The Armstrong Tactic
A few lessons our leaders, present and past, can take from Lance
Fallen cycling legend Lance Armstrong confessed on TV that he had doped. Here are 10 confessions our leaders and celebs should have made.
- Nehru-Edwina: Much has been written about the famed Jawaharlal Nehru-Edwina Mountbatten affair but all that was required from Nehru was to confess that Edwina was merely teaching him the art of bedroom diplomacy. We would have also better digested the fact that Nehru never loved Edwina as much as he loved himself. Alas.
- Indira Gandhi’s First Democratic Step: If only Indira Gandhi had confessed that the Emergency was in fact a step towards promoting free speech except that it would emerge from the hearts of minds of toadies. All she needed to tell a confused country was that the Emergency was never about the suppression of human rights but only to ensure that trains ran on time. Pity she was a poor communicator and instead resorted to censorship of her own beautiful mind.
- The Tolerant Rajiv: The Sikh riots of 1984 were never ever condoned by Rajiv Gandhi. When he made that famous utterance about a big tree falling, he was referring to a freak hailstorm in Delhi on October 31, 1984, which killed a prime minister and damaged Nehru Garden (no pun intended). But then he should have come clean and told us this. We would have understood his love for flora and fauna.
- Deepika Padukone and Sid Mallya: All they needed to tell us was there was never an affair, but only a fine arrangement to let the world know that both were straight and at times even the Prince of Good Times has to do more than play beach volleyball with 11 bikini-clad women.
- Baba Ramdev and a Lack of Sight: Everyone knows that Baba Ramdev can cure anything whenever he seeks to do so. He can be in drag clothing and still appear to be the robust male he would want everyone to admire. But a little known fact is that he screwed up his own left eye only so that he could tell the world that he too had one flaw: and it was not his aide from Nepal. But he needed to tell us that rather than escape into the night with some Delhi Police lover-boy.
- Mayawati and Pigeon-Care: I was waiting with bated breath for Mayawati to announce her enduring affection for pigeons. She never erected her own statues either out of vanity or for their longevity. She was doing it out of the abiding compassion she has for pigeons so that they could find someone to perch on. The handbags on these statues were kept open only so that the droppings fell in them rather than dirty the surroundings. But only if she had told us.
- Rahul Gandhi and the Art of Borrowed Speaking: Not everyone is an orator but then Rahul needed to tell us that he had a paper in front of him (from which he read) only to establish the fact that he (and not Ramesh or Pitroda) had written his emotional speech. The heart was all his as were the words. But then, since we listen to him so sparingly, we’d have never known if he hadn’t confessed.
- Nitin Gadkari and Renunciation: Why did Nitin Gadkari have to step down from the BJP presidential race only because some blokes from the I-T department raided him? He should have just been honest and told us that, during the course of that day, he was inspired by Buddha and Sonia Gandhi (in that order) and felt that renunciation would be the eventual passport to resurrection. We know he isn’t corrupt. Only his driver is.
- L.K. Advani and Abdication: In many ways LKA has made us believe all he lives for is to move into 7, RCR. But that is so not true. Advani believes in the Edwardian theory of abdication. One Edward did it for a woman and Advani has done it for two: his docile daughter and his ever-devoted wife. But he needed to set the context rather than come across as the eternal prime ministerial candidate that India will never have!
- Mamata Banerjee and Sanity: She is a much-maligned and deeply misunderstood woman. She would make Shakespeare’s Richard III look like a normal bloke. But the truth is that we have never given her the opportunity of clarifying or, more importantly, confessing. Only if Mamata were honest enough to tell us that she has no bouts of insanity. When she talks of beating up the prime minister, in essence she is talking of beating his record as an economist and there is no hint of rage and violence.
(Suhel Seth is managing partner of Counselage India. E-mail him at suhel AT counselage.com)