The Rahul revolution
For those of you who, like me, unfortunately missed Rahul Gandhi's great speech at the Congress jamboree, I've googled it on the internet and explained it clearly here. Manas Chakravarty writes.columns Updated: Jan 26, 2013 23:52 IST
For those of you who, like me, unfortunately missed Rahul Gandhi's great speech at the Congress jamboree, I've googled it on the internet and explained it clearly here.
The speech starts off by announcing Rahul's retirement from first-class cricket. I had no idea he played the game. He says, "Once I was like every other boy in India, with a dream of playing for his country". Very poignant, that. He talks about the joy of playing for India….eh….wait a bit, this can't be right…..oooops, sorry, googled the wrong Rahul. That was Rahul Dravid's retirement speech.
Ah, this looks like the right one….he starts by thanking his mom, Congress workers, yes, this is it.
Right at the beginning, Rahul makes a very important statement: "In 1947 India was liberated not by arms, but by unleashing the voice of our people." This refers to a little-known part of our freedom struggle. Freedom fighters used to gather in millions in front of the viceroy's house and shout their heads off. Sometimes they screamed patriotic songs, using loudspeakers. After a few months of incessant din, a sleepless viceroy telephoned British premier Clement Attlee, "I say, Clement old boy, these Indians are making an infernal racket." "Oh really?" said Attlee, "What's that noise in the background?" "That, old gumdrop," said the viceroy, "is my Indian butler reciting Gunga Din at the top of his voice." "Oh, time to clear out then," said Attlee. And that was how we sent the British home by using our voices.
A bit later, Rahul's speech transcript says: "This was the energy behind of the freedom movement." This draws attention to the freedom movement having a behind and an energetic one at that. While many political movements have a front - United Front, Popular Front etc - few of them have a behind.
Next, Rahul made an earth-shattering political statement. He said, "Every single Indian is going to be supported by the Congress party. No matter what he is, no matter where he is. If he is Indian, we work for him." Since Narendra Modi is an Indian, Rahul will of course work for him, just as he will support Mamata, Jayalalithaa, Karat, Mulayam and Raj Thackeray. It's indiscriminate political love.
The next step is obviously to get Gandhian. Rahul says, "The UPA government has followed Gandhiji's model." You might wonder whether he's talking about Sonia Gandhiji, until you remember the Mahatma's famous line, "If I had no sense of humour, I would long ago have committed suicide" and you realise that could apply to the UPA.
Then there's the part where he talks about the lack of electricity, saying, "The Food Bill will ensure that no mother sees her child go hungry at night." That's because, with vast swathes of the country going without power, there's precious little anybody can see at night.
All those whys in his speech are very dramatic. "Why are we in this situation?", "Why does this happen?" he asks theatrically. But he missed out: "Why oh why did I ever leave my hobbit-hole?" from The Hobbit and "Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?" from The Matrix.
Finally, Rahul talks of revolution. Mao Zedong said, "A revolution is not a dinner party", followed by Fidel Castro's, "A revolution is not a bed of roses." That left open the question about what a revolution really was. Rahul has now provided the answer: "A revolution is an Aadhaar card." Vive La Aadhaar.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal