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Friday, February 1, 2019

The Life and Death Of George Fernandes: Revenge Of The Grateful

The Emergency made a hero out of George Fernandes. Shackled but defiant, holding aloft the chains that bound him in captivity, he became the symbol of resistance of the free and indomitable human spirit that does not yield to dictators and autocrats.
George Fernandes, was perhaps one minority political figure in recent times whose minority status never cropped up in the context of his rise in politics and power. He needed no introduction other than being himself. Which religious community did he belong to, what was his caste, where did he come from, the highly caste ridden and sectarian constituency of Muzaffarpur in Bihar did not ask these questions before voting him to the Lok Sabha?
Since George Fernades did not live off politics but for politics, totally unrelated people contributed money and resources to get him elected while the man himself was incarcerated. He was such a simple man, his needs were meagre and even his elevation to the cabinet did not alter his life style.
He was a heroic figure hence tragic betrayal at the hands of those who stood deeply indebted to him was very much in keeping with the traditional fate of a hero. A man who created a party, cemented and sustained a durable political alliance and nurtured leaders, was ultimately betrayed by those who benefited from him the most. The giant killer and seven time parliamentarian was made to taste defeat due to the machination of friends and disciples. The grateful had their revenge. He never recovered from the ignominy of his drubbing and gradually slipped into Alzheimer’s leading to complete dissolution of identity. He was lost to himself a long time ago. Yesterday he was lost to the world. Adieu George

Brand Gandhi

The alacrity with which Indians welcome the heirs of their rulers points to the unpalatable fact that our genius is more suited to monarchy than democracy .Indians have loved their monarchs through the ages and foreign extraction adds to the glamour of exoticism .Our fetish for being ruled by those whom we adore is well known, and if the loved one is not available for some reason or the other to do the ruling, we make do with his sandal. Nehru Gandhi dynasty has fulfilled all our latent aspirations and that too while maintaining the facade of democracy.Had Sanjay Baru an adequate sense of history and causation he would not have called Manmohan Singh an “accidental” prime minister.
By the way does not the reversion of Ms Priyanka Vadra to Priyanka Gandhi disguise a cynical intent to exploit the Gandhi name. She already has the pedigree, she wants to add to the legitimacy a sense of piety as well. She is entitled to revert to her maiden name by virtue of belonging to Feroze Gandhi clan but who is this Feroze Gandhi. As a reference point Mrs. Indira Gandhi who had long tutelage under her father Nehru, and later became well known in her own right, sometimes let herself be called Indira Nehru Gandhi, because the name Nehru added stature, Nehru spelt substnace .But does reverting to Gandhi in case of Priyanka Vadra add the same value . Is Feroze Gandhi revered, even known , in the same way as Mahatma Gandhi is?If not, then Priyanka Vadra would have done just fine .In a country with an abysmally low level of literacy, the name Gandhi has the potential of deceiving people or at at least subliminally affecting their choices. ( Indira Gandhi was perceived to be the daughter of Mahatma Gandhi by many people in many countries!)The unusual degree of slavishness and sycophancy of intellectuals and media men at the service of the dynasty is already working hard to make the Gandhi magic happen.