People of a certain vintage, like me, remember Mani Shankar Aiyar (MSA) for his cringe-inducing sycophancy, when, in 2004, Sonia Gandhi boldly refused to anoint herself as the Prime Minister, choosing the mild-mannered Clark Kent/Superman Dr. Manmohan Singh instead. While almost everybody respected Dr. Singh, whose Kryptonite was unknown then, many would have felt a huge drop in respect for MSA. His pathetic pleading to Sonia Gandhi, which seemed more out of a hastily scripted amateur drama by Doon students than a real outpouring of dismayed surprise of the elected representatives of the world’s largest democracy, was a shining example of grovelling to the Dynasty. MSA laid low for a long time after that, or perhaps people ignored him and moved on.
MSA may have many faults, but lack of hubris is not one of them. Neither is the lack of ability to generate a congress of foot and mouth. Generations will remember him for the graciousness with which he deigned to give permission to Narendra Modi to sell tea at the AICC meet. And while lesser mortals would have known when to stop, he decided to charge into angel-less areas by writing a paean of subtlety in the Indian Express (17th May 2014). Modestly titled as ‘The Dying Light of Freedom’, the article gravely proclaims that the verdict (BJP’s ascension to power) is ‘the deepest challenge to the idea of India since Jinnah’s two-nation theory'.
The amateur drama script streak continues after all these years. I quote the first two sentences of the article: ‘Darkness descends. The idea of India gutters’. Rational people should have thought twice about reading on. But one could not resist. How can one remain rational when someone claims that your country’s existence is at stake?
So, moving on…Godwin’s Law states that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”. But apparently, if you have a Doon + St. Stephen’s + Oxbridge + Indian Foreign Service background, you get to refer to Nazis and Hitler unilaterally! In the fourth paragraph of this excellent article, MSA warns us that the new Government awaits its ‘Godhra opportunity’ and invokes the fire-loving Communist with learning difficulties, Marinus Van Der Lubbe. MVDL set the Reichstag building on fire and gave the Nazis a reason to attack communists. Now, it needs an enlightened (literally!) imagination to conflate these two incidents, which seem to have nothing in common except arson. To fight the good fight before it begins, MSA comes up with a solution which is called, I kid you not, Sadbhavna Sena (the Good Faith/Good Intentions Army). Yes, an army to deal with an elected, but yet-to-be formed Government’s nefarious ulterior agenda, which is crystal clear to MSA. But don’t worry; the army will act in Good Faith. Because it will be an Army of “secular forces”, which, as we all know, always act in Good Faith.
The target for MSA’s next attack is the ‘unashamed crony capitalism’ that is seen in the ‘so-called’ Gujarat model. A subordinate attack is launched in the next sentence on the thousands of crores of Rupees that flowed into the BJP campaign. All these are legitimate issues that need to be taken up. Especially by a party that presided over Commonwealth Scam, 2G Scam, Coal-gate and other sundry scams. And all ‘donations’ to the Congress Party in the past 150 odd years have been totally accounted for. It’s just that, like the Adarsh files, the books have probably gone missing. MSA also slides in another Hitler reference here, a nuanced sledgehammer to go with the earlier subtle Battering Ram. The next sentence is an even more interesting one. MSA compares his party and other ‘socialists’ to Lilliputians and big business to Gullivers (both plural). This is perhaps one sentence one partly agrees with – the first part, to be exact.
If your gag reflex has still not kicked in, MSA has just the thing for you. The next sentence is stupendous in itself:
“Parliamentary institutions have been severely mauled in the BJP’s clambering to power.”
Read that again. MSA, a representative of UPA II, complains that institutions have been weakened. The mind boggles and everything goes black, just like the pots and kettles in that delightful phrase.
MSA does not disappoint in the remainder of this genteel piece. He talks about ‘catastrophe worse than two World Wars’ unfolding, in case the yet-to-take power Government gives in to ‘immediate popularity’. After around five minutes, I stopped running around in circles, shouting, “Save me as you always have, my dear Congress! I love you!” and collected my breath and wits (I use the term loosely, after thinking about the gargantuan intellect of MSA) and tried to think of what that meant. It probably meant nuclear holocaust on the Indian subcontinent. But I remembered MSA, in an article written many moons ago, calling nuclear devices ‘patakas’ (this was in 1998, when the then AB Vajpayee Govt. Carried out nuclear testing). Surely, that isn’t something to worry about? Why, there are more explosions in Pakistan when Pakistan wins a One-Day against India!
All in all, MSA wants to tell us a few important things. One, a majority of adult Indians are idiots or simpletons, who really should have voted better and allowed the absolutely topping noblesse oblige clique to continue helping those pore Indians. Can you imagine a chaiwallah, who must have sold that milky sweet Indian tea (not Darjeeling, dahling!) to those sweaty, smelly, dirty train passengers, sitting with us in good old Parliament?
Two, NDA equals the death-knell of plural thought, because we are one Godhra away from Chaos. Because of the idiot voters, who chose plebeian things such as food, water and jobs over the really important things like Congress-flavored secularism, all ‘socialists’ will have to be extra alert to find issues, both real and imagined.
Three, there can be no doubt that Modi is an incarnation of Hitler, who sees non-Hindus as worthy of ‘reducing to sufferance’. Muslims, especially, who seem to have voted for BJP and Modi (e.g., in Delhi) have not seen his true colours.
Four, Congress must bear the Wheatish Man’s burden and ensure that those pore Muslims and Christians are protected. This time from themselves, since a few have voted for BJP.
Noblesse must oblige.
Noblesse must oblige.