If views of the ‘Metroman’ on Love Jihad is serious, why not mine on him?
E Sreedharan this week caused stir by announcing he was joining BJP and was ready to be chief minister of Kerala. He also said he did not like non-vegetarians and was against inter-faith marriages
My publishers say I have written a wonderful book on Bal Thackeray. I think that gives me the right to tell Uddhav and Raj Thackeray how to conduct their party affairs.
I have also written another enlightening book on Maharashtra. That should give me the absolute right to tell Sharad Pawar how to run the state government.
Why, I have also written several thousand articles on the political shenanigans of our leaders. I am sure that gives me the right to tell Narendra Modi what he is doing wrong or what he is doing right in the government.
I am also an accomplished seamstress. That absolutely arms me with the power to dictate the fashion preferences of my friends and family.
I make a wonderful Omelette. I think I should tell the hens in my chicken coop how to lay their eggs and how many per day.
I breed goats and cows in my backyard. Surely that gives me the right to tell people if they drink milk, they are essentially being non-vegetarian as they are consuming animal products.
I ride a horse like the wind. I think that quite gives me the authority to drive out a bus and run it over the cliff or fly a plane and crash it into the sea…
I studied physics in school. Why should I not be able to tell a rocket scientist how to fly his missiles?
I have a tiny nest egg saved up under my mattress. So, I think that qualifies me to tell the RBI governor how to run his institution.
And, then, I am a champion cricketer. Why can't I tell our hockey players to use a bat instead of a weird curved stick to make it to the Olympics gold medal?
Of course, I can. I can indeed to all the above on the basis of all my past accomplishments. I draw my inspiration for all these ambitions from Metro man E Sreedharan who recently joined the BJP and is certain that because he built some urban railway networks, he has the right to prevent marriages between people belonging to different communities.
He is an engineer and he thinks he is an expert in cross community love and romances. So why can't I be a journalist and appoint myself an expert on pigs who fly and cows who jump over the moon? If he can do it, so can I! He sure has shown me the way and I would not dare to contradict him on his expertise on anything including matters of the heart and love and marriages. Even though I think, heart of hearts, that for such an accomplished individual he has absolutely no idea what drives the youth of this country today.
Even if it is true, as others have said before me, that the accomplishment he prides himself on – the Delhi Metro – is a straight lift from the Japanese Metro funded by Japanese Yens, even if I believe he chose the wrong party for a state that has no great passion for the BJP and even if I believe his post-joining-the-BJP mouthings will actually halve the party's vote share in Kerala rather than double it as he presumes.
But I should not really be surprised. BJP as a party has always lacked the intellectual wherewithal and never more so under the current dispensation. So they end up picking accomplished individuals from other professions who, one would expect, bring some depth and weight to the party but, more often than not, end up as bigoted and clueless as professional politicians in the party.
Look at External Affairs minister S Jaishankar. One would have thought a career diplomat of his stature would know very well how to steer India's foreign policy and prevent Modi and others from diplomatic pitfalls. Yet he allowed Modi to jump right in with his 'Ab ki baar, Trump Sarkar' and his very undiplomatic refusal to entertain certain US Congress representatives.
Then there is Major Raghavendra Rathore who, while a minister in the previous Modi government, soured relations with neighbouring Burma by revealing strategic secrets that should never have had to be aired. Modi himself was left with no choice but to partially sideline both – Jaishankar and Rathore, both of whom compare very poorly with the likes of Natwar Singh and Manishankar Aiyar, also career diplomats, who joined the Congress. So, if the so-called bumbling Congress can pick the finest career professionals for their party, why can't the BJP?
Probably because the Congress was always interested in nation-building for which it sought expertise while all that the BJP is interested in is to further its divisive agenda in the country. So, if they can find bigoted careerists to further their agenda, I guess it is a case of ‘the more, the merrier’ for the party.
But so far as this latest acquisition of the party goes, Sreedharan might suit the BJP's political agenda but does he really suit the state he is being unleashed on? Obviously, the BJP is making little progress in Kerala or else they would not be seeking to legitimise their agenda with a career professional of his stature. After all the squeezing of Kerala by denying it funds during the earlier floods and later Corona crisis, after violence against both Communust party workers and the Congress, after describing Kerala as little better than Somalia, after clashes with the Kerala government over Citizenship laws and after the very embarrassing instance of its lone MLA having to support the government's resolution in favour of farmers and against the Centre's farm laws in the Assembly, BJP is in need of a new strategy in God’s own country.
(The writer is a senior journalist and commentator. Views are personal)