In the vacations after my Class XII, I developed a fondness for the Deccan Herald Quick Crossword. So did my mum. We’d crack it together every morning after breakfast. Soon I moved to Surathkal, but we didn’t stop solving the crossword together… those were the hallowed days of free Reliance-to-Reliance calls.
But for the past year, this hobby has suffered a blow. I leave early, and my mum can’t wait to be done with the crossword in the morning… and she can’t call me while doing it, as I’m busy. When I get back home, I see a half-solved crossword with so many scratches and pencil and pen marks I don’t feel like solving it anymore… and when I come home, my mum is out and only comes back a bit later…. so, well… we don’t anymore solve the crossword together.
But of late, we’ve discovered another pastime which doesn’t require a pen and paper, or even as much time as a crossword. All it seems to require is my mum.
Now, mum has this uncanny ability to remember and match faces. So today if she gets a glance at you, and sees your sibling/parent/offspring a year later, she’d say, “Hey, isn’t this the sibling/parent/offspring of the person we saw last year?”. She can match cousins within one level of removedness…. that’s my mum.
So now what I do is I show her images of the Youth Brigade of the UPA government. She tells me who the parent of this young politician is. Like I show her a picture of a Northeast girl, who can pass off as my batchmate… she correctly identifies her as PA Sangma’s daughter. She looks at the huge images of the new Speaker of the Parliament and says “Jagjivan Ram’s daughter”. Same for Jyotiraditya and Sachin. She didn’t have any problem identifying HD Revanna as he was in the same college as her once upon a time.
But that outlier apart, this game is a good bit of fun. I suggest you try it with your parents or grandparents.
My political leanings are well known; I’ve all but yelled it from the rooftops.
And for those of you who were concerned about my state after this…er… shock, I’m fine even expected such an outcome, though not like this.
So, anyway, the following bits are to justify the title. I wanted to actually make it ‘Say it’s not true’, after the Queen+Paul Rodgers song for World AIDS Day, but then this Advani phrase suits it better.
My first concern has been about this evil of reservations. And that there is an order of priority according to religion, to claim the country’s resources. If all goes well in the next three months, and for six-seven years following that, I’ll be free of all this nonsense. But what about the rest of the country? The heart bleeds.
The next thing has been about the blatant selling of our national interest. The N-Deal for one. It should have been renegotiated.
The most important thing however is the security issue. I’ve come close to getting blown to bits, but thankfully escaped.. once was at Forum Mall, another was at Army School. Both places they detonated bombs. And then there was the frenzied set of phonecalls to relatives in Mumbai and those in Delhi. I can (thankfully) only imagine the levels of anguish folks who’ve lost loved ones in terror attacks go through. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. I can’t bear to watch millions of innocent lives being compromised for cheap motives like staying in power.
And then there’s the issue of Assam and the North-East. The place is overrun by illegal immigrants, a potential security threat. And everyone concerned as of now, apart from the BJP and maybe the AGP chooses to look the other way, or even encourage it for electoral gains. Separatist movements are on full swing, violence is a daily occurrence. No one else seems to have reached out to these separatist groups, tried to begin a peace process. And integrate the North-East with the rest of the country. That is one region which shares more border with other countries than with our own. And China is encroaching on the borders, and Manmohan doesn’t seem to be having sleepless nights about that.
Freedom of worship is yet another thing. Proselytization has reached new heights, and is slated to continue. A minister of state calls our gods names and no one says a thing? And he doesn’t bother to apologize?Symbols of our faith are encroached upon, and no one seems to turn a hair. The levels of polarization society is seeing now has had no precedent.
I don’t care if the people in power are young or old. I don’t give a damn if they are rich or poor either. They can be illiterate for all I care. All I ask for is some amount of patriotism. Of what use is competence when you don’t look at the country and your countrymen with love and a feeling of belonging? I find that sorely lacking in the UPA and the Left, who put party and self interests above national interest. And who don’t seem to take pride in being Indian. They have the ‘We are a third-world country’ mentality instead of a ‘We can/need to be a first-world country’.
So for five years, I’ve been hoping for a change in governments, cringed at all the injustice meted out by the establishment, and have seen an increasing number of people turn anti-UPA. But, well, I guess my sample space was localized… as is seen in the near-sweep of BJP in Karnataka, and the whole of Bangalore Urban. I was surprised Sangliana and Jaffer Sharif got beaten. And that Ananth Kumar was trailing for quite a while.
They say it’s good the Left is out… but now there’s nothing to stop Manmohan bending backwards to US demands, and considering it’s Obama, he’s surely going to demand his protectionist pound of flesh. And have his own solutions for the Kashmir problem.
On a more positive note, now the Congress can’t hide behind the excuse of the Left preventing development from taking place. It’s also good to see a non-fractured mandate, though one hopes it isn’t Amar Singh the Congress allies with. And now that their position is secure, hope they concentrate more on development than on nurturing votebanks.
On a lighter note, searches for ra_hul_ga_n_dh_i_s_girl_fr_iend are up again. Not scheduled to go down anytime soon, I guess. Folks say they are looking for the image of the future bahu of the nation, and by extension, the future kingmaker of the nation.
And for so long, the BJP’s slogan has been “Advani For PM”. Now that they have to sit in the opposition, it’s going to be “Advani Against PM”.
PS: On a personal note, I didn’t stick around watching the counting unfold (I can’t watch India lose a cricket match, d’you think I can bear to watch it lose its pride, wealth, and everything else?) and so I actually managed to get stuff done. Not everything went my way, but my laptop mysteriously came back to life this afternoon… (it had died a week or so back) hurray!
Just done with the morning paper where the PM’s security arrangements for his trip to Sri Lanka are discussed. They seem quite extravagant this time, due to the Tiger threat. Reminded me of the other time there was a Tiger threat with the Congress….
It is a known fact that Sonia Gandhi distrusted R&AW, and Indian intelligence in general. When her children were travelling in Europe, it was an Italian security agency that provided the needed security cover for the children of the then PM. When Raul and Bianca (apparently that’s what they were christened… can anyone confirm the (un)truth of this statement? While it sounds probable and not really something you can crucify Sonia on, it sounds suspiciously like the product of a Sonia-is-Italian-to-the-tips-of-her-toes person’s imagination) were crossing from one European country to another, one of the European agents there considered it his duty to inform his Indian opposite number of the same… when he was met with surprise and disbelief – the Indian secret agent had no knowledge of the PM’s kids being in the vicinity. And the European then quipped, “The movement of the Indian PM’s children are known to the Germans, the Italians and the Spaniards, known to all other than the Indians”.
Sonia Gandhi later went on to dismiss Indian security forces and bodyguards of the PM as ineffectual, and went on to embarass them for the same. She rubbed salt in their wounds when she made them train under Italian security personnel – a double snub as not only were Italian agents considered so inferior that their Indian counterparts didn’t even consider them worthy of even exchanging tips with, but our men were forced to train under them, be snubbed and bossed over and abused by them.
All that pales into insignificance when we come to the incident of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. After an incident where he was hit over the head with an unloaded rifle by a Sinhalese naval cadet after signing the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord, it was obvious the Tigers brooked no friendly intentions to him. Thus when R&AW warned Rajiv Gandhi against going to Sriperumbudur as no force on earth could protect him against a suicide bomber, Sonia suggested he go on with his plan and have Italian security.
And we all know what happened after that.
A while later, Nalini, the backup bomber got her sentence reduced from Death to Life Imprisonment. And now Priyanka has a private meeting with the same Nalini. She also says she pardons Nalini, and that it is her way of coming to terms with her loss. Only, Priyanka has no right to pardon her… it was a crime not against an individual, but against the country. Now there are talks of releasing Nalini to “better Indo-Lanka ties”.
Sonia also accused the DMK of being hand-in-glove with her husband’s assassins. And now she doesn’t hesitate to have an alliance with them for the polls.
Also, the enquiry commission appointed to probe into Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination which moved fast under the previous government is now moving much slower than before, when intuitively it should be the other way ’round.
This, along with a lot more instances, have caused an increasing number of people to wonder if there is a connection between LTTE and Sonia Gandhi. Or if Rajiv’s assassination was engineered by Sonia Gandhi.
If we choose to give credence to this theory, maybe the imagination wouldn’t have to leap too much to visualize the prediction I put forward here.
So there’s simply no chance of the UPA winning the next election, what with the backlash from both the Left and the Right. Now if Manmohan is mauled by a Tiger, maybe Madam can cash in on the sympathy wave that will result on the brutal assassination of an erudite scholar and statesman?
Or maybe this is simply too fantastic a route to take with no easy explanations to give for the assassiantions, and with too many questions asked with no easy answers… and you can’t foist blame too easily on the LTTE unlike the way you can on Al Qaeda.. the Qaeda has no mailing address, while the LTTE has its own website.
So maybe Madam will simply take the easier, tried-and-tested way out by declaring internal Emergency.
Or maybe all that hype will boil over and they’ll just concede defeat and take their seats as Opposition.
Or what the heck…. they might just return to power on their own “secular” steam.
I’m dying waiting for election season. News channels as well as the Blogosphere are never so alive and interesting and full of emotion as it is then.
PS: This one by Subramaniam Swamy makes for interesting reading – Know Your Sonia.