Dr Jay Dubashi
THE Dynasty is furiously at work. In Jaipur last month, Rahul Gandhi took over as party vice-president with great fanfare, though the party does not have such a post. Let us be quite clear. It matters very little whether the man is vice-president or gardener-in-chief of the Congress, as that is an internal matter for them. What matters to us, or should matter, is whether the man will one day become prime minister and get us all into trouble.
Actually, we all know that such a thing cannot and will not happen. Rahul Gandhi, bless his soul, is never going to be India’s prime minister, for the simple reason that he doesn’t deserve to. Of course, in politics, anything can happen, whether you deserve it or not. But in this case, you can be quite sure he will never be prime minister. That is because the party is not going to win, next year or the year after that, or, for that matter, in five years time, because the people of this country have decided they have had enough of this party, and they will say no.
They did it in Bihar, then in Uttar Pradesh, and, a few weeks ago, in Gujarat. These are major states and they rejected him. They crowded around him, and listened to him, and they decided that the man was simply not up to the mark. The Indian voter is a clever soul, and he knows who is who. After all, he has been voting regularly for the last sixty-odd years and knows his onions. And when he makes up his mind, there is no going back.
The young man is actually a cipher – that is what one of the papers normally sympathetic to the party called him in an editorial – and has no record worth examining. But the party has a record going back over a hundred years, and it is patchy. However, this time things are different. In fact, the country itself is different and has changed so radically over the last few years that the past is no more a guide to the future.
It is a young country now and very demanding. For the first time in history, it has as many voters in cities as in villages. India is no more a pastoral country, the kind it used to be only a few years back. A city man thinks differently from a villager. While the villages beg for favours, the city man demands them.
The villages are getting empty as the people, or the so-called aam aadmi, or Mango People, as a relative of Rahul’s comtemptuously calls them, migrate to cities and towns, and crowd into schools and colleges, into McDonalds and Kentucky Chickens, and ask for jobs in factories and offices, leaving behind their farms and their cottages, and, of course, their past. This is a new generation that has no use for old fogies like Manmohan Singh or Digvijay Singh, who are the butt of jokes in buses and suburban metros, or, for that matter, for the likes of Sheila Dixit. They demand results and they want them now. And they are fed up with promises that are never fulfilled and targets that are never reached. And, of course, they are fed up with corrupt and lazy politicians busy lining their pockets and laughing all the way to Swiss banks.
Can a man like Rahul Gandhi, who has never held any job and has no experience of any kind, has never worked anywhere and has no idea what work is, can such a man stand up to such pressures? The voters saw him in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and decided against. He can rattle off figures supplied by his boys with computers, but the figures don’t mean much. You may have an Ahluwalia sitting in his air-conditioned igloo in Yojana Bhavan, manufacturing figures about this and that, something Yojana Bhavan has been doing for decades, assuring people that they and their families can live on twenty rupees a day, while he spends lakhs on his bathroom and lavatory.
The New Indian – which is what I shall call him – knows that most other countries overtook India long ago and are surging ahead. Countries like China that started about the time India did are now far ahead of us and may soon overtake the West. China is going to surpass America as the world’s No. 1 country in GDP in a few years time. South Korea is already a developed country with incomes close to those in the West. Even some of the Arab countries, now in the midst of the so-called Arab spring, have per capita incomes that are higher than those of India. Only Africa lags behind, but after all these years of so-called development, are we going to compare ourselves with Congo and Somalia?
Under the Dynasty, India has become a feudal country with all the attributes of a nation mired in Middle Ages. Nothing moves until the Dynasty gives a signal. The prime minister, if you can call him that, is more like a puppet on a string, with no powers and no voice. Which is why he clams up precisely when his voice should be heard. You can say that also about the new pretender, the so-called leader, who sat twiddling his thumbs when the girl was raped and killed in the Delhi bus, an atrocity that triggered headlines all over the world, but not at 10 Janpath, or wherever it is that the pretender to the throne stays. In fact, he is in the public eye only when there are elections, as it he was some kind of a contractor for elections, and has no connection with anything else.
Look how different things are in a real democracy like America’s. The US president has more troubles on his hands than all other nations put together. He must be a harried man, worrying not only about what happens in his own country but also all over the world. He has to look after two wars at the same time at a time of severe economic depression but that did not prevent him from fighting an election and coming out on top, not once but twice.
The first criterion of a genuine democracy is openness in government, which goes along with openness everywhere else. The presidents of the US are not nominated by their mothers. Nor do the mothers weep when their sons call on them.
This happens only in feudal, medieval countries, and used to happen during the Moghuls. We are now in the twenty first century but behave as if the Moghuls are still ruling the country, with their horses and camels, with the mothers crying over the shoulders of their sons in rooms reeking of incense. This is what the Congress party has been reduced to under the Dynasty. And we are still being threatened that there will be no end to this tomfoolery, and, instead of elections openly held and openly fought, as they do in real democracies, we shall continue to be hostages to a family for whom politics is a family business that must always remain firmly in their control, and to hell with everybody else.
Do they think we are fools?