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Family legacy and the Varun effect
March 27, 2009
Column after column by Padma Shris in the media have created an atmosphere where supporting Varun has become a sin. Why? The simple reason is that the farmhouse of Gandhi-Nehru politics has been broken and a scion of the family chose to speak out as his conscience directed.
More than what Varun said or didn't say, it is the hurt and bewilderment over the loss of a Gandhi to the saffron brigade that has made the media and anti-Hindutva politicos react with such venom and acid. He was not heard, not given a chance to present his case, nor did forensic experts examine the so-called proof in the form of a CD containing his speech.
Varun has suddenly dwarfed the media-supported Rahul.
Nobody has ever heard a dynasty member to say with understandable assertion that he or she is a Hindu. Rather, they have always tried to look differently at things. They banned Hindu organisations, imposed the Emergency, removed basic human rights, never willingly facilitated the Sikh massacre probe, rewarded hardened criminals, made alliance with those who were convicted for murder or were facing scandalous charges, had the Muslim League join the government after Partition. Yet, they are nice, decent, peace-loving, patriotic democrats who love to tell others: 'Go read the Gita.'
When Indian soldiers were fighting Pakistani marauders in 1947, we didn't have enough jeeps. So orders were placed with the British company and supply demanded immediately. Our high commissioner in London [Images] V K Krishna Menon, Pandit Nehru's [Images] blue-eyed boy, messed it up. The jeeps reached a year late.
That was the first scandal in independent India.
We lost Gilgit, Baltistan and Skardu. We lost Aksai Chin because the government in New Delhi [Images] didn't know the exact boundaries and so no patrolling was being done there.
In all we have lost 125,000 square km to the Pakistanis and Chinese during Congress rule.
Plus we had a bad dream called 1962.
At that time our ordnance factories were making coffee machines as Pandit Nehru openly argued against having a well-equipped large army for defence. 'Who is going to attack us?' he would ask.
And people still remember the mysterious death of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who simply wanted Kashmir to be a part of India like Bihar or Bengal and the permit system to enter the valley be abolished. Kashmir had two rulers then, its ruler was called Sadr e Riyasat or 'head of state', and it had a prime minister. Mookerjee's martyrdom compelled the Nehru government to remove the permit system and the two heads of state.
Then we had the Mundhra scandal, the Nagarwala case, the L N Mishra murder. The Jana Sangh's fast-emerging leader Deendayal Upadhyaya was murdered. A Congress leader canvassed openly against the official Presidential candidate and supported her own choice as independent nominee. The original Congress symbol was a pair of oxen. After the official Congress broke up, they got the hand as a temporary symbol till the case is finally settled. It would never be.
Opposing Sonia Gandhi's [Images] sudden rise in politics only on the grounds of her foreign origin were leaders like Sharad Pawar [Images] and P A Sangma. Old Congressmen still feel sad that they lost dynamic and promising leaders of substance like Rajesh Pilot, Madhavrao Scindia and Jitendra Prasada, who could have steered the Congress on an entirely different and strong nationalist course. And a veteran like Sitaram Kesri was humiliated no end.
The only non-dynasty prime minister to run a Congress government for full five years successfully was insulted even in his death and his body-in-state was not allowed to enter the Congress headquarters in New Delhi. An airport in his home state to be named after him was opposed to by Congressmen although the proposal was put forth by an Opposition leader.
This is how they treat their party leaders not belonging to the family. They amended, abused and twisted the Constitution, put the entire Opposition behind bars for an undisclosed period and were harsh on the unyielding masses.
Yet, they are the democrats and secular lighthouse of freedom of expression and liberty.
They kept India backward in such a planned manner that even after 62 years of independence we are yet to have a spacious functional airport in the national capital, 70,000 farmers committed suicide in one year, decorated soldiers returned their medals in protest and a movie on our poverty-stricken 'slum dogs' fetches the Oscar. And they loved illegal infiltrators for the sake of their votes -- and still they say they are the inheritors of a freedom struggle that demanded the ouster of aliens.
No electoral reforms, no police reforms or strengthening their morale and weapons, the administration is still run the way it functioned during the Sahebs; and despite having won a well-fought war in 1971 we couldn't settle the Kashmir issue or control the jihadi tail-wagger in the neighbourhood.
Minorities were so well supported in Congress regimes that in the sixth decade after independence they felt a need to provide special crutches for them. Show the 'M' card and get the privilege, became the new secular psalm, further shrinking the space and opportunities for the condemned majority.
More than anything else they tried to wreck the morale of the assertive Hindus who faced the onslaught of invaders for 12 centuries with unparalleled bravery and with invincible spirit to protect their culture and the fragrance of the land. They deserved to be comforted most after a fractured independence and a massacre that was thrust upon them by a weak Congress leadership. Yet, a large section of Hindus today feel cheated and anguished.
They form governments in 12 states, prove they can run the country beautifully with a coalition of 25 parties with diametrically opposed ideologies. And one of their Swayamsewaks unfurled the tricolour six times from the ramparts of the Red Fort [Images] as the prime minister, impressed world leaders and the international media with a record of infrastructure-building, communication revolution and women's empowerment, chose a Muslim to be the President and conducted Pokhran II by fooling the CIA's 'eyes', and resisted extraordinary world pressure and sanctions.
Yet, they are called anti-development, anti-women, even anti-social. In not a single so-called mainstream media outlet are their views published, but every news item is scanned to hurl stones on them through editorialising on the front-page.
Still, they are the very objective face of our independent media.
The choicest abuses used by 'decent guarantors of the freedom of expression' columnists and editorial-writers can be collected as a bouquet of India's uncivilised lexicon, yet their films against the very spirit of Hindu nature get widely supported by a regime that survives on Hindu money and votes.
Their love for development and secularism is so deep that they can send dredgers to destroy a million years of faith and marine life because that was Ram Sethu, but won't dare to touch a six feet by six feet dargah in the middle of the road blocking the highway and causing accidents, for fear of annoying a vote-bank.
And then they say, they are the future of India.
Tarun Vijay is Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi