Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 17:53:09

Importance Of Being A Gandhi

Updated: August 3, 2013 3:05 pm



Columnists can be crass. Satiricus knows, because he is one of them. But shouldn’t there be a limit—especially when making fun of the First Family? Take this recent piece by a reputed columnist titled “Give Rahul Baba A Break”. The very heading took Satiricus’s breath away. Who are we to give Rahul Baba a break when he is born with all the breaks he needed, needs, and will need? Obtusely oblivious of this “natural” fact, to borrow Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s famous phrase, this columnist begins by saying that a couple of years ago he had asked a very senior official of the Government of India why Rahul Gandhi doesn’t get some real political experience by joining the Manmohan Singh government as a minister. Good God! Could there be a more pointless question? Does this columnist forget those not-too-distant days when, on sister Priyanka, almost a teenager then, declaring that she would enter politics, leader after senior Congress leader had ecstatically exclaimed she was a treasure trove of all wisdom in the world and the fittest person to lead the country? And if one little Gandhi can be the wisest of the wisest, can another —even just a Baba—be far behind? Of course not. Rahul is a Gandhi, and a Gandhi needs no experience. This should have been clear to this columnist. Still, the said official suggested two reasons. No. 1.—The Gandhis are not accustomed to working under anyone. No. 2.—Ministers come under the purview of the Right to Information Act. Well, now, what does Satiricus think of these reasons? Firstly, the first misses the point. For there is no question of the Gandhis being “accustomed” to working under anyone when the simple fact is that they just don’t “need” to work under anyone. When the Gandhis are natural leaders, how can they be unnatural followers? It is as simple as that.

As for the second reason, it may indeed be a constitutional constraint, but happily enough, constitutional
constraints don’t matter much. Take, for instance, this National Advisory Council, presided over by Rahul Baba’s mom Soniaji. Is it not a super-government body? But did that prevent her from refusing to reveal details of her income tax returns when somebody asked for them under the Right to Information Act? And secondly, what’s a constitution for, if not for changing? Have we not changed ours 90 times in 60 years? And even after almost a century of changes, have not some nationally important pieces of information been discreetly kept out of RTI’s reach, ranging from Vadra’s business dealings to Jinnah’s pre-partition speeches?

Still Satiricus must admit it does become a somewhat sticky situation when, as this columnist writes with wretched rudeness, frenzied Congressmen “celebrate Rahul Baba’s birthday with needless fanfare and revelry, the mindless retainers of the family draw public attention to a birthday bash minus the birthday boy”, because Rahul is nowhere to be seen and nobody knows where he has disappeared. In fact, curious cusses (Satiricus included) “have begun to notice and comment upon” these regular annual vanishing acts, which are “shrouded in excessive secrecy”. Oh well, Rahul is not a minister, so this secret cannot be revealed by RTI. But although a mere backbencher in Parliament, he is protected by SPG. That means all his movements are monitored and recorded. Then what happens if and when some dastardly doubting Thomas calls for these records under RTI? The answer is simple—The record cannot be revealed because in which foreign countries the heir apparent to the Indian throne celebrates his birthday is information that is important for national security.

High Price For Principles

The other day Satiricus had a very pleasant surprise. It was to see a politician stand up for a principle. He is talking about Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athavale, who stoutly declared the other day that he was opposed to Hindutva and was with Shiv Sena and BJP only to defeat the two Congresses. To prove his firm and steadfast anti-Hinduism he said, “Since the time of Sena chief the late Bal Thackeray we have been against Hindutva.” Well, now, that must be for quite a long time, no? Actually, no. Anti-Hindu Athavale was actually in alliance with the two equally anti-Hindu Congresses till as late as May 2011, that is, just two years, when he divorced them for a liaison with the Sena-BJP combine. And why did this anti-Hindu leader break his anti-Hindu alliance? It must have been some matter of high principle, no? Again, no. The reason why this principled anti-
Hindu left the Congress camp was that the Congress denied him a Rajya Sabha seat. See? Athavale is a man of high principle, so he naturally expected a high price for his principle.

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