Jun 07, 2023
Jun 07, 2023
He didn’t do this for the first time…in fact, with his mentors and advisors like “Jo Hua So Hua” ilk, he has done this on the foreign soil on many occasions in the past but doing this time at his familiar pitch, he has crossed all limits with no holds barred! Yes, this author is talking about the Indian politician Rahul Gandhi aka Gandhi scion, an ordinary member of parliament from a safe bastion in Kerala yet an undeclared leader and prime minister stuff of the country’s most famous political dynasty of the modern age. After nearly two decades in politics, while the Indian National Congress struggles hard to project him as a confident, visionary, forceful and credible leader, the skeptics and critics often ridicule him as an elite jester or wag ignorant from the country’s complex socio-economic fabric and realities. With the next parliamentary election approaching early next year, his more recent public appearances and utterances increasingly indicate that the dividing line between his prejudices and ground realities are fast disappearing or merging for him while he is merrily engaged in combating the non-existent demons and phantoms with Don Quixote tilting at windmills before the audience whether at the home or abroad.
What Did Gandhi Scion Do in United Kingdom?
Recently, this Congress MP from Wayanad, Kerala was on about 10-days long visit to the United Kingdom. During his stay abroad, he delivered a lecture in the Cambridge University followed by a series of interactions with various groups on the campus for few days. This was followed by his programmes in London for another few days where, besides delivering talk at the famous London think tank Chatham House and the British Parliament, he had reportedly held a series of meetings and interaction with the Indian diaspora, members of the political class, private business community leaders and members of the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) as also addressed a press conference organized by the Indian Journalists Association. Needless to mention, the Gandhi Family’s close aide, adviser and the IOC head, Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda alias Sam Pitroda also accompanied him through the major events and fixtures.
The fact of the meets and events organized during his stay in UK, immediately following his Bharat Jodo Yatra, give enough hint and evidence of the political motive and an attempt to deriving mileage from the foreign interests for the self and party keeping an eye over the parliamentary election due early next year. The salient features of the Gandhi scion’s some of the unique pearls of wisdom as delivered to his foreign audience, including India diaspora, are briefly as under:
These are few citations of a lot many things said and done in various events and meetings to justify his point how India has changed for the worse under the leadership of Narendra Modi, making a strong case for the foreign intervention for the change. Amongst the plethora of allegations and criticism at various forums, the Gandhi scion said that his 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' has demonstrated to the whole country what the real India was about…what Indian values are! What our religion tells us! What our different languages tell us! What our different cultures tell us!...that we are one country with many, many different ideas…and we have the capability of living together harmoniously without hatred, without anger, without disrespect. Then he added that on the other side (BJP and RSS), we have an ideology of hatred and violence; a disrespectful ideology that attacks people because of their ideas, this is the nature of the BJP and RSS. About his own courage and valour, the Gandhi scion added that he was not afraid of the criticism against him because it’s a fight between the courage and cowardice, the respect and disrespect, and the love and hatred…so more they (BJP & RSS) attack him (RG), the better is for him, because the more he would understand.
A Habitual Critic on Foreign Soil
It’s not the Gandhi scion alone, remarks of the other Indian leaders like Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai and even Narendra Modi on the foreign soil had occasionally evoked controversy and backlash back home. For instance, Prime Minister Modi is known for forging personal understanding with many world leaders during such visits and he shared a dais with the then US President Donald Trump in a rally at Houston, Texas in September 2019. During his speech, he uttered with a smile, “In the words of candidate Trump; Abki baar Trump sarkar”. In fact, the line was his own catchy slogan “Abki baar Modi sarkar” during 2014 general elections which was later proven to be as one of the most effective catchphrases in the history of Indian elections. Consequently, the opposition leaders back home interpreted this as the endorsement of Donald Trump by Narendra Modi and severely criticised him for interfering in the US election process.
Actually, the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has habitually done this by targeting the government and country for the last many years but this time he appears to have crossed limits. For instance, Gandhi scion had accused the BJP and Modi government in the US for the politics of hatred and violence, and favouring only the top hundred companies in India before an audience at the University of California, Berkley. During his visit to Germany and UK in 2018, he compared the RSS with the Muslim Brotherhood (a radical Islamist/ Terrorist Group) and blamed BJP for excluding dalits, tribal and minorities from development, alleging that similar exclusion politics has given rise to terrorist group like Islamic State in the past. During the same year, he demanded from the Malysian soil that demonetization scheme be withdrawn while in Singapore He charged the Modi government of divisive politics, and using anger and intimidation to win elections.
What the Gandhi scion chose to speak in Cambridge this month, somewhat similar utterances were made by him in May 2022 too while speaking at the India@75 event at the Cambridge University’s Corpus Christi College. There he said that a systematic attack was being made on institutions stamping out the conversation, adding further that the deep state, the CBI and ED were chewing the Indian state and eating it in the same way as in Pakistan. He specifically blamed PM Modi that he was deliberately leaving out a huge chunk of India’s population and together with the RSS fiddling with the foundational structure of India. During the same year (2018) in Bahrain, he alleged that the anger is visible in streets and the government is engaged in converting fear into hatred between the communities. Similarly, the current cry of the death of democracy in India from a foreign soil is not new: in April 2022 too, in a meeting with Nicolas Burns, the US ambassador to China and a former undersecretary of state at US State Department raising same issue, he said, “I don’t hear anything from the U.S. establishment about what’s happening in India. If you are saying partnership of democracies, I mean what is your view on what is going on here…”
Here this author would not endorse or approve what Mr Modi consciously or in spur of moment said about Donald Trump but this in no way harmed the interests of either nations yet the very political ecology hauled up him at home. Now when the Gandhi scion gives an open call to the US and the countries of European Union to rescue democracy in India, what does it imply or how far it is justified? Unlike the previous millennia, even the terms invasion and colonialism have now changed their forms and implications. In fact, it is difficult to understand the precise intent and sane elements in the Gandhi scion because on one hand, he blames PM Modi and his government for cowardice and timid approach towards China in handling its Line of Actual Control (LAC) engagement and standoff; on the other hand, he is found not only praising the value of harmony in China but also secretly indulging in liaison with them during conflict time. People tend to have a short memory but many would still remember the Doklam standoff.
It’s not that this author is raising this issue for the first time but those who are aware and have the knowledge of the Indian sub-continent often cite two milestone events of the past that changed the nature and course of the Indian history:
The aforesaid two historical events where the influential Indians conspired against own people by inviting and assisting the foreign invaders turned out to be paradigm sorts in establishing Islamic rule in the first case and colonial rule in the second case changing the course of the Indian history for worse.
Factual Position of Accusations Made
This accusation about the democracy and secularism by the Gandhi scion is not new and such attacks have been made by some political parties including other Congress leaders, a section of media and self-proclaimed liberals-intellectuals of civil society on many occasions nationally and internationally in connivance with interested Western media, now joined by some forces in the Arab world too. These accusations and attacks have been remarkably sharpened since the year 2014, after Mr Narendra Modi led government came in power with clear mandate and popular public support. A particular socio-political ecology evolved in this country after the independence focused on the Western culture and value system, special treatment and promotion of two minority communities and personal interests of the people comprising part of this ecology. As against this, the socio-political dispensation evolving under the new leadership not only talks about “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” but also it is actually engaged in translating this slogan to a realty which in increasingly leading to unemployment (loss of political ground) of the members of the aforesaid ecology.
The most ironical part of this imaginary problem is that the high pitch cry is made by the political parties, leaders and sympathizers, who never tried to implement or apply democratic principles in their own party but are merrily out to save democracy in India. The author is not keen for any criticism but some tidbits are necessary here to show mirror to such people at large. When it was pretty clear in 1946 that the British rulers would soon transfer power to the native people through the Indian National Congress, there were many senior and competent leaders in the Congress party to take mantle. The state Congress committees which were appropriate bodies to select/elect leadership, voted for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with massive mandate but this is yet another long story why and how Jawaharlal Nehru was chosen instead. Following this event, Nehru-Gandhi family and Congress became synonyms, thanks to the sycophants in the party, and anyone who shined or tried to come in the frontline was shown the door or thrown out. The story of this party democracy and succession is long but to cut it short, the Gandhi scion has neither ever functioned in government nor holding important post, yet he is emphatically representing the party within and outside country and all others are simply glorifying him as Tapaswi (ascetic) in public, cultured Indian leader abroad and tiger in Parliament.
The Gandhi scion has compared the RSS with Muslim Brotherhood with many accusations. In this author’s personal opinion, if any organization or outfit in this country is above the board and convincingly beyond the doubt, as for as its patriotic and nationalist sentiments are concerned, it is RSS with a long history of socio-political and humane service to the nation where some communities and interested people avoid endorsing or even using the terms like nationalism, Bharat Mata, Hinduism or Hindutva – symbolizing the Sanatana culture of this nation. Stints of the previous UPA government and some dynastic regional parties have been marred with corruption, favourism, nepotism, and so on; now when evidence based action is taken against the corrupt politicians and influential people by the concerned agencies and judiciary, instead of cooperating with the process, they are crying it foul making publicity and a case that the government is vindictive and purportedly framing them in false cases. When the opposition politicians started raising the charges of phone tapping through Pegasus software, many of them were requested by agencies to produce their phones for examination but, reportedly, none of them cooperated.
The Gandhi scion has accused that the voice of opposition leaders is muffled, their microphones are shut and they are not allowed to speak in the Parliament. The fact is that the speaker in Parliament only discourages unruly conduct of members and insists on following the due parliamentary protocol and procedure. Its altogether a different subject, but anyone can independent check to verify that the majority of crucial time allocated for legislative business and question hour in every session of the Parliament during the last 7-8 years have been wasted largely on account of the unruly conduct of the opposition parties/members. As for the condition of the dalits, tribals, minorities and women is concerned, apart from a large number of targeted developmental schemes, of the nine systematic campaigns undertaken for the whole country during the Amrit Kaal (2022-47), two of them are specifically committed for the welfare and development of the tribals, and women and children. Northeastern states remained largely unattended for the six decades after independence, PM Modi has personally visited to these tribal states 44 times during the last five years alone (2017-22). Ever since Awas Yojana with pucca houses for the poor was undertaken, about three crore houses have been built and allotted in the name of women in the family to empower them.
Aforesaid are just a few indicative and illustrative developmental initiatives taken for the marginal class and weaker section of the society, as a matter of fact, numerous schemes and programmes are currently under progress for inclusive development of all sectors and categories, including dalits, tribals, minorities and women. The last two Presidents of India have been elected from the dalit and tribal communities during the Modi regime. While passing on benefits of development schemes, the government has not discriminated any community or cast in the country. Of course, the Congress and some other self-proclaimed secular parties may still claim that minorities are discriminated or ignored by the Modi government because the flawed narrative of the secularism as adopted by the Congress after independence and special treatment of a select few communities has not been accepted by this government; instead, all communities are equally treated in development and opportunities. Of course, the Gandhi scion’s grudge is understandable because ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the Congress party is on record to have endorsed during the UPA stint that the minorities, especially Muslims, have first right over the national resources, the logic and rationale for this best known to them.
Sense of Entitlement is Harmful for Democracy
In the earlier paragraphs, the brief narratives of two well-known personalities from the history leading to the irreversible harms and far reaching tragic outcomes were made in the context of the pearls of wisdom delivered by the Gandhi scion to his audience during the recent UK visit. His fanciful allegations and utterances against the Modi government, RSS, BJP and nation, while reflecting his frustration, annoyance and indignation at home, are a clear reflection of his flawed ‘sense of entitlement’. Seeking foreign intervention and assistance in the name of the “restoration of democracy” but in reality to serve personal ambitions and restore his party to power is fraught with various kinds of serious risks and threats avoidable by all and sundry. Are the US and other Western European countries true exponents are democracy or they are simply driven by self-interests and the same old colonial mindset when it comes to the other developing countries? Besides, how trustworthy are foreign countries and such other agencies when it comes to territorial integrity, security and independence?
Now let’s see if the US and Europe have any legitimate right to intervene in India’s internal matters or, for that matter, what foreign government can or will do to in the name of restoring democracy in India. The categorical answer to both queries is a clear “NO”, any foreign country neither have right under any international law nor have power to intervene in India’s matters. At best, they can approach through the United Nations forum in the case of established wrongs or resort to subversive activities through coercion or enticement which in any case some of the Western media and institutions have already been unsuccessfully doing for long. The recent controversial activities and offensive of the American businessman and so-called philanthropist George Soros as well as BBC documentary against PM Modi and Hindenburg report on the Indian business tycoon Gautam Adani are, in fact, part of the similar agenda and conspiracy with the objective of “malign, discredit and bring down” the Modi regime; otherwise what business have Soros or Hindenburg with India and what is the rationale of circulating a documentary indicting Modi after 20 years when the issue has already been independently got investigated and closed by the Supreme Court of India years ago!
Of course, the motivation behind such adventures by the Gandhi scion in the foreign land is his strong ‘sense of entitlement’. Ever since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took over the Congress and government following the independence, the Nehru-Gandhi family and Congress party has functioned as synonyms of each other. Even when the party and/or government were not headed by a member of the dynastic family, the latter still exercised tight control over it. For instance, while Mr Manmohan Singh was prime minister during two Congress regimes from 2004-14 and a National Advisory Council (NAC) was constituted to guide and advise the government with the Party President Mrs Sonia Gandhi serving as the chairperson of the NAC. Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi continued to enjoy all powers and privileges during the regime without actually holding any government post or assignment.
In fact, Rahul Gandhi is on record to have slammed PM Singh for enacting an Ordinance that he didn’t like. So the Gandhi scion publicly tore the copy of Ordinance; needless to mention, the Ordinance was withdrawn without any further debate or susurration. Anyone who ever tried to follow independent course met like the nemesis of Sitaram Kesari or Narsimha Rao in the party. People have short memories but some would still remember how the then Party President Kesary was physically thrown out. Similarly, when then Prime Minister Narsimha Rao tried to implement new economic reforms deviating from the Nehruvian model and against wishes of ‘the Family’, he was discredited from the party for all time to come. So the real problem starts when one starts living or working with such a strong sense of entitlement which neither serves individuals nor the nation well; and is, in fact, harmful for both.
As could be seen from the aforesaid analysis, the Gandhi scion has repeatedly voiced against the present rival and ruling political dispensation abroad at times seeking foreign intervention for the alleged ‘restoration of democracy in India’. He did it maximum times in 2018 with parliamentary elections due early next year in 2019. So it is not surprising that he is indulging in it again with similar election due again early next year. In the past, regime changes have indeed been instigated by the foreign interests in the international sphere but the countries thus involved were mostly the Islamic regimes, military dictatorships, autocracies or communist/undemocratic regimes. The outcome of such interventions on each occasion too has seldom been favourable, mostly leading to military dictatorships, long civil strife, terrorism, or loss of territory in war. One wonders if the Congress party or members of the dynastic family have ever seriously evaluated or considered this position while bidding for the same in a large, complex and versatile democracy like India.
So why in the first place the Gandhi scion feels that the democracy has ended in India and the West should volunteer to help him in restoring it. Traditionally, the democracy had three pillars of Legislature, Executive and Judiciary – and now media added as the fourth pillar. All the pillars are functioning sans the interruptions in legislative work caused in Parliament and unwarranted criticism of Judiciary by the opposition if the verdict is not in their favour. The major change over the past governments’ functioning have been a more proactive, responsive and transparent top executive functioning to introduce and steer through many changes for the governance of the country. Quite obviously, a traditional “entitled” class is finding it difficult to reconcile and live with the changed environment, particularly when their traditional political pitch and ‘vote bank’ too is fast eroding. Notwithstanding this, the domestic rivalry should not be escalated to imaginary demons and phantoms in the global sphere and the Indian politicians must fight their battles at the home ground instead of seeking change of regime with foreign machinations and intrigues. The real game changer is the Indian electorate and true power rests with them.
More by : Dr. Jaipal Singh