“Mr. H.T. Sangliana succumbed to blackmail and must never be President”


Dear Ezra and Lian,

Mr. H.T. Sangliana was blackmailed. He paid money to his blackmailer to make her stay silent and go away. Consequently, he must never become President of India. He cannot hold any position of power when he has proven that he will pay money to save his reputation. He cannot be given a security clearance. He must never be entrusted with the secrets of government.

My children, by broadcasting that paragraph on the Internet, I may have ended any chance of me ever visiting India again. That breaks my heart and has given me many sleepless nights. Especially for the Mizo people, my words are exceptionally hurtful. Many tribal people from North East India will now want me dead. I wish there was a way I could heal the pain I have just caused them. I hope that one day they show me mercy and forgive me. If I could find another solution, I would take it. I only see this letter as the path forward.

The life of H.T. Sangliana is a cautionary tale. In him, you find a true hero. A man exceptionally qualified for public life in India. He has both competency and bravery. He possesses the requisite skills to lead people. Yet in his lust for more power, he made a mistake. By doing so, he has forfeited any chance as an office-holder.

There have been 3 movies made about his life. He was known as a super-cop. He has a well-earned reputation for incorruptibility and honesty. He helped to catch the famous outlaw Veerappan, he solved the “Khalilee Missing Case” and arrested Abdul Kareem Telgi, the ringleader of maybe the biggest money scandal in India’s history. He also served in India’s parliament.

In 2012, when India began the process to find a new President (similar to Canada’s Governor General), many people put forward H.T. Sangliana’s name for consideration. Amongst the Christian and tribal community, he gathered millions of supporters. Since he is a Mizo, I think every good Mizo signed petitions to make him President. It seemed possible that for the first time in India’s history, a tribal and a Christian could represent India to the world. On him rested the hopes and aspirations of millions.

Unknown to all his supporters is that Sangliana was being blackmailed at that time. He had previously had a mistress. Now that he was being considered for the auspicious role of President, she was threatening to make their long affair public. She wanted a lot of money to stay silent.

Sangliana is Mommy’s “uncle”. Since your grandpa and he were both the only Mizo Deputy Generals of Police in India, the two families were close. His daughter was chatting on Facebook with Mommy. His daughter was complaining about having to pay this money to keep the mistress quiet. She thought it was outrageous that the old mistress would dare to do such a thing. If this information came out, it would have lessened his already slim chances at becoming President.  His reputation as an upright, Christian man would have been ruined. Sangliana’s family was trying to bargain her demands down.

Mommy countered by saying “Both of our fathers have had to do many things to get where they are now. Who are we to complain when one of the people used tries to get something back?” I asked Mommy what Sangliana’s daughter said. In typical Mizo fashion “She just kept quiet”. When someone states an uncomfortable truth, it can neither be disputed or agreed with. Silence is the only polite thing. I have heard that a lot.

In 2008, I was distributing food to the people suffering from the mautam famine. Children were dying from malnutrition. Villagers were walking over 10 kilometres to dig up wild yams. It was the only thing the rats had not devoured. I interviewed these people. I heard their stories of burying children and digging for anything to survive. At the same time, there was a government warehouse full of rice set aside for the poor, suffering people. It was less than 50 miles away and yet the food would not be released.

If a situation like this were to occur again, I would blackmail a potential President H.T. Sangliana until he used his power and influence to get the food assistance to flow to the needy. I would not again beg foreign donors for money. I would not again make documentaries about the suffering. At some point during his 5 year term, I would simply pick up the phone and ask Sangliana to make it happen or I will tell how he paid off a blackmailer to preserve his reputation. That is criminal and evil on my part, but it is more criminal and evil to let children die while you have the power to save their lives.

Now, I’m choosing to unilaterally give up my information. I’m disarming myself, so that neither I, nor anyone else can never blackmail H.T. Sangliana. I can’t give this information to any police force in India, for then I would only empower them to blackmail Sangliana.

There is only one cure for the embarrassment of secret sins. That is confession. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If Sangliana had simply confessed, he would have sucked the poison right out of this story. It would hold no power over him. Instead, he has demonstrated that he is vulnerable to powerful interests and foreign powers. If they dig up another shameful incident from his life, it is very likely he will give them what they want to protect his reputation. India can’t risk a man like H.T. Sangliana as their head of state. This hero can’t be trusted with the secrets of state or the power of government.

The greatest of heroes still need to confess and ask for forgiveness. Pride has been the downfall of many a hero. Kids, don’t let it be yours.