Saturday, April 20, 2013

A tale of two Gandhis...

 I have succumbed! Finally! And acquired a new phone (Samsung Galaxy S 111). It is much, MUCH smarter than I am. Which is a good thing. But It is so darn smart that I can't use it! Well.... here are a few family pics I shot as soon as I got it. I am very pleased with the results. About other apps.... do I really care?
This appeared in Asian Age...
                             The real fight will be between the two Gandhi Babas
In what is being seen as a masterstroke by Narendra Modi, Varun Gandhi, the volatile and articulate son of Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi has been promoted to Class Monitor, after being treated as the Class Bully. There is good reason for this altered status. For one, Varun has done his share of standing on a bench in front of the Principal’s office. For another, he is a chip of the old block ( blocks, actually) and carries his Gandhi legacy with as much arrogance and chutzpah as his parents. Sanjay Gandhi’s style of functioning during the peak of his power, makes Narendra Modi look like a docile lamb reciting Baa Baa Black Sheep. Sanjay was far more in your face  -  an unapologetic tyrant with a weak voice and a loud manner. There was nothing ambiguous about his attitude. The man meant business. It was his way or the highway. You crossed his path at your own peril. His loyal coterie bowed and scraped in his presence in a manner so pathetic, it makes Mayawati’s fawning admirers look good. But that was Sanjay for you – Indira Gandhi’s adored son, who could do no wrong. His widow Maneka ( famously referred to as the kutta-billi mimister) has mellowed somewhat, but you don’t want to mess with this lady either. Varun is the product of fiery parents, who ( decades ago), had shrewdly capitalized on a turbulent environment to establish their own political credentials. Unfortunately for the little boy, his father Sanjay was killed in a chopper accident. His mother was thrown out of the marital home. And his reticent pilot-uncle, Rajiv Gandhi was compelled to fill the vacated position created by Sanjay’s death. India’s history got rewritten, as it were, virtually overnight – and a new monarch was born. A monarch who also had a young son to occupy his throne someday.
It is interesting that both Rahul and Varun are creatures crafted out of enormous personal tragedy. Rahul too lost his own father in equally tragic circumstances, leaving him to take care of a grieving widow ( Sonia), much like his cousin Varun before him. Rahul was fortunate enough to also have a loving sister to cushion the tragedy. Priyanka’s presence may have provided the much needed salve to both, Rahul and his mother. Varun had nothing and no one to fall back on. The few friends Maneka had when Sanjay was alive, soon drifted off to find new patrons. Varun was left to pursue his poetic passions and sent overseas for a formal if lonely education. That he was (and remains) the most political animal in the Gandhi family cannot be disputed. That his IQ is far higher than Rahul’s is known to all. That he is far more aggressive than his mild cousin, is pretty obvious. Now all that remains to be seen is which of the two Gandhi men will impress voters in 2014.
Rahul’s start to woo a picky electorate has been pretty dheela and shaky. Varun is clearly waiting for his big Debutant Ball. But his recent elevation within the party cadre has already sent out several signals. Rahul’s minders are gearing up for a major showdown as the election wars hot up. There are rumours of a Gandhi Vs.Gandhi maha yudh in the offing. Modi campwallas are betting on their  Saffron Gandhi taking the pants … err… pajamas, off the Congress Gandhi. Varun’s fire and brimstone speeches have got him into hot water earlier. Today, he presents a more sober side to the world ( perhaps marriage has mellowed the man?) and minds his language during public discourses. Rahul’s oratorical skills … well, let’s leave those for now, boss! He has much harder tasks ahead of him than to invest his energy trying to impress CII types with his schoolboyish vision for India. How this star rivalry between high profile cousins pans out in the coming months will be fascinating to monitor. One Gandhi is a mild mannered, dimpled darling, with a limited attention span and a self effacing manner that pleases but does not impress. Let’s describe Rahul as a cuddly cocker spaniel. The other Gandhi is hot headed, with a volcanic temper and unapologetically rabid views. Let’s say he most resembles a pit bull terrier. Both men will be used and exploited by the propaganda meisters of their respective parties. Maneka will be pitted against Sonia yet again, albeit in dramatically altered circumstances. This time it will be a lethal fight to the finish with the winner taking it all. In terms of charisma, both men are well-matched. Rahul has his fan following of fida female voters…thanks to his single status. Varun is admired by asli mards… and, of course, women who like their men married and macho.Rahul has a free run of the party. Varun still has to toe the Modi line. If Varun doesn’t allow his ego to get the better of him, he will willingly suck up to Modi and play second fiddle for now. Varun’s time will come later, much later. But Varun is smart enough to know all eyes will be on him as he takes on his cousin and aunt. But Rahul still has the trump card in his hand. It is Rahul who can say, “Mere paas maa hai…. aur behen bhi.” Priyanka Vadra will be the biggest game changer in 2014. But that master stroke is obviously being saved for the  dhoom dhadaka finale! Till then, let’s just enjoy the Gandhi Vs. Gandhi show at prime time.


Pooja Rathore said...

nice pics De and congrats for your new samsung version.the one who touched the heart in the photos is Ansuya Devi such a cutie pie..lots of love to her.
hot post on elections and the candidates.liked it.

Ravi Patel said...

This column is hilariously and utterly utterly brilliant my butterfly lady! I had once posted on one of your Mahan Modi bashing column thus, " And from Gujarat, the award for the greatest bore goes to this pompous, conceited and mediocre 'upper' class triviality Shobha De, the unabashed purveyor of low class trash". With all the agricultured son of the soil humbleness and humility not to speak of the Moditvia inspired Guju self-belief and super self-confidence at my command, this contrite Patel shamefacedly takes every one of those lamentable words back, until of course you present me with a chance sometime in the future to think otherwise.
Many God bless you and may he/she also bless the Gandhis, you know the good ones, the my kind!
As for Narendrabhai Modi, he does not need God to bless him. He is God himself!

Tsomo85 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tsomo85 said...

Nice pictures indeed! Well Sonia and Maneka Gandhi both are superb in their own way. Although Maneka's life was pretty unfair and many times there seem to be a big and personal hidden truth behind her speeches but I must say it will take years and years for any average girl to even reach where both of them are at right now. And this has nothing to do with their educational status/ambition. I mean both were not even in their 20s when they got married to India's two most handsome and powerful men! Forget about rest of the qualifications. And today even in their "senior citizen status" they are both still ruling the nation. HATE THEM OR LOVE THEM BUT YOU CAN NOT IGNORE THEM. It will be stupid for any rivals to even try to pull their legs or try to imitate them. I mean the ladies have lived and ruled the nation all their lives, perfectly exceeding their extraordinary mother in law's expectation. I can't say anything on dimple boy, lambu priyanka, or poet and married children of theirs. But one thing for sure, in order to have Indira Gandhi like leader, it will not even be good enough to have billions of Abhishek Manu Singhvi or Mayavati combined together. Indira Gandhi seem to have never consumed any of the systems that Brits had left behind. As you said, just like her son, it was either my way or high way. Her father's struggling days in jail must had been the biggest impact on her political life that she even taught other leaders to have that experience if they wanna rule the nation & gain its fame and power. She sure hold her eminent chair pretty tight. I guess "NOTHING IS FOR FREE" in her dictionary. Also what she had done to Maneka. But either way it was a fair game! If its not "HER" imagine things could have been worst too no?
Lets see what 2014 will pull out for India. Can it be JOKER? QUEEN? OR A KING? I wonder,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Anonymous said...

Four Gandhis lost their lives in a violent fashion since indpendence.


Mahatma Gandhi was killed to prevent him from reuniting Pakistan and India. The old man had an unbeatable logic - by making Jinnah PM - everyone knew the creator of Pakistan had a very short time to live - India would have no eternal war syndrome. "If the experiment succeeds, there would never be any need for Pakistan and if the experiment fails, none would ever dare to demand Pakistan again. Either way, India and the subcontinent would win against the machinations of the colonial powers," the Mahatma was quoted as saying.


The next Gandhi to die was Sanjay the brat architect of Indira Gandhi's comeback in 1980 - within months after India's iron lady occupied the PM quarters in Safdarjang Road. The sudden plane crash killed him and it paved the way for two things: (a) the removal of a born Sikhni - Maneka - the symbol of the Sikhs' protection of India - from the household of what is still considered India's first famly and (b) the elevation of Rajiv Gandhi - the son-in-law of a man known to have had connections with the Italian mob.


Indira Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards - alienating a warrior clan that has done the maximum sacrifices for India's defence. That paved the way for Rajiv's elevation.


Finally Rajiv Gandhi too got killed to pave the way for a foreigner to almost get to occupy the position of CEO of India.

When the first Gandhi was killed, the RSS, its political offshoot Jan Sangh and other allied bodies were anathema to Indians. But the time fourth well known Gandhi was killed - the Bharatiya Janata Party - was in power in the state of Uttar Pradesh - the very state that gave India her PMs - Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira, Rajiv, Charan Singh ... to name just four.

Incidentally, Rahul and Varun Gandhi offspring of Rajeev and Sanjay respectively represent Amethi and Pilibhit - two constituencies in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Rahul has begun debunking the Congress culture and wants "change". Varun is now a member of the opposition - BJP - whom his grandma and grandpas had derisively termed as "communal".

And despite the two scions of the Nehru-Gandhi clan, the Congress is the lowly fourth political entity in UP after Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and BJP.

The two Gandhi babas ... well they aren't political blacksheep ... yet.

ramana venkata kalakata said...

Nice photos

Anonymous said...

nice pix

Aditya said...

Nice Pictures
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