If Sonia Gandhi wants Congress to continue playing a role in Indian politics, she must start listening! By Tavleen Singh, in ndian Express, August 30, 2020
That time has gone when it mattered to voters that you were the grandson or grand daughter of Indira Gandhi. So, to flaunt this as your reason for being in politics is not just futile but stupid.
It is Sonia Gandhi's delusions of eternal succession for the Dynasty that have brought the Congress party to this sorry state. (PTI)
Let no one go CRAZY with the liquor of illwill and hatred, but stay sober! When the top man goes crazy, berserk, it is Dictatorship; when the whole crowd goes crazy it is Mobocracy, but when the consensus man speaks soberly, that alone is Democracy!
We have three telling examples before us: 1. the 23 seniors who wrote to Sonia parivar, 2. the Hindutva parivar who roar for Ram Raj, 3. a psychopathic press, the fourth estate wanting to be on the winning side! You the listening silent majority, to which will you caste your vote?
Criticism, sine qua non!
The core of democracy is constructive criticism, not opposition to it. We have said time and again: 1. The biggest wonder in this world is you and me/us; 2. There is none in the world like you and me. From it follows many things; 3. There can’t be a universal laws that tight fits each of us; each will be a square peg, more or less, in a round hole. 4. Yet we have many things to learn from every other, even from a grave digger, the least among us.
5. in that sense every one is superior to us as a guru in some areas. 6. That enforces us by sheer logic, to respect and revere every one by LISTENING TO THEM, not to look down on any one. 6. Hence the necessity to complement one another and not conflict, to hang together to avoid the risk of hanging separately. 7. Because inter-depence is more important then independence;
Essence of Democracy!
8. In this world there is enough and more for every one’s NEED, not GREED. 9. On this globe there is no such thing as an Island of affluence in a sea of misery. So the necessity of consensus building, at least to disagree in an agreeable way. 10. To care and share instead of taking herculean effort to find the MOLE in our neighbor’s eye forgetting the BEAM in our own!That precisely is the essence of Democracy! Consensus building!
So why Sonia or Rahul so sticky about dynastic glue for ever, and prickly about criticism? Jump before they listen? These critiques are seasoned people in their own household, not outsiders! The choice before them is to give Grand Old party a Chance to continue, not a sudden premature death. Let better LIGHT enlighten them! james kottoor, editor ccv.
Please read below Tavleen Singh’s plea to listen!
Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi have one thing in common. They hate criticism. And, know how to prevent pesky hacks from voicing it by keeping them on a leash, but by different means. Since Modi Raj began, some ‘independent’ news channels have begun to sound more loyal to the king than Doordarshan.
As a proud print journalist, it saddens me to concede that most newspapers and magazines (especially in Hindi) have become Modi mouthpieces. The method his media management team has used to whip them into docility is venomous ostracisation.
Sonia Gandhi’s ways were different but worked well. Instead of a blacklist, she had a guest list, and those senior editors and famous TV anchors who were regularly invited to 10 Janpath for tea and chitchat usually ended up silenced and seduced.
In the decade that she was de facto prime minister, and in the two decades she has controlled the Congress party, she has hardly ever been personally criticised. Her chosen prime ministers were attacked often and brutally and her son is mocked often and brutally. But, she has managed to remain above criticism not just from political commentators but even from her comrades. In the letter that 23 Congress leaders wrote this month asking for change and introspection in the party, she was not mentioned by name. She should have been.
It is her delusions of eternal succession for the Dynasty that have brought the Congress party to this sorry state. These delusions come naturally to her because she has lived in the Prime Minister’s residence for most of the years that she has lived in India. First, as a daughter-in-law and then as the Prime Minister’s wife. After Rajiv Gandhi lost the election in 1989, he moved his family to 10 Janpath and although this is not officially the Prime Minister’s residence, anyone who covers national politics knows well that in the years when Sonia’s chosen governments ruled, 10 Janpath was the real seat of power.
This caused her to have such a deluded sense of entitlement that when Modi won his first full majority in 2014, she in her brief concession speech could not bring herself to say his name. She congratulated the ‘new government’ although it did not come into existence till later. Her children have inherited that sense of entitlement and it showed in such an offensive way during the 2019 election campaign that it helped Modi win a second term.
If this was just an internal problem of the Congress party none of this would have mattered. Sadly, we need a strong opposition party today more than ever because all the pillars of democracy have become very shaky. The legislature is now totally under the Modi government’s control and it can ram through any law it wants. The judiciary is going through such a bad time that an activist lawyer’s tweet invited contempt proceedings. Hence, it is with some trepidation that I say that it is scandalous that issues related to the changes in the former state of Jammu & Kashmir have been treated with such disdain. Not even on habeas corpus was the Supreme Court able to take a stand.
As for us who constitute the Fourth Pillar, let me say that most journalists today are too scared to speak for fear of being branded ‘anti-national’ and for fear of losing their jobs. The ‘fearless’ journalists are those you see screeching out their ‘nationalist’ credentials in what pass for primetime debates on populist news channels, who clearly believe that to question the Prime Minister amounts to being ‘anti-national’ and ‘anti-Hindu’.
That leaves us with only political parties who can challenge the government. Most are too feeble or too regional to put up any kind of challenge. With the exception of the Congress party. This is why it cheered me up in this very gloomy time when 23 important Congress leaders decided to write a letter to Sonia and son, politely requesting change. It is sad that those who asked for introspection and inner-party democracy were so quickly silenced, first by the party’s Matriarch threatening to resign and then by her pulling out the whip.
If Sonia Gandhi wants the Congress party to continue playing a role in Indian politics, she must start listening. And, she must allow the party she has so diminished, to try and recover some of its former stature by standing up for the values that it claims to espouse. When senior BJP leaders spit and rage against ‘secularism’ and ‘liberal democracy’ as if these were words of abuse, it should be the role of the Congress party to point out that they are not. Instead, the fools that the Dynasty has surrounded itself with advised a turn to soft Hindutva. This has been tried before and did not work because this is a game the BJP plays better.
What will work is to rebuild the Congress party by speaking up for its foundational values and by recruiting Indians who also believe in them. This will only begin to happen when the Matriarch shakes off that sense of entitlement that she has passed on to both of her children. That time has gone when it mattered to voters that you were the grandson or granddaughter of Indira Gandhi. So, to flaunt this as your reason for being in politics is not just futile but stupid.