Forget the furore of one and all on the study tour junket. It had no effect. The MLAs of Karnataka are off on another one and we are paying for it again. This time 19 of them are off for 18 days to 8 countries and return via Dubai. They have to shop poor things as nothing is available in India!

This is nothing short of infuriating as all is not well in the country! I guess one would not have grudged elected representatives 'study tours' if the situation in our country was shining, to use a word oft used by politicians, and if our elected reps did their job. The last session of the Parliament did not see any work at all as the working were stalled for the entire duration by sloganeering and shouting. The cost of this was 250 000 rs per minute of the hard earned money of every Indian! I leave you to do the maths for one entire fifteen working days session. I presume the scenario is not different in State Assemblies. Yet these reps of the people have 'no guilt' in going on spree and jaunts on the tax payers money.

While they party, their electors cry to be heard. For the past 15 days 51 people - young and old, men and women - have stayed immersed in water demanding compensation and rehabilitation for villagers whose homes will be submerged under water after the state government's order of opening all the gates of the Omkareshwar dam in Madhya Pradesh. Imagine staying immerse in water for 14 days. I salute the courage of these people and am shocked to see that no one has come forward in so many days. Where are their elected representatives? On some study tour?

They are not asking much but are being totally ignored. A woman protester says it all: We are very angry... the government has turned a blind eye towards us. The government is deaf and dumb. All we want is the water level to be decreased, and that too by just one-and-a-half metre. And compensation for our land. Is it too much to ask for? It took 17 days for the powers that be to react. Let us hope they act!

In another part of India children are dying of encephalitis. This happens year after year and the death numbers are staggering but the elected representatives seem unconcerned and nothing is ever done to address the issue and find a solution.

The callousness and indifference of those who rule us was once again revealed in the answer given by a Chief Minister when asked about a shocking incident where a labourer's hand was axed when he asked for his salary. Instead of showing some empathy the CM simply stated that his state has the lowest crime rate. Need one say more?

Who is responsible? Certainly not us as we pay our taxes and dues. And by we I mean very Indian as even if you are not in an income tax bracket you pay tax on every damned thing you purchase. From a packet of biscuit to a liter of kerosene to a strip of medicine, the state takes its due.

Our elected reps are in the news for all the wrong reasons: scams, corruption, high handedness - a woman cop was recently brutally beaten by a bunch of political goons - scandals and more of the same. And yet we re elect them each time. Then I guess we, the so called elite, are also responsible for the mess the country is in as we have abdicated our right to ask questions and get answers. Have we also lost our souls and heart as everything leaves us cold and unperturbed. Be it children dying @ 5000 a day or classrooms with no desks and over 160 students. Has our country lost its soul in its quest for I do not know what grail?

Corruption has become a way of life and with scams after scams one wonders how soon we will become inured and stop reacting altogether. I must admit that I am incapable of visualising the number of zeros in the scam amounts of our times.In a biting article worth reading, an eminent editor states: I think what has shocked ordinary folk is the scale of corruption and misgovernance. With skeletons tumbling out of every government cupboard, no part of the system is untainted. Land, natural resources, defence procurement, even our sports bodies are hotbeds of serious malpractice. Perhaps we should not open too many cupboards. He ends his article on a rather grim note: Is there a way out? Even a short-term solution? Doubtless, the present dispensation has to be booted out, the sooner the better. But I cannot say with any conviction that those who will take their place will not feather their nest with equal zeal. When I started writing this piece, I was determined not to quote W.B. Yeats and his warning of what happens when the Centre does not hold: anarchy is let loose. We are heading in that direction, if we haven’t already arrived there.