Remembering Rajiv

He was a handsome young man and very photogenic. He deserved to be remembered as he was assassinated by Sinhalese Tamilian terrorist while doing his duty.

What baffled me was why this year page after page was devoted to his memory which was much more than was done in the intervening years. I came to the conclusion that these ads were primarily to draw the attention of Sonia Gandhi, as good-looking as her husband, and her son Rahul who resembles his parents, and have put new life in the Congress party — which is in ascendance while all the opposition parties are in deep decline. These advertisers wanted to ensure they would not be overlooked at the next general election. They are plain and simple ‘matlabis’ — patronage seekers.

Lets take a look at Rajiv Gandhi’s record as prime minister. He took over from his mother who was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in the morning of 31st October 1984. Hindu-Sikh relations had been fouled by the hateful utterances of Bhindranwale and crimes committed by his gangsters. The situation needed firm handling. But Rajiv was a greenhorn in politics and sought advice on how to act.

One of his closest advisers advised him to “teach the Sikhs a lesson”. So instead of going out in the streets and pacifying angry mobs of Hindus as his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru had done in 1947, to stop the massacre of Muslims in Delhi, he let the Lt Governor of Delhi order the police not to intervene with Hindu mobs thirsting for Sikh blood. They killed several thousand innocent Sikhs and looted their property.

He mishandled the Shah Bano case; he allowed Hindus to install idols in a portion of Babri Masjid. He sensed things had gone wrong and worked to mend matters. He called a meeting of about a dozen MPs and asked his Home Minister Boota Singh whether families of victims of the massacre had been rehabilitated. Boota Singh assured him that all had been rehabilitated.

I contradicted him and named Charanjit Singh who had not yet got compensation. Rajiv ordered his finance minister to look into the case. The next day the machinery of his soft-drink factory was released by him and he received full compensation.

Rajiv had promised to clean up the Ganga: it is now dirtier than before. He was failure as prime minister. It was many years later that his wife Sonia Gandhi made the parliament pass a resolution apologising to the nation for the massacre of 1984. By contrast Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia have not slipped even once. Rahul Gandhi stormed into the citadels of the opposition like the Shiv Sena in Mumbai and Mayavati in Uttar Pradesh to become the sole leader of the Dalits.

My guess is that after the next general elections there will be a change of addresses: Sonia and her son Rahul will move from 10 Janpath to Race Course Road. Marmohan Singh and Gursharan Kaur from Race Course Road to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Poetry and civil service

A couple of years ago I introduced my readers to Sumita Misra, IAS, now a senior officer in the Haryana government, by publishing a poem written by her. A collection of her poems is soon being published in Chandigarh. I take the liberty of publishing one entitled ‘Evening Walk’ to let you judge the quality of her work.

To assemble life’s jigsaw,
Slowly, bit by bit,
With misshapen pieces,
That don’t quite fit;
To balance the deadweight
of each insistent day
With the weight of gossamer
Dreams that refuse to go away;
To stride with the wind
And breathe in the colours of spring,
Knowing that you may never
Like those homing birds take wing;
These, or similar are tales
Each life has a secret story
Whose living is courage itself,
More real than any fable of glory.

Four Hs of life

Question: Identify the 4 Hs where a person spends his time at one stage or other in life?
Ans: Home, hostel, hotel and hospital.

(Courtesy: K J S Ahluwalia, Amritsar)

Follow your papa

A boy went to see a cabaret dance. His mother got angry and asked him: “Did you see anything there that you should not have seen.

Boy: “Yes, I saw Dad there.”

(Contributed by J P Singh Kaka, Bhopal)

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