Chapter 17: Politicians Are Great Criminals
One night Hymie Goldberg is coming home. It is a dark night and he is late. And a man comes close to him and says to him, “I have been robbed. The robbers have taken away everything. All that I have got is this gun.” He puts the gun on Hymie Goldberg’s chest and he says, “Now, you have two alternatives: either you give me money or I give you death.”
There was a great silence. Even that murderer started feeling a little nervous, because Goldberg was just standing there. And he said, “Have you heard me or not?”
Hymie said, “I have heard, but let me think.”
But it is very rare to find such people who decide between money or death. Probably most people would give you the money, because anyway, if you are dead, the money will be gone. What is there to think about? But Goldberg has a thousand years of heritage. He is a perfect Jew.
The ordinary criminal uses direct means. That’s why he is caught. The politician uses very indirect means. It is very difficult to catch hold of him.
Indira Gandhi told me once, “I never write anything, I simply phone, because writing can be used as a proof against me any day.” This is great planning. She would call the governor of a state and say, “Do it.” But she would never write anything. Now, a verbal communication - there is no record of it. And she said, “There are stupid politicians who go on writing things when they are in power.”
And she showed me a whole file. That was her whole power. The file had come as an inheritance from her father, who was the first prime minister of India. He was collecting material against all the politicians - although they were men of his own party - proofs that could be exposed any moment if the man tried anything against the party or against the party leader. If anyone wanted to leave the party he could not leave because Nehru knew.
The file became such a terror that even the great leaders of this country were afraid of it. Nobody knew exactly what was collected in the file, because everybody was doing all kinds of wrong things.
Just a few days ago.There was one president, Sardar Zail Singh, and he had ample proofs against the prime minister that he was not listening to him, he was not even asking him for necessary signatures. Without those signatures, nothing can be done. The president is only a nominal head in India, but his power is the signature. And things were happening without Singh’s signature.
But he could not do anything, because when he was chief minister of Punjab, he had been caught red-handed taking a big bribe. The investigation was started, and completed, and it was proved in the investigation that he was a criminal, but Rajiv never passed that file on to him. He never said a single word about it to the newspapers or to the country. This was a key thing.
So, when Zail Singh wanted to say some things to the country which were going to be against the prime minister, he was told, “It is perfectly okay, you can speak but your file is in my hands: it will be exposed. You will be immediately arrested.”