The Bharatiya Janata Party appropriated Sardar Patel. The Congress it seems has taken ahold Vajpayee. Tit for tat. The poet prime minister would not have objected. Didn’t Nehru tell him he would be Prime Minister? He was more “Nehru” than many Congressi stalwarts and couldn’t bear to see a Nehru portrait gone missing from a Parliament wall. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a sentimental Joe!
He was a good guy with a “heart of gold” and a superior sense of humour. Ever the gentleman but also man with steely resolve. Political acumen. But was Vajpayee’s statecraft of statesman class? Shashi Tharoor, that man of singular and plural words, says Vajpayee’s ‘insaniyat’ was the “rubric of humanity that we all share,” his conduct universal.
Is humanity/insaniyat statecraft? Humanity is piety. Generosity. Alms. Charity. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the cold & naked. Homes for homeless. LGBTQ rainbow pride. Gender-equality. Giving children toys, women jewellery and men the milk of human kindness!
One-sided insaniyat in the time of war/conflict is insanity. And bringing insaniyat into India-Pakistan relations and the Kashmir imbroglio is stupidity. Especially, because neither the Pakistani military establishment nor the Kashmiri separatist have in them the “rubric of humanity that we all share.”
Tharoor, if given the right, will give Kashmir to Pakistan in dowry. He is like the young American couple, steeped in humanity, who took a year-long trip around the world, believing that “evil was a make-believe concept”. The couple was stabbed to death by ISIS militants at the Tajikistan-Afghan border.
So, is losing the head to a ‘Paki’ BAT serving humanity? Point of fact: Insaniyat failed India. The Vajpayee legacy is: Mr. Insaniyats will continue to give the long rope to the enemy inside and at the gate! The “Lahore bus” and Vajpayee’s speech at the Minar-e-Pakistan lifted Tharoor’s spirits. Journalist Vinod Sharma says Vajpayee told him that then and there that he had given his “stamp of approval” to Pakistan’s formation with his speech. Sharma, who wallows in insaniyat and is a friend of the separatists, was “gushing-happy”.
But the Minar-speech and the “Lahore spirit” in which it was made got India ‘Kargil’. Then, for Vajpayee, to insist that ‘don’t cross the LoC’, why? Nehru and Vajpayee with insaniyat made sure Pakistan got away with everything and anything. ‘Agra’ resulted in the attack on Parliament. Then, to mass troops at the international border, what did that serve if it was only to stare eyeball to eyeball?
Others may dispute, but if Kashmir remains a festering sore, it’s because of India’s insaniyat. And getting a pat for that on the back from Bill Clinton was not because of statecraft. Neither was managing a 23-strong coalition statecraft. Why couldn’t Vajpayee muster a majority in the house of the people? LK Advani took all the risks riding the ‘Rath’ and Vajpayee got paid compound interest! Thursday night he was hailed as the ‘Second Nehru.’
Told by Nehru when young that he will become PM one day, Vajpayee never looked far for a role model. Vajpayee wept “like a child” at Nehru’s death, says journalist Sharma. But Vajpayee forgot that the BJP cannot be Congress and the Congress vice versa. The hard truth is the rightwing base threw ‘Universal Leader’ Vajpayee out and with him ‘Shining India’ because some things Insaniyat cannot deliver.
Finally, there’s lesson for Modi. Thursday night, every liberal in Lutyen’s Delhi was on TV taking ownership of Vajpayee with ‘Atal anecdotes’. Everybody had one, some two. It was also fun to compare Modi to Vajpayee and declare Modi unfit to wear Vajpayee’s mantle.
“His gentle, patient disposition, his unfailing courtesy, his graciousness of conduct and his all-encompassing humanity leave a towering legacy. It is one that deserves all the more to be remembered and hailed, in an era where such virtues appear to have disappeared from our public life,” said Tharoor.
Don’t have to be bleeding genius to guess who Tharoor was aiming at. It is not always that one man’s death could make so many eminent out of power people glowingly happy. Even Arnab Goswami couldn’t but nod at comparisons made between Atal & Modi. Poor chap! (IPA Service)