At a Feigned Remove?
I am late coming to Rahul Gandhi’s public confession showing a disinterest in both native wife and the coveted gaddi. Both admissions have been seen as one more instance of his reluctance to behave responsibly and make clear his political and matrimonial plans. Not surprisingly, he has been the recipient of widespread criticism from sage pundits and those eager to see a Modi vs Rahul contest. A close reading, however, of what he actually said proves that his friends and foes may have caught the wrong end of the stick.
The word he used for his prime ministerial aspirations was “priority”. Now priority does not mean aversion, it means that in Rahul’s packed in-tray, moving into 7, Race Course Road is not the top file. It is present in the heap but not marked ‘immediate’. He claims he has other matters to sort out, like democratising the Congress, and I see no reason why we should not believe him. Tactically, too, appearing to spurn the crown makes sense, especially when you consider that all the exertions of his principal adversary are designed to make clear which way he is headed. Please note I am not making a value judgement, perhaps Mr Modi’s tactic of announcing his ambition is better than Rahul’s tactic of keeping his ambition guarded.
Now, on finding a suitable wife for Rahul, I can understand that on some gin-fuelled, gossipy evening there is speculation on who he is going out with, or who he is not going out with. Nevertheless, this national obsession to quickly domesticate him so that he can breed healthy children for the federal good is puzzling. Surely, a bride for Mr Gandhi is the exclusive concern of Mr Gandhi himself, his mother and his sister. Incidentally, by remaining single he is contributing positively by ensuring a stable population graph.
Equanimity vs Nonchalance
Am I the only one in the country haunted by the calm, composed and dignified face of Parveen Azad, the wife of the murdered police DSP of Kunda? She has faced her interlocutors, usually TV camerapersons and politicians waving cheques, with an exemplary sobriety. As she fights for justice, one cannot help but feel for a young woman whose life has been cut down cruelly in its prime. Parveen wears her grief on her face with quiet determination. Missing is any wailing or weeping. It is as if she has kept all her emotions in abeyance till such time the killers of her husband are apprehended and punished.
Compared to her, the odious Raja Bhaiyya comes across as supremely confident and regal. No one can touch me, he seems to be saying. If anyone is foolish enough to try, he will meet the same fate as the police officer he had recently taken care of. It is no secret that assassins and tyrants freely roam our republic in the knowledge that they have the police and politicians in their pocket. Even by these appalling standards, Raja Bhaiyya’s body language and lordly nonchalance suggests a contempt for the rule of law I have not seen before.
A Game Gentleman
After the rantings and ravings of Ricky Ponting and the disgraceful on-field behaviour of his team, often laced with choice abuses, what a pleasure it is to watch Michael Clarke and his flannelled fools. They may have lost the first two Tests rather badly, but their conduct both on and off the pitch has been impeccable. It has won Indian hearts. Clarke made no excuses about the pitch or umpiring and candidly accepted that his team had been outplayed by a better side. If he had any criticism, it was for his own boys, criticism which has led to a mini-revolt. But that is not our concern.
Till date, unlike in the Ponting era, there has been no sledging or incident or altercation. The game has been played fair and square, thanks largely to the Australian captain—who has set an example by keeping personal standards of sportsmanship extremely high. Indian fans may be gloating over the rare thrill of inflicting a thrashing on an old cricketing enemy, who this time is on the receiving end. But in my book, the real hero of the current Indo-Aussie series, whatever its result, is Michael Clarke.
Not Huge on Chavez
For all its pretensions to objectivity and fairness, The Economist cannot hide its ideological bigotry. In the current issue, Hugo Chavez is given the full treatment on several pages of the journal. According to the magazine, Chavez was “rotten”, a “clown”, an “autocrat”, someone who brought his rich country close to ruin. I did not expect the late Venezuelan president to receive high or even low praise from The Economist, but this hatchet job is unworthy of an otherwise fine publication.
In my last column...
I referred to a distinguished retired editor who fell down at a party but was soon on his feet dancing. His name is not Khushwant Singh!
Vinod Mehta is editorial chairman, Outlook, and its founding editor-in-chief; E-mail your diarist: vmehta AT outlookindia.com
Vinod Mehta’s comment in Delhi Diary (Mar 25) that “for all its pretensions to objectivity...The Economist cannot hide its ideological....” was most amusing. For many Indians have the same outlook about another pretentious news magazine in India.
Abhijit Kane, Mumbai
Ohh! Can Outlook discontinue these wanton wanderings of the ex-Editor please?
Mr Mehta, in his Delhi Diary (Mar 25), seems unreasonably worried about the lack of clarity in the matrimonial/political plans in the mind of Rahul Gandhi. Don't worry, Mr Mehta! The sycophants will sniff the dynastic line in Priyanka’s children and worship them as saviours of our great democracy.
Lal Bahadur Shashtri
Raj Shekhar Reddy
May be Rahul is bright enough not to join the abovementioned illustious list of unfortunates. The funny thing is that conspiracy angle was never investigated. Though each one of these unfortunate deaths had far reaching consequences.
30D >> If Rahul Baba chooses a dalit girl from UP as his wife he has more chances for the "gaddi" than Modi ...
This woudl have worked 10-15 years back but not now..
People today are much more enlightened and they are not ready for entertainment as a substitute for good governance.
RVI >> Mr. Mehta does not have a single word to offer on the issue here. Guess he’ll be late coming to that topic as well.
He is waiting for instructions from 10 Janpath, to open his mouth !!
If Rahul Baba chooses a dalit girl from UP as his wife he has more chances for the "gaddi" than Modi ...
While Outlook is running a cover on the ‘Italian job’ l’affaire the two accused marines, Mr. Mehta does not have a single word to offer on the issue here. Guess he’ll be late coming to that topic as well.
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