IF I WERE NOT MYSELF HOW WOULD I SEE IT
Recently one good friend of mine (@kiran Gulati, a poetess) tweeted in her morning greeting. “ A person who 'fights' with 'himself' for his own 'mistakes' will never be 'defeated' by others" Present leadership of the country ('dual' by their own admission) think they are not defeated by opposition. But by their recurrent mistakes they defeated themselves more often than not. The theme of the blog is how self defeating rulers can stoop when they adore the picture of a single leader who is not even a 'natural' born citizen of India. InIF fact, after all these years the subject of one's natural citizenship does not pose a problem as the nation accepted her as their own. The Supreme Court too, in a very good sense, ruled a foreign born Indian citizen can occupy any official position. We respect her, our people's will and the respected order of the Honorable SC. There is no dispute. I duly respect her status as a citizen of the country by marriage and her as a naturalized citizen and her leadership as the leader of the ruling party. After all we invited everyone with open hands only to be ruled by them for hundreds of years and accepted the cultural changes with forced smiles. That is all part of “history”.
I too give due respect to her perseverance despite all the setbacks she received on family front, deaths of mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law in the most unfortunate circumstances I respect her for the sincere silence she maintains in the middle of all the 'chaos' around her, called the Indian polity and cries of hunger from the poor. I respect her for sacrificing the most revered post of Prime Minister of the country just as “Caesar” refused the crown thrice. If Cassius called it “hidden” ambition of a “tyrant” Mark Antony praised him as a King who loved the masses and produced a “Will” (real or fake Shakespeare did not clarify) that bequeathed the whole of Rome to its citizens post Caesar. So, it is difficult to judge any one with one opinion. So, I will take it as a “supreme sacrifice” for the sake of the hapless billion Indians whom she accepted as her own family.
The raison d'tere, the immeidiate inducement for this blog is a column that appeared in the Economic Times http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/comments-analysis/in-the-next-elections-are-we-ready-to-barter-a-bitter-memory-for-a-fake-promise/articleshow/21520590.cms?curpg=2. The aim of the article was to say what most adversaries of Modi in India say today, why he is not fit to be PM. In English, a language that most Congress Spokespersons developed love for, after Rajnath's barbs on it, he conveys that message. But finally he says “But there is a question that can keep the memory from failing and India from becoming blind how would we have dealt with Naredra Modi if he were a Muslim?” The question is as ambiguous as the content of the whole column.
And an over enthusiastic Congress spokesperson tweeted with a link to the article asking us to read it. I read. I got an idea then Why should he/she not raise the question to the leader of his/her own party, of course a different question. I need not ask the question here. For congressmen, it is a raison d'etat, in national interest and for allies it is a matter of convenience. We can just not brush aside the matter like that as she is the leader of the nation, by proxy. She is not above the Prime Minister, Cabinet or President but each decision taken in the perceived (is it real?) interest of people is credited to her statesmanship by each Congress leader from Dilli (Delhi) to Galli (street). Hence it is expedient to discuss the issue.
Most Indians by now know where the leader was born, what she studied or not studied, where she worked and how she married the son of the Prime Minister of India. I need not go into it. But one important point can be elucidated here in the context of one's allegiance to his/her place or nation of birth. We say proudly that Nobel Prize winners that rarely stayed in India, a Sunita Williams and a Bobby Jindal, not born in India but prominent citizens of alien countries are our own and acclaim them for their achievements as achievements of Indians. So too they connect their roots to India and proudly state at all forums that they belong to Indian origin. The allegory is simple and one need not break heads to draw the obvious simile here.
Decisions are taken by the Cabinet led by the PM. But party guides the decisions. Party is always a conglomerate of individual leaders. These decisions of the party either inducing the Government as essential to the poor people or imposed on the Cabinet in political expediency will have long term consequences on the whole nation. But when the going goes well, credit goes to a single party leader and if decisions go seriously wrong, the onus of failure is on the PM. This is the the scourge of 'dual' leadership. So, when Telangana leaders in AP till recently said they had confidence that “amma” (mother, how they call her) will divide state or when Andhra leaders say today that 'amma' will keep state united, the PM looks a lame duck and a persona non grata. The decision was taken forty four years after the bloody struggle started, within a meager forty four minutes, because 'amma' brushed aside all opposition and wanted to win those seventeen seats and to preempt the storm or Tsunami in the form of “how-would-he-have-been-if-he-were- a-Muslim.”, strong opponent on August, 11th. One side gave all credit to her and the other side started blaming the PM for the decision, still praising 'amma'. Consequence is the issue is back to square one. Not only is it in square one twenty other issues cropped up in the country, some with bloody struggles, with people on the streets. Reports in Press suggest that the PM was not in favor of bifurcation at this stage in view of the difficulties it might pose, but he was muted as usual. I questioned myself if it were a Nehru, a Shastri, a PV, an ABV or even a Deve Gowda, perceived to be the most inept of all, till we got a new PM in 2004, all Indians by birth, what would have been done. They would have done this in 2009 itself, convinced all parties to the bifurcation the necessity of division, would have drafted a partition deed satisfactory to all and then announced the decision. Or they would have postponed the decision to be dealt by the next Government. They would have seen national interest above party or self. Even then there would have been muted opposition, but it could have been dealt with easily. Now, we can draw conclusions here, that need not be elaborated.
Then comes the Food Security Bill that was the long cherished dream of 'amma' to see nobody slept 'hungry” in her country. Her mother-in-law had similar dreams to remove poverty. But twenty nine years after her death, the present leader feels 67% of people are still poor and hungry (Planning commission differs here, stating her dynamic leadership reduced poverty at the fastest pace. We need not go into it as its Chairman himself was as confused as us). She waited four years after the promise, suddenly realized it would be calamitous if it were delayed further, (people would suffer from insomnia due to severe hunger!) felt communal forces and communists were in the way of providing food to the hapless Indians (born and brought up here). So a diktat was issued to proclaim an “ordinance”, a method her mother-in-law mastered in good olden days. Now, the million dollar question is how to get it passed. All methods in the book are employed, again her M-in-Law's recipes were read and reread and she chose to write a letter to PM on the injustice done to an IAS officer in UP and similar other ploys were employed that are beyond our purview. Fact is, many officers were suspended and removed from service for political vendetta previously in many states. She never wrote a letter, so much so that we never knew she could write letters too. We saw and heard her thanks to TV. Here too if it were any other Congress President mentioned supra the methodology would have been different. They would not have waited till the election bell rang. They would have held consultations with all players and would have reached a consensus and would have passed the bill. It is obvious that the bill was in cold storage just for a 'game changer' in 2014. Whose game it is going to change is a million dollar question. Here too, you can draw analogies and surmises. It is not beyond our perception.
These are two examples that are fresh in the memory of proletariat. But, some far reaching decisions were imposed on the cabinet and nation. These decisions ate into the roots of democracy, the institutions, the living standards of common people and acted more on the psyche of the citizens. If, as the author suggested social justice gets votes, be it so. It is the fate nation chooses and enjoys/suffers. But youth might be more intolerant now, more educated and they see the game better than in 2004 or 2009 when Congress stooped to win.
When it comes to women Reservation Bill or the Land Acquisition Act, the Lokpal Bill, election reforms or granting autonomy to Institutions “amma' is not unduly worried. When women's modesty is challenged in the capital she does not care that much as to write to PM to take steps. When scams break out and it is revealed that a sum of approximately Rupees Five Lakh Crore of public money was lost she has no concern. But on issues that presumably give a few seats here and there she reacts fast. We rarely hear her talk on any issue of public grievance openly in the Lok sSabha, on TV, in public meetings or in press conferences. What we hear is from people who meet her in closed door meetings and say what she purportedly said or not said. We tend to believe it as there no other way to know what she knows or talks. She is seen thumping desks in LS and the ever humble media reports “UPA Chairperson highly aggressive in countering the opposition”. The comparison might look childish but my grandson does the same when he wants to express his feelings of pleasure or anger as he cant still talk. Her mother in law was talking to the people, addressing press, announcing herself important decisions on radio etc., I remember the day she announced the declaration of war on East Pakistan personally. Now sources and spokespersons rule the roost. Their level of intelligence, their knowledge of grass root problems are questionable. Else the Re.5/- a full meal statement would not come. They speak about their stronger adversary more than themselves.
Now that the author of the column mentioned supra questioned “If Modi were Muslim.....” his intention might be that Modi's emotional reaction would have been different and our treatment of him would have been different on the issue of 2002 riots if he were not what he is today.. I tweeted to the author to question the Congressmen if their leader were a natural born Indian Citizen what would have been her reaction to all these crises. I never doubted this until the said author wanted to take the issue of riots on a different emotional plane. If emotions of religion, caste or nationalism play on the minds of leaders of nation they play on all leaders equally. For me, it is a non issue as I don't believe religion or nationhood have a bearing on decisions of leaders. But the particular author believes so. It is for him to answer. If he does choose not to answer I take it that not only religion but the nationhood of a leader acts on his/her mind in reacting to crises. And in this case if the leader were an Indian born citizen her reaction to the crises would have been different and our treatment of her would have been different.
Disclaimer: per se I don't contribute to such narrow minded perceptions like "if he were a Muslim" or "if she were a natural citizen" but I had to reply to a narrow minded author and a more narrow minded Congress spokesperson. As a poor Indian I have no coins and hence, I had to pay them in their own coin many of which they possess and are still in the process of acquiring more!
There might be few mistakes in my language of English too. But I do not contribute to the narrow thinking of our ruling party friends that English is "be all and end all". I believe like the BJP President that the Indian languages too should find a pride of place.