Sonia Gandhi’s Dhritarashtra moment


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24 Jan 2013

 
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Sonia Gandhi’s Dhritarashtra moment

Rahul Gandhi’s formal ascension as vice president of the Congress can be said to be Sonia Gandhi’s ‘Dhritarashtra moment’, the occasion when Indian polity’s supposed great renunciate failed to resign her own post and transfer power to her aging son and heir-designate of the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty. Far from empowering Rahul Gandhi to assert himself within the party and the UPA dominated by the Congress, this could frustrate his maturation process and emergence as a ruler in his own right.

In Mahabharata, Bhishma prevents the elder prince Dhritarashtra from ascending to his father’s throne as he was born blind; the worthy Vidur refuses because he was born of a palace maid; hence the younger prince Pandu is coronated. When Pandu dies, none of the Kuru princes is old enough to be crowned, and so the blind Dhritarashtra becomes the regent as Bhishma shuns this duty.

Subsequently, in the tussle between the sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandu, Duryodhana becomes crown prince of Hastinapur while his father remains the regent — a grave mistake that should never have been permitted by Bhishma, Kripa, Drona and others. Being blind, Dhritarashtra had no right to the throne, but sat on it by accident of family circumstances. Once either Yudhisthira or Duryodhana was chosen as Yuvraj, he should have received the throne and Dhritarashtra should have retired with grace. Yet even the wily Shakuni did not voice this obvious truth as he was intoxicated by his vicarious power over the blind king and his nephew.

Similarly, Sonia Gandhi, who has gone abroad at least twice for medical treatment, and whose nervous twitches are now visible on television, failed to trust Rahul Gandhi with the power she wants him to exercise within the party and the Government should the Congress manage a third term in office. This exposes her inability to relinquish power and post, and her lack of faith in Rahul Gandhi’s ability to rise to the responsibilities thrust upon him. In other words, the mother who ‘cried because she understands that power is actually a poison’ is not willing to pass on her sceptre.

Rahul Gandhi is thus second in power and rank to his mother Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Congress. It is not an enviable position, as hidden coteries behind both will be watching his every move.

Fellow travellers have tried to project Rahul Gandhi’s acceptance speech in Jaipur as a prelude to a massive makeover of the Congress, undoing without admitting the mistakes of his ancestors, and reaching out to all alienated sections of the people.

The admirers display a desperate anxiety that the middle aged heir apparent somehow connect with the upwardly mobile youth and growing middle classes that have taken to displaying their anger on contemporary issues, as also the traditional vote-banks of the poor, women, Dalit and minorities.

They are keen that he deflect blame for the corruption attached to the ruling UPA, as also responsibility for the price rise, inflation, zero job opportunities and petty appeasement of minorities. It is a tall order.

Rahul Gandhi’s speech writers may have hoped to touch a chord with the youth by making him mouth platitudes like, “Why is our youth angry… because they are alienated… They are excluded from the political class. They watch from the sidelines… as the powerful drive around in their Lal Battis…” This, and the rest of the attempt to speak up for women and the poor, was an amateurish critique of Nehruvian socialism and the structures it spawned over the decades, which are now falling apart.

All talk of corruption is vacuous in view of the fact that the Gandhi family is personally linked with some of the worst corruption scandals in the nation’s history. Leaving aside past scandals, Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra has made fabulous wealth in real estate in the past few years in deals questioned by IAS officers of high integrity. Moreover, in none of the serial scams rocking UPA-I and UPA-II did the two-term MP from Amethi take a stand.

At Jaipur, his speech writers projected a rosy view of the world. Ignoring serious problems associated with the Aadhar project which is being imposed without parliamentary sanction – such as experts’ warning that fingerprints can be picked up and superimposed elsewhere – Rahul Gandhi eulogised it as a mechanism for direct cash transfer. He called it a revolution, oblivious of its sustainability and long-term disempowering effect on the people.

Surprisingly, none of his media admirers even mentioned that in his long eulogy on his father and mother, Rahul Gandhi said that India was “worthless” in 1984 (when his grandmother died and his father took over), because it did not have cars and other trappings of wealth and modernity. Today, he averred, “India is not like what it was in 1984. We are no longer worthless”. This writer is speechless.

As Rahul Gandhi coyly slides into the role of shadow Prime Minister, it would be appropriate to ask him to end the opacity associated with his life and at least offer the details of his educational qualifications for public scrutiny. At Jaipur, he revealed that he loved badminton and regularly played with the men who later assassinated Indira Gandhi, a remark that enraged Punjab deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal who felt that he (Rahul Gandhi) should also have expressed regret for the anti-Sikh pogrom that followed.

The moot point, however, is that Rahul Gandhi later took admission in St Stephen’s College via the sports quota for rifle shooting. When and where did he receive this training and why did he never enter any competition in this regard? He left St Stephen’s College after a year and went abroad, and managed an MPhil degree in Development Studies from Cambridge University, Britain, though to this day not a single person has surfaced anywhere in the world to say that Rahul Gandhi was his/her classmate at ‘x’ college.

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  • Priyadarshi Dutta

    Very good analogy for Sonia Gandhi’s blind spot. Actually Sonia and Rahul stand at the edge of precipice. The must be at the top, or nowhere at all. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

  • Vinod

    Well articulated

  • Rajaram

    An elegant analysis but one that misses an important point. The Hindu tradition attaches great importance to fitness to rule no less than legitimacy of succession. There is no primogeniture mandate in anointing a successor. The complaint against Duryodhana — a prince of many admirable qualities like generosity, loyalty, etc — was he was unfit to rule. He placed personalities above Raja Dharma. Yudhishtira was the opposite– to him Dharma came first, he was called Dharma Raja even before he became king.

    This aspect is rarely noted even by sympathetic writers. Bharata, the eponymous ruler who gave the country its name bypassed his son as unfit and adopted a Bharadwaja youth as his successor. The great Bhagiratha disinherited his evil son Asamjamasa and handed over the kingdom to his grandson Ambarisha. So the Hindu king holds his position as a trust, not as its absolute master.

    But coming to the case in question– this dynastic display is scorched earth of a once great political party. Can family retainers like Shinde, Khurshid and the like hold the fate of this nation in their hands? What is driving them all is fear– fear of a truly national government. Gadkari has given a hint of what is in store for them.

  • http://vnseetharam.wordpress.com V.N.Seetharam

    Illiteracy has been the hall mark of the Indira Gandhi pedigree. She herself was a drop out and none of her two sons were known for their academic brilliance, In fact at least Indirs had inherited a certain command of the language and diction from her father. Rajiv cannot be faulted on these counts. His widow’s qualifications are best known to Dr.Subramaniam Swamy and this lady had the undignified courage to flaunt some certificate from Cambridge. It is a sad spectacle that India which is reputed to have such academically brilliant population unmatched any where have to put up with such semi literates and mediocre show pieces. Leave alone academic qualifications what are the other assets Sonia and her off spring have that can be proudly flaunted? Mediocrity of such abysmal level when ever they open their mouths, plunges us into depression. What have we done to deserve these two? The other day Rahul uttered such melodramatic cinema script which some where at some time will become the great comic scene if incorporated into an idiotic Hindi movie- The scene about his mother holding his hands and crying how “Power dear son is Poison” To come to such power what do these people have? Are they economists, sociologists, historians or front rank activists or philosophers. At least are they great humorists or craftsmen? We fail to see what has catapulted them to these commanding heights except the servility and greed of UPA which thinks that the dynastic name is the only mantra for all the afflictions we suffer from. But this too shall pass and in a distant future India may wake up to a great day.

  • Himeshwar Pandit

    Sandhya,
    The story of Mahabharta is essentially a treatise covering all aspects of human endeavour. The most important lesson from the entire episode is the requirement for people to function and behave within their limits, I prefer to use the Sanskrit word “Maryada” because I do not think that the word “limit” conveys the real meaning of Maryada.
    In mahabharata the Maryada was compromised upon by various persons on verios occasions, may be by all involved at some time or the other, but to my mind the starting point was the carnal desire of Maharaj Shantanu towards Satyavati, the daughter of the boatsman. He wanted to marry her while he should have considered looking for a bride for his grown up son Devdutta, who later became famous as Bhishma, subsequest to his vow to give up his right to the throne and to remain a bachelor for ever.

    But do you seriously believe that these semi literate and pseudo Indian persons deserve so much of your time and space to be discussed in this forum. To my mind the ascendance of Sonia Maino (I prefer not to use the word Gandhi here because there appears to be lot of controversy about Feroz Khan having become Feroz Gandhi) was an aberration, Thank God it is going to be over soon!
    My suggestion to you and all compatriots is …..

    Please shun them with the bloody contempt they deserve!!

  • gbz

    You can add Digvijay singh as Mama Shakuni to Rahul’s Duryodhan. It never ends, just changes shape and names.

  • Rajalakshmi

    Very well written including the comments of Rajaram.

    In the meantime P Chidambaram has donned the mantle of mock humility making over humble comments about himself thus drawing Sonia Gandhi’s attention.When Pranab Mukherjee was made President it was heavily rumoured P.Chidambaram would be the next Prime Ministerial candidate till Rahul gets groomed to take over.

    It is we the people who should be vigilant enough in electing only Sri.Narendra Modi.

    The West will always favour congress condoning their lack of scruples as Hindus’ well being is certainly not their primary objective.

  • S Swarup

    I feel it is the Congressman’s helplessness and their manipulative tactics that has put Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi where they find themselves now. She is all powerful but without any direct responsibility. The same can be said of Manmohan Sing too – little power and little responsibility. Now that they have tasted power (poison!!) they are probably addicts & may not want to loose the goodies of life! What will the Congress do without SG or RG? Not to forget PG in reserve!
    How many Congressmen will admit that P V Narasimha Rao was by far a more astute and able PM than Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul or any one of the present brigade. He had kept all the “Naalaayaks” & even Sonia Gandhi at a distance though his style of functioning was something that was not appreciated by all.
    Both Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi as well as all the Congressmen and ordinary citizens know for certain that at best SG or RG may be good as remote controllers of a pliant PM (like MMS) and all the manipulative dirty work will be done by their lackeys. There is no dearth for lackeys looking for an opportunity to amass wealth. One can not imagine Sanjay Nirupam (who was a foot soldier of Bal Thackray) or Mr.Rashid Alvi (ex Mulayam supporter) going all emotional after listening to Rahul’s Jaipur speech.
    I think the survival instincts of both SG & RG are very strong and neither will want to become PM – they will remain on top with all the power to appoint a pliable PM. Who will be that man?

  • Ajai

    Total fraud scene

  • Senthil

    Excellent piece

  • Madan Mohan

    This is great thinking! Hope the blind politicians who rule the country are dethroned by Krishna who assured us by saying “Sambhavami Yuge Yuge”. Time has come to rid of them

  • Nagaraj

    “Surprisingly, none of his media admirers even mentioned that in his long eulogy on his father and mother, Rahul Gandhi said that India was “worthless” in 1984 (when his grandmother died and his father took over), because it did not have cars and other trappings of wealth and modernity. Today, he averred, “India is not like what it was in 1984. We are no longer worthless”. This writer is speechless.”

    And, the Rajkumar just read all this !!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000033600789 Arish Sahani

    When indian will get tired of this gandhi Dynasty who are ruling by appeasing only ISlam. Foolish hIndus have no leaders to unite Hindus yet ,as we have many Jaichands today.




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