Fifth column: Confusion confounded

When a dynasty has remained in power for nearly all of India’s years as an independent nation, it is not easy to accept that some little commoner from Gujarat should usurp the throne.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Published:October 9, 2016 12:00 am
sonia-and-rahul759 When the results of the general election came on that hot summer day in 2014, indicating a full majority for the BJP and 44 seats for the Congress, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi accepted defeat in a sulky, graceless sort of way.

From day one the Gandhi family and its courtiers have made it clear that they would never accept a ‘chaiwala’ from Gujarat as prime minister. When the results of the general election came on that hot summer day in 2014, indicating a full majority for the BJP and 44 seats for the Congress, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi accepted defeat in a sulky, graceless sort of way. They congratulated the ‘new government’ that had not yet been formed but refused to mention the hated Narendra Modi’s name. Remember? By the next morning, articles written by their devoted courtiers prophesying India’s descent into darkness appeared in newspapers, including this one. A particularly devoted devotee trotted off to Pakistan weeks later and asked for help to oust Modi on a Pakistani news channel.

When a dynasty has remained in power for nearly all of India’s years as an independent nation, it is not easy to accept that some little commoner from Gujarat should usurp the throne. So the relationship between the Congress and the Modi government has been bitter, ugly and acrimonious. The fools who keep suggesting that the Prime Minister ‘reach out’ to the Opposition have no idea what they are talking about. But even keeping these things in mind, Rahul Gandhi’s charge last week that the Prime Minister was doing ‘khoon ki dalali’ with the blood of dead soldiers was beyond belief. His Hindi is limited but even he must know that the word ‘dalaal’ is mostly used as a pejorative term for pimps. So when he charged the Prime Minister with pimping the blood of dead soldiers did he understand that he was defiling the memory of men who died for India?

Ever since 19 soldiers were killed in the Uri attack, we have watched small boys, barely old enough to walk, lighting the pyres of fathers killed in Pakistan’s ugly, undeclared war. It has been a haunting, horrible sight. So when the Indian Army retaliated with a strike on terrorist camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, most Indians felt proud. Naturally Pakistan’s military rulers denied that anything happened. It is their default response. It was their response to 26/11 despite Ajmal Kasab being caught alive. It has been their response every time a jihadi attack has revealed the hand of the ISI. These are men who even denied that they knew Osama bin Laden and his many wives and children lived for years in a huge house inside the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Today most countries regard Pakistan as a rogue state that uses jihadi terrorism as a tool of its foreign policy. In view of jihadism being widely regarded as the Nazism of our times, Pakistan is increasingly being acknowledged as the most dangerous Islamic Republic of all since it has a huge stock of nuclear weapons and continues to make more. Until the Indian Army conducted its ‘surgical strikes’, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif made daily threats of nuclear war.

Unsurprisingly, most Indians are proud that the Prime Minister showed the political will to ignore this nuclear blackmail. But, the Congress party was left confused and unhappy. So some of its leaders began by praising the ‘armed forces’ as if they could have acted without political support. Then when it became clear that the ‘surgical strikes’ were hugely popular, they started grumbling about how they had done similar strikes but never taken credit politically. Why not? After 26/11 and the beheading of our soldiers, most Indians wanted some kind of retaliation, so where was the need for secrecy?

Rahul Gandhi’s response to the ‘surgical strikes’ was the most confused of all. He welcomed them but added that it was the first time in more than two years that he had seen the Prime Minister behave ‘prime ministerial’. Days later he charged him with ‘pimping’ the blood of dead soldiers. For a start it is not at all clear what he meant by this, but whatever he meant, it showed contempt for the young men who die every day protecting India’s borders against an increasingly belligerent neighbour.

It is possible that Rahul Gandhi did not fully understand what he was saying. It is possible that he thought of this as yet another clever one-liner, but he seems not just to have misunderstood what he was saying but also misunderstood the threat India faces from Pakistan’s jihadist military assets. WikiLeaks reported five years ago that Rahul once told an American ambassador that he believed Hindu terrorism was a bigger threat to India than jihadist terrorism. Does he still believe this? If he does, then it is time for some more political science lessons and some lessons in current affairs. No man who seeks to become India’s prime minister can remain oblivious to the ugly possibility of a nuclear war being started by some jihadist general from the Islamic Republic next door.

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

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    Chetan Dutt
    Oct 11, 2016 at 2:26 am
    May be.. but isn't he saying what you were saying till a few weeks ago.. "this govt has no policy to handle stan". How is it that you are not confused? And even if he is confused, how is that important? Who told you that he seeks to be future PM? lt;br/gt;You said "fools" want government to reach out to opposition, but he did reach out and was appreciated for that too. Does that mean even those including PM are fools? lt;br/gt;Story is not RG here. By making one in this article, Tavleen you are the one who seems to be the most confused here.
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      Jim
      Oct 9, 2016 at 7:18 am
      Dumb
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        Jim
        Oct 9, 2016 at 7:23 am
        Kiss
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        1. J
          Jim
          Oct 9, 2016 at 7:18 am
          Mukt
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            Jim
            Oct 9, 2016 at 7:21 am
            Over smart
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              Jim
              Oct 9, 2016 at 7:26 am
              Over smart prashant kisswhorre dumb pappu = congress mukt bharat.
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                Jim
                Oct 9, 2016 at 7:26 am
                Over smart prashant kisswhorre dumb pappu = congress mukt bharat..
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                  Jim
                  Oct 9, 2016 at 7:18 am
                  Pappu
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                    Jim
                    Oct 9, 2016 at 7:22 am
                    Prashant
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                      Jim
                      Oct 9, 2016 at 7:25 am
                      Whorre
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                        Samanya Admi
                        Oct 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm
                        A candid analysis. India needs to get rid of dynasty that has not allowed India to develop. The Congress leaders need to think if they could be led by anti-national hi family of today. A new Congress needs to emerge if Congress has to suastain as a political party. It would be appropriate if Congress is wound up as a political party a la Mahatma hi.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;21st century India has no place for: corruption, terrorism, black money, insecure borders etc. Jai Hind.
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                          Nation
                          Oct 9, 2016 at 4:35 am
                          Bhakt rhetoric!
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                            Jayakumar
                            Oct 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm
                            Well said Ms Singh.
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                              Trun
                              Oct 9, 2016 at 4:06 am
                              I feel DGMO has confused everyone. How often you see DGMO updating us on LOC? So if DGMO has called press conference he better be professional. Else it has become mockery of India and we even saw our UN representative begging UN to declare it a surgical strike. That doesn't augur well for country likeIndia.
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                                Shafi
                                Oct 9, 2016 at 5:57 pm
                                This lady is hopeless writer Indian express to have, as she is certainly not balanced in her mind, anti Muslim, feels herself to be at her best when using the word jihadism a dozen time. I wished she knew what jihad means. A good candidate for this government to have , at least. May be she can join MJ Akbar and become minister,
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                                  Soma
                                  Oct 9, 2016 at 12:30 am
                                  Her only aim is to glorify the PM. Alllt;br/gt;He said he was that the strikes were being used for politicallt;br/gt;Gain
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                                    Jeay Sindhجيئي
                                    Oct 9, 2016 at 3:15 pm
                                    The biggest curse on the Congress Party is the inability of it's leaders to think beyond hi family. Rahul is not qualified to be the prime minister, does not have the apude, nor the ability. His dad Rajiv was the worst prime minister in the history of India, Rahul would be even worse.
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                                      SubbuI
                                      Oct 9, 2016 at 6:28 am
                                      CHOTA BEEM BI BAARI PATEGA WITH OR WITH OUT THUMB IN HIS MOUTH. THABI LAMBA GUZAEDGA KA MOV MEY BAHUTHBHAARI PADEGA KUTHE
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                                        SubbuI
                                        Oct 9, 2016 at 2:41 am
                                        I WAS JUST WONDERING THIS VENDICTIVE COLOMIST WAS NOT ABUSING HI TAMILY IN HER LAST TWO OR THREE COLOUMS IN IE. SHE IS AS CUNNING AND PATIENT AS A " VULTURE WAITS PATIENTLY FOR ITS PRAY. SO HER BENEFECTORS WIIL BE HAPPY. THIS PRO DIVISIVE AND FIFTH RATE HAD NAMED HER VERY RIGHTLY SO. I PURELY MEANS " CASHIN IN" . THIS SO CALLED ARISTOCRATE DEVILISH LOOKING WRITTER CAN ASK ANY HINDI/ ENGLISH COLLEGUES IF SHE THINKS SHE HAS ONE WHO WOULD CARE FOR HER. HER EACH WORD STINKS WITH PERSONAL ANGER AGAINST NEHRU HI KHANDHAN AND WITH A SPECIAL MIRCHI TO MADAM SONYA AND NOW TO RAHUL TOO AND FIRST TIME SHE RELUCTANTLY AND SARCASTICALLY .AGREE HIS CLAIM FOR FUTURE PM.I REALY WONDER WHY SHE IS NOT WRITTING ON KASHMIR TODAY UNDER COMMONER NALAYAK MODI OR WAR HYSTERIA THIS FEKU CREATING OR FEAR PHSYCOLOGICALY IN POOL BOUND STEATES FOR POLARISING THE VOTERS OR AMERICAN FLATELY REFUCING TO AGRRE STHAN IS ATERRORIST STATE OR HIS ADVENTURISMS WITH CHINES RELATIONS RESULTING THEIR OPEN SLAPS ON US OR HIS COVERT SUPPORT TO DADRI KILLER WHO DIED IN JAIL AND NOT ABJECTING OUR NATIONAL FLAD SPREAD ON THE COVIICT DEAD BODY CONTAINER AND NEGOTIATIONS BY HIS KHOON KI S LIKE TALIBHAN IN AFGANISTHAN ? CAN WE CALL THIS MODIBHAN IN INDIA? MOST BAISED COLOMIST YOU GET LOST.WHETHER YOU AGREE OR LIKE IT OR NOT. RAHUL WILL COME TO HAUNT YOU ALL IN YOUR DREAM TOO
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                                          SUBBU.I
                                          Oct 9, 2016 at 4:36 am
                                          SANGI SILSY SHARAMAJI.KYA MIRCHI LAGHA HAI. THODASE COW MUTHAR PIYO.
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                                            P Subramani Aiyar
                                            Oct 9, 2016 at 4:29 am
                                            An oustanding article by a journalist of not just immense standing but who has a personal awareness of stans whose standing derives from her rich family background. I wish the likes of Tavleen would grow in numbers. India needs people of journalistic integrity like you have in Tavleen Singh
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