Friday, March 4, 2011


One of my colleagues in our sister magazine The Sunday Indian, Saurabh Kumar Shahi, has done something remarkable. He and some of his friends financially helped out the families of four youngsters accused of the Godhra carnage, where 59 passengers were burnt inside a train coach. He is very happy now because all four have been acquitted by the court. Saurabh is also one of the first in our edit meetings to object ferociously when someone tries to paint the entire Muslim community as anti-national or as sympathetic towards ‘Islamic’ terror.

The reason I mention Saurabh is because of many recent incidents and public utterances of some political leaders. One who comes to mind right away is senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, arguably one of the smartest politicians in the country. Let me remind readers that when he lost the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh very badly to BJP leader Uma Bharti back in 2003, Digvijay Singh had publicly proclaimed that he will not hold any government or ministerial post for 10 years. To his credit, he has stuck to his promise; in itself a remarkable feat in a nation full of opportunistic politicians who are convinced that voters and citizens have short memories. Even his die hard critics will agree that his commitment to the Congress is unquestionable.

And yet, he has been saying things – almost certainly because it is part of some Congress strategy – that are disturbing. The latest is his war of words with the yoga guru Baba Ramdev who has announced that he is about to enter the murky waters of politics. Of course, Baba Ramdev must understand that when he enters politics and targets a party, he is going to get it back. So, Digvijay Singh is perfectly right as a Congressman to hit back. Then again, I recall his remarks about how he got a telephone call from the martyred cop Hemant Karkare complaining about death threats from Hindu fanatics, some time before he was killed during 26/11. Then again, I recall his remarks calling the RSS a fascist organization. And of course, I also recall his seeming endorsement of a book that makes the fantastic claim that 26/11 was a
Hindu right wing conspiracy to malign the Muslims.

My request to Digvijay Singh is two fold: first, what he is saying might be good for the Congress, but not for the nation at a time of frayed nerves. Second, it might not even be a smart move for the Congress to target ‘Hindu’ groups in such a manner. As a seasoned and well read politician, he must be aware of how the Shah Bano case opened the flood gates for the BJP to storm to power in Delhi. There is something called the ‘Hindu’ backlash, which he and the Congress can ignore at their own peril.

Then again, he must look at the fate of the hard line ‘secular’ leaders like Lalu and Mulayam Yadav. Muslims have figured out that the two never went beyond paying lip service to them and have been voting resoundingly against them in recent times. Does Digvijay Singh want the Congress to take that route towards oblivion? He could check out the Bihar election results again.



  1. do you think digvijay reading it or will change himself after reading it.

  2. When minorities have such a debonair voice, what is wrong with Hindu's having one. All should find their voice, and there should be room for healthy dissent.

    The dissenting voices may some times be the alternate truth. But fanticism is wrong and passiveness is wrong. So all people must be assertive and show positive aggression and not any kind of extremisism.

    Politics is a thing which tarnishes the image of those who involve in it. Even lord Krishna was not bereft of it.

    So we should not aim for the best we should aim for progress and extol it to beget more of it. Which means that surely India is progressing.

    We see prosperity all around us. Peace and harmony in politics can add to a nations prosperity.

    OK sir.