Sunday, October 14, 2018

Personal Destiny or Nation – The Choice We Must Make

“Kleptocratic India, The Enemy is Within!” is the title of a thought-provoking article written by Mr. M. G. Devasahayam, a former Army and IAS Officer, who happened to be posted as the District Magistrate of Chandigarh in June, 1975, when Indira Gandhi ushered in the long, dark night of Emergency, and into whose custody-in-jail Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan (JP) was sent by the District Magistrate of Delhi. The author believes that the Emergency “ushered in, and ripped apart, India’s delicately crafted and carefully nurtured democratic fabric and the institutions of governance.” Tracing the rot in the breakdown of the elite All India Services, when a “committed bureaucratic-police coterie had been smuggled into the Prime Minister’s Household (PMH), and positioned in the Home Ministry, Delhi Administration, and Police” the author delineates the steep decline in the governance of the country, and quotes the Supreme Court’s observation about the “nexus between law makers, law keepers, and law breakers.” It is an article that all citizens of India must read and be concerned about the future of this nation, which in 2014 was fast moving towards becoming a ‘failed state’ until the people rescued it by drumming the Congress out of office.

But then, did the rot really set in with the Emergency? How did Indira Gandhi come to believe that she could take such an extreme step and get away with it? Is only the ruling elite of India responsible for the current state of affairs? What has been the role of the individual citizen in permitting this “Trojan Horse” to infiltrate and subvert the collective conscience of the nation? I think we need to look at ourselves a little more closely, and not only from the end of the Nehru era but also right from the time when we seriously began to entertain the idea of a nation free from foreign rule. From the time we achieved our independence in 1947, we have turned from a nation of brainwashed patriots to a population of in-turned selves. All that we, as an independent nation, have ever cared for is personal destiny: all the other destinies have become burdens. We have failed to see what is really happening; and just as we also failed to evolve new political parties to meet the needs - and dangers - of an increasingly self-centred society, so also we have lacked the honesty to throw away the old masks. Obsession with self is everywhere, and it is reflected in the over 1000 political parties that have sprouted to “fleece the farmers and small investors of their flesh and bones.”

Truly speaking, what we achieved in 1947 was not real freedom but a craving for freedom. Our freedom is a myth in its simple, primary sense. Unlike the Americans (whom we wish to emulate in every way), who have created their own myth of free will, where one can choose oneself and will oneself, we have extrapolated freedom from all living reality. It is a thing in the mind, a dream world we secretly retreat into from our daily ordinary reality. That is what permits our extraordinary tolerance to national decay, of somehow muddling through, our Marxist conservatism and our Nehruvian conservative socialism. Our society, and its actual state, is nothing; merely the dead real world, not the living imaginary one; and that is why we have evolved a rhetoric that always means more than it says, both emotionally and imaginatively. The real tyranny comes from the totally accepted belief in the system, the existing social framework.

The communication industry consisting of the press in the early days, and later of the visual media, sap and leach the native power away, insidiously imposing their own conformities, their limits of vision; denying any existence of what they cannot capture. As John Fowles observed in his magnificent novel ‘Daniel Martin’: “Our cinema and television, through frequently repeated experience, create a paradigmatic effect by analogy, much beyond the immediately seen - indeed, all spheres of life where a free and independent imagination matters.” The much-proclaimed transience of television images and reports is no consolation; one might as well argue that since no one drink can by itself cause cirrhosis, tippling holds no danger.  In spite of their vaunted virtues as disseminators of popular art and instant democracy, there has begun to smell something rotten in the state of both these dominant media. Fowles again: “There is something ominously stereotyping, if not positively totalitarian, in the machine and its servants.” But, just as there is no doubt that many Chinese who did not like Mao and the Communist Party, yet felt that treason against their country was a worse crime, we have inured ourselves to these feelings. The latest case is of Nishant Agarwal, a young 20-something techie working on India’s vital defence systems. The #MeToo campaign raging on social media, brutally exposes the rot that has set in the film and television industry. Fowles was perhaps writing about Hollywood and the British Film industry when he wrote:  The commercial cinema is like a hallucinogenic drug: it distorts the vision of all who work in it. Its madams, pimps, whores and bullies masquerade publicly as ‘distinguished’ directors and stars, famous producers and agents, simply showing how much there is to hide.” It is perhaps too early to write the history of the period. But when it comes to be written, the media and the communication industry will come in for serious indictment. The hucksters had wilfully blocked a connection between national reality and national awareness of it. But the public, who allowed the block to take place, and to endure, will also stand indicted in the dock. We tolerated a clogging phlegm of pundits and pontificators, editors, interviewers, critics, columnists, media humbugs, puppet personalities, shyster lawyers and attitude-hijackers; a combined media Mafia, squatting on an enormous dung heap of empty words and tired images, and conjoined, despite their private rivalries and jealousies, by one common determination: to retain their own status and importance in the system they had erected.

The fact is that no one really listens anymore, nothing registers: an audience of one billion is an audience of no one. The speed of forgetfulness is approaching the speed of sound. We hear and see, and the next moment it is expurgated. To criticize the glamorization of the worthless, the flagrant prostitution of true human values, the substitution of degree of exposure for degree of actual achievement, now invites an immediate accusation of harbouring obscurant ideas, of being out of touch. Natural processes are all being cosmeticized. The real function is not to inform, but to excuse one from thinking. One feels a pervasive cancer at the heart of one's world; but still prefers it to the surgical intervention that must extirpate the affected organ, preferring the cancer to a freedom from it.

We have perfected the art of compromise, which in reality is a refusal to make a choice - out of cowardice, apathy, and a selfish laziness. The act of going on vacations on election days for some is thought to be “intellectual” as voting is something the uneducated, illiterates do! Now with the NOTA option there are some who will take the trouble of going to the election booth but express their angst through this choice, little realising that the refusal to make a choice in itself is choosing the greater evil.

The Great White Hope of the Congress party refuses to take any responsibility either to help his party out of the morass in which it is stuck, or even to help his family in retaining its hold on power. Being born mummified, his failure to adapt is a result of the huge superstructure of wealth, tradition, family, that he has to carry; but the analogy is better made with the last of the brontosaurs, whose armor dragged them down. When he looks in the mirror, he does not see the reflection of an extinct creature, but instead paints an ideal, dream-self on the glass and begins to see himself in that image.

In the coming elections the country is going to choose its rulers from among a-thousand-and-more political dispensations that are no different in their ideologies, of which the disorder known as kleptomania is the central core. Narendra Modi, in the four years until now, has proved that this disorder is absent from his make up. It is up to us now to seize the moment and make a paradigmatic shift in our political evolution. Another five-year term for Modi will ensure that the Brontosaurs do not get hatched in some forgotten Jurassic park. If we choose correctly and make this shift, we will give ourselves a fair chance to evolve into a civilisation that our ancestors had striven towards before the invasions of the trolls that came from the West. No form of life or political idea has survived on the basis of enforced equality. The whole of evolution depends on the freedom of the individual to develop in his own way. All history, human and natural, demonstrates that - again and again. The country's last chance of walking out of this enforced equality is in our hands. Will we seize it?

Vijaya Dar

Link to M. G. Devasahayam’s article:


With each passing day the countdown to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is getting, in the words of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, “curiouser and curiouser.” There are Narendra Modi and Amit Shah on one side looking through the glass at a Mad Hatter who is running from pillar to post searching for an Indian factory where he can manufacture non-Chinese mobile phones. Why he wants to make these in India when Chinese versions are available at throwaway prices is perhaps safely tucked under his hat. There’s also the Red Queen, probably from Javier Moro’s proscribed book, whipping the Mad Hatter into frenzy whenever she looks at the ruins of the Kingdom she had conquered with no effort. Then there are various other characters coming together and separating like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers while performing their American style Ballroom dances. These, like the Elephant Queen, or the Bicycle Thieves, separate faster and more often than they come together. The Elephant Queen has an ego the same size as her symbol; while the Bicycle Thieves think they are smarter than the Mad Hatter having donned a red cap thinking its colour will compete favourably with Moro’s draped-in-red Queen. Then, there is the buffalo-feed robber, searching with a lantern a way up from the dungeon where he is presently lodged. There are disgruntled ex-Ministers within the BJP, once part of Lutyen’s cocktail circuit, and now made to cool their heels in anterooms waiting for a call to serve the nation. Their methods of showing their displeasure confirm the wisdom of Modi and Shah in keeping them out of the inner circle. Being part of the IAS or a World Bank economist-cum-journalist, or a successful Bollywood villain, does not guarantee an automatic place at the table with Modi. He had found these people out even before he was chosen by the party to lead it in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

When Narendra Modi was elevated to the BJP’s Parliamentary Board, it sent shock ways through the political firmament and brought about a virulent reaction from the Congress and the secular brigade; the first casualty of which came from within the NDA. Nitish Kumar’s departure from it, and the sulking of the senior leaders in the BJP, reminded me then of a book of essays by Arthur Koestler, that the Hungarian-British author and journalist wrote after his travels to India and Japan in 1959. The book titled “The Lotus and the Robot” primarily explored Eastern mysticism, through the practices of yoga and Zen. The book was promptly banned in India by the Nehruvian establishment, as was the propensity with the Supreme Leader who brooked no dissent.

Koestler was a political activist, having lived through perhaps the most turbulent period of European history. He was thirteen years of age when the First World War ended in 1918 that saw the end of the Austro-Hungarian, the Ottoman, and the Tsarist Russian empires. As a German-speaking Jew in Europe, the period between the First and the Second World Wars was perhaps the most stifling time for a writer of his talents. Educated in Austria, he joined the German Communist Party, but was soon disillusioned by the state of terror unleashed by Stalin. He resigned from the Party in 1938, having closely witnessed another facet of totalitarianism in Franco’s Spain, and immigrated to England. In 1940, he published “Darkness at Noon,” a novel that is as strong an indictment of totalitarianism as George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
Koestler’s terrific sense of phraseology has resulted in some very catchy titles that adorn his writings. Apart from the two titles mentioned above, he also wrote: “The Yogi and the Commissar,” “The Ghost in the Machine,” “Thieves in the Night,”Arrival and Departure,” and “The Age of Longing,” besides several other works of fiction and non-fiction.

But, as is my wont, the reference to Koestler’s writings in this essay, is actually not any critique or an appreciation of his craft. It is just my way of writing. When I read a book I tend to pick out words, sentences, and sometimes whole passages that can be used to expand a particular idea that I may be developing in my mind. My indulgent readers would have noticed that I write opinion pieces on current politics as it is shaping up in India, and I usually build these pieces around a phrase, or a word from a known work of literature. My last piece was constructed from the writings of Manohar Malgonkar and John Spencer Hill, two writers, poles apart in their styles and themes. But, the response from my readers has been encouraging enough to allow me to indulge in my favourite method once again. The inspiration I draw from these intellects is enough to make my two-bit opinions a bit more weighty and sound scholastic.

Now, coming to the crux of this piece:

In 1975 Indira Gandhi imposed a state of Emergency to save herself from political oblivion. When the Emergency was lifted in 1977 it brought about a whole new experiment in Indian politics. For the first time since Independence, a right of the centre party, that Nehru and the Congress publicly reviled, had found common cause with the socialists, and a new dispensation called the Janata Party replaced the Congress at the centre. But the experiment did not last even two years. The socialists within the Janata Party took objection to the Jana Sangha members retaining their membership of the RSS, and brought about the collapse of the experiment. The break-up of the Janata Party led to the formation of small, left-leaning, sectarian, regional, parties that became the private fiefdoms of political warlords whose sole purpose was to amass huge personal fortunes that would be used for buying elections in the future. The political landscape of the country had completely changed from the days of Nehru in the first flush of Independence, when people voted for the Congress, as it had no worthwhile opposition anywhere in the national or regional arenas. Vote-bank politics, that was largely absent till 1979, raised its ugly head, as political parties vied for power on narrow regional, sectarian, class and caste calculations. The Jana Sangha, which was a major constituent of the Janata Party, also morphed into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), replacing its symbol of a lighted lamp with a lotus flower in bloom.

In disgust, the people voted Indira Gandhi back into office, giving her and the Congress a new lease of life. But, by now the Congress had shed all those members who had made common cause with the Janata Party and challenged the leadership of Indira Gandhi. The new Congress that emerged was christened Congress (I), making it a political vehicle wholly dedicated to her persona. Indira Gandhi systematically dismantled the structure of the old Congress party by concentrating absolute power in her hands; forcing the state legislatures to (s)elect her nominees as their leaders. She nominated each Chief Minister, and the party had no say in the matter. Inner-party democracy disappeared and sycophants and flatterers quickly filled the spaces vacated by dedicated Congressmen. Dissent was promptly suppressed and chosen commissars were unleashed upon those who dared to differ. They were heckled and hounded out of the party by being dubbed as “CIA agents” or simply “anti-nationals.” The “court jester” of a Congress President, Deb Kant Borooah completed the transformation of the once grand old party to a fascist dispensation when he said that “Indira is India, and India is Indira”. Indira Gandhi, at the top of the power structure, started the emasculation of the Congress party and gradually replaced the human elements with mechanical robots, trained to genuflect to the ruling Deity, and open their mouths only to stifle dissent and to sing paeans in praise of the First family.

Politics across the country became a fertile ground for violent conflict, unleashing vast fires of strife between castes, creeds, languages, and every other distinction among the people of the land. Punjab was the first state to burn in this conflagration.

The actions of the two Sikh bodyguards of Indira Gandhi, in 1984, would have very far-reaching ramifications. Coincidentally, it was the year that George Orwell had chosen for his ‘futuristic’ depiction of a dystopic state at its peak of power and repression. The resultant retribution that the automatons and their mindless legions visited upon the hapless Sikh community has been recorded in great detail, and it is not my purpose here to revisit those terrible times. Within less than a generation after the dismemberment of the Indian subcontinent, India was once again descending into religious fratricide, dividing the nation into smaller constituents of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs etc., and into even smaller fragments along sect, caste, and class; each constituent ready to spring at the throat of the other at the slightest provocation.

But did these tragedies make any difference to the descendants of the Nehru-Gandhi’s? On the contrary, Rajiv Gandhi followed the same policies, which perhaps led to his own tragic assassination. If anything, his widow has perfected the art of Total Dictatorship and taken it to levels that were matched only by Mao or Stalin. This is the state of affairs that has continued from that fateful year in 1979 when the Robots and the Lotus first began their struggle for political control at the centre. The automatons of the Congress have systematically hounded out all potential threats to the First Family, and have brought the party down to such farcical levels that the best it can field in the upcoming elections are, to my mind, mechanical robots programmed only to replay the inanities of the Mad Hatter. Not that these people were actually blessed with the ability to think independently! The reason they have stuck to the First Family like limpets is precisely that! They are unable to reason for themselves. As the poet said: it’s not for them to reason why, but just to do and die. Lord Tennyson’s Light Brigade had 600 brave soldiers who were ready to charge into the valley of Death, knowing they were fighting for a higher cause. But the Mad Hatter’s Robots are riding into the hereafter fighting for the basest cause. The tragedy is that they are not even aware of it!

The Red Queen and the Mad Hatter have no time for anyone who has even an iota of intelligence. It is appalling to listen to party apparatchiks like Surjewala, Manish Tiwari, Sanjay Jha, Rajeev Gowda, and others mechanically repeating the lies and inanities uttered by their Hatmaster. Here’s a Tweet that perfectly expresses how the so-called senior leaders of the Congress have become mere programmable automatons:

This collection of programmed and programmable Robots would do any puppet-master proud. The Robots have been unique in letting opprobrium upon opprobrium wash off their synthetic backs, day in and day out, and still continue “to crawl when asked only to bend.” They are the closest to Orwell’s Winston Smith after having been “treated” by O’Brien and his colleagues, in what is best described by Nandini Bahri-Danda as LYBB (Leave Your Brain Behind) chamber, where they are made to see the “light”.

Meanwhile, the Lotus, after the departure of Vajpayee from the scene, found it difficult to raise its head above the mud. L. K. Advani, with his penchant to go on rath yatras on makeshift automobiles, in search of a utopian Ram Rajya, looked more and more like Cervantes’ Knight of the Sour Countenance, tilting at imaginary windmills. After the unpleasant surprise of 2004 this Lord of Lost Causes kept losing one state after another, destroying any chances of the BJP becoming a serious contender for power at the centre. Until Narendra Modi came upon the national scene, it looked like the Congress would really have no worthwhile challenge from the opposition.

“The people who must never have power are the humourless.” This is what Christopher Hitchens wrote in June 2011, shortly before his untimely death. Can you imagine a more humourless bunch than Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, and Mamata Banerjee? Add the visages of Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, A. K. Antony, Salman Khurshid, and the entire Congress leadership, and you will be seeing perhaps the most humourless faces in one group in history. To quote Hitchens once more: these are the kind of people who are “secretly hoping to prove that it is they themselves who are the pet of the universe…those who overcompensate for inferiority are possessed of titanic egos and regard other people as necessary but incidental.”

We must hope that the general public is no longer swayed by these interlopers and has learnt to use its vote with deliberate discretion and careful consideration. Those who wish to divorce the BJP and get married once more to the Congress must recall Dr. Samuel Johnson’s famous quip: “A second marriage is a triumph of hope over experience.” 1979 and 2004 are enough indicators that the “triumph of hope” in these marriages is merely ephemeral while the tragedy of experience is permanent!

Vijaya Kumar Dar

Thursday, October 11, 2018


October 2nd 2018 is the first day of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Whole libraries have been written about this remarkable man who appeared upon the scene in India after having cut his teeth in the political arena at the height of colonial ruthlessness and exploitation by the apartheid regime in South Africa. India, under the imperial heel of Britain, was fertile ground for transplanting his revolutionary ideas that he had seeded as a lawyer and political activist in Pretoria.

However, the purpose of this article is not to add one more page to the volumes in the library dedicated to Gandhi’s life. It is a reverie that was triggered some years ago when I first read Manohar Malgonkar's book 'The Men Who Killed Gandhi'. The work was first published in 1978, but somehow, had not come to my attention. I have read Malgonkar's fiction, 'The Combat of Shadows’ being the first. It is a passionate novel, set in the tea plantations of the Northeast, with revenge as its theme. Malgonkar writes with great ease and felicity. His understanding of the Indian mind is second-to-none, and his characters come alive in the narratives. Later I also read 'Distant Drums', a novel set around the 1857 Sepoy Revolt, whose protagonists are the leaders of that revolt. 'A Bend in the River' is also set in the times before Indian independence and the Partition that let loose a river of blood across the subcontinent. All Malgonkar's fiction is full of passionate drama, with many melodramatic scenes of cinematic intensity. I have always wondered why no filmmaker has attempted to bring 'The Combat of Shadows' and 'A Bend in the River' to life on the silver screen! These two novels are admirably suited to the medium of cinema and would make for excellent viewing in the hands of a good craftsman.

'The Men Who Killed Gandhi' is a painstaking journey that began in 1960 as an assignment from Life International, and it came out as a story in its February 1968 issue. But, by then, Malgonkar had realized that his story and the research behind it warranted a book, much more than just a magazine article. So, he sat down to enlarge the story with inputs from several sources, of which the Kapur Commission's report proved to be most invaluable. The edition that was finally published in 1978 was until then, perhaps the most factual account of the conspiracy that led to the assassination of Gandhi.

Reprinted in 2008 by Roli Books, the new edition has been richly enhanced by some, until then unpublished, documents and photographs of the many people and items involved in the actual conspiracy, and the subsequent trials. There are photocopies of the statements made by the indicted people as well as by the investigating agents. One can see a facsimile of the actual Air India tickets bought by Godse and Apte when they embarked on their deadly mission from Bombay to Delhi. There are copies of the entries made in the Visitors' Index book maintained by Hotel Marina, New Delhi, where Godse had stayed in Room No. 40 when the first attempt on Gandhi's life was made on 20th January 1948. Pictures of the two firearms procured by the conspirators to perpetrate their foul deed, with a complete account of how these came into their possession, can be found within the pages of this edition.

But, as Malgonkar writes in the preface to the 2008 edition: "The book first came out when the country was in the grip of the 'Emergency', and books were subjected to a censorship of the utmost ruthlessness. This made it incumbent upon me to omit certain vital facts such as, for instance, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar's secret assurance to Mr. L. B. Bhopatkar, that his client, Mr. V. D. Savarkar had been implicated as a murder-suspect on the flimsiest grounds. Then again, certain other pertinent details such as the 'doctoring' of a confession by a magistrate whose duty it was only to record what was said only came out in later years." This edition, according to the author, "is the complete single account of the plot to murder Mahatma Gandhi." The edition brought out by Roli Books has been a great success that can be ascertained from the fact that between 2008 and 2011, it has undergone five impressions.

After having read and pondered over this wonderfully produced volume, I moved on, quite by chance, to read an almost innocuous novel titled 'The Last Castrato' by John Spencer Hill. Published in 1995, the mystery novel is set in Florence, Italy, a city that is said to overawe visitors by its sheer volume of culture. Situated on the banks of the silvery river Arno, the city has a domineering influence on people when they first espy Brunelleschi's Dome, or Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. The quaint, fairy-tale-like Ponte Vecchio straddles the river like a magical bridge promising some wonderland on the other side. Florence can be both intimidating, and yet captivating.

The novel recounts a saga in which the victim of a crime committed almost three decades ago, exacts his revenge on the wrong-doers, by slitting their throats and severing their vocal chords. The victim, it appears, was criminally castrated by a group of aspiring musicians who called themselves the Camerati Dell'Arte, the Companions of Art. In their attempt to restore Renaissance opera to its original roots, they decided that they needed the voice of a castrato. They abducted a young peasant boy, plied him with laudanum, and then proceeded to emasculate him. However, they were unable to market their music because the recording companies guessed that the boy had been criminally assaulted and did not want to have anything to do with the group. The boy, however, never forgave the Camerati and, as a grown up, exacted his revenge upon them in the most macabre manner that he could devise.

There is obviously no connection between these two books, one a factual account of a conspiracy launched by five fiercely patriotic individuals who, although they held Gandhi in high esteem, felt that he had betrayed the cause of the majority, and therefore, had to be violently removed from the scene. In the end, their fanaticism got the better of their patriotism, and they succeeded in killing the Mahatma, who, if he had lived, may have 'changed the shape of India's polity and society'. ‘The world,’ according to Pramod Kapoor, the editor of the volume, ‘may not have been as violent as it is today.’ The second is a totally fictional work, in which a wronged individual seeks revenge for personal satisfaction.

However, it is rather ironical that Italy played a small role in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Of the two guns that Godse procured for the deed, it was the 9mm Beretta, an automatic pistol, made in Italy, which fired the fatal shots. The pistol had found its way to India from Ethiopia after the Second World War. Fate had decreed that an Italian weapon would be used to remove Gandhi from this earth.

Ironically, it was again the connection with an Italian; this time an individual, that brought down another Gandhi. The unhealthy influence of Ottavio Quatrocchi was chiefly responsible for turning Rajiv Gandhi from a promising Prime Minister into a commission agent, thereby destroying his credibility with the common man and bringing his government down from the heights of unprecedented majority to an ignominious minority, within the period of just one term. Quatrocchi was able to peddle his toxic influence only because he was an Italian, the nationality of Rajiv Gandhi's wife.

The destructive Italian connection continues for over a quarter-century (and counting) after the downfall of Rajiv Gandhi and his untimely and tragic assassination by a Sri Lankan suicide-bomber. Sonia Gandhi, his widow, after a brief interregnum of staying away from the corridors of political power, took control of the Congress Party, consolidating her hold on it as its longest-serving President, and till 2014, ruled the country as an uncrowned Empress. Even now she commands an almost Caesarian, unconstitutional authority in Lutyen’s Delhi. The constricting embrace in which she held the Party has made it into a lifeless, spineless organism, almost a brain-dead creature. The government she headed (as the Chairperson of the UPA) was prostrate at her feet and its Prime Minister, like the peasant boy of the novel, seemed to have become the first castrato in the Opera Macabre that she was conducting, with the Indian media playing its diabolical orchestra from the wings. It is perhaps pertinent to recall here what Nathuram Godse, in his final statement, had to say about the Indian press: "The Press had displayed such weakness and submission to the High Command of the Congress that it allowed the mistakes of leaders pass away freely and unnoticed and made vivisection easy by their policy." We can see that as far as the media is concerned, nothing has changed since the trial of the conspirators.

Sonia Gandhi has since handed over the baton to her son, now that she no longer commands the legislature, having led her party in the 2014 elections to its worst ever performance in history. Rahul Gandhi, like a modern day Don Quixote, suffering from a fevered imagination, is out to destroy whatever credibility the party is left with. Like a loose cannon he makes bombastic and conflicting statements about the economy with regularity. In his hatred for PM Modi he appears to be willing to join hands with the enemies of India if it can bring his party back to power, never mind the consequent rivers of blood that communal riots are known to generate. The endorsements he receives from Pakistan testify to this fact.  His almost daily utterances of vile lies against Narendra Modi, his inane tweets, and the abuses he hurls at the office of the Prime Minister confirm that he and his family are unable to come to terms with their current state of political irrelevance. His personal identity is in a constant state of flux, altering his religious beliefs according to the town he is visiting and the audience he is addressing.

The Congress Party has run its race and is now completely out of wind. Its leadership is moribund and has survived the various court cases so far because of a dysfunctional judicial system it created over 60 years of governance. In any other Democracy its entire top leadership would have been in jail within months of losing power. In China they would probably have been executed. The Gandhi’s have long outlived their usefulness to the Congress party and to India. The hangers-on who are still holding on to the pallu of Sonia Gandhi’s sari have no existence outside the fold. They are the last castratos of the Cameratismo di Ladri (the comradeship of thieves) that the party’s Italian connections have transformed it into. The shrill cacophony of the servile media and the continuous assault by the judiciary on India’s traditional culture and civilization can, at best be described as the last ditch attempts by a derelict surgery to give voice to these castratos even though their vocal chords were excised long ago by the Italian descendants.

If India survives this fatal Italian connection in 2019, it can be assured of the “tryst with destiny” that its first Prime Minister had promised at the dawn of independence, though he did not do much to make that tryst come about.