I was amused to read the following news report this morning’-  Maharashtra govt red-faced after Padma awardee’s power supply cut.’

 Padma Shri awardee and noted Marathi poet, N D Mahanor,  was attending the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Pune. On March 26, he criticised politicians in his speech at the literary conference.

The very next day,  an engineer and five wiremen of the distribution utility arrived at his house, removed the lock on the gate, and despite his servant pleading that no one was in the house, snapped the electricity connection and went away with the meter.

 MahaVitaran, the electricity distribution company, says that he had not cleared dues of Rs 23,500.

 Mahanor says,  “I have no pending dues, if my dues are pending, let them show it.”

After Leader of the opposition, Eknath Khadse, raised the matter on Tuesday, Maharashtra energy minister, Ajit Pawar, tendered an apology in the Assembly.

The concerned officials now say that they ‘have paid the dues on his behalf’ and electricity will be restored.

 Was this an overzealous attempt by the MahaVitaran officials to please their political bosses?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Even if it was, we can hardly blame them, because this sort of behaviour is seen at the very highest levels, in the bureaucracy and in the government, too.

The controversy over Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan, accepting the role of Brand Ambassador for the State of Gujarat has been raging for some time now. The Congress leadership was miffed, due to personal as well as political reasons. Therefore the Bachchans became untouchables for their party.

Congress party workers were so enraged on behalf of their leaders at the presence of Amitabh Bachchan at the  inauguration of the extension of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, that they called for Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan’s resignation.

Subsequently,  afraid of making the same mistake again, the Maharashtra CM altered his official schedule, and  went one day earlier to the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan at Pune, so as not to share the stage with Amitabh Bachchan at the valedictory function, for which they had both been invited.

Congressmen are not willing to take the slightest chance of displeasing the Royal Family, it seems,-  and have extended the unofficial ‘ban’ to the entire Bachchan family. Bachchan Junior ‘was blacked out’  at Earth Hour on Saturday, supposedly at the behest of Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit.

This kind of sycophancy has always been present in Indian politics, but it seems to have reached new heights currently. Only time can tell just how high these ‘Royalty -pleasers’ are willing to go.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

I am reminded of the story about how  the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, met his end.

It was the year 1170 A.D. and there was conflict between King Henry II of England and the Archbishop, over the rights and privileges of the Church.

” Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”King Henry roared. 

Some versions of this story tell us that the King did not say this explicitly, but did make his displeasure with Becket known to his knights.

The King’s lament was treated as a royal command, and Becket was subsequently murdered by four knights of the King.