We are so naive that it's charming. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati (goddess of Dalits by her own admission) was insulted by BJP's Uttar Pradesh vice-president Dayashankar Singh, who said she was worse than a prostitute, because the latter would at least keep her promise.
Mayawati then gives an impassioned speech in Parliament about the insult to global womanhood including Dayashankar's mother, wife, sister and daughter. So far so okay. Thousands of Indians watching the lady's righteous indignation are in agreement that this guy Dayashankar is an ass. Like what was he smoking!
While Dayashankar's career is twisting on a rope in the wind, he gives a mealy mouthed apology, which is pathetically force-fed; he is soon stripped of all his power and dumped by the BJP. No one spares him a thought, he asked for it in spades.
The next day, Lucknow is held at ransom. Millions of manhours are lost, effigies are burnt and everyone has a gala time wrecking the place to restore the honour of the slighted lady.
As the demand to hang Dayashankar intensifies and the crowd turns unruly, they begin to seek fresher pastures. Why not Daya's wife and daughter? So what if she is daddy's 12-year-old pre-teen, she is a legit target. So the lusting crowd now wants them to be presented and naturally, the ladies are traumatised. Friends, Lucknowites and countrymen...
But what brought tears to our eyes was the prejudice shown by her supporters. When Mayawati was pointing flinty fingers on the floor of the House and winning us all over, she refused to condemn her supporters for the same crime that got her so much positive attention.
Since Dayashankar's family failed to condemn their father's stupidity, they deserve to be railroaded. They should have kicked him in the butt in public and avoided all these threats. So what if the daughter is just 12-years old? She is still fair game.
They didn't do that daddy is a bad guy thing, so the thousands of screaming banshees blocking the roads were justified in showing their love by baying for blood.
Which part of this sorry saga don't you understand?
It is all an ego trip. There is no love for decorum. For right or wrong. The heady elixir of mass support eclipses everything else. "Closing down a city for me? So much love"; "Ready to fight the good fight? So much love"; "Ready to burn and plunder and destroy and hang and hurt? So much love!"
Here is a woman who had won the battle and struck a blow for women and for the downtrodden. She had the laurel wreath. Smriti Irani would have wept for such substance. BJP's Dayashankar had handed her the gold medal, and she was home free.
And because of her ego and the excitement of the sea of human support, she let it fall to the ground by not just saying hey, people, love me do but leave that foolish man's family alone. Was it that difficult to do? Wasn't it the logical step to keep ahead of the game?
Not only has she lost out and given the BJP a way back into the foray, but Dayashankar has also been resurrected by proxy. Wait and see, he will be back saying I told you so and the sins of commission will be forgiven. All because Mayawati could not see beyond herself and score a major victory for her party's chances in the elections.
This was a platform to build on. Genius lies in knowing when to stop. That speech was enough. The rest was self-inflicted short-sighted hubris.
First Published On : Jul 23, 2016 18:20 IST