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The Train Ride That Ran Over a Few Tigers

I have travelled by train more than a thousand times, including the Mumbai local, but it’s never been a front page news ... I would not want it be either as only chance for my train travel becoming a news is, if there was something untoward like an accident or bomb blast .... That said, the train ride that was making news or rather breaking news in India a couple of days ago was the one that Rahul Gandhi (RG) made ... you may call it a political statement, but I for one feel that it was a political gimmick that does not add up!

The implied purpose of the ride was to get a feel of the Mumbai local and connect with the average Mumbaiker and the undisclosed agenda seems to have been to send a message to one of the sole proprietary owners (yes there are two firms dealing with this, as on date) of Marathi Asmita! Again not sure if either of them worked. Travelling in a sanitised (security wise ... Yes some commentators have described the move as security unwise though) first class coach of a Mumbai local with more SPG members than travelling public is not the best way to get the real feel of the Mumbai local or connect with the Mumbaiker, so the stated purpose is for sure defeated ... and this train ride in no way is going to change the way the Sena goes through with its brand of politics.

The interesting aside to this train ride was that the Maharashtra government had deployed 10000 policemen for RG’s protection during his visit. Now, that’s pretty skewed ratio ... I mean in a country where the Home Minister at the central government is talking about the police department being understaffed, having 10000 men for the protection of 1 citizen (irrespective of the face value or place value of that citizen) is a huge commitment. What that also means is that if the Maharashtra government feels the need it, can muster up the numbers to ensure law and order. Can this meaning be further extended to mean that the vandalism, chaos and looting that is let loose by the so called MNS and SS workers is something that the state government chooses to ignore or (even more sinister) sponsors as a silent supporter?

You might have guessed by now that I am not the most avid congress supporter, but then I am at times in awe of RG and his efforts to rejuvenate the party. By the look of things he seems to wield the power to overrule not just the Congress party’s “democratically” arrived at decisions, but also his own security advisors at the SPG. But is he using these powers to the best possible end results? The last thing that one expects from the to-be Prime Minister of India and the harbinger of the next generation in Indian politics is to be scoring political brownie points... Let’s look at a couple issues that the country is grappling in the International arena as on date...

Bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice ... we have as in the past, blamed the Pakistani government’s inability to reign in the terror elements in its own soil. We accuse the Pakistani government to be unwilling, incapable, covertly supporting and so on and so forth when it comes to tackling elements that use Pakistani soil to spread terror in India. So much so, that we almost stopped short of waging a war against that country.... but more rationally cut of the dialogue process that existed between the two countries. So what does the central government have to say to the government of Maharashtra? What about the state government going soft on those spreading terror amongst fellow Indians? Is the tough posturing, warning of serious consequences etc applicable only to neighbouring countries and not to Indian States? Why do we doubt Pakistani government when it says it’s doing everything it can and accept the same as genuine statement from Maharashtra government when the results in both cases are identical? Why don’t we sympathise with Pakistani Government, when we know that little monsters that we grow in our backyard, can one day, loom so large that, we end up losing control over it, as that is exactly what the Government in Maharashtra is finding out!!!

Another issue is of racial discrimination against Indians in Australia.... with what standing will the External Affairs Minister of India (who is a member of the same party as RG and the party that rules Maharashtra and Goa) ask the Australian authorities to act against those who attack Indians in their country, when there is not much action being taken against Indians who attack fellow Indians in Mumbai and the Russians who get raped in Goa? Or is it okay if Indians attack Indians or for that matter Indians rape Russians??

Riding a Local Train in Mumbai is according to me not a solution for these issues. An influential leader whose diktat is the gospel truth for his party should rather come down heavily on these governments who are turning inaction into an art by itself. To me lawlessness is a commentary on poor governance than a function of powerful goons ... for proper governance ensures that goons will never have the power... As a leader whom a lot of the younger generation looks up to with expectations, I hope RG will take tougher decisions and more meaningful decisions than this train travel in the times to come ... or will I be wrong and will have read the news which goes ... “RG drives a Taxi in Melbourne and snubs some Kangaroos???”


Priya Prem said...

Not a Congress Fan, I see, who then??? In my case I go with Individuals

I Witness said...

Used to be impressed by AB Vajpayee ... sort of disillusioned by the current crop of leaders .... Rajiv seemed to make the right noises for a short while before getting into political gimmickry ... guess going with individuals is a better option as you say !