What is cause for some chortling is the insinuation that my 'deconstruction' of the RG interview with Arnab Goswami was part of a PR exercise. Again, how can one blame those who, in Oscar Wilde's words, know the price of everything and the value of nothing? And does not taking a position that is opposite reveal another PR exercise?
'FirstPost' sought my permission to reproduce yesterday's post. It was published a couple of hours ago at their site.
I am conscious that all political parties have a publicity machinery, and some even have snoops. We aren't living in an idyll, however much we may wish to be idealistic.
There is also a need by voyeurs to make assumptions in keeping with their limited exposure and indulge in short-term dismissal because attention spans are short. No one is to blame. It is, shall we say, the system?!
However, of the many pieces I have written on RG, among others, I found this list of questions. It is extremely interesting to see how many of these featured on that mega-hit interview. Despite my antipathy towards Modi, I did not even bother to add him to my list.
Here is the post from Sept 15, 2012 in full
If Rahul Gandhi is going to play a bigger role “soon”, as he enigmatically put it, then he better be prepared to answer questions. It is two years away from general elections and no one yet knows much about him.
The post of the prime minister is not about distributing wheelchairs and hobnobbing with youth icons of questionable merit. I do not know about the rest of you, but I would like to ask him a few things:
1. What is his stand on reservations – for Scheduled castes/Tribes, Other Backward Classes, women, minorities, and a Uniform Civil Code?'
2. How does he view foreign investment as opposed to encouraging local industry, and if he does not see them as mutually exclusive then will he clarify?
3. What is his opinion on the role of the army, AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), separatist leaders, and Jammu & Kashmir?
4. If he stands by the nuclear deal, can he elucidate his reasons?
5. What are his views on foreign policy with the west?
6. Where SAARC and NAM are concerned, does he see India as a superpower or as an equal stake-holder and why?
7. On Indo-Pak relations, is he a hawk or a dove or some other bird, and does he believe that trade and people-to-people contact are sufficient for diplomatic ties?
8. Regarding terrorism, is he able to tell chalk from cheese and cheese from rat, or does he prefer to go along with the US “war on terror”?
9. What are his views on regional autonomy and how much leeway would the Congress give its allies in coalition politics?
10. Does he realise that giving sops to people/communities amounts to bribery, so what does he think about such corruption?
This is not an exhaustive list, but as a layperson I have no idea about how he thinks, and the two mum 'M's in his life - mummy and Manmohan Singh - are not of much help. Leave those mid-day meals and donation drives to people who need those jobs.
I do not want the BJP to come to power at the Centre. But, junking the devil for the deep sea only to find it shallow is no alternative.
To wit, let me just say that the blindfolded cannot see that others do have their eyes open.
(c) Farzana Versey
Also, do check out:
Dr. Do Little: Rahul Gandhi As Placebo
Rahul plays while Manmohan is away?