This is the biggest story in India right now. I am already sick of it. Khair.... I've said my piece.
Divorce - Desi style… Why Jaswant should demand alimony.
Jaswant Singh is behaving like an emotionally injured bride who has been thrown out of her ‘sasural’ and is back in the marital home, sulking away, while the neighbours gossip and speculate ( “ Bhai…. asli reason kya hai?”). Political divorces are no different from regular ones. In this case , nobody is sure on what grounds the papers have been filed - proven infidelity? Impotency? Dementia? Abject cruelty? Dowry demands? Irreconciliable differences? Or a plain and simple irrevocable breakdown of the shaadi? If it’s infidelity, the ‘other man’ has been dead and gone for decades. In fact, there are two ‘other men’ in the picture ( Jinnah and Patel ). Jaswant’s tell-all tome boldly names names, and provides ample fodder to the complainant to go ahead with the proceedings. In India, a great deal of value is placed on this particular virtue ( fidelity). An unfaithful wife is the bane of our society, and is frequently beaten\stoned\killed for her crime. In less drastic circumstances, she is given marching orders and instantly ostracized by family and friends.
In such a grim scenario, there are two options. The aggrieved wife can battle it out in court and claim alimony, or she can go public with her multiple grouses and expose her in-laws. Jaswant is in the happy position of a woman scorned – public sympathy is largely with him. What is the guy’s crime, the aam aadmi is wondering? He has written a book – and some would say – shot himself in the foot. Big deal. As an acknowledged intellectual with a track record of controversial actions and utterances, nothing that he has stated in his latest labour of love is all that radical or shocking. But in a country like ours ( hypocritical and judgemental), with so many sacred cows, even the mildest criticism of our national icons and praise for our declared enemies, is taken as blasphemy .Forget criticism, even an analytical assessment of history is considered sacrilege. We insist on sanitizing and neutering history to make it more palatable. This is such a bloody shame, particularly since we pride ourselves on our great democratic principles, free speech etc etc. And we can’t handle a few paragraphs that challenge popular perceptions? What has Jaswant written that is so terrible? He has certainly not made a huge hero out of Jinnah… nor a despicable villain out of Patel. But even if he had done so, does he not have the right to his theories and viewpoints? This is Jaswant’s individual take – he is entitled to it. You don’t have to agree with his views – that is your prerogative. But to reduce the whole thing into a ‘tu tu main main’ farce … or an episode out of the old ‘saas bahu’ serials, is to insult public intelligence…. bring out the dirty linen, but don’t wash it!
Let’s look at the worst case scenario – assuming Jaswant has indeed glorified Jinnah, does that alter history? Assuming he has vilified Sardar Patel, does that impact Patel’s elevated position in our minds?History depends entirely on who writes it. It has always been open to interpretation… it will continue to be written , re-written and re-re-written. An educated, mature society is willing to acknowledge as much and allow a thousand dissenting voices to be heard. Challenge opinion by all means, but don’t hang the opinion maker.Unless, of course, the entire expulsion natak is just that – a pantomime designed to distract attention from pricklier issues corroding the innards of the party. If ‘chintan’ ( introspection) was indeed the main agenda of the BJP ‘baithak’, there is little evidence of it in the hasty action taken against a stalwart. There can be some show of civility even in the bitterest of break-ups. Divorce doesn’t have to be this dirty. Warring couples in a civilized society speak through their lawyers and mutual friends. A 30- year-old marriage isn’t called off via a peremptory phone call made by a flunkey. Of course, Jaswant is appalled and hurt. And like most aggrieved wives, he has gone from playing martyr to attacker, with a li’l help from media buddies. It’s clearly beyond the scope of a competent Family Court to settle this dispute. The Padosis in Pakistan are going to town with the story. And Jaswant will have no trouble finding a fresh sasural across the border if he so chooses. In the meanwhile, he can hire a competent lawyer ( definitely not Arun Jaitley!), to represent him and fight for a big, fat alimony. Though, frankly, with all this masala and tamasha , the juicy royalties from his book (it is bound to become a runaway best seller), he should be in a very happy financial position.However, as any wronged wife will tell you – it’s not about the money. But like that old cliché goes – success is still the best revenge. Next time darling, stick to Teddy Bears’ Picnic!
I watched the Sarvajanik Ganpatis coming to their temporary homes late last night, and as always, my eyes filled with tears at the innocence of faith.
I ate puran polis at a friend's home, and broke my Shravan diet with juicy mutton chops, succulent prawns and tender chicken. Not forgetting the delicious kebabs with shredded mint patta. It was a small 'focus' group of powwrful and opinionated 'Thought Leaders'. Everybody was discussing just one thing - Jaswant Singh's explosive book. Well, my husband fell for the hype and bought a copy this morning. Tame stuff. The BJP should ask for a hefty share of the royalties - the tome may have gone unnoticed had Jaswant not been expelled by the party.