Friday, March 24, 2006

The power of being a Sonia

Sonia does it once again.

Yes ! Sonia resigns as an MP and as chairperson of NAC. Time for Congress to take the moral high ground and yet again for the opposition to cool its heels as the sonia team take away issues from them one after another.

While this was a case of congress getting cornered in one of its own trap. However Sonia does have the courage and the wisdom to keep her moral image upright, clean and even appealing in the perception of those who matter - the masses. Something that Mulayams, Amar Singhs of the modern political era will have to grudgingly accept and even learn.

One can debate the motives, compulsions and strategies of Sonia, however it must be conceded that she has brought high standrads to public life. No one in India other than the incumbent President and the Prime minister comes close to the clean image she has upheld in her actions as a public figure. She has provided a big challenge to politicians of this country to stand tall like her and then rule.

I am remembered of an earlier debate with my friends in a different forum when Sonia was close to the prime minister's post. One of my friends wrote a mail which made me respond. Here are excerpts from that debate. The current scenerio just firms up the trend that I mentioned at that time (name of my friend deleted from the copy for obvious reasons)

*********** Start of the exchange*****************
Dear friend

I could not stop replying to your mail. Just wanted to share my view on the issue with the group

friend> I'm sure most of us are still in a state of shock and sadness at the results of the recent elections. (refers to the last Lok Sabha election in which UPA won)
me> I don't see what should shock or make us feel sad about the elections result. Please realise that the arithmetic that BJP had used to its advantage in the last election was more effectively used by congress this time.

BJP on its own was not a National party & hence through alliances & pre poll arrangements it cornered a good number of seats. Its spin doctors hyped up the notion that it is in a great position to increase its numbers and that its acceptance cut across communities & regions of India. This notion is what was belied by this election and hence has shocked those who believed the shining India or Feel Good campaigns.

friend> > It is further more disturbing to see Sonia Gandhi being made the PM with support from a bunch of incompetent ( to say the least ) congress allies.

If you do agree with me and many other Indians worldwide I have drafted a petition to Sonia Gandhi asking her not seek the post of PM. Please go to this URL and sign the petition to show your support
me> In fact, if those people were so incompetent - how did a very competent set of people (the NDA campaign managers) failed to ensure victory in an election the fairness of which even the BJP does not doubt and when there chances were really bright.

Here are the three reasons in your petition that forms the basis of claim that Sonia should not be the PM

From petition
1.We believe that a individual who has not been bought up and been through the struggles that a native born citizen of any country goes through but instead only been a naturalized citizen for the past two decades can not truly understand and appreciate what it really means to feel patriotic about one’s nation in the purest of its forms deep within one’s heart. While we all proudly accept you as one among us and will never forget the service and sacrifices made by your family in building India it is very demeaning and shameful for us to see a individual of foreign origin lead a country like ours. It is simply unpatriotic and betraying the sacrifices of our glorious freedom fighters.

ME > Very well worded but think - whats the Logic or rationale here - its an emotion thats being appealed to.
According to a recent survey by NDTV the passed out bunch of MPs in India (the last Lok Sabha) had following features
1. A Majority (I have forgotten the percentage) are stinkingly rich & slowly but surely the Loksabha has lost all representation from classes whose real life is to be felt by those in power.
2. An increasing numbers of them are those who have been educated abroad since childhood and are Graduates of Foreign universities.
3. All most all stalwarts (Cabinet Ministers included) who might be Bhartiya (patriot or not is your take) have lost in this election.

Very soon you will have PMs, the only thing Indian about whom will be their origin. Talk of patriotism then. In her two decades as a Naturalised citizen she has done nothing to shame the country - sadly this cannot be said of a very large number of our "competent, patriotic, Bhartiya" politicians who claim prime ministership & to whom you would have no troubles in offering the seat.

from the petition
2.We also believe that a nation like ours in these times of globalization needs a much more qualified and experienced individual to lead and represent the nation than what you personally bring to the table. While there is no denying the fact that you were part of a family that governed India for decade’s one need a lot more competency and past leadership experience to lead a nation of one billion.

ME > I would want to know from you what is required to lead a nation?

Let me try and define it - to lead a nation no qualification is required - what is required is to have a vision for it & to be able to generate a belief in the nation that the nation can do it, grow and meet great ambitions as a nation.

Like many other leaders - she has painstakingly collected certificates to that effect she has gradually collected the shambles that Congress was in and has been able to revive it in parts. She has handled vilification campaigns, election losses, oppposition within & outside party, in her stride & has gone ahead methodically with her job. She has a very competent team supporting her (I do hope that you do not consider the likes of Manmohan Singh, Jairam Ramesh, Rahul Gandhi & Salman Khurshid as incompetent - all of whom incidentally are also Foreign educated). I do not see her qualification as an impediment as a leader. It is possible that she might fail but so did great knowledgable leaders like V P Singh, Chandrashekhar or the latest of them Atalji at various fronts.

As for Qualification - one of the most qualified in the band wagon - Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi - ended up messing up with the education so much that no educated person would ever vote for him again.

from the petition
3.We should all be proud of being the largest democracy the world has ever seen and probably will ever see. In this context we all have an obligation to respect the mandate of the electorate. While the congress and your allies may have chosen you for the post of Prime Minister it would be much more prudent on your part to decline this opportunity based on the reasons above. This would represent a much bigger service and sacrifice to the nation on your personal behalf besides standing you in high esteem and morality among the huge community of Indians the world over as well as within India.

ME> While I agree that the mandate is not necessarily in favour of Sonia as a PM but it would be foolhardy to interpret it as against her either. No the electorate has not been against her also (If that were true - every one in favour of Atalji & against Sonia - where would Congress be).

There is no basis for asking for a sacrifice from her because none of us (least of all the Hindutava Brigade) has the moral, ethical or technical ground to ask for such a sacrifice. She & her family has sacrificed enough - the latest of which was Sonia's Husband to silent her critics looking for sacrifice as a credential of her authenticity.

While I am equally unhappy about India's state of affairs but I would want all well meaning people of my country to stop making this a war of personal vandetta. If you have to change things in the country - it must happen living within the system. The fact is the system has generated her to be the PM of our country and we must accept it. Your difference of opinion are welcome (thats what makes India a great nation) but lets accept when we are defeated.

******** End of exchange**************

Soon after this exchange Dr. Manmohan singh was made the PM after Sonia declined the PM post with a dignified and proud aura around her.

Yet again by doing what she has done, Sonia has reaffirmed the faith of people like me (not in her family) in the power of dignity. She has just manifested that real power will come from ensuring dignity of action not just blind political manipulation. I hope that politicians of our country including congressmen take lessons from her.