UPA'sfrenzy of appeasement
By N.S. Rajaram
There is a famous Sherlock Holmes story (The Silver Blaze), in which the great detective notes the ?curious incident of the dog in the night-time?. Inspector Gregory is surprised. ?The dog did nothing in the night-time,? he exclaimed. ?That was the curious incident,? remarked Sherlock Holmes.
This pretty much sums up the behaviour of the ?Super PM? Sonia Gandhi following the string of terrorist outrages from the Imrana disgrace to the Ayodhya attack, and now the London bombings. A ?leader? who never misses an opportunity to get some cheap publicity?witness her rushing to Tonk after the shooting tragedy and her recent statements about the Gujarat floods?has remained all but tongue-tied in the face of these terrorist horrors. What is behind this curious act?
Her one statement, following the attack on Ayodhya, gives a clue to her real concern and intent. She did not outright denounce the terrorist attack as even the Pakistanis did. No! She appealed in the name of ?secularism? to stand ?as a rock against the divisive forces?. We all know that ?divisive forces? is her code language for Hindu organisations. And then she went on to criticise not to ?politicise? the attack on Ayodhya, which her faithful crony Dr. Manmohan Singh parroted on foreign soil! To please the Madam he went a sordid step further by adding the epithet ?cheap?.
Spiritual terror: From Shah Bano to Imrana
Pray, why should a terrorist attack not be politicised? Is there a more important political issue in India?or in the world for that matter?than terrorism? Express columnist Tavleen Singh put it in the right perspective, calling the fight against terrorism a war and ?… a war India is losing because the Sonia-Manmohan government has given it less importance than it gives to ?secularism?. Its fight against ?communal forces? is no more than a political fight to keep the BJP out of power…?
Smt Singh is right in essentials, but does not get to the real heart of the matter. The issue is not secularism so much as protecting oneself at whatever cost to the nation? or even to the world. Sonia Gandhi has a single point agenda: safety and security for herself and her family, and to hell with the rest. She is prepared to ?sacrifice? everything else to that end. She knows very well that the greatest threat comes from the Islamic groups; so they are the ones to be appeased?not the BJP, RSS or anybody else. And one way of keeping the Islamic forces happy, she hopes, is to abuse the Hindus to divert attention from Muslim atrocities. Let us not lose sight of this central fact by chasing red herrings like ?secularism? and ?divisive forces?.
Once we recognise this, her seemingly inexplicable behavior becomes explicable. Recall her rush to lecture on ?extremism? at the Bin Laden family founded Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, within weeks of the September 11 attacks. In her talk she never mentioned Jihadi terror but talked vaguely of extremism and fundamentalism. And this just before the Gujarat elections where her antics ensured her party'srout. She has never once uttered the word Jihad in public. One wonders why?
Recognising this primal fear explains also Sonia'sstudied silence over the Imrana outrage, which has now gone international following Salman Rushdie'scolumn in The New York Times. What will she do next? Get a bill passed in Parliament as Rajiv Gandhi did in the Shah Bano case and legalise the whole thing?
This should lay to rest one of the myths of our time?that Sonia Gandhi is the most powerful politician in India. Nothing of the sort. The unconstitutional position of UPA chairperson is the most powerful one in the government. It is occupied, however, by a craven individual who feels she has to give in to any demand from any quarter? the Communists, the Naxalites, Lalu Yadav, and most of all, the Islamic fundamentalists.
Where does it leave India? Here is what Smt Tavleen Singh had to say in her column: ??it [survival at all cost] has taken such precedence on this government'spolitical agenda that terrorism does not even appear except at the bottom somewhere in very small print.? Sonia'ssurvival is tied to the UPA government'ssurvival? or at least she acts as if it did.
In a strange way, Sonia Gandhi finds herself in the same situation as General Musharraf. He has to remain Army Chief and at the same time keep appeasing the Islamists. Or else he cannot survive. Sonia is in a similar position: she has to be in power, to keep appeasing the Islamist forces, but still keep attacking the very people whose protection she needs. Let us not forget that the people protecting her, the security forces, are overwhelmingly Hindu. It is they that are being asked to lay down their lives to protect her and her family. But she still keeps abusing her protectors to keep the Islamists happy.
Winston Churchill once described an appeaser as ?one who keeps feeding a crocodile in the hope it will eat him last?. It is a wish that is never fulfilled but the hope never seems to die.
A ?leader? who never misses an opportunity to get some cheap publicity?witness her rushing to Tonk after the shooting tragedy and her recent statements about the Gujarat floods?has remained all but tongue-tied in the face of these terrorist horrors. What is behind this curious act?
Sonia Gandhi'splace in history is clear: like the late Rajiv Gandhi whose name will for ever be associated with Bofors and the Shah Bano surrender, Sonia'sname will be synonymous with the skeletons in her closet?from Quattrochi'swheeling and dealing to the KGB payoffs?and now the Imrana outrage. The horror of this is that the Shah Bano-Imrana disgrace cannot be swept into obscurity by Sonia'ssilence. It is now a disgrace before the world?thanks to Salman Rushdie'sNew York Times article.
It is no longer just a Rajiv and Sonia disgrace, but India'sdisgrace, just as surrender to terrorist forces is not just India'sproblem but the world?s. The real challenge is now before Dr Manmohan Singh, holding the constitutional office of Prime Minister? not some shadow position hidden in a closet. It is a defining moment for Dr Singh. He can either rise to greatness or go down in ignominy. There is no middle ground. The choice is his.
(The writer is a scientist and historian.)