The image of Howitzer 77 on an election poster in Varanasi in 1990 is one of those things that stuck in the memory.
It was on a back street – almost an alley. Drying cow dung on the walls, a hint of smoke from the pyre down at the Ganges in the air. And just where a pale election poster with a silhouette I knew from the days of practice at the firing ranges in Villingsberg and Älvdalen.
Maybe they got it for me to understand how the weapons produced in Karlskoga where I lived during the 1980s held the changing scene in the world’s largest democracy.
Yesterday came President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee to Stockholm. It is the first time an Indian Head of State will visit Sweden. Receiving the Crown Princess at Arlanda and the Mounted procession through Stockholm, the welcome ceremony with the King and talk with the prime minister.
Before he flies further tomorrow President Mukherjee additionally have time to look at urban planning in Hammarby seaport, medical research at the Karolinska Institute and give a lecture at Uppsala University.
Need I say that the Swedish government hopes that the visit will lead to new and larger deals between India and Sweden? A market of more than 1.2 billion people and an economy that is growing and liberalized is a wet dream for Mikael Damberg.
Still, held throughout the visit to go to hell, because of an innocent journalism question Today’s News possibly a bit nonchalantly asked to President Mukherjee. It was about precisely those where the howitzer why I looked at the poster, 1990.
President Mukherjee is a political veteran of Congress, Mahatma Gandhi’s movement that dominated Indian politics since independence. The party lost last year’s parliamentary elections. So it is really a representative of the political opposition who visits Sweden.
The first time the Congress Party lost power was precisely in 1989, and it was not so little at those howitzer were on the poster in Varanasi. Bofors became a synonym for bribes.
Although Congress periodically returned to power has not been the same after, 1989.
No wonder President Mukherjee was furious when the Daily News reminded ” Bofors scandal “.
The power monopoly was broken, and one of the opposition’s main argument was precisely cannon deal with Bofors and Sweden. It was supposed to take place without intermediaries, without bribes. And yet revealed the usual rotten pattern of kickbacks and shady agents.
Congress Party went out and Hindi nationalists came in. Its economy began liberalization and a decade to large been characterized by ethnic violence began.
The only thing that largely remained constant was enough corruption.