“So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.” – Wrote Aldus Huxley.
After the relentless attack on the current Prime Minister and political opponent Narendra Modi by the Congress led by the scion of the first family, the descendant of Nehru, on the unfounded allegations about corruption in the Rafale deal, Prime Minister Modi hit back bringing the corruption and other allegations against Rajiv Gandhi into the political discourse.
Suddenly those who were gleefully watching the Congress attack confessed by Rahul Gandhi to be solely for the purpose of causing damage to the image of Narendra Modi as a corruption-free leader, jumped in disbelief, with their mouths open and elite aquiline noses turned upwards. That the current elected PM was called all kinds of names on the basis of a supposedly fake corruption charge, rejected by Courts and discounted by the top auditor of the country, has been largely ignored by those who have suddenly woken up to the necessity maintaining decorum in public discourse.
Having made the mistake of attacking an honest man, viciously not only as elected Prime minister, earlier as elected CM as well when they even wrote to foreign powers to deny him of Visa; they have brought this misery on themselves where the sins of the dynasty are coming back to hound them from the graves. It is true that a conspiracy of burning Hindus hatched by local leaders including some of Congress in Godhra resulted in riots in Gujarat when Modi was chief Minister.
The fact remains that Modi as CM went around asking for administrative help from neighbouring Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra, a day after violence broke in Gujarat and got no help. The then MP CM, Digvijay Singh could even respond a refusal two weeks after the request was made. There were reports of Congress leaders being a part of the riots. As per the official records, around 800 Muslims and 300 Hindus lost their lives during Gujarat riots. This did not stop the Congress first family from going after Modi, globally maligning an elected Chief Minister of a state who did his best to contain a riot caused evidently by evil conspiracy.
Congress has so many skeletons in their cupboard that they should rather have gone a one-off retort by the PM Modi after years of harassment. But then, for Congress and sycophants, the family is always bigger than the party. It has nothing to do with their respect of history and sense of humble honour towards the departed greats. The current leadership of Congress could not remember the anniversary of Tilak, the founding father of the Congress or even Feroze Gandhi, the grandfather of Rahul Gandhi. They know well that by raking the mud, they are only going to create murkier battlegrounds in the last leg of elections. But then, they will do what is good for the family, not what is good for the Party.
So now that the skeletons of the past are erected in the battlefield, Congress cannot avoid the stench the dead will bring as they are exhumed out of their grave. Sam Pitroda is enjoying possibly his first stint as a mass leader and providing ample absurdities on a daily basis. When Congress continues to harp on Modi’s statement on Rajiv Gandhi, it is inevitable that people again begin analyzing what Rajiv Gandhi did as a PM of India (and did it merit a Bharat Ratna).
Comparisons will be made about 700 and 300 people of both the parties under conflict in Gujarat during 2002 riots which brought Modi under so much of Indian and Global censure, possibly under the influence of some nefarious global forces, with 1984 Rajiv Gandhi monitored Sikh riots in which around 3000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi and around 8000, all across the country. Unlike 2002 which was a riot, where rioting groups go back and forth and the state intervenes to protect the minorities as is evident from 300 deaths of Hindus in Gujarat, which is an overwhelmingly Hindu state (88.6 % Hindus and around 9 % Muslims); 1984 was a state-sponsored genocide where only Sikhs died. Congress could have gotten away counting on short public memory, but then they decided to go after Modi. Such skewed was the system and such absolute was the silence that the compensation in Sikh riots to the kins of the dead was mere 10,000 Rupees. The stranglehold that the Congress held over the press was so absolute that there were not many questions raised over shoddy state response to the most heinous riots in the history of independent India.
Another infamous genocide which happened under Rajiv Gandhi’s watch was Bhopal gas tragedy. The death toll here again was as high as around 3700 people. The chief of Union Carbide, Warren Anderson was arrested immediately but was as quickly escorted out of India. On being questioned about his whereabouts, the Indian government feigned ignorance. The mysterious, midnight escape of Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson is said to be quid-pro-quo for the release of Adil Shahryar, the son of Mohammad Yunus and a friend of Sanjay Gandhi, sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment for grave charges like fraud, attempt to plant an explosive on the ship, manufacture of firearms. Vinod Mehta in his book “The Sanjay Story- From Anand Bhavan to Amethi” mentions incidents of reckless youth, when Sanjay Gandhi and Adil Shahryar used to steal cars for joy rides in Delhi.
While Adil Shahryar link to Warren Anderson’s release, marching over the corpses of 3000 dead Indians is not established, the fact remains that the instructions to release Anderson came from higher-ups. Swaraj Puri, the SP of Bhopal in 1984 claimed that Anderson was arrested on a written order, but was released on oral orders. It is also interesting that the log book which contained the details of the transfer of Warren Anderson from Bhopal to Delhi are no longer in India, sold to a company owned by the son of Kamal Nath in 1998.
Swayed by the Rahul Gandhi’s rhetoric of being anti-corporate, one might be tempted to forget these matters as blunders of past, but then the fact remains that even after all these years, the Congress has been the mother of Crony Capitalism. The loan defaulters whose escape from India has been one of the bases of Congress’ attack on Modi government, were all given these favours under UPA. By bringing Rajiv Gandhi into focus, Congress has put the family before the party as the political repercussions of harping over Rajiv Gandhi’s good name will only hurt their political purpose opening old wounds. Since the first family considers acknowledgement of mistakes and apologizing for them beneath them, and will have Darbaris like Sam Pitroda nonchalantly throwing a “So-what” at the unwashed masses; they totally count on short public memory.
They expect people to forget Nehru’s scams, Indira’s tyranny and Rajiv’s corruption. The argument is not that Rajiv wasn’t corrupt. Their argument is that Rajiv Gandhi is dead. So is Savarkar. It did not prevent Rahul Gandhi from badmouthing Savarkar. Rajiv Gandhi’s death while tragic, no way qualifies for martyrdom. He was assassinated when he was out of power and not a Prime Minister. The Chandrashekhar Government at the centre ran with his support. The Jain Commission clearly indicted DMK for supporting LTTE in the assassination.
It is the same DMK which is a coalition partner to Sonia –led Congress in Tamil Nadu. The insistence of Congress to keep the war over the role of Rajiv Gandhi in Indian politics raises a lot many questions on the role of Sonia Gandhi in Indian politics. It also opens the myth of greatness which has been diligently tailored around Rajiv Gandhi, with his Bharat Ratna. It brings him down his pedestal and opens him for public scrutiny like any ordinary politician, struggling from one mistake to another, from 1984 to Bhopal, from Ram Mandir to Shah Bano. It re-kindles the short memory of the people of India. It puts the question to them if they can trust those who are allegedly responsible for two broad massacres in independent India with the future. They will not like the answer. I have found a great message for Rahul Gandhi from the French poet, Alfred De Vigny if he would like to read:
“I have a private theory, Sir, that there are no heroes and no monsters in this world. Only children should be allowed to use these words.”
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Saket writes in Hindi and English. He writes on socio-political matters and routinely writes Hindi satire in print as well in leading newspaper like Jagaran. His recently published Hindi satire collection “Ganjhon Ki Goshthi” is on amazon and getting excellent reception and readership.