'Of what one cannot speak,’ wrote the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, ‘of that one must be silent.’ There’s not much of Wittgensteinian silence resounding across India’s political firmament even after it has been patiently pointed out that the India-US nuclear deal cannot be amended by either New Delhi or Washington and after we know that the Left parties, quivering with rage as they are, won’t cry ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’ over it. But politicians being politicians are professionally bound to showcase their gift of the gab. In the case of George Fernandes, however, the NDA leadership may be inclined to consider his gab as a curse, now with the NDA convenor shooting off a press release stating that “if it were China, they would have settled [the matter of betraying the nation] with one bullet in [Mr Singh’s] head.” Luckily for Mr Fernandes, his colleagues in the NDA and the leaders in the Left, India is not China. So all of them, going against the government line, live to squeal their complaints. The BJP, which has only one tactical reason to oppose the government’s Indo-US nuclear deal — that they don’t get to hold the baby they conceived — has just lost any shred of moral uprightness about opposing the deal thanks to a motormouth in its fold.
As for the Left’s inability to remain silent even after it has nothing beyond marriage metaphors to proclaim, it would be helpful if its leaders spoke in unison. The communists’ opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal may be ideological, but they also are making the same claim that the NDA is: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sold the nation to Capitol Hill. Which is a bit rich coming from gents who, one would have thought, would have been making forceful arguments about the banning of Indian nuclear tests altogether. But then, they don’t call the usual suspects ‘usual’ for nothing.
But what is a tad disturbing is to find the Prime Minister of India getting all teary-eyed about some BJP leaders allegedly performing havans praying that he “should die on a certain day”. We do maintain that this is bad form on the part of our Opposition leaders. But surely, this is as ugly or pretty as Democrats using a George W Bush picture on a punching bag. All this Fernandesisms, marital counselling and havan-talk points to only one thing. The debate over the Indo-US nuclear deal is over. Long live the Indo-US nuclear deal.