The Wikileaks cables will not most probably be accepted by a court of law.
But they will be accepted by large sections of the people of this country as indicating how rotten the State of India has become .
We have had instances of political bribery in the past too.
But those who committed bribery in the past to distort the democratic process understood they were committing a shameful act.
Those who have committed bribery under your watch as the Prime Minister of this great country, which held its head high as the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, did not show the least sign of shame over what they were doing. They proudly admitted to junior US diplomats their lack of political morality and their readiness to stoop to any methods, including payment of bribes, in order to survive in power.
What will these foreigners think of us? That question never even came to their mind.
When "The Hindu" published the cable from the US Embassy to the State Department on this subject yesterday, many of us who continued to think well of you despite all the corruption allegations of recent months that have led to a melt-down of our public and political morality, expected strong reactions from you as the person who is constantly projected as the most honest Prime Minister the country has produced since Independence.
A determination not to tolerate any more of this political immorality even if you have to lose office in the process.
Instead, what reactions we got?
And yet more denials.
Not even by you directly.
But by those in your entourage.
And after a day of silence by you, we have been told that you never authorised any bribery.
What does it mean? Does it mean that those who committed it did so without your knowledge or permission?
Presuming this is correct, is it a mitigating circumstance in judging the state of political morality ?
Doesn't this reflect badly on the state of affairs that such things can happen under your Government without your knowledge and that when they come to your notice, you react as if such things are part of the normal processes of democracy that one has to understand.
Previously, you used to speak of what you call the coalition dharma under which you had to close your eyes to undesirable happenings in the interest of coalition stability.
Now, you have introduced a concept of bribery dharma under which you have to close your eyes to widespread corruption around you in the interest of the stability of your Government.
Is the survival in office under such conditions worth it?
As one watches with shame and bewilderment what has been happening since yesterday, one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry . (18-3-11)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )