seeing bad eggs in your midst as mere aberrations, as if belief in your own virtue can compensate for occasional lapses into evil. Rather than seeing these bad eggs as aberrations that can be contained, they must be recognised as poison that vitiates the whole. There might be something faintly comic in this claim in a political culture where politicians seem to outlive all their sins. But increasingly, it is clear that in public narratives, mistakes will get more play than success. The lasting image of a government will be defined not by its most competent faces, but its least competent ones. The peculiar dignity of this democracy is that it is out to get government. It is always good to remember that.
The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, and a contributing editor for
‘The Indian Express’
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