Revenge, they say, is a dish best eaten cold. Do not react immediately when you are humiliated. Wait patiently for your turn. Your time will come when you will be able to wreak revenge for the slights you have suffered. In the meantime, be meek and obedient. Just wait.
Pranab Mukherjee was humiliated by the Family. He was blamed for being over ambitious when Indira Gandhi was assassinated and for pointing out to Rajiv Gandhi, whom he was accompanying back to Delhi, that as a senior Cabinet minister, he had to be selected as the acting PM. The First Family never forgave him for that piece of effrontery. He was constitutionally correct but the First Family does not care for constitutionality, as Indira had shown. Pranab bit his tongue. He was expelled from the Congress. He came back later and went on serving the First Family faithfully.
When the Congress came back to power in 1991, he was set aside for P V Narasimha Rao. Maybe that was tolerable because Rao was quite senior in the Indira Congress. But in 2004, if Sonia Gandhi was not taking up prime ministership, Pranab was preeminently qualified to be PM. It was not to be his turn. In 2009, he was spurned again. At the 125th anniversary celebration of the Congress (falsely because that party was ended by Indira in 1969), Pranab was humiliated. Anand Sharma got to speak as did Manmohan Singh. But Pranab, the most senior of all, was not invited to speak.
So he had his revenge. He went to the one institution — the RSS — that’s anathema to the Congress. He is too clever to agree with the RSS. His speech was anodyne and predictable. But he knew that it was not what he said but where he said it which mattered. By his act of going to the RSS, he branded the RSS as a good institution. Mohan Bhagwat understood this. The issue was not what he said but that he did.
And why not? The RSS has been there since 1926, the same age as the CPI (Remember it?). It has been open and legal except for the short period in 1948 when it was banned. There was a proposal to merge the RSS into the Congress just before then. The CPI collaborated with the British during the Second World War when the Soviet Union was under attack and denounced the Congress. It openly relied on foreign, i.e. British Communist Party, advice and Soviet Union cash. Yet, it was nationalist while the RSS was demonised.
Pranab Mukherjee rewrote history on Friday. He washed away all the sins of the RSS. From now on, no stigma attaches to the RSS even for the assassination of Gandhiji for which the RSS was acquitted (though the Congress would like you not to know). Pranab Mukherjee has shown real tolerance in talking with the RSS. He is clever enough not to have deviated from what he was expected to say.
But he was not addressing the RSS. He was telling the Congress off for humiliating him since 1984. He got his revenge by disarming Rahul Gandhi. Well done.