Congratulations Sir

58 Comments

First of all sir congratulations on becoming the Vice-President. Some may say that congratulating you for this is like congratulating eleven o’clock for coming after ten o’clock, or congratulating an apple broken from its stem for dropping to the ground  or congratulating P K Nag’s sons for  taking over P K Nag and Sons.

But still.

So I read your speech, the speech that you delivered to the party after your coronation…err…selection after studied deliberation by your peers in the chintan shivir.

And I noted a few things.

You said you felt optimistic. I understand why you would sir. I would too if I had a national party as a family heirloom, if I knew I would have an army of qualified courtiers watching my back, an army of guards clearing the road of commoners, and an adoring media to pump my ego. Yes. I would feel very optimistic then. About the future. My future. Which of course I would, using the royal pronoun, address as “our”.

You recognize that power being centralized is a bad thing for the nation. I applaud you sir for realizing what the problem is. But you do not tell us, for reasons known best to you, who the problem is. Overreaching federal power is the very legacy of your party.  Playing favorites with the development of states through the formulation of destructive policies often made without the approval of the states affected, dismissing state governments based on political considerations, subverting private ownership through nationalization, and finally binding industry by magical spools of red-tape of the kind rarely seen outside Communist states.  You of course now take credit for unchaining the very dragon your line once bound,  credit that rightfully should go to a man, a man from your very party who did try to make things right, imperfectly perhaps. I realize he is an usurper, a historical aberration, a Hemu in the line of Mughals. Hence he must be quietly forgotten and his legacy appropriated.

You say, dear sir, that youths are alienated because they know that politics is not for them. Very true. They know that politics, like the Bollywood movie industry, is a system of concentric rings of walled privilege. It’s easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a normal person, that is one without pedigree or one not willing to kowtow before one with pedigree,  to get into politics, at least in the army you command. It’s a culture where people do not respect knowledge but respect position. I am sure you will agree with me on that. After all you said it yourself in your speech.

Except that when you say it, you say it as if that’s not something which is part of your party’s heritage, as if this culture where lineage is respected over and above all is not something that has a direct effect on where you are today.It fills my heart with wonderment, this your almost creator-like detachment. One might assume, hearing this speech and the others you have made, that you are a prince from some distant planet, perhaps the one shown in Prometheus, who flies down in his alien craft, comments on the follies and foibles of the human race before flying back again to the Great Beyond.

Your troubadours would say that you have merit. And that I am, to quote you “being negative, asking Bhaiyya what is your weakness?” No sir. I am asking “What is your strength?” As a matter of fact, I am desperately looking for it. Your voluble foot-soldiers say that you are an inspiration for the nation. Now I am an old man, even though I am quite a bit younger to you. And the way I look at it, and you can call me an outdated fogey, there are only two kind of people who can claim to be inspirations. One are our parents, who through their personal examples, set standards for us to live up to. And the other are great men whose achievements echo through history— a Mahatma Gandhi, a Tagore, a Swami Vivekanand, an Einstein. Which brings me back to the question, what exactly have you done that warrants the label of “inspiration”?

I do something very simple. I look at your record as a legislator. The part that can be measured. Your attendance is 40% in Parliament. In the world of mice and men, an attendance of 40% in college leads to being expelled, in a job leads to a pink slip. In your case, it leads to elevation. Your supporters, of the type that hail your tryst with destiny in words florid, would say that even Tagore never attended school. Didn’t stop him from getting a Nobel.

Point.

And so I ask—what did you do even outside Parliament? In the last few years, the country has been in tumult over corruption and the safety of women. This may be just something I missed but somehow, I could not find you anywhere on the public stage when this was going on. Nowhere did I find you expressing your opinion. Never did I see you taking responsibility, the hallmark, they say, of a true leader.

I know what they will say in response. They will say that you do not speak or act till you are ready. And all these years, you have been preparing yourself, understanding the problems of the people, in the manner children start solving Irodov problems in Class 6  for their IIT exams.

And there itself lies the crux, the very heart of problem.

You need to “understand” the problem of people, just like we need to understand quantum mechanisms.

You need to “understand the problems” because you sir, unlike us, never live these problems.

You are like a scientist observing a specimen, the “aam aadmi”, underneath the microscope, telling your assistant “Make entry in lab note book. Subject responds to stimulus with tremor in knees and shoulder.”

In a way, this is not your fault—growing up with bodyguards it must be difficult to internalize the collective insecurity of those whose bodies are under attack everyday in the streets and in the fields, growing up with an assured future must make it impossible  to feel the despair of those that do not have such a guarantee. That is why you need to make an effort to be ordinary; to walk without bodyguards, to shake the hand of a commoner on the street,  to stay over at a poor man’s house and break bread. That which is reality for others is for you mere “experience”,  in the same way that bungee-jumping and skydiving is for the yuppie, bringing as it does a sense of comforting danger to his otherwise antiseptic life, not to speak of the opportunity to snap Like-magnet  photos that look good in Facebook albums.

If I have said more than I am supposed to say, kindly forgive me. Blame it on my age. Or my lack of it. Whatever works.

So congratulations again, dear sir, congratulations. Congratulations for just being you.

58 thoughts on “Congratulations Sir

  1. Not connecting to constituents or not identifying with their problems affects all political scions. If only he had the courage to admit the silver spoon in his mouth and then act like he wants to fix the nation as it were.
    Nice post. And with this change in your blog template, somehow I can follow your blog like any other on wordpress. Another good thing.

  2. well written! However, Im beginning to think that this ‘clan disease’ is not just for the Gandhi’s in politics. Look at other leaders in Congress, BJP and other regional political parties. Also Bollywood if you like.

  3. Brilliant as usual. If it took 42 long yrs for Rahul Baba(after his not so mentionable conquests) to get “ready”, it may very well take another 42 yrs for him to even start. And you have rightly pointed out how the mother-son duo shamelessly bask in the glory of the “reforms” which was PV’s brainchild.

  4. superb!!! ..used to be regular on your blog in 2006-7 .. enjoyed a lot……. since then today again stumbled upon this site and found same old greatbong!! :) Best wishes..

  5. Well written ofcourse……but ornamented as well…..
    compare your role as a common man ………i think you find yourself on a same boat with your “dear sir”

  6. Just one question, who held the position of VP of AICC before Rahul Gandhi? I was not able to find anyone else on Google…

  7. lol.. what a crap you write.
    Please understand the dynamics of politics before stating yourself as ‘Wanabe politician’.
    I see this writing of yours as ‘Opinion based on assumption’.

  8. Some minor points of disagreement — first, being born into the Gandhi family is a great achievement and very smart thing to do — you shouldn’t discount this, even if it is the only achievement.

    Secondly, it is well known that “India” is a nickname for “Messrs. Nehru, Daughter, Grandson, Grandson’s Wife, Great Grandson, etc.” The “etc.” at the end is important for future generations.

    Thirdly, how can you claim the Rajkumar did not take responsibility? Of course he did — he took responsibility for every success of the Congress party (shared to some extent with the Rajmata). It’s only the failures he didn’t take responsibility for. That is of course because the official Court Jester (Diggy) or someone else was responsible for the failures.

    Finally, scientists observing specimens usually need careful preparation, a clear idea or theory of what they want to understand, and so on. Dimple Baba is not bound by such constraints — he can simply wing it, and whatever he does will be good for India.

  9. very well put. I have been avid reader of your blog and has been influenced so much that today subconsciously I felt a revulsion at Dhoni’s comment on Rohit Sharma. Though i dont follow cricket so much.

    I want to ask one question. Why are we like this. What has made us like this. Can it be simply put as continuation of Imperial master/subject mentality. Or do you see something else. what are your thoughts.

    • I am so looking forward to that blog of yours. There have been times people called me crazy for trying to find out .. why are we like this .. despite of all the things what makes us stay together as a nation .. (but then some where Shahrukh khan said “hum logon ko samjh sako to samjho dilbar jani… jitna bhi tum samjhoge utni hogi hairani” …. and i absolutely believe him at least on that one.)

  10. Dear Arnab,
    Dont worry, Rahul baba will never be the PM.
    Modi led BJP-NDA or a stooge led Congress-UPA will take control in 2014.

    The reason Rahul will not be made the PM is that, then he will have to directly take the blame for all the corruption, pseudo-secularism, mismanagement and the general incompetence that the Congress led UPA is proficient in.
    That will spell doom for him and his future after 2-3 years. Instead he and his Mom will continue to stay in a state of power by proxy, without taking any responsibility for the monumental and continuous failures. The UPA will just replace the old corrupt and fawning leadership, with a younger set of corrupt and fawning leadership.

  11. An articulate argument. Nevertheless the EB2- Green Card junta , though educated and has a world view, cannot change the patriarchal nature of Indian Politics. Bleak Future.
    Good Reference to Narsimha Rao BTW.

  12. @ M
    You are quite right. Greatbong is just wasting his time. The corrupt and the pseudo-seculars, when combined with the anti-nationals, together form the largest interest group in India. India has no chance in hell to get any better.

  13. what’s it about the indian social structure that this inheritance phenomena is rampant in cinema & politics? a generally sycophantic cultural fabric (then why is it not so visible in sports?)? Or is it a low-skill requirement job exacerbated symbiotic relationships?

    • Hemu???
      Vikramaditya Hemu in the line of Shershah suri (who almost cleaned up tbe line of mughals)??
      I bow to thee for bringing him up and pointing to the forgotten legends of history.
      Best article i have read in a long time.

  14. Hey, interesting read. What I couldn’t help thinking though is if something so big landed in my lap as inheritance, will it be a crime for me to take it or will it be the crime of the more deserving to just sit there and let me take it? The man has been waiting long enough to let other stars grab his throne. Wont they take it already??!

  15. Wonderful! feel happy that at least some Indians, though in absurd minority, have free spirit. Keep this spirit going! As majority of us, especially our media, remain slaves still.

  16. @Jogi – Well, we have breakaways in almost every party. A lot of the BJP is not terribly comfortable with Narendra Modi’s growing stature or ambition. I dont see that stopping him. Or Yedyurappa’s bulldozing. There is enough evidence around in our country that we love fragments and factions. Strange then that nobody seems to have said ‘the hell with this family, am going to go form my own Congress faction”. And stranger still, that we continue to vote this party without any alternative into power. Its been 23 years since the family had anyone in the chair. And in all that while, not one guy had the brains/ guts/ ambition to pull the carpet from under their feet?! All they had was a lady with no profile and little ability to communicate as a behind-the-scene representative. And you let her/ them become this??! So you know I am really having trouble seeing all this as Rahul baba’s fault. If anything, its a commentary on us.

  17. The Hemu-Narasimha Rao comparison is so apt at so many levels. Two solitary hindus in a long line of Moghuls looting this country. If we draw a direct parallel betn the Moghuls and congress then we are roughly at Shah Jahan’s reign. So another tyrant Aurangzeb (Baba) to go before it disintegrates. May happen in our lifetime. Maybe baba will be a hardcore “secular” person even more so than the other moghuls.

    • Shourie,

      Baba already is hardcore secular. Remember his Hindu terror comment as per Wikileaks revelation?

  18. GB, your witty, sarcastic one-liners are to die for !! Funny as hell !!

    Utsav Chakrabarti, I agree with you. It is not without reason that Narendra’s parents named him aptly after Swami Vivekananda’s birthname. Today’s Narendra emulates his dynamic namesake and role-model in every way. And yes, in this 150th Birth Anniversary Year of Swami Vivekananda, what could be a better tribute to him than for his beloved India to choose another Narendra to lead the nation.

  19. @ Bengalvoice
    Very glad (and surprised) to see people talking about Hemchandra Vikramaditya. One of the great unsung heroes of the Hindu society.

  20. Rahul “Baba” will strike upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, you lesser mortal complaining against him :P Agreed dude, I dont know why Rahul Gandhi exists

  21. Pingback: Hello Sir | Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

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