Sunday, May 25, 2008

No Point Saying, "But Those Days are Long Gone"

Arun Shourie

There is a difference, Gandhiji used to say, between Raja Harishchandra and an actor on a stage playing the part of Harishchandra. So also there is a difference, we are being taught, between a simple, humble farmer and Deve Gowda playing "a simple, humble farmer" !

When, in a burst of humility, a man modest the way Deve Gowda is modest bends and touches your knees, the one thing to do is to make sure that your knee-caps are still there. Hegde has recounted how Deve Gowda had bent low and touched his feet -- and look what he has made of Hegde at the very first opportunity.

Even the secularist editors -- who had been so delighted at his ascension to power as the harbinger of "regionalism", as the man who knew the problems of the "common man" -- even they have been stupefied into silence. How come our simple farmer, our humble man always pledging to seek the "guidance" of "my senior leaders", how come he turned so vicious and vindictive? And, after all, that little bit of revenge must have been in his heart for long how else could the man have acted it out so soon after such a busy week? But that would mean not just that the man is vengeful, it would mean that he can be saying one thing -- "Please, I am new to Delhi, do favour me with your kind suggestions" -- and plotting something altogether different. A trait that must have taken the breath out of all those "federalists" who had picked him from nowhere in the expectation that they would run him, but also out of the resident intellectuals nothing unnerves them more than the jolt that the ruler they had set out to shepherd may be cleverer than they had hoped! And look at the irony of it -- he has had Hegde expelled from the Janata Dal for engaging in "anti-party activities" for the last five years.

For four and a half of the last seven years, Deve Gowda was out of the same Janata Dal, denouncing it up and down the length and breadth of Karnataka! Not just that, in the remaining period he went around Karnataka swearing that he would never, ever again act against Hegde. That shows not just vengefulness. It tells us what weight to put upon his word.

(that is all I was able to lay my hands on - Webmaster)

June 27,1996

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