OUT OF MY HEAD
(Published in Bengal Post, 19th October 2010)
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m growing fonder and fonder of Rahul Gandhi with every passing second. And it’s got absolutely nothing to do with his dimples! He’s been like a Jack-in-the-box over the last few years, popping up in different parts of the nation, sometimes armed with a toothbrush for a surprise pyjama party in a village. His mere presence makes his political rivals (and also his allies, as we’ve seen recently with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee) feel terribly insecure. Which, in a way, is a good thing. Hopefully, they’ll feel threatened enough to do a better job.
I started taking him a lot more seriously after he dropped in to Mumbai during the ridiculous My Name is Khan fracas and smoothly ensured that Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan did not have to massage the Shiv Sena supremo’s XL ego. One whispered word in the dithering Maharashtra chief minister’s ear and practically the entire state machinery was deployed to foil the Shiv Sena ban. It worked like a charm, hooray, and it certainly showed the local bullies who’s the boss! If he can do this for a silly movie, imagine what wonderful things he can do with more important issues? We desperately need him back in Mumbai right now because the Shiv Sena supremo’s grandson has just got Rohinton Mistry’s Such A Long Journey withdrawn from the university syllabus; apparently Mistry made unflattering remarks in the book about the Shiv Sena. He got copies of it burnt as well. Don’t waste your time wondering if pyromania runs in the family. Some people burst crackers to launch their political careers, other people burn books.
Anyway, back to the scion of the genteel Gandhi family. Now Rahul Gandhi’s gone and said exactly what I’ve been thinking for years: “I know only that both SIMI and the RSS are fanatical and hold fundamentalist views.” It was great fun listening to the BJP, RSS and other Hindutva parties respond to this statement. I analysed their irate comments deeply and this is what I’ve come up with: Hindutva parties aren’t really in tune with each other. Some called him immature, others said he was senile (good heaven’s, they think he’s LK Advani’s age) and a few others called him insane. Surely they don’t think all three words mean the same thing, do they? Granted that if you browse through Roget’s Thesaurus you’ll find all these words on the same page, but they do have different meanings. I find it very worrying that they don’t get nuances, and this is the ten thousand and thirty first reason why I will never subscribe to Hindutva.
RSS spokesman Ram Madhav pompously added that people who make such statements have to first understand India and Indian society well. “It’s not enough to know only Italy and Colombia,” he said, smirking at his own jibe. Or maybe he was just grinning from ear to ear because he got a fabulous chance to be on TV and look frightfully important. By the way, in case the Columbia bit escaped you, he was slyly referring to one of Rahul Gandhi’s former girlfriends. Tragic, isn’t it, that foreign blood is the only stick they can beat the Gandhi family with - I don’t know about you, but it’s beginning to bore me to tears. Also, has it escaped his notice that Rahul Gandhi has Indian blood as well and was born and brought up in India? But then you never can expect fundamentalists to be rational, tut.
Interestingly, during the last few years, Rahul Gandhi has just given us a trailer of what he can do for the country. He’s left us (well, me at least) waiting eagerly for the actual movie to begin. Oddly enough, I hope that he’s not starring in it as prime minister of India. His mother has proved that the Gandhi family does much, much better work back stage - I believe they really do care about the nation, perhaps as much as the other legendary Gandhi whom they’re not related to. There are still loads of things to be accomplished and they should not waste precious time shaking hands, drinking tea and making small talk with leaders of other nations. I also believe that not becoming prime minister ever is Rahul Gandhi’s secret plan – fully endorsed by his mother. I may be wrong, but I hope I’m not.