News Meeows - 11

One of Congress’ babalogs has come up with a new idea to revive the party’s fortunes in Uttar Pradesh. To counter the influence of caste politics — to be read as Mayawati and Mulayam — the plan is to spring Shah Rukh Khan as the chief ministerial candidate for the state.

Utterly shocking. I should hope this is just some tittle-tattle. The argument dished out is that film stars have been elevated to the top slot in the South, so it can be done in the North.

We have only the example of Jayalalitha and she had done a good deal of work with MGR. Irrespective of what anyone thinks of her policies and politics, this cannot be ignored. Shahrukh has no such exposure. And the reason itself is vile. Everyone knows about his run-in with Amar Singh and the simmering rivalry with Amitabh Bachchan. We cannot have leaders only on the strength of these.

Besides, only recently I read an article where the actor said he was too good-looking to be in politics. It is of course a casual comment, supposed to raise a few laughs. I only hope he continues to have such vanity and stays away from the field. ‘Capturing the imagination’ is not how the largest state, or any state or even tehsil, can be run.

It is also disturbing that the report comments, “It is to be seen if the idea finds favour with Rahul Gandhi. If the Prince gives his nod, then the party will go all out to chuck old style politics and King Khan might be seen in a new role.”

Prince? King? Where are we – in some principality being ruled by a monarchy? And whose Prince is Rahul? He has indeed been traversing through the UP landscape and has got the flavour of the state, but he still appears rather distanced. On what basis will he decide on the chief ministerial candidate? This is eerily reminiscent of the late Sanjay Gandhi. Fortunately, Rahul does not have the reputation of being a roughneck. That still does not permit him or whoever is trying to project him to make such important decisions.

Mellowing his stand against Muslims for the first time, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray trained his guns against Christians and attacked Congress leaders for cosying up to the US.

While I have opposed the nuclear deal, his other comments are pretty disgusting. He thinks Sonia Gandhi is fond of “Christian leaders like Margaret Alva, Union ministers like Oscar Fernandes and her son-in-law Robert Vadera”. He managed only three names and none of them is important enough in Indian politics, unless in Robert’s case (half Christian) keeping the daughter of India, Priyanka, happy in a marriage qualifies as leadership.

Margaret Alva is only a fairly regular TV face. Oscar Fernandes is rarely mentioned. I have no idea how Sonia Gandhi is expressing her fondness for them and how Balasaheb is privy to such affections.

Of course, his keeping quiet about Muslims seems rather worrying. Is it a diverting tactic?

In an interaction with her fans at New York, J K Rowling claimed wizard Albus Dumbledore was gay.

I have watched only one Potter film and quite enjoyed it. I like the magic stuff though this post is no place to analyse it. It would not have mattered what the wizard’s secual orientation was unless he did something really gay to earn his stripes.

Rowling is probably already bored that her last book on the subject is done with and she needs to keep that memory alive. The millions she made is not enough; money cannot buy you people’s recollection of what you produce. She is a canny businesswoman. During this year’s Durga Puja one tableau in Kolkata used the Harry Potter theme, including the castle. Rowling sent them a notice about breach of copyright and they had to dismantle it.

Come now, she could have just let it pass…her fans in India as elsewhere were queuing up to buy the book, part of the herd mentality zombies suffer from everywhere. (Ouch, it really wasn’t a swipe…) So urban kids stood in line like obedient students and shelled out the big bucks. Wonder if they would do it for our Panchtantra or Amar Chitra Katha stories (though again I think mythology isn’t the only way to learn) or even if someone brings out a really interesting children’s book.

No. I am quite certain. We just don’t have it in us to appreciate our own creativity.

Imran Khan on Ms. Bhutto

“Given the way that she has undermined democracy by siding with Musharraf, I don't know how Benazir has the nerve to say that the 130 people killed in those bomb blasts sacrificed their lives for democracy in Pakistan.”

Oh, she can, after all she referred to the tragedy as “inevitable”. Reminds me of the Rajiv Gandhi comment when the 1984 riots broke our and Sikhs were being killed, he had said, “there is a shaking of the earth whenever a big tree falls”

Potent pictorial comment

Caption states: Unable to take the strain of standing at attention for many hours, a constable falls in a dead faint at at Naigaon Police Hutatma Ground on Sunday. The constables and police officials had gathered at the ground to pay tribute to colleagues who died in the line of duty.

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