Showing posts with label Sunday Sentiments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sunday Sentiments. Show all posts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

THE SUNDAY SENTIMENT October 27, 2013 Congress over-sensitive

THE SUNDAY SENTIMENT                                                 October 27, 2013

Congress over-sensitive
How is shahzaada "undignified"?

 Congress has taken exception to BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narinder Modi using the word "shahzaada" to refer to its Vice-President Mr. Rahul Gandhi.  Calling upon him (Mr. Modi) to desist from using "undignified" language, Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said their vice-president should be addressed in the same manner in which he addresses people.
The Congress reaction, on the face of it, displays over-sensitivity on the part of the party.  The word "shahzaada" can, by no standards, be called or considered "undignified".  On the use of word "shahzaada" Congress is fuming — and threatening Mr. Modi — the same Mr. Modi whom Mrs. Sonia Gandhi had no regrets to call "maut ka saudaagar". Shahzaada is an Urdu word meaning a "prince" which cannot be taken as "undignified".
It is true that the word "prince" or shahzaada is an antithesis to democracy. It revives in us the memories of a bygone era of monarchic governance. Yet, at the same time, we cannot deny the fact that since the times of late Mrs. Indira Gandhi in early seventies, even in Indian democracy the ruling Congress Party stands reduced to a dynastic entity where the crown prince is the apparent heir to the throne on relinquishing or death of the head of the ruling family. This transformation of Congress party into a dynastic organism has resulted in Indian democracy, in effective, turning into a dynastic democracy as for as the ruling party is concerned. First, Mrs. Gandhi groomed late Sanjay Gandhi and after his unfortunate death, made the reluctant Indian Airlines pilot, her elder son, Rajiv Gandhi as the heir apparent. This became a reality following her unfortunate assassination and the crown prince was elevated to the throne.

I am reminded of a prophetic comment by a journalist friend in Shimla. Following Mrs. Gandhi's death Doordarshan was giving live coverage to people queuing up before her body to pay their homage. Looking at Rajiv Gandhi and his son Rahul, then in early teens, my friend remarked, "We have a glimpse of three generations of our prime ministers — past (Mrs. Gandhi), present (Mr. Rajiv) and future (Mr. Rahul)".

Only exception to the rule during the last about 40 years was in 1991 when Mr. Rajiv was unfortunately killed. His widow, then, refused to take the reins of the party, then not in power but in opposition. Till then she had not thought it fit even to be an ordinary member of the Congress Party. In March 1996 she came out from her self-imposed political exile, joined the Congress and in just two months was catapulted into the position of national Presidentship of the party. She was, at one time, projected as the prime ministerial candidate and in what circumstances she renunciated her claim and brought in Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister is a matter of discussion and controversy.

In democracy, people are enrolled into party as ordinary members. They rise to be leaders through a long and tedious process of perseverance, strife and struggle. This is not true either of the three Gandhis — Mr. Sanjay or Mr. Rajiv Gandhi or Mrs. Sonia or now Mr. Rahul.

Since then in the ruling Congress Party dynasty has become the rule; democratic election of leader an exception. Like his father and in the present circumstances, how can calling Mr. Rahul as prince or shahzaada be irrelevant and wrong?

If Congress party, despite its claims to be a stickler to the principles of democracy, is not a political dynasty how is it that after some Congressmen entertained some doubts about the capability of Mr. Rahul Gandhi to steer the Congress boat out of the present turbulent times to the bank of power, some threw up the idea of Mrs. Priyanka Gandhi being made the leader instead of looking up to any person beyond the dynasty?

It is not only the Congress, the likes of Rashtriya Janata Dal of Bihar, National Conference in Kashmir, Samajwadi Party of Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav and the like, too are sailing in the same boat as far as dynastic politics is concerned.

The words shahzaada or sahibzaada we use in our day-to-day parlance. We call our friend or relation's son or daughter as "aapke shahzaade or shahzaadi or aapke sahibzaade or sahibzaadi". Nobody takes offence to such epithets.

We and our media are used to calling Mr. Amitabh Bacchan as shehanshah, Ms Lata Mangeshkar as "Melody Queen" and Mr. Shah Rukh Khan as "King  

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Sunday Sentiments


The way events are unfolding in the case of 'Godman' Asaram Bapu it is demeaning not only for him whom crores of devotees looked up as their god incarnate, their guru and their savior but also for those who put their faith in him and other such individuals. Such incidents are violently shaking the faith of people in godliness of individuals. This is a very depressing and disheartening a scenario for all those who subsist just on faith. If people are pushed to losing their mutual faith, their mutual trust and respect in their near and dear-ones, teachers, gurus and leaders, that would be a catastrophic eventuality. It is in an atmosphere of mutual, faith and respect that our universe hangs.

The edifice Asaram Bapu has built in the country and abroad is the sum-total of the people's faith and trust in him and in his professions of godliness.  It is something unique in him that he could ignite so much faith and trust in himself from crores of people all over the world. An impersonator can befool some people for some time but not all the people for all the times. The turn of events in his case has been shocking enough to shake the solid foundations of faith people had laid in him. That an aashram should be equipped with a swimming pool like the one people experience in a five-star hotel has startled one out of one's slumber of blind faith. God can be sought and realized not in the corridors of five-star comforts. If it were, everyone staying in a five-star hotel would have been a saint and a man of god. Only hermits living in complete denial of cosy comforts of a home have attained god and godliness and not the rajas and maharajas luxuriating in their palaces.
Maybe, Bapu himself cannot be blamed for all this. Maybe, some over-enthusiastic of his devotees went out of their way to do all this and even indulged in acts of illegal encroachments on adjoining government and private lands and even violated certain laws. But he too cannot escape the vicarious responsibility for whatever was done in his aashrams in his name.
Why single out Hindus?
The followers of Bapu do have a strong question: Why is it that men of god in Hindu way of life are the only target of our media, sting operations and exposures? Every faith has its share of myths, superstations, blind faith, hypocrisies, wrong rituals, customs and traditions. We do hear and read, though occasionally, of wrongdoings in the places of worship and shrines of even non-Hindu faiths too. Some news reports or even books do appear at times. But it is only the Hindus who are being singled out for exposure of their dark side ignoring the unique positive aspects. There has, so far, not been a convincing answer to this question.
The nature of allegations that are emerging against Asaram Bapu, his family members and the aashramites bring no honour to anybody, not even to his followers. But to take the allegations as gospel of truth is equally wrong. It is none else than Asaram Bapu who knows the truth. As a man of gold, he is the custodian of truth. He preaches truth, so he must also practice the truth.
What should Bapu do?
Throughout his long life as a man of god, he had been preaching his followers to inculcate the virtue of penance, punishment that is undergone in token of penitence for sin. Only a person of virtue — and not of vice — can rise so high as to confess one's crimes and sins.
Bapu needs to avail himself of the opportunity of confinement to jail as a golden opportunity for meditation in solitude. If he certainly has committed no crime or sin, he should stand up to it and face the situation with fortitude. But if he thinks he has inadvertently, in any way, in any circumstances, he should practice the virtue of repentance, "an act that shows that you feel sorry about something that you have done, something for religious reasons". He should undertake atonement of his sins and "suffer the wrath of his God....for having eaten the fruit of the 'Tree of Knowledge'". The believers in God", it is said "are content that man's suffering is ordained and, therefore, he accepts life and its trials and tribulations as a penance for living" (Joseph Lewis)
It would be a very depressing, unbecoming and awkward a situation to confront where, god forbid, a court of law were to come to the conclusion that all his pleading of innocence are a series of lies and he is sentenced to any punishment.

It is time we all — his followers and sympathisers — look into ourselves, calmly and coolly.                                                                                                                                                                                     ***

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Nobody in the country, not even those who oppose Congress, deny that Mr. Rahul Singh is the leader of the Congress Party. The only point that needs to be settled is whether he stands at No. 1 or 2. Yet, every now and then every Congress leader, including our Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh himself is too eager to acknowledge that Mr. Rahul is the leader. Dr Singh has displayed that exemplary sportsman spirit that he has publicly declared that he would vacate the prime minister's chair for Mr. Rahul the moment Party, meaning Mrs. Sonia Gandhi asks. He is that much forthcoming that he says he's willing to work under him. Dr. Singh's action looks akin to that of a great batsman who in his effort to strike a sixer to complete a century gives a great catch to the opposite team.
Some say that the quality a political leader should imbibe in him/herself to be successful is the quality and quantity of elasticity and flexibility he can exercise in his thought and action. Rigidity in politics, some argue doesn't pay. A person's body, they say, is flexible as long as he is alive; the moment he is dead, he is as hard as dead wood, inflexible. That rare quality Dr. Singh has displayed so many times.
His government under his chairmanship introduced during the last monsoon session of Parliament a Bill to nullify the spirit of the Supreme Court direction on convicted MPs .When it failed to get the Bill through, it later drafted an Ordinance which it sent to the President for his approval. It didn't struck to Dr. Singh at that his leader, Rahul Gandhi, had his reservations on the issue.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi, too, did keep quiet when the Bill was introduced in Parliament. He continued to maintain his silence when the Core Committee of the Congress presided over by his mother, Congress chief Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, approved the text of the Ordinance which was later cleared by the Manmohan Cabinet and sent to President of India.
The President refused to oblige and sign blindly on the dotted lines. He consulted some legal experts in the government. He also called Home Minister Sushil Shinde and Law Minister Kapil Sibbal for clarifications. This sent some shock waves to the Manmohan government and Congress.
This situation startled out the Congress No. 2 Rahul out of slumber and a state of numbness and dumbness. He gate-crashed into the Press Club press conference of Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken who was singing eulogies of the Ordinance. Mr. Maken gave in to Mr. Rahul who dubbed the Ordinance in now famous words spoken as his "personal opinion": It is a "complete non-sense" and deserves to be torn up. This made Mr. Maken to realize his mistake and in the next breath, continuing with his address to the press people, he declared that Mr. Rahul's views were the party's authorized views.
When Dr. Singh's supporters and well-wishers were pining at this snub hurled at the prime minister and his former media adviser Sanjay Baru said Dr. Singh is left with no other option but to resign, Dr. Singh himself struck a different note in USA. He 'suddenly' recalled that Mr. Rahul had written to him in this behalf and he would address his concerns on return to the country. He did not explain when did he receive the letter and why did he ignore his views while formulating the Bill and the Ordinance earlier.
On return Dr. Singh made a complete about-turn. He withdrew the Ordinance and the Bill was also decided to be withdrawn from Parliament. This left everyone happy. The President too was spared the trouble of signing a "complete non-sense".
In Congress who's the leader – the real one with authority? It is a mystery. Dr. Manmohan Singh accepts both Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi as his leaders and is willing to work under Mr. Rahul. Mrs. Gandhi accepts Manmohan Singh as "her' prime minister. This situation lends credence to the opposition charge that Dr. Singh is in office but not in power.
With Parliament elections just six months away, it is not certain who will be Congress Party's prime ministerial candidate. Everybody, including Dr. Manmohan Singh, says that Mr. Rahul Gandhi has all the wherewithals of a prime minister. Dr. Singh though refuses to say that he is in the race, yet he does not "rule out" a third stint for him. Mrs. Gandhi remains non-committal. Others say it is Mr. Rahul Gandhi who has to take a final decision in consultation with his mother. At the moment it looks the triumvirate of Sonia-Rahul-Manmohan runs the party and the government. The Ordinance episode is not the first instance where the triumvirate has been found to be wanting and pulling in three different directions. It is in the interest of the Congress party, the government and the nation that Congress finally takes a call who would be the leader.
Dr. Manmohan Singh inspires, Pakistan conspires against India numerous times to cater to Singh's insatiable desires for the peace process with Pakistan to go on.
October 13, 2013