In a recent piece on Newslaundry titled “Is Rahul Gandhi the Kalidasa of Indian politics?” the author Abid Shah used the following line:
Rahul’s political transformation after being lampooned so much reminds one of Kalidasa who rose to great heights in the field of literature after being spurned by his wife.
I honestly did a double take after I read that line. Apart from the fact that the whole piece is like a fanboy tribute to Rahul Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, the last line makes no sense because India is not an upset wife which has forced Rahul Gandhi (Uhh… Modern Kalidasa? What?) to get upset, to seek knowledge and become a great respected scholar/visionary/leader.
That would make a dope story though, to be honest. Are you listening Netflix?
It would also ensure that the Gandhi dynastic family tree finally exits Indian politics and gives space to other more deserving leaders from the Congress.
It’s quite amusing how the author, with all due respect to him, heaps praise on the Gandhi scion for rousing a crowd with his speech, for being a possible “bet” for India in the future and how he has emerged as a wronged “Pappu” who has suddenly become “non-Pappu”. Shah also mentions how “efforts to target Congress on social media are not new”.
I mean duh! Every BJP leader has been screaming about a “Congress-Mukt Bharat” since before 2014 and indirectly branding Rahul Gandhi as a “Pappu” and now his supporters as “pidis”. This is part of the clever plan to destroy credibility. To spell out how, let’s delve into the whole “Congress-Mukt Bharat”, shall we?
First, turn the potential “alternative” Rahul Gandhi into a laughing stock so that PM Modi is the only reasonable choice left for everyone to look up to for the top job. The trick is to make effective and consistent use of buzzwords that reinforce Rahul’s stature as a bumbling incompetent oaf. Many gaffes he made in the past whilst giving speeches or doing public appearances are still circulated with abandon, turning him into a punchline to every imaginable political joke. All of this laden with the laughing face emoji.
Rahul Gandhi’s projection as an alternative to Modi was dead before arrival. Quite literally because it took him ages to officially become the president of the Grand Old Party.
Second, BJP took all the schemes dreamt up by the UPA government in the past, recycled and repackaged them, made the implementation more effective (or at least projected it that way) and sold it back to the voters. In the first few years of the Modi government, the Prime Minister consistently lampooned select flagship schemes launched by the UPA in the past and kept dissing the Congress for naming them after the Gandhis. Reinforcing the feeling about Congress being dynastic to the core.
Third, there was a consistent effort to connect Congress and their dear Gandhi family with everything that is wrong with our great country.
Corruption? Congress did it.
2G, coal scam, Adarsh society… the list is endless. Doesn’t matter if none of these were proved in the court of law and nobody was really punished. It’s all a perception game.
Protect women? Congress didn’t do it.
Nirbhaya case comes to mind here. That did hurt the UPA a lot and it still haunts them. Again, perception game.
Run the government effectively? Congress can’t do it. Parliament kept getting adjourned causing a policy paralysis for about two years before 2014. That was hammered into everyone’s heads. Perception game FTW for BJP.
I still remember the arrogance at full display by UPA ministers and politicians when all of these instances came up before 2014. It was truly cringe-worthy.
Much of Kalidasa’s life is a mystery, but scholars speculate that Kalidasa went to the Himalayas after being allegedly cursed off by his wife. He emerged years later, armed with wisdom, and wrote many classic epics in Sanskrit which are still respected. Translations are done, his plays are interpreted and studied, all across the world, because he was clearly a genius in the literature department.
Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, is not. Just take one peek at this video of Sonia Gandhi conceding defeat in the 2014 elections. Notice Rahul’s face here.
When I first saw this, my brain screamed, “WHY THE HECK IS HE SO HAPPY? What is going on even?” Now, after reading Mr Shah’s piece, it hits me that he probably was about to go to the Himalayas (or some nice exotic beach in the Caribbean), away from all the madness, to uh gain some wisdom? That might have been the reason behind that glorious smile.
But LOL No. He didn’t do that.
Probably it would have helped if he actually followed Kalidasa’s steps and come out with some wisdom about how he and his party lost the perception game, came out battered and beaten election after election. Also, please can we stop calling him a “youth” leader? He’s 47 years old. He might be a leader, but not a youthleader darnit!
Speaking of youth leaders with fresh new ideas, we still don’t know what Rahul Gandhi stands for.
His party has been hollowed out by the BJP by laying claim and repackaging all the initiatives they came up with, but implementing them better after 2014. Or just working hard to create a perception that they are doing that. MGNREGA, GST, Aadhaar-based subsidy delivery, even the “Adopt a Heritage” are policy initiatives which the UPA came up with and worked on. Badly.
To be an alternative, it’s important to give new alternative ideas as opposed to what the current government is doing. Abid Shah, the author if the original piece, mentions a recent speech given by Rahul “Kalidasa” Gandhi at Ramlila Maidan. He says…
The newly-appointed Congress president’s words seemed to set off ripples of change in the air and a virtual wave of joy through rows of Congress supporters. Rahul spoke with determination, conviction and, perhaps, a renewed resolve.
I saw the speech and, to be perfectly honest, the only thing he did was bash Modi, bash BJP, bash ministers, counter everything and anything they are doing. With just rhetoric. Gandhi presents zero alternatives to what he will do differently. He does zero things to prove to the masses (not just Congress supporters) that he will look beyond the frequent rhetoric-filled election speeches by Prime Minister Modi and that he will do things differently.
Why, you wonder? Because he can’t. The Congress-led UPA government was trying to do the same crappy things before the BJP took over, albeit in a horribly slow and lethargic way.
So dear Mr Rahul Gandhi, I think you should actually follow Kalidasa’s footsteps and take off to the Himalayas. Probably, when you return, you will have a new plan that we all so desperately need.