O son of Prtha, in this world there are two kinds of created beings. One is called the divine and the other demonic. I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities. Now hear from Me of the demoniac. (Verse 6) Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behaviour nor truth is found in them. (Verse 7)”
–Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16
Political parties are formed to gain power through the Constitutional process of the respective countries, and in a democracy, it becomes all the more important as through the political parties people get the choices about policies and programmes. In the long process of electioneering, what kind of language is permissible in the election and who will decide that is the key question that is debated in Bharat? Though the Election Commission and the Supreme Court are making the judicious intervention as per the complaints received to these Constitutional bodies, the perception of common voters and self-restrained by the political leaders hold the key. Whether a former Prime Minister can be invoked in a campaign can be discussed from different perspectives, but if you can ask vote in the name of lineage from the same Prime Minister, then you also are answerable to the acts of omission and commission of your family.
What is most interesting in this battle of words is the invocation of an iconic villain from Mahabharat, ‘Duryodhana’. First of all, using such analogy for the incumbent Prime Minister is not in tune with the democratic ethos but those who have tried to draw this comparison makes it more interesting. It seems new kind of Mahabharat is being narrated in the battle for the future of Bharat.
Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, who till recently was a seasonal politician, and otherwise, a private person with her husband suddenly targeted the Prime Minister and equated his behaviour with the ‘arrogance’ of Duryodhana. What does Duryodhana stand for?
First and foremost, Duryodhana is the epitome of the dynastic claim over the throne in the known history. Duryodhana’s hatred for the Pandavas stems from his sincere belief that he is the only heir apparent to the throne of Hastinapur being the elder son of Dhritarashtra. Because of his blindness, his father had to renounce the throne in favour of the younger Pandu which he wanted to reclaim. This mindset of fiefdom is detrimental to democracy. The heir of the Nehru-Gandhi-Vadra family who claims exclusive right to rule over Bharat making such reference to the Prime Minister who rose from a humble background and through organisational machinery is unpalatable.
The real war of Mahabharat was not just for power. Pandavas were ready to give away the claim over the kingdom of Hastinapur against five villages. Duryodhana was not ready for that also. The real war was for Dharma and Adharma. After demonising the entire Hindu society with a ‘terror’ tag now touring temple to temple is not just hypocrisy but an act of Adharma. Monopoly over power and now allowing even own family members to rise as per their ability and due claims are the traits of Duryodhana. In the politics of Bharat, who ensured even their own family and party members not to emerge as competitors are known to everybody. Who is behaving like Duryodhana then?
Wickedness and manipulation of resources for personal gains were another set of characteristics displayed in the form of Duryodhana. Right from Nehru’s time now taking any responsibility for institutionalising corruption and justifying claims over abuse of Government machinery for the family interests are the traits of Duryodhana this country has witnessed in modern times. The punishment given to the Congress party in 2014 was for this arrogance and inability to address the issue of corruption. Without answering any of them if somebody tries to play a gamble for proving others as corrupt, then it is a clear sign of followers of Duryodhana.
If the new emerging Nehru-Gandhi scion wants to touch the chord with the masses of Bharat, then she along with her brother has to go through the original epics and should understand their influence on common masses. That looks very difficult to understand the message of Gita for the dynastic claimants as they grew up listening to the story of ‘Joan of Arc’. This perhaps is the reason for out of context reference to overheard ‘Duryodhana’.