Are the BJP and NaMo hell bent on doing Rahul a return favour? Two decades ago Rahul’s Mom and her party propelled NaMo to the top job through hate overkill. Now it seems the tables are turned and Rahul is blown out of proportion through another hate overkill by BJP and NaMo who made more than most of the hate. Both sides are deaf and blind to the soul of democracy: tolerance, mutual respect and fellow feeling.
I wonder when both knowledge and wisdom will dawn upon the BJP which is, as a habit, ignoring serious issues facing itself and hence the country and taking up political trivia as matters of life and death. While the BJP should focus on saving NaMo from the Gautam Adani connection shame with believable proof it has been holding parliament to ransom for almost a week: little or no proceedings, just adjournments. We are witness to the anomaly of ruling party members clamouring to stop a volume of urgent business in the house!
They want Rahul Gandhi to apologise to the house (sic country; sic the alleged 142 crore NaMo backers?) or they want the Speaker to suspend Rahul for his recent outbursts in England over the present and future of Indian democracy and appeals to the audience there that they should not ignore the developments(?) in India as her internal headache but give serious thought to it and feel concerned. Harmless remarks to harmless audiences; most of whom must have been Indian diaspora similar to the Gujjus who flocked to have a look at ‘Aapado Narendrabhay’ in the first years of his innings. The British media too did not highlight the words of this reluctant Nehru descendant who tried the patience of mother, party and people in coming of age in politics.
My memory of last 60 years or so tells me that losers in elections always raise the cry of ‘Democracy is in Peril’ while winners wax eloquent over how ‘the people make the right choice and strengthen Democracy’ by choosing them over the opposition: when actually there is very little difference between them like the pigs and humans at the end of Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. By far, Nehru has been habitually hailed as democratic to the marrow of his bones but there was always a question mark over his aristocratic work culture in his party and his cabinet as even to think differently was ‘thought crime’: Orwell’s words in ‘1984’. It was to be expected after the assassination of Gandhi, the passing away of Patel and the retreat of Rajaji to southern backwaters. All strong PMs and their governments after Nehru-two from his descendents- lacked even the minimum decency to show that they were democratic in words if not in practice. Indira did it crudely, Rajeev with a smile.
Erosion of democratic institutions is yet another complaint regularly heard from those who fail to find a place in them. It is like the defeated candidates whining over ballot tampering. Whether run by the state or privately, our institutions are run by the whims of those who finance them. Those who possess or control funds lack the finesse to understand that such expenditure is investment for a better future and not largesse to one’s cronies. People with below average intelligence and creativity man our so called institutions. The clout of the hand shelling out money is glaring and publicized when it is the state (ministers and secretaries) and ignored in privately run institutions. All trade, business and manufacture is controlled by families with maximum holding and assets: stories of the whims and whams of bosses galore in second rank in these fields.
The problem here is not with individuals, particular families, political and social institutes, and organizations; it is with our society as a whole. Our adherence to democracy is not from the heart; it is only mechanical. Despite mastering the outer mechanism of democracy-though at times even that too is half hearted, at heart we remain (p)sycophants, hero worshippers and idolisers waiting for the next awatar to manifest itself and rid us of all problems.
‘The business of Government is government and not business’, Rajaji had quipped. Suffice it to say that all successful governments and private enterprises have opted to reduce this to a ‘quotable quote’ to be used conveniently only to impress!
So is Rahul only crying wolf like the present rulers did when they were on the opposition benches as the BJP rejoinders invoking the Emergency of nearly fifty years ago? Now consider the appeal to the UK audience to feel concerned about the present Indian reality. What is that reality one may ask. It is a sad scenario showing things going from bad to worse…
The party which promised ‘maximum governance with minimum government’ has been handling things exactly the opposite way. The government and the PM are omnipresent and omniscient; in politics, economy, media and now even the judiciary as recent utterances of the Chief Justice show. Not just Rahul, every thinking citizen is stunned by the overbearing attitude of the rulers. As a wizened politician after the about 4k kms of ‘Bharat Jodo’ it was only to be expected from him. Moreover he was talking to fashionably sympathetic audiences who hold little clout in determining UK foreign policy. Had he shared these grumblings with British politicians who matter or defence experts (it needs to be mentioned here that the credit goes to the British foreign and defence and foreign policy makers and not to Rahul. Their standards of who to talk with are naturally high!) it would have deserved the clamour for an apology or suspension.
So is this a ploy to divert attention from the suspected Adani-NaMo hand in glove?
It has been the strategy of both the ruling party and the opposition since the advent of NaMo to stall proceedings in the house, allow bills to be passed without proper scrutiny (and playing a mutual blame game over whose fault it was). Their language is also remarkably similar. It is either ‘apologise to the house/people/country’ or ‘resign’. No half measures are even thought of. It is no more rulers versus the opposition but between two armies at war. Both sides want to precipitate matters and tumble down into an impasse. This too is not new. Let us take a quick glance at history.
Nehru back in early 1960’s should have taken the house into confidence over Chinese aggression in the Himalayas and sacked Krishna Menon forthwith: but he did not. Indira should have invited JP to discuss possible remedies to spiraling corruption: but she too didn’t and argued that corruption was a global reality. Rajeev should have just allowed a parliamentary committee to look into the Bofors Deal and waited for its report: but he stayed put on denials. Similarly BJP and NaMo can still appoint two committees to look into Rahul’s strictures of Indian democracy and the cloud over NaMo-Adani connection: but they won’t. It is no coincidence that our discussions of serious issues always sink into the mire of discussion of individuals because we believe more in individuals and less in democratic processes and mechanisms.
I would like to point at yet another political anomaly. The BJP not only ignored Bharat Jodo but even ridiculed it. Actually NaMo should have invited Rahul to share his experience with the house. But it is futile to expect even an iota of finesse from NaMo. Having lost that chance to take the wind out of the sails of Rahul’s ship in doldrums the BJP is now hysterical over his mundane utterances at inconsequential platforms in a country which hardly matters in the international community and is presently busy over nursing wounds inflicted by’ Spare’ Prince Harry’s unnecessarily ‘bold’ autobiography.
Or are the BJP and NaMo hell bent on doing Rahul a return favour? Two decades ago Rahul’s Mom and her party propelled NaMo to the top job through hate overkill. Now it seems the tables are turned and Rahul is blown out of proportion through another hate overkill by BJP and NaMo who made more than most of the hate. Both sides are deaf and blind to the soul of democracy: tolerance, mutual respect and fellow feeling.
Take care, BJP and NaMo! You have a long lasso and a strong horse. But the way you are wielding the lasso is more likely to entangle your own horse than the horse of the opposition (not enemy, for heaven’s sake!).
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the branch breaks the cradle will fall,
Down will come the cradle, the baby and all.
(Note : This article was written a day before the Surat Judicial Magistrate's verdict against Rahul Gandhi and the cancellation of his Lok Sabha membership.- Editor)
- Vinay Hardikar
(The writer has been working in the public sphere of Maharashtra for the last five decades. His versatile personality has several dimensions, but the primary ones remain to be that of an established writer, journalist, editor, critic, activist, and teacher.)