The Queen of the crumbling palace of cards came on TV a couple of days ago and waxed eloquent for all of three minutes mouthing the same Nehruvian platitudes that over six decades have contributed the comprehensive ruin of India. A ruin that she contributed to in perhaps the grandest measure in just a decade: this would well form the subject for deep research of scientific methods of enslaving a few people to loot and impoverish the rest of the population. Unless you live in an alternate universe, I’m talking about Maino “Sonia” Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi’s TV “appeal” reminds us of all those absolute monarchs throughout history who thought their power would be everlasting and rebelled even against commonsense when certain downfall was staring them in the face—Marie Antoinette comes to mind immediately. Or perhaps she still harbours the illusion that she’s akin to US Presidents who have a sort of a tradition to give out televised addresses to the nation at critical junctures. Or perhaps she genuinely realizes the kind of drubbing her party is certain to receive in a just a month from now. Except that she’s no Head of State of any nation, and yet as a foreigner, she has wielded the kind of power that any politician would die to wield. The one that comes without responsibility or accountability and the best: the one that insulates her from criticism.
It is said that your enemies know you better than you know yourself. And so, here is the amazingly accurate assessment of Sonia Gandhi made by the US Embassy in India.
Our conversations with a wide variety of insiders suggest that her role is more muted and nuanced. She has deliberately attempted to preserve the image of being “above the fray” politically, taking maximum advantage of Congress culture, which prescribes that the party figurehead be surrounded by an “inner coterie” to provide advice, and shield the leader from criticism and dissent… Mrs. Gandhi’s inner circle carefully controls her access to information, and inoculates her from criticism, while her carefully scripted public appearances protect her from making gaffes or missteps. This has the advantage of preserving the “sanctity” of Mrs. Gandhi… [Wikileaks]
While the US is no enemy of India, one can rest assured that it won’t hesitate to do U-turns before you can blink your eye.
It’s funny why Sonia Gandhi chose appear on TV instead of thundering at length in her election rallies, which have been vacuous and tepid to say the least. Or is it because she realizes said vacuousness?
Of course, there was nothing new in her “appeal.” It was the same old tired drumbeat of “secularism,” “fighting divisive forces,” and so on. Now of all that she spoke in those three minutes, what is significant is what she did not mention: not once did she take the name “Narendra Modi” whereas since last September, Modi has relentlessly, mercilessly pilloried Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi while the other side has come up with nothing to counter him.
But then we need to get to a very significant point in Sonia Gandhi’s televised appeal. She spoke about preserving what she calls Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat. And so it helps if we can try and decode what she means by the terms. And to track her record of adhering to it.
Let’s not even get to the kind of Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat that her party has practised ever since she became a Bharatiya or Hindustani bahu.
Sonia Gandhi has been in India for four decades but doesn’t know a single Indian language including Hindi. Surely, if an Indian were to settle in a foreign nation, the first thing he/she would do is to learn the national language, let alone aspire for the position of a Super Prime Minister.
Second, if she and her flatterers claim that she’s a perfect Indian bahu who has sacrificed a lot for the country, her family, adopted Indian customs, and so on, one wonders why she waited till 1983 to take Indian citizenship given that she married Rajiv Gandhi in 1968? Why did she prohibit Rajiv Gandhi from being on emergency duty as an Indian Airlines pilot during the 1971 war with Pakistan? Excluding all this, there is not a single example that shows her service to the nation, let alone sacrifice.
Indeed, as the former Gandhi party-circuit insider Tavleen Singh says in her Durbar, Sonia Gandhi has always been far, far away from this land, its culture, its people, and never identified with them, and always hung around with her European friends in Delhi. A view that Sonia’s sister-in-law, Maneka Gandhi echoes. So what prompted Sonia Gandhi to discover the amazing Indian culture after Rajiv Gandhi’s death? She took to wearing saris and sporting the bindi in her public appearances and political rallies. Is that Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat?
Or was it her Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat or both that led her to meet a phenomenal land grabber and infamous Islamic bigot, Imam Bukhari to seek the entire Muslim vote?
Or was it her Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat or both that made her look on mutely even as Manmohan Singh said that Muslims have the first right to this country’s resources?
Or was it her Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat or both that had her silent approval when the RBI mooted the divisive and dangerous move of eyeing the gold of holy Hindu temples and places of pilgrimage like Tirupati?
Or was it her Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat or both that prompted her to give her tacit approval to moot the nation-wrecking Communal Violence Bill that was conceived, drafted and floated into Parliament by her Super Cabinet of Naxals, the National Advisory Council (NAC)?
Or was it her Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat or both that allowed her conscience to pass the series of various “Right to” bills, which have skewered the national economy?
Or was it her Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat or both that emboldened a Christian fundamentalist like John Dayal to repeatedly tarnish the image of India in the US?
Or was it her Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat or both that permitted her Government to conduct a religion-based census of the Armed Forces?
The list is long but the aforementioned instances are pretty representative of the kind of Bharatiyata or Hindustaniyat that Sonia Gandhi has in mind. And it’s nothing new. She’s only the latest (and hopefully the last) torchbearer of this practiced Nehruvian deception, which gives secularism when a hungry person asks for food.
Oh and did the cruel irony of it all ever occur to Sonia that she read out the Bharatiyata/Hindustaniyat “appeal” written in Italian?
Sandeep Balakrishna is a columnist and author of Tipu Sultan: the Tyrant of Mysore. He has translated S.L. Bhyrappa’s “Aavarana: the Veil” from Kannada to English.