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Thursday, September 09, 2004

the centre of power

When an apple fell from a tree into his lap, Sir Isaac Newton discovered a phenomenon called the centre of gravity! Centre of gravity is what attracts everything to the centre of the Earth. The gravitational pull varies from planet to planet. If a high jumper can cross six feet on the Earth, he can easily cross sixty feet on the Moon. Centre of pressure is another centre associated with keeping an aero plane in the air. Due to the aerofoil section of the wings of an aircraft, an upward force is created which keeps the aero plane airborne. A centre forward in any football or hockey team is a very important player who has to execute the strategically laid down plans to ensure victory. We have heard of centre fresh and of soft centered sweets. A volcano has an epicenter where all the action originates and the centre spread can make or break a magazine – example Playboy!
But, the centre of power is something unique to India!
The political scenario in any country today is similar to the domestic scenario - compromises and adjustments are the order of the day. Gone are the days of bull dozing. Everyone from ma-in-law to ‘beti’-in-law lives on borrowed time. If a newcomer to the family is not able to adjust, she is at liberty to leave. As individuals, they all have identities to protect no matter how Ekta may like to present them! No one is willing to budge an inch. Hence, in order to maintain peace and harmony, it is but natural to look for compromises.
The very concept of a boss holding the centre stage and cracking the whip has vanished.
Therefore, it was surprising to listen to leaders complaining of there being four different centers of power in New Delhi. In layman’s lingo, the centre of power can be termed as a euphemism for someone who exercises total control over the machinery that rules. We have seen its implementation in one of the states where the CM handed over the baton to his better half but held the reins in his own so that the vehicle did not go astray. It is understandable when the incumbent is a person who is suddenly thrust into a position of power. She would never be able to handle situations due to inexperience. For survival, she has to be given guidance and the guide must obviously be more knowledgeable and experienced. In this case, her husband!
Drawing a parallel in New Delhi smacks of hypocrisy. The personality under attack is a learned one, is knowledgeable in affairs of governance and is a confident individual. Being a coalition of political parties with divergent interests, each constituent is bound to have his say. The previous regime blamed all its ills on ‘the compulsions of coalition politics’ but when it comes to the present set up, they see the hands of as many four different centers of power! They conveniently overlook the fact that, in their days also, there existed quite a number of power centers and poor ‘mukhota’ had a real trying time to find out acceptable solutions.


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