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I have been obsessing over something Mr Arun Shourie said in his Humpty Dumpty Interview:
"There is a line of Firaq (Gorakhpuri),
‘ab woh yaad bhi kam aate hain, ab dard bhi kam hota hai’"
It reminded me of Faiz's sh'r from the ghazal 'dil meN ab yuuN tere bhuule hue gham aate haiN..." in dast-e-sabaa:
aur kuchh der naa guzre shab-e-furqat se kaho
dil bhii kam dukhtaa hai vo yaad bhii kam aate haeN
Is anyone here familiar with Firaq's work? Or could it be that Mr Shourie was just misremembering and misquoting?
I think I have heard or read him use this line before. I only have Firaq's Gul-e-Naghmaa handy and the Google searches also throw up only Faiz.
I am sure the collective memory of our readers would be far more than any of the search engines.
Objective type questions asked, and to be answered, subjectively:
1. When exactly did Mr Jaswant Singh realise that the BJP is an Indian version of the KKK?
2. If BJP had come to power in 2009, would Mr Jaswant Singh have decided to remain a conservative with truth?
(b) Of course not!
(c) Well, perhaps not
(a) Rupa & Co
(b) They don't have elections coming up
(c) They are busy watching TV
4. If Congress in Gujarat feels that the book does deserve to be banned in Gujarat, why does the party not ban it throughout the country?
(a) Because of the aam aadmi
(b) They are busy watching TV
(c) To prove their liberal credentials
5. Mr Advani says that Mr Nehru got Mr Patel to ban the RSS. Does Mr Advani feel that Mr Patel was so weak-minded as to have done "anything contrary to his conscience and his views"?
(a) He doesn't know
(b) He couldn't care less
(c) We couldn't care less
6. Why did Mr Jaswant Singh stop Mr Vajpayee from resigning? Why did Mr Vajpayee actually not resign? Why did Mr Jaswant Singh not resign then? Would that not have put the party on the backfoot?
(a) Don't Know
(b) Can't Say
(c) Won't Say
7. Does Mr Arun Shourie also feel that Rajiv Gandhi's "when a big tree falls" and Narendra Modi's invocation of Newton's third law of motion were justified?
(a) Of course
(b) Perhaps yes
(c) Didn't you know?
8. Will Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni now get Mamta Bannerjee to name a train the Stalin Express?
(a) He will try
(b) The train has already left
(c) You think he is working for Mr Karunanidhi or what?
9. Who explained Mr Arun Shourie's literary references to Mr Rajnath Singh? Or is it that nobody could, since it might have required “an IQ of more than 60” as Mr Chidambaram had long ago pointed out? Is that why Mr Shourie has been asked for an explanation? Does Mr Rajnath Singh actually wish that he were in a dream --sorry, a nightmare-- like Alice that he would wake up from? Or would we soon be getting a version of the Walrus Was Paul?
(a) RSS feeds were not subscribed
(b) It is the party's prerogative
(c) Wait for Mr Arun Shourie's Gang of Six journalists to plant stories
10. Is it all just a giant conspiracy by Rupa & Co who are colluding with Congress party? Or are they trying to persuade Mr Rajnath Singh to publish the selected letters received by him from the likes of Yashwant, Jaswant, Shourie, Khanduri et al?
(c) All of the above
In all that focus on Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Blunderland and Tarzan, and on Mr Vajpayee's wanting to remove Mr Modi in 2002 and all that happened during Kandahar, what seems to have escaped attention is that Mr Arun Shourie also briefly expounded on what happened in Gujarat, and very much proceeded to offer his own version of "when a big tree falls" and Newton's third law of motion
After pointing out that he "was more affected by Atalji’s pain than by what had happened in Gujarat" and "Maybe this is my inhumanity or something. I can’t claim that I was that great liberal," he went on to say:
"but I must say that I was not all the time for this, that Modi has to go because of the killings, because in my view such things happen as a reaction, as happened in Delhi as a reaction to (Indira) Gandhi’s brutal killing. You can’t then prevent those things. Nobody can prevent those things. "
Shekhar Gupta: Or you need to be an extraordinary leader like Patel to prevent it.
Arun Shourie: Yes. But that is a very rare person.
Shekhar Gupta: But that is what leadership is all about, to do the right thing at the right time.
Arun Shourie: But there is another point to leadership. That is moral authority. You can’t run around behind every policeman and say, ‘No, no you are not checking the riot’. So you must have moral authority... Unless you have that, you cannot control police persons or anybody in such situations.
Shekhar Gupta: I do know that this always rankled with Vajpayee, that he was thwarted.
Arun Shourie: Yes, no doubt about that.
Shekhar Gupta: And I think he finally accepted with resignation that maybe this was too central to the party’s core, he was not able to defy it.
Arun Shourie: Well, either it is the party’s core or it may be his understanding of society. In my view, it is not so much about party as this is about humans... After all, in Delhi it was not the party, it was Congressmen. That is how societies react. If the state abdicates its authority, the state will take its revenge.
This is not how those who saw 1984 or 2002 and have dealt with issues of law and order felt. Why, even the person he quotes with great respect on Kandahar, Mr KPS Gill had said about 2002 in this very programme that the "riots" could well have been controlled:
The mobs were coming like Chinese waves.
They were coming in waves and the people who were affected were constantly ringing up and there was no adequate response. All this cannot just be explained by political pressure. At some point of time you have to stand up and say enough is enough.
In this case the police officers?
Entirely the police officers. The law authorises them to shoot, not the political leaders. You can order an inquiry later on, but that’s a different matter. The police officer has to realise he’s not just an officer but also a human being with a conscience.
...You know, the only time I’ve slept badly in my life was in Gujarat. Just hearing the descriptions of what was happening. Never before, never after. Some of the things that happened there were horrible. If you have to maintain law and order you have to be even-handed. You have to apply it every minute.
What do you think of Mr Shourie's claim that "You can’t then prevent those things. Nobody can prevent those things."?
It was Arun Shourie's turn to have a go at BJP, in particular its President Rajnath Singh and Mr Advani. One of the highlights -- a reconfirmation of what Mr Jaswant Singh had said about how Mr Vajpayee wanted Mr Modi to resign after Gujarat riots in 2002 and it was to be done during the BJP's national executive meet at Goa in April 2002 and how there was a "coup" against him.
Arun Shourie says "you will miss the point entirely if you think, “Oh, this is about the BJP... Oh, this is about the Congress...” Instead of concluding that I am out to convey some “hidden meanings” and trying to figure these out, think of your own party or organisation, the party or organisation that you know best, from the inside — the Congress, the BJP, the Communist parties, the regional parties: Telugu Desam, the DMK, the BSP, the AGP":
The factor most responsible for the rout has been the state to which the leader and his circle have reduced the party as an organisation, but that is the one factor which the leader and his cohorts will not admit into the discourse. Is the party seen as, is it in fact different from the others? Are its candidates any different? Is every unit of the party not riddled with factionalism? That these are the reasons for the setback is manifest to all. But the leader and his circle would have none of them — for that would immediately raise further questions. The party is no longer different from others? Who has allowed the party to sink to this level where it cannot be distinguished from the very parties it has been denouncing? The candidates are no better than those of the rivals? Who has selected the candidates? Factionalism has been allowed to continue? Each state faction has a line to some ringleader in the central cabal? Who has allowed the factionalism to fester and swell?
They blame others — the rival party; the third party that has stolen their vote; the accidental reason on account of which a section whose vote was to have split got consolidated; the youth; the middle class; the poor who voted on money, the rich who did not vote; the holidays on account of which so many went out of town; the disenchantment with the party’s ally in one state, the absence of an ally in the other; the anti-incumbency factor against us in this state, the advantage that the rival party had in the adjacent state of being in office and thereby being able to use the state machinery; the ‘shameless’ use of money and muscle by the rival... In a word, everyone and everything other than themselves.