Right from Bhagwad Gita up to Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”, literature has always urged us to listen to our inner selves, look at what we desire innately and follow it till we reach the goal we desire. Fear not reader, for we aren't going to play preacher and discuss the various benefits of listening to your conscience. But we’d definitely ask you to fear the inner voices of a certain Gandhi family, for whenever they issue a public statement emphasizing on listening to theirs, hell does eventually break loose. Don’t believe us? Read on …
Figuring in the first spot as our example is Sanjay Gandhi – the feudal nightmare, backed by his mother Indira, the iron woman of India. In 1975, when Indira was found guilty of employing corrupt means to gather vote banks and win the elections not only was her enraged opposition trounced with the declaration of an emergency but also she brought the heir to the throne into power. What happened for the next 19 months continues to remain a big blotch on the map of Democratic India – a concept that was almost relegated to the background by the completely autocratic Sanjay. During the Emergency, the media was put under complete censorship disallowing any sort of rebellion against the Gandhis. The late Gandhi, who suffered an untimely demise in a plane crash (that conspiracies claim was engineered by his mother), also made Delhi the laboratory for his slum clearing and sterilization experiments wreaking havoc and rousing mayhem.
Chronologically Sanjay’s sister-in-law figures in the second spot. The 2004 elections saw her rise to power as the Congress chief and she was considered to be the Prime minister in reckoning. Sadly, the opposition party’s uproar gave way to her listening to her “inner voice”. We all know where that led to. With no offence to the astute economist that he is, Mr. Manmohan Singh became a stand in Prime Minister for Sonia Gandhi who backed off at the very last moment. These 10 years under the UPA government have seen some of the worst times with respect to women’s security, economic policies and growth and development in the country. Sanjaya Baru’s tell-it-all biography is testament to the fact that Mr. Singh was a mere puppet in the hands of the Italian belle.
Even though, it might not seem like “The Decade” for Indian women, it surely has empowered the current Congress strategist and sister to its prime ministerial candidate, Priyanka Vadra. She recently went on record to say that although Rahul wanted her to contest the Lok Sabha elections, she was the one who had refused (and yes reader, the great Inner Voice strikes again!). What will it lead to this time? If sources are to be believed, she is even more ruthless as compared to her mother and brother. A spitting image of her grandmother, she is also the mastermind behind all of Rahul’s public appearances (often controlling the show from behind the scenes with her “inputs”) and the campaigning strategies adopted by the party, particularly in its age old bastions of Rae Bareli and Amethi. Reluctance did change from a No to Maybe… And it is truly just a matter of time till we have her controlling the puppetry; whether directly like her late uncle or from behind the curtains like her mother is what we’ll need to wait and watch out for.
Maybe instead of listening to the voices in their respective heads, the Gandhi family should consider giving a ear to actual public grievances (and acting upon them, as well!). It would definitely help them touch base better, and probably riding high on the anti-incumbency wave can gain them a constituency (or two!).