Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jhakas on Advani,Aamir and Outsiders

Shri LK Advani was making a sad spectacle of himself, indulging in taking personal pot-shots at the fast-recuperating PM Manmohan Singh, terming him as a timid weakling, even as Narendra Modi, much inspired, launched his own sharp volley of typical derogatory.

For a veteran leader who has perennially planned an ambitious restful night at 7, Race Course Road, it was sheer self-mockery where the BJP supremo was concerned.

Advani has had a deep pathological disrespect for Manmohan Singh, and this is not just evident because of the expected mud-slinging during election time. Even at the time of the nuclear debate and other issues, the 0.5 kg dumb-bell lifting marathon man could only think of accusing Manmohan of being a pulpy softie, being guardedly observed by Mrs Sonia Gandhi. But the true reason why Advani loathes Singhji is because in the deadly inner club of the political class, it is considered almost blasphemous to have a successful bureaucrat, non-political, Rajya Sabha member, utterly unassuming and totally devoid of political machinations, be the Prime Minister.

Worse, Manmohan Singh has turned out to be a canny survivor with a creditable track-record; Advani is understandably hurting.

For Advani that is sheer sacrilege. LKA believes, like a good "old school"-boy of 82 years, that the real throne must be occupied by a hard-core, intrinsic political sort, no matter how deviously cunning, egregiously corrupt or totally asinine he may be. For him, even his most cherished CPM rival Prakash Karat, a seasoned politician, is a better bet than the rank "outsider" Singh.

It is the same problem that afflicts a certain slight man with a calculated smile, suffering from massive delusions of self-importance; actor Aamir Khan.

Aamir Khan is like Advani, similarly obsessed with a rank "outsider" in Shah Rukh Khan who has dominated tinsel-town with inexorable strangle-hold for over 15 years. For Aamir that is an inexcusable intransigence, and he vents his frustration like a petulant "puppy" (the pun on the famous "dog comment" is blatantly deliberate, folks) denied his juicy bone.

It is a human condition that certain occupations develop incestuous co-habitation for survival, no matter how much they privately find each other as repugnant as a lizard's tail in a blue lagoon cocktail; media, bankers, models, Bollywood and politics, amongst some illustrious ones.

The truth is that it was Aamir who indulged in the most pedestrian "joke" about a national icon and fellow colleague by referring to him as a "dog" in his now-defunct blog. In my opinion, that was not just low-cut, it was downright scurvy.

Ever since, he seems to take a sadistic delight in playing below-the-belt stuff, even as he blames the cigarette-puffing SRK for his cocky arrogance.

But Khan's real indignation is about how a lonely struggling Dilliwallah stormed Bollywood and became it's undisputed ruler with a resounding territorial conquest, while despite his huge kinship and entrenched props in his own turf, Aamir Khan himself got forced into nebulous oblivion. His recent media-savvy excursions are a ham-handed effort to reclaim the throne that he think is an insider's birth-right, not an outsider's prerogative to capture. That's why the massive sulk. That's why, like Advani, there is an occasional display of shocking condescension for the "other" guy.

But life is ironical. Isn't it rather strange that in the daily maddening scramble in the April heat and dust-storm of Indian elections, all the PM hopefuls (and they are so many the laundry-list dries up my ink), Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad, Mr Gowda the Great, Mayawati, Ram Vilas Paswan, Naveen Patnaik, Advani et al are busy attempting every ruse, diabolical trap, and cloak and dagger games to somehow scramble to achieve a life-long ambition, while the modest, sincere Sardar is in London, representing India in the G-20 Summit, with perhaps the best personal knowledge about the current financial crisis in that elite lot of high-profile statesmen?

As someone once said---It's destiny. Danny Boyle will agree. I don't know about Aamir and Advani though.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bulldozing with Road Rollers & Shoes protests.

A small village in Pulwaria in Bihar. Yes that is where the earthy Lalu Prasad Yadav originated from. Oozing oodles of charisma propelled the mass leader’s ascent to the higher echelons of Indian politics.

That’s the Lalu we know who has endeared the Indian electorate for a near 3 plus decades. Lalu’s championing of a secular India is well chronicled. That a greater section of the political circle wields the secular stance to the political vantage across the nation is also amply evident in the annals of India’s 6- years of democracy.

Yadav’s penchant for accentuating the effectiveness of his people connects both at the election rally or on the floors of the parliament using sharp humor is legendary. Who can forget the “Agar tum hame na chaho to koi shikayat nahi hai , magar tum kisi aur ko chao to muskil hoga” quip at parliament aimed at the Left comrades during the high tension nuclear debate last year.

But the season that it seems is shaping into a season of hara-kiri as leader after leader has been caught on camera delivering hate speeches.

Kishangunj may well turn out to be Lalu’s waterloo.A wrong wicket for sure for the Yadav. We are all glad that the veteran is the Union Railway Minister and not the Home Minister. Lest he would have flattened young Varun for his “Cut the hands which raises its hand on Hindus” and the Osama likening of his opposition candidate at Pilibhit.

The 17 crore Muslims for whom Lalu spoke sure will not identify themselves with the road roller strategy nor will the billions of Hindu’s with the Varun speech. Elsewhere at Andhra Pradesh the AICC President D Srinivas too threaten to cut the hand of people pointing fingers on Muslims.

My fellow citizens, lets understand that Anti Muslim or Pro Muslim or Pro any minority isn’t or Pro Hindus aren’t ingredients of Secular platform. The platform simplistically emanates from a large hearted mindset of understanding and empathy of the other. A secular platform built on tolerance toward one another. Appreciation of the good essence of each religious caste or community.

Now what I outlined is not new nor is it alien to the every day life of Hindu, Muslim, Christians and Sikhs. Each day at Lucknow, Hyderabad it is a way of life. Be it Bandra, Shivaji Nagar, Charminar in the by lanes of Chandi Chouk or at the Lake City of Nainital.

Then why do we continue to allow opportunistic politicians like Raj Thackeray, Bal Thackeray, Advani, and now Lalu & Varun to sway our public opinion. Its time we put an end to yielding to such divisive forces and elect the ones focused on combating terror, recession and failing healthcare systems.

Today is also a day when we were glad that Lalu isn’t the Home Minister and a soft-spoken present Home Minister Chidambram took on the sick Sikh aggressors shoe fling protest. Chidambram reveled in the tight spot with a graceful presence of mind. Not allowing the situation to highjack the moment and requesting his personal security officers to be gentle on the Sardar.

Not pressing charges on the Jarnail Singh if viewed in isolation of the event is also an act of a mighty heart. Yet the politics of politics is such an opportunist that BJP and SP quickly swung into action scoring political brownie points.

Jarnail Singh might well have succeeded today in upping the ante on the 1984 Sikh riots case and the cause of Sikhs to be peeved with the reprieve handed to Mr.Piolt. Whether Congress persists and fields Mr.Piolt is another matter. The method of hate exhibition and displeasure by insulting the Union Minister and bringing disrepute to the journalists of the country is a damage done in greater proposition.

Imagine the plight of journalists who will be advised to leave their footwear outside when they enter a press conference. We are a nation whose freedom was won by a universally acknowledged form of protest. Non Violence! Non Cooperation!

The media is one of the important vehicle which brings instances bereft of tolerance and understanding. If people like Jarnail Singh act mindlessly and take a short cut to fame their credibility of being a messenger of tolerance takes a severe toll.

Bulldozing with a Shoe gate controversy or suggesting using a Road Roller to suppress another hate speech perpetrator with a hate speech of a different kind is a walk treaded down the wrong path.