Modi’s Pakoda Politics for 2019 and Chidambaram’s Joblessness

“Mitron, humne pakode khaane chaie ki nahi khane chaie?”
“Modi! Modi!”

“Mitron, pakodon ke saath chai peeni chaie ki nahi peeni chahie?”
“Har Har Modi! Ghar Ghar Modi!”

“Mitron, wo chai mmain aapko pilaauunga kyunki mmujhe chai pilaane ka experience hai! Platform pe chai bechne ka dard kya hota hai, ye mmujhe maloom hai!”


Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of his recent interviews asked if a pakoda-seller earning 200 rupees a day could be considered unemployed. Mr. P. Chidambaram who held the finance ministry in the UPA rule has suggested that by Mr. Modi’s logic, beggars should also be considered employed. The twitter town is abuzz with exchanges between sides.

Mr. Modi on his part is frying his pakodas like he always does – well in advance. Like for everything else he does, he also becomes the first Indian Prime Minister to bring pakoda-sellers into the national discourse. However, one may ask, why pakodas singularly? There are other things sold by the street-side entrepreneurs, say, pav-bhaji, vada-pav, 99 types of dosas, etc. Shiv Sena has already laid its claim on vada-pav politics by offering free vada-pavs to Shobha De earlier. Let’s leave pav-bhaji for Uddhav’s cousin in the name of Marathi-Asmita. Dosas would have obviously offended the Dravidian parties for it would have meant Gujarati appropriation. Modi had already used up the khakhra card by waiving off the GST before Gujarat elections. Here, I summon the spirit of Shekhar Gupta of the Walk the Talk, The Print, the NDTV, and the Lutyen’s Dhaba to answer this. Pakodas are eaten across the country in varying forms and with different names. The country is 80% Hindus, so naturally, most of the pakodas prepared are consumed by the Hindus of this country. Mr. Modi being the Hindutva icon that he is, used the case of pakodas to polarise the electorate and gain Hindu votes in 2019 elections. 


To be honest, this is the closest thing to confession that voters of this country can get from both the leading parties. Confession 1 – the present Government is selling pakodas in the name of job creation. Confession 2 – the opposition sits unemployed in the sixth row waiting for pakodas. The stage for 2019 elections is set. After spilling chai all over the kurtas and suits of the opposition leaders in 2014, Mr. Modi is all set to play with some pakode ka tel in 2019. P. Chidambaram is making things difficult for Rahul Gandhi by protesting against pakodas. At a time when Rahul Gandhi is looking to increase his pakoda tally from 44 to 545, P. Chidambaram should just fall in line and start begging for more pakodas right away. He will at least have a job that way. All the watering attempts at pakodas are going to cost the Congress party a lot of oil in face with no pakoda in hands.



Image Source – Karnataka for Employment (KFE)

Rahul Gandhi and the Politics of Defeat

Almost every time Rahul Gandhi starts campaigning before the elections, he seems to be aspiring for a loss. His speeches sound like appealing for a thumping defeat. Every time I hear him appeal for votes, his sentences get autocorrected in my head to sound something like this – “Hamein vote na dekar bhaari maton se haraayen!” (By not voting for us, inflict a massive defeat on us). After all, when you get rewarded after every loss, why would you want to win?

Thanks to our enslaved mindset, there was a time when ‘Gandhi’ fetched votes. That is no longer the case with the majority of the country. On the contrary, in our time, Gandhi ensures failure. The love affair between the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Congress party could be defended till Rajiv Gandhi on the basis of our love for nepotism. This love for dynasties and surnames converted into votes for the party and though the culture could be termed as immoral and undemocratic, they had a reason to stick with Gandhi. Although in a feebler tone, even for Sonia Gandhi, such an orchestra of populism could be explained. Today, I doubt if there is a sane mind on the planet to explain the current love story between the Congress party and Mr. Rahul Gandhi.

Dynasties taking control of a political party in India that should otherwise be a democratic entity with equal opportunity for everyone, is a matter that should shame our nation whose constitution wishes to provide equal opportunity and equal right to every citizen. Rahul Gandhi’s control over the congress party defies all logic. He hasn’t been able to win elections, he is popular only as a meme subject, he doesn’t exude confidence in public, and he doesn’t have a plan for the country or himself. What makes congress stick to him then? Dynasty politics is a phenomenon that banks upon the popularity of the existing/deceased member and family’s name to fetch votes for the new entrant. It is perhaps impossible to understand how the party and the soon to be anointed don’t see that the family’s name has lived its shelf life. I might be wrong and Rahul may manage a turnaround for the party after becoming the President but that won’t be necessarily a good thing for the country. The child of undeserved favoritism cannot promise equality or equity to the nation.

It is important to understand the position Rahul Gandhi is going to assume. It is the same position that has been in the past occupied by Dadabhai Naoroji, SN Banerjee, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Madan Mohan Malviya, Annie Besant, Lala Lajpat Rai, Sarojini Naidu, Mahatma Gandhi, and Subhas Chandra Bose. A leader of the stature of Subhas Chandra Bose had to fight an election against Gandhi-backed Pattabhi Sitaramayya to become the President of this party. Today, a group of sycophants have almost managed to unanimously elect Rahul Gandhi as the President. It is a tragic scene that the party which accuses Mr. Modi of running a dictatorship has not one contender for the position of the President opposite Rahul Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi is passing the mantle of autocracy to her son. One of the two major national parties of a country that claims to be the world’s largest democracy is either one of the longest running dictatorship empire of the world or a group of sycophants who clearly do not possess any spine and serve the Gandhis to insure the political future of their own dynasties.

Politics of dynasties has been a long-living tradition in India, Congress of the present has mastered the politics of inheriting and procreating incompetence and failure.

Orwell on Gandhi

To judge somebody you haven’t ever met can be a daunting task. To judge somebody on the basis of what the person has done or written can be a miscarriage of fairness. Political heroes or villains are primarily judged in time by their actions in public view and their writings if available. This is to say for commentators who haven’t met the person. How your actions are judged depends largely on the media of the time as well.

If I may, I would point you to the essay – ‘Reflections of Gandhi‘ by George Orwell. Why? Because his observations are as objective as they can get. In my opinion the essay stands out for a couple of things –

1. As the title suggests, the essay is indeed a reflection on Gandhi. The observations are so fluidly presented that it often feels like Orwell is talking to himself oblivious of our presence around him. He is not a great fan of Gandhi, neither is he a hater who can’t see beyond the aesthetics of the man. This puts him in a unique position.

2. Through his other essays, his hatred for any kind of imperialism is quite evident. However, since he knew the British ways too, he could look at Gandhi from the other side of the fence and was still in harmony with the dreams of free India that Gandhi nurtured.

George Orwell wrote his essay on Gandhi in 1949, a year after he was dead. He derives most of his ideas about the man – Gandhi from his autobiographical work My Experiments With Truthand other articles Mr Gandhi wrote for the press of the time. Mr. Orwell himself having lived a few years in the colonial Indian subcontinent, had a fair awareness of the situation back here. In addition, he was a prominent political observer and commentator of the time and hence must have judged Mr. Gandhi via his actions, interviews, and media interactions. What Mr. Orwell has written about Gandhi is of paramount importance and has been rightly placed at No 2 in the list of Greatest essays of Orwell as judged by Pulitzer prize winning writer Michael Hiltzik. The commentaries in our own country over Gandhi have been largely either biased highly in favor of the man or extremely against him. The Marxists and the so called Ambedkarites can’t contain their hatred for the man. The Indian National Congress though has nothing in common with the original Gandhi, is religiously exploiting the last name that they actually got from Mr. Feroze Ghandy (Do not get surprised here, many actually believe Mahatma Gandhi and present Gandhi scion are related.). If Mahatma Gandhi had the copyright to the surname Gandhi and had actually disallowed the usage of it, Mr. Rahul Gandhi would have been called Rahul Ghandy today and Mahatma Gandhi could have been spared some unfair posthumous embarrassment. The BJP has been trying to appropriate Mr. Gandhi in its own way and have been quite successful in leaving congress with nothing but shrill calls of ‘He-Is-Not-Yours’ and ‘You-Are-The-killers-Of-Gandhi’! This was not entirely unexpected given the predilection of the Congress party over the surname rather than the Gandhian way of life and politics. When you don’t feed your dog well, some day your neighbor will!


One important question that I have asked myself is whether the essay is prejudiced. Largely no, but there are enough signs of prejudices to be detected by any reader who has followed Orwell and his life for some time. Orwell’s own lifestyle has an effect on the essay and at times he digresses for the sake of satirical declarations that are hallmarks of his writings. However, such utterances are rare and the piece remains rational for the most part.

Orwell goes on to ponder upon the extent to which Gandhi was responsible for India’s freedom and counts many reasons that could have been responsible. He doesn’t give a judgement and says – “But if, by 1945, there had grown up in Britain a large body of opinion sympathetic to Indian independence, how far was this due to Gandhi’s personal influence? And if, as may happen, India and Britain finally settle down into a decent and friendly relationship, will this be partly because Gandhi, by keeping up his struggle obstinately and without hatred, disinfected the political air? That one even thinks of asking such questions indicates his stature.

Orwell would have celebrated his 113th year on 25th June had he been alive. His bio headline is perhaps a signature to the eccentricity of his life – Born in Motihari, Bihar and Died in London, United Kingdom. Mr. Orwell has been one of my favorite writers for some time now and Mahatma Gandhi will remain a Hero I shall admire all my life. Though they might stand diametrically opposite to each other on the clocks of life and lifestyle, both of them had their own fallacies. However what they achieved in one lifetime makes the fault-lines almost invisible. My only regret is that while I can read and decide what Orwell thought of Gandhi, I have no way of knowing what Gandhi thought of him. I wonder what took Mr. Orwell so long to write about Gandhi. Sometimes it needs a death to trigger those thoughts that we keep pushing to the next day. Sadly, Orwell didn’t live much longer either. He passed away in 1950. I would have wished him a few more happy years for his life on his birthday.

Another open letter to Shri Rahul Gandhi

Dear Shri Rahul Gandhi

I am angry and this is a serious letter. So I am not going to throw cheap banters at you. I have also consciously decided to not throw any personal insult at you. I will go ahead with this letter with an assumption that this country has to put up with you till some real leader is allowed to surface on the national scene from your party.

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