India has never seemed as helplessly weak as now By M J Akbar Hell has more definitions than heaven , possibly because more of us expect to end up there than in the other place. A cynic described hell as other people. Men of religion generally promise hellfire for the wicked, an image that rather contradicts the doctrine that the body is terminal and soul eternal. A soul can't get roasted in flames, can it? One much prefers the blind poet Milton's insight. Heaven is order, he wrote, and hell chaos. By Milton's standards, the government of Dr Manmohan Singh has already gone to hell. Chaos is the wild weed rooted in corruption. Like an untamed cancer, chaos has destabilized the coalition, corroded governance beyond repair and perverted foreign policy. In 2009 allies were clamoring to attach themselves to Congress. Today the only ally left is Sharad Pawar; even the ever-reliable Dr Farooq Abdullah seems to have turned wobbly. Since UPA continues to survive in office like a patient spread across a table, it has become evident justification for euthanasia. An indecisive Prime Minister spreads uncertainty along every artery of power. He does not speak, and when he does silence seems the better option. He appears to suggest that cliche or evasion are a solution. He demands justice from Pakistan after Sarabjit's deliberately authorized murder in a Pak jail, unable to comprehend that India is still awaiting justice for Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack. Pakistan will do nothing beyond raising the occasional flurry of dust; and Dr Singh is unlikely to do anything after the customary waffle. India has become a joke in the Maldives, a foe in Sri Lanka, a doubt in Bangladesh, a shrug in Nepal, a snigger in Pakistan and a taunt in China. Every neighbour has tested Delhi and discovered that this government walks on its knees. India has never seemed as helplessly weak as now. Foreign minister Salman Khurshid thinks China's incursion into Despang is acne which will disappear â€” perhaps after an application of a multinational cream. Has no one briefed him or the PM about Chinese revenue officials trying to extend their jurisdiction into Ladakh, or the significant possibility that the area may be rich in un-mined uranium? The Prime Minister has become either the target of dark outrage or the butt of black humour. The insulation that protected him while colleagues were falling on either side in the many corruption battles, has been ripped off by the coalmines allocation scam. The government has only one strategy for all the riveting scandals that have gutted its credibility: the purchase of time through delay or deception. Law minister Ashwani Kumar is caught tampering with the evidence to be presented to the Supreme Court, and gets a ringing vote of confidence from the Prime Minister. The only time Dr Singh shows any determination is when he is defending the indefensible. Additional Solicitor General and CBI counsel exposes the lies of Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati in a public letter, and Vahanvati laughs all the way back to his handsome bungalow in Lutyens Delhi to await the next set of cheques for his services. Laugh if you must, but it does seem entirely appropriate that this legal conspiracy against the Supreme Court began to unravel when Raval encountered Vahanvati in a cloak room. History is never made in a toilet, but farce is. India has never seemed as helplessly weak as now - The Economic Times ************************* An excellent analysis but very demoralising. Any ideas how the Govt could salvage the situation and the leadership crisis?