...........Il Italiano viene! Il Italiano viene!
..................VICHARAMALA no. 60
....................May 25 , 2004
Thoughts on issues of current interest [my comments - as an Indian citizen - within square brackets], including instances of some double standards of our public figures, especially in the construction of Indian identity (all those Macaulayan myths, and the hypocrisy that is Nehruvian secularism) - Krishen Kak
[Italy is most definitely the flavour of the season, so excuse me while I practise my Tamil of the West!
Ah, quel caro Raul! Quel giovane dolce! Tanto piacevole! Tanto grazioso! Tanto gentile! Tanto bello, innocente, coi capelli ricciuti e le fossette profonde!
E e tanto chiaro!
La Gran Speranza Bianca!
And if you, being ignorant, brown and native, thought that by Bianca I was referring to Priyanka, you'd better think again!
Ah, quel caro Raul!
V'mala 59 showed the sham of the media-projected innocence of Maino Gandhi's children. Moreover, "The Marxists do not believe that Sonia Gandhi was solely guided by her "inner voice" in declining to accept the post.....[Jyoti] Basu has described her stand as "funny"....."We have also seen how her son and newly elected MP Rahul Gandhi offered her flowers in the Parliament to congratulate her after being elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary party. Had Rahul and his sister Priyanka any objection to their mother becoming the prime minister, why did not they say so in the beginning? Why did they raise objections at the eleventh hour?" the CPM leaders ask" ( http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/685929.cms ). Why indeed?
In V'mala 59 I pointed out that the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting was pure naatakbazi. A hagiographical myth was in active creation, scripted by Maino Gandhi and her children. As Prabhu Chawla writes of that commedia dell'arte that was the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting on May 18 in the Central Hall of Parliament, "On one side...were over 200 Congress leaders, a wailing legion of the suddenly orphaned pleading to the Leader...on the other side. All the while, she maintained eye contact only with the family - son Rahul, daughter Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra - who sat in the first row. Never before had family members of a prospective prime minister attended such a meeting...the privileged three were the only ones she completely trusted" (India Today, May 31, 2004).
And in The Pioneer, May 23, 2004, chatterqueen Devi Cherian through her weekly space-waster enriched the myth by adding another layer to it. According to her, "Indians have given their mandate to Sonia Gandhi, the bahu of the Nehru Gandhi clan, along with her two charismatic children" (May 23, 2004).
The first half of that claim we've been hearing ad nauseam from Nehru-Gandhi mythomaniacs and their fellow-travellers, but the latter half of that claim, arising from the former, is a fabrication of such stunning mythicality that it is well worth expending a little effort over examining both of them:
1) The Indian mandate, aka the people's mandate, aka the people's verdict. Here the chatterati echo caro Raul's "The country has given the mandate to the Congress and to Sonia Gandhi" ( http://in.rediff.com/election/2004/may/13rahul.htm ).
But what is the fact?
"The Congress, on its own, fought on 417 seats, out of which it won only 145; a poor success rate of 35 per cent. Can't we then conclude that 65 per cent of people also rejected Ms Gandhi? With 145 seats on its own, a wafer-thin margin separates the Congress from the BJP which won 138 seats. Moreover, as a senior television journalist recently put it: "Congress with 141 seats should realise that no revolution has taken place in the country".....The Left's support is critical to it. Herein lies the biggest deception played on the electorate. Such unprincipled alliances make a mockery of democracy. The bulk of seats won by the Left came from defeating Congress in two-cornered contest......The so-called mandate in Ms Gandhi' s favour is nothing but post-poll manipulation" (BK Punj, "Hearing aid for her inner voice", The Pioneer, May 21, 2004).
"...the Congress was rejected in 65% of the seats in which it contested by itself. No single party, including the BJP which fought 364 seats and won 138, faced a higher failure rate than our very own GOP" (Udayan Namboodiri, "Questioning shibboleths", The Pioneer, May 22, 2004).
"Apart from the fact that the Congress failed to win even a third of the Lok Sabha seats that went to polls, its actual voting percentage has come down compared to its vote share in the 1999 elections" (Ajoy Bose, "Mythology in 2004", The Pioneer, May 17, 2004).
And, remember, Maino Gandhi was never projected as the prime ministerial candidate. So, given these irrefutable facts, how can any rational person claim that the people's verdict was for Maino Gandhi?
2) That the mandate was for Maino Gandhi is clearly Goebbelsian disinformation, but that it was so also for her "charismatic" children is (excuse again my Tamil of the West) merda of the toro.
Priyanka Vadra did not even stand for election. That leaves caro Raul. Let us examine his credentials for this alleged mandate.
As Ajoy Bose said elsewhere in his analysis, "Quite apart from the fact that Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi hardly campaigned except in select areas of Uttar Pradesh, they do not seem have cast any particular spell on even the two constituencies adjoining Amethi and Rae Bareli. The Congress lost in both Sultanpur and Pratapgarh." And Gandhi Jr himself managed to poll only 66.18% of the vote. In other words, one-third of those who voted in the family's own pocket borough voted against him! So much for the Indian mandate for caro Raul. But he did win in and so, now, as an officially public figure, merits further attention.
First, under Italian law, Rahul Gandhi is as Italian as his mother. Moreover, it is a matter of public record that his mother enrolled herself as an Indian voter without being an Indian citizen. Therefore, given the family record, the Indian electorate has a right to know the details of his citizenship and whether or not the stipulation of reciprocity under Indian law applies to him.
Then again, his mother lied in her cv as an MP about her educational qualifications. Given the family history, the Indian electorate has a right to know whether Rahul Gandhi has a BA and an MA. In which subjects and from where? Does he have an M.Phil.too? And if he was awarded the M.Phil. without the two earlier degrees, how so?
Gandhi's own party workers twice went to court making allegations about election candidate Dharmendra's religious status. By the same token and, since Gandhi has chosen to be a public figure, the Indian electorate has a right to know whether Rahul Gandhi was baptised a Christian. If yes, when, where, and his baptismal name? If not, to which religion does he formally subscribe?
Rahul Gandhi is the "charming" young man who, in one interview, declined to badmouth politicians because he wanted to be different. He is the "charming" young man who said he would not make personal attacks. He is the "charming" young man who said he respected Mr Vajpayee and wished him well. He is the "charming" young man who accepted that he is a child in politics and promised he would grow up and become a man ( http://in.rediff.com/election/2004/may/13rahul.htm ).
This is the young man, "so much like his father", who said the value that he'd uphold in politics is "Truth. I have seen that in politics, especially in our country, truth has been the first casualty." This is the young man, "so much like his father", who said of the BJP that "They use all kinds of language against us. We keep quiet because we never descend to such low levels in politics." This is the young man, "so much like his father", who said, of his own mission as a politician, that "I will create a new brand of politics in India. Just wait and see." ( http://www.rediff.com/election/2004/apr/23einter.htm )
Reversing the story of the ugly duckling becoming a swan, our Italian pulcino has grown up very rapidly into a punchinello. He's already shown he's no different from the politicians from whom he'd so superciliously distinguished himself. He's already badmouthed the BJP, implicitly badmouthing its leader Mr Vajpayee, and all those Indians too who'd voted for it: "For us the BJP is a sad joke. We are not afraid of them and we pity them.....BJP ne kaha mere pita ek chor the, BJP ne Gandhiji ko mara hai, personal humle kiye hain, karte rahain. BJP ek sad joke hai" ( http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200405192133.htm ).
As for the Truth, our caro Raul (like the Pinocchio of his natal tradition) is quite elastic about it.
How conveniently he forgets that his own mother called Prime Minister Vajpayee "a liar" ( http://www.hvk.org/articles/0698/0094.html ).
How conveniently he forgets that the BJP was not in existence when Gandhi was assassinated, and that The Statesman, Mar 3, 2002, unconditionally and abjectly apologised for implicating the RSS in the assassination ( http://www.media-watch.org/responses/0602/1.html ).
How conveniently he forgets that his own great-grandfather Prime Minister Nehru honoured the RSS by inviting it to march in the Republic Day Parade 1963, and that it did so with 3,000 uniformed swayamsevaks (MS Prabhakara, "Tell no lies, claim no easy victories", The Hindu, May 17, 2004).
How conveniently he forgets that Nathuram Godse had been a member of the Congress Party too and that, at the time of the assassination, Godse's connection to both the RSS and the Congress was identical - he was a member of neither ( http://www.media-watch.org/responses/0602/1.html ).
But such convenience of memory, telling of lies, arrogant disregard of empirical evidence, and demonisation of its nonbelievers is characteristic of Nehruvian secularism. Rahul Gandhi, Congress MP, shows that he's firmly within his family tradition.
And in caro Raul's case, his mannerism of a long look-away-as-if-thinking pause before he answers reminds me irresistably of that hoary college chestnut of hearing the rusty gears clank away in the speaker's head as he painfully thinks out what to say! No "burst of articulation, only rehearsed lines", in Sevanti Ninan's phrase for him (The Hindu, Apr 25, 2004).
Ah, that dear Rahul, the Great White Hope - of his family, of his family's political party, of their fellow-travellers, the future of all of these for our country! Yet, after all, it is he who may turn out to be the "sad joke".
Aspettiamo e vediamo (in the Tamil of the West or, in the original made famous by K Kamaraj), paarkalaam!]