Shivraj Patil, Vilasrao Deshmukh and RR Patil are typical cases of scapegoating and distracting people'sattention from the real culprits of compromising national security?Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the intellectuals who act as apologists for jehadis. The two Patils and Deshmukh are out.
First the term scapegoat, which has an interesting history. According to www.wikipedia.org, ?The scapegoat was a goat that was driven off into the wilderness as part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in Judaism during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem… Since this goat, carrying the sins of the people placed on it, is sent away to perish, the word ?scapegoat? has come to mean a person, often innocent, who is blamed and punished for the sins, crimes, or sufferings of others, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.?
The term scapegoat fits perfectly to describe the story of Shivraj Patil, Deshmukh, and RR Patil. Yes, they have erred ignominiously; Shivraj Patil made himself the butt of jokes by pursuing a sartorial perfection in times of crises and frequently issuing idiotic statements. Deshmukh and RR Patil also besmirched themselves by not restraining Raj Thackeray; in fact, they covertly supported him. And, of course, they also proved to be absolutely unprepared to face terror. Even in the aftermath of the attack, RR Patil again put his foot in mouth by saying, ?Such small things keep happening in a big city.?
By any reckoning, the three are grossly incompetent. But, paradoxical though it may sound, their incompetence proved to be their USP; in the case of Shivraj Patil, it was particularly true.
Shivraj Patil'sonly qualification to occupy the high office was that he is a loyalist of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. He has no mass base; he could not even win his own Lok Sabha seat. This was the reason that Congress president Sonia Gandhi made him Home Minister. Yeah, that'sright; let'sstop believing in the fiction called prime minister'sprerogative.
Shivraj Patil proved to be as pliant as she had wanted him to be. He was used as a tool to further the policy of Muslim appeasement. She is against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal or tough action against jehadis; Shivraj Patil carried out her orders unquestioningly. He was the puppet; Sonia, the puppeteer.
This was the reason he was persisted with, despite continuous demands for his dismissal by not only the Opposition but also Congress leaders and important allies. But suddenly, She-who-must-be-obeyed has realised that ?decisive action? is needed. At the recent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, she said, ?We can no longer sit back and let these attacks overwhelm us… The nation is looking to us for decisive action and determined leadership.?
Few are likely to ask a simple question: why was he allowed to carry on for so long? One can expect her quandary vis-?-vis Telecom Minister A Raja and Health Minister A Ramadoss; she has to tolerate the idiosyncrasies, idiocies, and improprieties of allies; but in the case of Shivraj Patil, there was absolutely no pressure on her to persist with him. Further, all his acts of omission and commission were ordered by her. The puppet became the scapegoat.
Sonia Gandhi'scheerleaders in the media always ensured that her name never appeared among the list of people responsible for compromising national security. Every time jehadis carried out bomb blasts or murdered security personnel, Shivraj Patil was the one who, like a lightning rod, received and absorbed all criticism. She usually appeared as a benign, if not divine, figure, anguished by the grief of victims. Often, there would be reports in which Sonia Gandhi would be shown, a la Florence Nightingale, talking to the wounded in hospital.
Unfortunately, Sonia and her cronies in the Congress are not the only ones responsible for the deteriorating security situation. Our intellectuals are equally, if not more, culpable in creating a climate of opinion prohibits a thorough analysis of jehad and jehadis. Consider this gem from Jug Suraiya (The Times Of India, November 29: ?That a squad of reportedly no more than 20 murderous psychopaths (no, don'tcall them jehadis, or fidayeen, whose root in classical Arabic refers to those who give their lives for another, or for a cause; let'sat least get our nomenclature right: they are out-and-out psychotic criminals) could hold to siege for more than 36 hours the financial capital of a nation of over one billion people revealed with sickening impact the soft underbelly of the republic.?
Notice the sophistry. The young, heavily indoctrinated murderers are not jehadis! How else is one supposed to describe the Lashkar-e-Taiba men? Disciples of Mahatma Gandhi? In an article in April 2005, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan'sAmbassador to the US, wrote that the Pakistan-based LeT is a jehadi group of Wahhabi persuasion, ?backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services.? According to Haqqani, ?Lashkar-e-Toiba has adopted a maximalist agenda for global jihad.?
Haqqani is surely not a member of any Hindu ?communal? group; and, being a Pakistani, he knows more about the jehadis than any Indian liberal does. But Suraiya and intellectuals of his persuasion refuse to see the truth. And they continue to spread lies.
The relationship between the Congress leadership and intellectuals is symbiotic in nature. Mendacity is the heart of this symbiosis. When the truth asserts itself?as it did in the event of the Mumbai attacks?some or the other scapegoat is found. The latest scapegoat is Shivraj Patil, who has been relegated into the political wilderness.
(The author works with The Political and Business Daily.)