders………  We have  formal diplomatic relations with most nations.    Aiming to be a fast growing Nation, we require  international influence that increasingly gives us a more prominent voice in global affairs.  And for this, the Nation has the  Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) -  the official Agency  responsible for the foreign relations of India. The Minister of External Affairs holds cabinet rank as a member of the Council of Ministers.   Here are the words of a Foreign Secretary on assuming Office :  ‘ We are in a world of flux and we have to be innovative and adapt to the situation as it develops, but at the same time we have to be clear eyed about what are our national priorities and interests, many of which remain permanent. Obviously in dealing with the foreign policy challenges we have to take a holistic view of our political, strategic, economic and commercial, cultural as well as, public aspects of our image, as a country’

In Feb 2011, at the UN Security Council Forum, in a high level meeting convened by Brazil, which was the President of the council for the month of February, our  External affairs minister S M Krishna inadvertently read out two paragraphs of the speech of his Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado.   After the customary thanking and touching the general issues, the Minister reportedly read out words expressing profound satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two members of the Portuguese Speaking Countries, Brazil and Portugal, together here.    What a faux pas it was – and how poorly it painted India.  Somebody not even trying to figure what One was to read !!!

The MEA, in a clarification, said: “The initial parts of all formal addresses contain salutation and courteous references. While addressing the UNSC, EAM used such expressions from the address of the previous speaker before moving to his prepared text... the minister went on to make a well-received statement”

-         a mistake once done is an error -  one would ensure that it is never repeated, if one cares to be careful !!!!!!

Have you heard of ‘Virology’  - a study of viruses and  virus-like agents: their structure, classification and evolution, their ways to infect and exploit cells for virus reproduction, the diseases they cause, the techniques to isolate and culture them, and their use in research and therapy.   An opportunity to learn what it was provided by the same External Affairs Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna   not by a faux pas but by a blunder………………………

A faux pas is a violation of accepted social norms;  Faux pas vary widely from culture to culture, and what is considered good manners in one culture can be considered a faux pas in another. The term comes originally from French, and literally means "misstep" or "false step"

Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna  [S. M. Krishna] is  presently the Minister of External Affairs and a member of the Indian Parliament from Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha. He was the Chief Minister of Karnataka from 1999 to 2004 and the Governor of Maharashtra from 2004 to 2008.

Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) had asked as to what the government was doing for the release of the wheel chair-bound Dr Mohammad Khalil Chisti, a virologist who was sentenced to life imprisonment in December last in a 1992 murder case while he was on a visit to India to see his ailing mother.   Krishna responded during the Question Hour by stating that this “particular person” was detained in Pakistan and it was a question to be considered by the government of that country on “humanitarian grounds”.

As puzzled members looked on, the minister went on to say that Dr Chisti was confined to a wheel chair and was more than 80 years old, and he was sure that the Government of Pakistan would take a lenient view about the case. “We will, certainly pursue this at the level of the High Commissioner,” he added.

The Indian Minister was not even knowing that the reference was to an octogenarian in Indian Jail in Ajmer arising out of a criminal act – a murder in Indian soil -  the Janata Dal (U) was somehow keen to discuss this issue in the Rajya Sabha and the EAM SM Krishna was so careless in his response without caring to know what it factually was….

The members were startled by the answer  and it had to be clarified by the Prime Minister himself that Chisti was serving a prison sentence in  India.    It is reported that at one point, as several Opposition members made interruptions, Chairman Hamid Ansari ordered that nothing should go on record.  After the Prime Minister's intervention, the Chairman said that the position has been clarified and proceeded with the next question.

Pity that such people are ruling ruining the Nation

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

PS :  The opening lines were the response of SM Krishna after the Feb faux-pas

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