Sonia and the Congress Presidency

published on September 4, 2010

Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

The latest shocking allegation concerning Rahul Gandhi has begun to transform the heir to the Gandhi dynasty from a harmless, not too bright young man with a dimpled smile,to a person the people of Bharat must take a second look at. The allegation is that he is implicated in the Commonwealth Games scam : of the Rs.40,000 crores spent on the preps., some Rs.15,000 crores have been given as bribes to consultants and others. Rahul  is believed to be high on the list of recipients and the money presumably is being routed through London, England.

True, there is often a great deal of corruption in ruling circles and the Congress Party can be no exception. But in addition, the performance of the Party has been dismal. Congress has been called not only a sinking ship but also a stinking ship ! More and more columnists are criticizing not only the rampant corruption but the misgovernance. The aam admi has been long forgotten. Grain is rotting in government storage facilities while the poor are starving. Prices are rising. The economy is floundering. Foreign policy is in a shambles. Insurgencies are not contained. Naxal violence grows by the day.

And now comes the troubling news that Sonia Gandhi has been re elected (unopposed) to a fourth term as Congress President. As per the party’s own rules, no individual can be re elected for more than two terms.

While all of the above problems are there, in the opinion of the present writer this is the most troubling for Bharat as a nation. Concentrating so much power in one person  especially one who is an Italian Catholic, bodes ill for the country. Consider the situation.

She was born in Italy in an obscure village and was raised as a devout Catholic. She was sent to England by the good nuns to study English in order to be trained as a working class woman (an au pair girl etc.), so the story goes.

She meets Rajiv Gandhi and the two eventually get married (Indira was at first opposed,but subsequently relented). Rajiv was not planning to enter politics, he wanted to remain a pilot. Circumstances forced him to become the Prime Minister of Bharat.Neither was Sonia planning to enter politics. In fact, for 16 years after marriage she did not take Indian citizenship. After her husband’s assassination she withdrew into her private life.

And then by 1998, the Congress Party which had run out of ideas and needed a boost to its waning fortunes, elected her President of the Congress Party. The lone contender was quickly disposed of. In these 12 years she has gathered enormous power in her  hands, showing a side to her character that only those close to her could have guessed at. The Party was quick to seize the opportunities. In a recent debate on CNNIBN journalist Vinod Mehta argued that Sonia had delivered and that was the secret of her success. The question ofcourse is, delivered WHAT ? That the second UPA government has been a disaster  in misgovernance can be seen on a daily basis.

But the present writer sees an even greater misfortune for Bharat. Sonia has not, despite cosmetic changes, left her village Italian Catholic roots behind, and she has not identified with the Hindu ethos of a predominantly Hindu country (some 800 million plus of them,and worldwide, a billion). She has no knowledge of Indian history and it is doubtful whether she even acquired a rudimentary knowledge of the same in the obscure village town in Italy where she went to school. Her formal education ended there.

Further, it is not clear whether she even has a formal diploma from the shop run school (which has since closed down) that taught English to people like her in Cambridge city. And contrary to what the Indian public has been led to believe, she did not study at Cambridge University. It was Rajiv who was a student there.

Despite the cosmetic changes in dress, and her reading from a prepared text in Hindi, she is still, so it would seem, a devout Catholic with affiliations to the Pope in Rome. The previous Pope expressly said this on his visit to Bharat, that the role of Catholics in Bharat was to harvest souls for Christ ! During Sonia’s stewardship there has been an acclerated attitude resulting in aggressive drives towards conversion, the persecution of Hindu spiritual leaders such as the Sankaracharya, the open flaunting of some Catholics of their allegiance to the Pope, the attempt to take away temple lands from Tirumala and many more such events (these have been reported from time to time).

The present writer believes that two factors are important in Sonia’s mental make up for which she cannot be wholly blamed : 1.Her own allegiance to the Popish faith and the inborn indifference (if not outright hostility) to Hinduism and the other indigenous religions such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism). This is not something she can inwardly change, at least not easily. And she shows no desire to change.

2. The sycophancy of the members of the Congress Party, who for political reasons has built the cult of dynasty. Yes, she must surely relish that, as must her son ,despite disclaimers.

But can they be wholly blamed ? Alas, the once glorious party of the freedom struggle has been reduced to making a caricature of their leadership !

As for Sonia, nothing in life is written in stone. She might yet change from that Italian peasant from the village where she was born and grew up, to a woman who makes an effort to understand and relate to Bharat as the last of the great extant civilizations whose distinguishing characteristic is its Dharmic religion. Bharat without that would be like any other nation today.

She could start from simple things such as wearing the tilak on a daily basis. Perhaps keep the Bhagavad Gita alongside of the Bible on her table. Listen to the sonorous chants from the Rig Veda and so on. A shuddhi ceremony is not necessary but it might help to bring her into immediate contact with practitioners of the religion. Visits to some of the great Hindu temples which are currently being allowed to fall into neglect might help. She could send out  a clear signal to her fawning camp followers that Hindu India is not to be insulted and mocked at ,but instead hailed as the inheritor of a great civilisation.

Her husband’s grandfather may have been a secularist but he did write The Discovery of India.

Above all, she can stop being the pawn of a corrupt and power hungry party that will ,if allowed free rein, bring ruination to Bharat.

( The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university).

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