Friday, September 29, 2006

L K Advani's Journey From Godsegiri to Gandhigiri

Mr L K Advani, the second man to divide India, appears to have again undergone a drastic change of heart.

India's most ambitious Prime Minister-in-waiting is a visionary best known for riding on a Toyota chariot in 1992 that left behind a trail of hundreds of dead Indians in its wake. However, since losing power in a surprise election defeat, BJP's greatest pseudo-charioteer, admired for his cunning political strategies, has developed an uncanny habit of springing surprises every now and then.

In 2005, he had created flutters, to an undisguised media delight, by praising Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was the first man to divide India. Now the Iron Man is intending to reconcile himself to the values of a man who was completely ignored while India was being divided.

Could Gandhiji be Right?

Addressing a municipal gathering in Rajkot, a city that lies in a state being led by a Bearded Man to a happy Muslim-less future, Mr Advani declared that he has seen the film Lage Rago Munnabhai . He confessed to have enjoyed it.

Lage Raho Munnabhai is the latest Bollywood hit which is said to extol the unfashionable virtues of Gandhiji in a fashion that appeals to the short-attention spans of the new generation.

Mr Advani was particularly impressed by the advantages that a non-aggressive, non-confronting attitude could possibly deliver. He cited a scene from the film where a paan-chewing man had a disgusting habit of spitting on the wall of his neighbor's flat. Munnabhai, the lovable goon, after consulting Gandhiji's ghost ask the harassed neighbor not to pick up a fight with the ill-mannered man but instead to cheerfully smile at him every time he sprays out the betel-juice and clean the entrance wall himself. The paan-chewing man gets embarrassed, felt suitably guilty, and finally stopped spitting on his neighbor's wall.

Softened by this piece of the plot, modern India's modern-day Iron Man had this to say to his spellbound audience: "It's a small incident but there is a big lesson for all of us."

But the former Deputy Prime Minister was still not done. This iconic riot-star who had done a Bamiyan in Ayodhya, long before Taliban had even come into existence, sagely advised, "People should understand their responsibilities towards one another, towards society, their country and also towards the place they live in. Only then can you expect a real change".

Could This be Real?

Is this the same Mr Advani? Is there a hidden message, a warning, an advice, for the Bearded Man who could be scheming for a hostile takeover of Mr Advani's blood-drenched legacy? Is it that Mr Advani is trying to do a Congress which has recommended the film as a compulsory tax-free viewing to its sycophant party members? Is the non-pseudo-secular statesman plotting to snatch Mr Vajpayee's pseudo-moderate aura for his own prime-ministerial ambitions? Could it be that perhaps Mr Advani has finally seen the light of the day? Has he undergone an asli change of heart?

Is The Guilty Man Feeling Guilty?

William Shakespeare's Macbeth, after committing a murder, had wondered "if the all great Neptune's ocean could wash this blood clean" from his hand but realized, regrettably, that "this hand would rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red".
Is Mr Advani, in his old age, regretting the bloodshed of his past? Could there be a tinge of guilt staining his sinned soul?

While watching the referred scene in Lage Raho Munnabhai, did Mr Advani see blood drops in place of paan stains? Did those hundreds of Muslim graves, in all the four corners of India, open up and the sheeted dead rose and squeaked and gibbered into the conscience of his heavy heart?

It was a small incident in the film but was there a big lesson for Mr Advani?

Is the man who disgraced and brought shame to Hindu asmita finally feeling ashamed for all the evil things he has done in the name of his great religion? Could it be that he was sending coded signals to the Bearded Man when he publicly observed that people should understand their responsibilities towards one another and towards the society?

Is There a Real Change of Heart?

Alas, cows would fly and snakes would secrete nectar if Mr Advani could realize that he was wrong, sometimes downright evil, while shining bright on his trailblazing political stardom.
In the same speech, where he discoursed on Gandhigiri, Mr Advani went on to describe his bloodied 1992 chariot tour as "one of the most memorable events of my life....It was a landmark event....People were happy that one particular yatra could bring such huge change."

Fools we are to dream of wolves drinking the cup of humanity's milk and turning to lambs! Fools we are to forget Lady Macbeth's resounding rebuff to her husband's oceanic self-introspection: "my hands are of your color; but I shame to wear a heart so white."

Ah, it's a bad, cruel, unrepentant world.

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