THE MISSING GRACIOUSNESS

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 16 Sep 2017 11:19:25


India’s public discourse can raise itself to great intellectual and spiritual height. Once upon a time, it dwelled at that level. It was first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who had praised the young Member of Parliament Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee even after a scathing attack on the floor of the House minutes earlier. He said said, in effect, Young man, you have a bright future’...That graciousness, that open-hearted warmth has gone missing in the Congress’s present narrative.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi accuses Prime Minister Modi of dividing the Indian society. - Newspaper headline

ONE of the most popular figures of ridicule on social media is Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Hundreds of thousands of derisive remarks appear on social media every day about Mr. Rahul Gandhi who is also variously called RaGa, Pappu etc. And the reason for this is often cited as Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s habit of making statements that are obviously ridiculous, to say the least. The latest such comment from Mr. Rahul Gandhi came in his speech at the University of California at Berkeley where he accused Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi of dividing the Indian society. That he made such an accusation on a foreign soil was absolutely undesirable and unacceptable for two reasons: One, the choice of wrong location; and two, the falsehood of the accusation.

Nothing could really be more ridiculous than Mr. Rahul Gandhi making such an allegation. Of course, he is part of an anti-Modi campaign that feels that anything and everything Mr. Modi does is wrong. So, if the Modi Government directs successful surgical strikes against Pakistan, he is wrong. If the Army is able to kill many terrorists, Mr. Modi is wrong. If a woman journalist gets killed in a Congress-ruled State, it is Mr. Modi who is to be blamed. The economy improves, but Mr. Modi is to be blamed for having spoilt it. If Indian diplomacy succeeds in tackling the face-off with China successfully, Mr. Modi is still to be blamed.

All these indicate only a massive psychological sickness of those who have developed an allergy for Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Mr. Rahul Gandhi is a leader of such a brigade.  Let alone the politically-driven propaganda, the nation and the world know very well that the overall socio-economic condition of India has improved remarkably in the past three-and-a-half years of the Narendra Modi regime. The world recognises India as a sensible member of the international community. The world has begun recognising India as a leader of the global fight against terror. The world also knows that in the years to come, India will emerge as a genuine superpower.

But, Mr. Rahul Gandhi and his Congress party do not see this clear truth. And nobody minds. For, everybody knows that the Congress party went down in public esteem only because it followed the path of mindless and one-sided politics. The statement of Mr. Rahul Gandhi that Mr. Modi was dividing the Indian society came out of that thoughtlessness. Obviously, Mr. Gandhi and Congress party do not seem ready to learn the right lessons. So mindlessly are they acting that Mr. Rahul Gandhi picks up courage to talk against the Indian Prime Minister in a foreign land.

It is here that one recalls how some elements, egged on by the people in the Congress party and its allies in the United Progressive Alliance Government ensured that a move was afoot to deny American VISA to Mr. Narendra Modi when he intended to visit the United States to establish connect with the Indian diaspora and invite investment in Gujarat and India. It was obvious then even to a child in the street that a pressure was being built on the American Government non-officially by the Government of India led by Dr. Manmohan Singh who had almost given the reins in the hands of Mr. Rahul Gandhi -- who was actually nobody in the Government.

If that was one example of the senseless conduct by the Congress party and its so-called young leader, his statement at Berkeley was another example. And the third and more irritating example was when Mr. Rahul Gandhi called on the Chinese diplomats at the height of the latest Doka La face off. It was absolutely unacceptable to any Indian that a leader of Opposition party established a connect with a country with which our country was engaged in a face-off that could have even led to an open conflict.

The nation will always have a soft corner for the Nehru-Gandhi family, thanks to its contribution to national life. We cannot forget the sight of the little Rahul clinging to his mother Mrs. Sonia Gandhi at the time of his slain father’s funeral 26 years ago. The whole nation had cried as if its own family-member had passed away in a violent manner.
Most unfortunately, the subsequent political conduct of Mr. Rahul Gandhi and his irresponsible statements that bordered on lunacy led to a near-total loss of affection for him, if not for his family, on the part of the common Indian people.

Some people might have felt a stab of anger as Mr. Rahul Gandhi declared at Berkeley that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi was dividing the Indian society. Yet many others must have felt only a deep sense of sadness at the immature manner of our national politics that pushes politicians to indulge in senseless statements with scant thought to sanity and truth. That a top leader of the country’s oldest political party indulges in such utterances, cannot be a matter of just anger; it is as much a matter of extreme sadness. So, the question on everybody’s lips is straight: Why should politics drive people to such madness?
Recalling some dark moments of recent history is necessary at this juncture. The Congress party and its allies had tried their best to implicate Mr. Narendra Modi in Gujarat riots case and also in the Ishrat Jehan encounter issue. Judicial enquiries, legal courts, and police records kept clearing Mr. Modi’s name from all allegations. Despite that, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi dared to describe Modi as Maut Ke Saudagar -- purveyors of death! And she did not have any remorse about the unholy and ugly statement.

However, this is how the Congress party started falling from popular grace over time. Everything is not bad in the party, no doubt. Yet, whatever good it may be having is not being allowed to show up -- even in a damage-control exercise. Even now, after having lost every election since 2014, even after having been rejected by people -- classes and masses -- the Congress leadership is still not ready to learn the right lessons. That is most unfortunate!

India’s public discourse can raise itself to great intellectual and spiritual height. Once upon a time, it dwelled at that level. It was first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who had praised the young Member of Parliament Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee even after a scathing attack on the floor of the House minutes earlier. He said said, in effect, ‘Young man, you have a bright future’.  

A few years later, it was Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, of course a senior leader of Opposition, who had called Mrs. Indira Gandhi ‘Durga’. That graciousness, that open-hearted warmth has gone missing in the Congress party’s present narrative. If the Congress does not realise this now, it may be too late to do it later. This is the writing on the wall.