Getting things ass backwards is not a crime. Most people act stupid from time to time but are not congenitally stupid. But when organizations, and people who are high up in such organizations, get things ass backwards and persistent in doing so for decades, the results are neither pretty nor trivial. A shining example of the consistent ass-backwardness amounting to criminal stupidity is being reported.
Kanchan Gupta asked Shashi Tharoor, “Tell us Minister, next time you travel to Kerala, will it be cattle class?” on twitter. Tharoor replied, “Absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows.” A bit of good natured humor, something that brings a bit of relief from the unending stream of banality that characterizes public pronouncements by ministers of the Indian government.
And the result? There’s talk of disciplinary action against Tharoor. India Congress Committee spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan:
Asked whether Tharoor’s selection as a minister was a wrong decision, Natarajan said: “It is the prerogative of the prime minister and I will talk only about his (Tharoor) statement.”
To a question whether disciplinary action will be taken against him or any clarification will be sought, she said it is for the high command to decide. “I am only commenting on his statement. It is absolutely insensible,” she said.
It’s a joke, you silly unmentionables. Getting worked up about it is epitomizes ass-backwardness that permeates Indian policy making.
Here’s what I mean.
A minister of the Congress government announces a few million dollar reward for the murder of Danish cartoonists. Not a big deal.
Public figures routinely suspected of scams to the tune of millions (or billions) of dollars. Not a big deal.
Prominent elected leaders suspected of serious crimes. Not a big deal.
A minister cracking a harmless joke on twitter. Questions being raised about disciplinary action and whether it was a mistake to appoint him as a minister. That’s priceless.
Come to think of it, Tharoor should now realize that a person is known by the company he keeps. He cannot wallow in pig-shit and not expect to stink up to the high heavens.
Related post: The Banality of Corruption. (Dec 2007)