• ~ Mark Twain

    ~ Mark Twain

    "Loyalty to country "ALWAYS". Loyalty to government, when it deserves it."
  • rahul f

    The 'Candidate' Who Flunked the Interview


    Indian TV’s greatest event of 2014 – Rahul Gandhi interviewed by Arnab Goswami, telecast on 27 January – as the Times Now Channel repeatedly flashed the ad (as if the year was going to end that evening) had just begun when I switched the channels after dinner.

    Hoping there would be something refreshing, if not important, to see and hear, I settled down like a tame idiot before the box. In fact, I even raised the TV’s volume so as not to miss a word of what would be said.

    The unsteady and shifting eyes of Rahul were already hinting how the interview would go. I still told myself he would speak with better confidence once he was a few minutes into the show. But that never happened.

    The boy had not been properly trained. I want to whip his trainers.  He had memorized a few stock phrases and thought he would be able to field all questions. He did not seem to have visualized that he could be faced with someone other than a Congressman, much less a journalist who flaunts aggression. Yet, to be fair to Arnab, he was this time sufficiently polite in speech, sporting his characteristic aggression only through facial musculature.

    What did I expect of Rahul?

    I expected Rahul to be candid and courageous.

    I expected something of the flaming dream that had marked Nehru. Or a shadow of it that lingered in Rajiv.

    I was not worried Rahul would fumble and say a few politically incorrect, even embarrassing, things.

    I believed he was young.

    But he spoke like he was already too old to offer hope.

    And he spoke of harnessing the young Indians’ energy to change ‘the system’.  Could inauthenticity be more authentically incarnated? And what does one mean by ‘the system’? Isn’t ‘system’ now the easy refuge of the out-of-date, shallow-minded pseudo-thinkers?

    Rahul spoke like a candidate from one of India’s many private management-diploma shops, who have never known a good book, who have no hands-on experience, who rely on second-hand notes. On thoughtless plagiarism.

    If women can be empowered with three additional LPG cylinders, I will sponsor 30.

    If Modi’s government machinery actively contributed to the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, ‘my’ party’s government at the centre should have dismissed ‘his’ government, whatever the consequences.

    If Congressmen were involved in the massacre of the Sikhs on the capital’s streets, as Rahul almost admitted they ‘could be’, he should have not only apologized (he had a great opportunity) but vowed to bring the killers to justice within a specific time frame by promising to fast-track the cases.

    Rahul had a chance to heal the wounds that have festered for thirty years. He refused to heal.

    But then only a man – who humbly accepts his mortal condition, against all the splendor of royalty – can be a healer. Not one who is less than a man. 

    I expected Rahul to be a man. I expected him to be a gentleman.

    He disappointed me.

    Not that he cannot become a Prime Minister. He may, given the way some ‘democracies’ work. So what if he becomes a PM? It will be just another plastic feather in mediocrity’s cap.

    Thanks to Manmohan Singh, we know beyond doubt that no office, howsoever high, can make you a leader. You either are a leader, or are not.

    And these days, who knows we may have leaders who are not even men. Much less gentlemen.


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    Rajesh Sharma

    Prof Rajesh Sharma teaches literature, culture and theory in the Department of English, Punjabi University, Patiala
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    • Sameer Kumar Jasra

      Sir he has even disappointed his party men and family. ‘ I want to whip his trainers’ is the most amusing line. Hats off to writing and expression.

    • Sandeep Kumar Toor

      Sir,I agree with whatever you have said and just want to add that the tragedy he suffered in his childhood may have some bearing on his personality.Rahul Gandhi has a strong will to serve the nation but he doesn’t have that charisma and appeal which his ancestors had.In politics or otherwise we want to see the picture of a father in his son,which may not be true all the times and perhaps not even justified.In the present structure Rahul is not a separate entity.He is merely discharging his duties as a member of the core group.Anyhow lets see whether he can prove himself to be the dark horse or not.
      The observations made regarding Dr.Manmohan Singh are commendable.

    • Rajesh Sharma

      Dear Sandeep, Childhood trauma does not explain chicanery and evasiveness and shallowness. One who aspires to lead a country is expected to be better prepared.

    • balvindersingh

      Which xperience made you ‘xpect’ so much from rahul? I, like most ppl, was xpecting that his mom wud have purchased the channel and arnab wud present a lamb as a lion through a manipulated, through cuts and retakes, interview. A true interview as it appeared, wud have been this only.

    • Amey Athaley

      “Thanks to Manmohan Singh, we know beyond doubt that no office, howsoever high, can make you a leader. You either are a leader, or are not.”….truly said.I really liked the writing.Amusing.