Sonia’s Boys Will Be Boys

Almost everyday, someone in this country is using khadi to wipe some part of their houses, some part of their person. I am quite certain they are not thinking about how they are insulting the Mahatma.

But it can happen:

Congress disapproved Union Minister Jairam Ramesh's controversial act of wiping his shoe with a garland of spun cotton given by party members while welcoming him at a public function in Rajasthan.
"In the life of a nation there are certain symbols and one should be more careful and sensitive about them," AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said reacting to the development.
The cotton garlands were offered to Ramesh by Congress office-bearers Rameshwar Dudi and Rampyari Vishnoi at a function on Monday. When the minister was sitting on a chair at the dais, he took off the garlands and put them on a table. After some time, he took a garland and cleaned his shoe.
Reacting sharply, the state BJP criticised his act and demanded an apology saying, "The garland is a symbol of Gandhi's spinning wheel. It (the act) is an insult to Gandhi's khadi."

A few points:

  • The BJP’s Gandhigiri we know about, so it is just adding to the political cacophony.
  • The only insult is that the garland was offered to him as a gesture and he ought to have respected it, whether it was a garland of marigolds or of sandalwood. There is no special symbolism about khadi. It can and does clean shoes.
  • People should be more concerned that this ‘humble’ fabric is sold at exorbitant rates by designer labels. In the life of a nation there is the common man, too.
  • Having said this, I wonder what prompted Jairam Ramesh to become his own shoeshine boy on a public platform. Was he in fact being Gandhian and telling the party membes that you must clean your own dirt?

- - -

Omar Abdullah declares:

“A young man was shot dead in Sopore yesterday for no apparent fault of his. Where the hell are all the irate voices??? Bloody hypocrites.”
For how many years has there been insurgency in Kashmir? How many people have been killed, by both the armed forces as well as the militants? Why this sudden looking for “irate voices”? Does the chief minister of J&K think that civilian deaths do not matter if militants kill them?

I understand that he believes that the issue of such killings by the authorities are taken up by human rights organisations, and they are silent. No, they are not. There are records of such killings. But, it must be remembered that a terrorist is not running a government or representing the country or in charge of its security. That is the big difference. People expect the security forces to not kill civilians. His comment makes one wonder whether:

  • He believes that all those killed by the army are at fault.
  • The fact that there are irate voices against establishment-ordered killings means that it happens and there ought to be equal vehemence in opposing it.

This is not about scoring points about decibel levels.

As for being bloody hyprocrites, how about the fact that the Centre-appointed interlocutor in Kashmir, Dileep Padgaongkar, had gone on one of Ghulam Nabi Fai’s junket conferences, and our home minister says that as this was before he became the interlocutor, it is fine? If there is criticism of Fai, then why not have a uniform response?

Mr. Fai’s links have been made much of, so where are the irate voices about the interlocutor’s role? Where is the “bloody hypocrites” declamation?

- - -

Mani Shanker Aiyer has called the Congress a circus. Why?

"Those who have got their work done visit 10, Janpath (Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence), while those with some hope of getting their work done visit 23, Willingdon Crescent (the residence of the Congress Chief's Political Secretary Ahmed Patel). Those who have lost all the hope and are dejected come to 24, Akbar Road (Congress' headquarters)".
I don’t think he has visited a circus in a long time. What he is describing is different phases of love. They can be encapsulated in a few phrases from a few songs, light and dark:

  1. Porgee phaslee re phaslee
  2. Mujhko thodi lift kara de
  3. Koi hota jisko hum apna, hum apna keh lete yaaron…

Unless, of course, Mr. Aiyer meant the circus in the film Mera Naam Joker. In which case, it would be apt to address him:

kehta hai jokar saara zamaana
aadhi haqeeqat aadha fasaana
chashmaa uthaao, phir dekho yaaro
duniya nayi hai, chehra puraana

Bhool gaye kya apne din?

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