Here we were getting used to emulating our VVIPs and wolfing down the caviar and Kruger champagne, when comes a diktat from the Uttar Pradesh Congress that all and sundry in political life must spend time in Dalit localities. This will be a bit of a comedown for our leaders who, despite all their austerity blues, are still keen on a bit of the good life.
The problem we envisage here is that our netas, once having been asked to mingle with the masses, will go to such localities with the sort of security that will throw all normal life into a kilter. However, if nothing else, it will give them a touch of India that many of them have never felt before. We may get the Delhi belly eating on the streets of the capital. But our netas seem to be made of sterner stuff. Rahul Gandhi was able to tuck into poori-sabzi and come away with no ill-effects. So what’s to stop our stalwarts doing the same? Food and clothing are sure-fire ways of getting to the heart of people as Rahul’s grandmother knew only too well.
When in the North-east, Indira Gandhi would don the local dress, she had no dietary preferences, and was generally a big hit in any corner of India. Food is something that engages all Indians. A Bengali will contest the merit of a simple daal for ages with a southerner. So we must welcome Rahul’s efforts to sample the culinary delights of all of India. The young Congressman has a great deal on his plate. We can only hope, that given his recent forays, he has not taken on more than he can chew.