What is the similarity between the grand old party and Bollywood? Their constant state of denial when it comes to ‘loving their family’, or in other words, nepotism.
In both the industries (I would call Congress an industry because it is run more like a family business than as a political party), there is no educational qualification requirement. National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, another product of nepotism who perpetuates the same, had said how a politician making his child a politician is the same as a doctor making his child a doctor. Abdullah Senior (or should it be Abdullah junior if I were to refer to him as Shaikh Abdullah’s son?) clearly forgot that even if a doctor wants his child to become a doctor, the child will still have to clear all medical examinations to become one. Just because the child has seen the parent being a doctor, he/she magically cannot become one.
Similarly, if you are born into the Nehru-Gandhi family, by default your career is ‘politician’ with aspirations of being a prime minister of India. Like the Kapoors of Bollywood. But only a few made it to the A-league and gave hits, and others faded into oblivion (like Karan Kapoor and Kunal Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor’s children who disappeared from Hindi film industry without a trace).
Usually, defenders of nepotism argue that in politics, people elect their representative and in Bollywood, the audience makes a film a hit or a flop. These delusional fans forget that nepotism doesn’t guarantee success, but it just gives the star kids easy access and more opportunities to try succeeding or just failing better. Just like the Gandhis in Congress. Just because Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi’s father, grandmother and great grandfather were prime ministers, does not automatically give them the easy access to the prime minister’s chair or the right to become the Party President without proving one’s worth.
Another similarity between family-run political parties and Bollywood is that if you are even married into The Family, your entitlement quotient increases. A spouse of a forcefully successful film star kid sometimes gets to become a producer (for taxation purposes) or an interior designer or a fashion designer. Similarly, a spouse of The Family will have country’s top lawyers defending them in various cases like money laundering. The entitlement is such that even when one is neck-deep in corruption allegations, as a spouse of The Family, one casually expresses the desire that they would contest elections if The Party wants them to. ‘If the party wants me to,’ is the political equivalent of ‘I will kiss if the story demands’.
The contempt for those who are the ‘outsiders’ in the industry is also a common factor. We all know how Kangana was mocked at, and continues being mocked at only for speaking out the obvious. An ‘outsider’ dared to say that the star kids have it easier. An ‘outsider’ Modi dared to challenge The Family. A man, who once sold tea at a railway station is now prime minister of world’s largest democracy which till now had one or the other Family member at the helm of the affairs.
How dare he? How dare he believe that the country is not an ancestral property which gets handed down through generation? How dare he not have a ‘vansh‘ for whom he could accumulate wealth? How dare he dream of an India which is not run by The Family?