#LalitModiGate is a red herring, the govt should ignore it with the contempt it deserves

There are several interesting meta-questions about this non-issue; but, in my opinion, instead of getting rattled by it, the government should just sail on, and brazen it out.

Rajeev Srinivasan June 21, 2015 08:06:09 IST
#LalitModiGate is a red herring, the govt should ignore it with the contempt it deserves

There has been a god-awful fuss from the usual suspects about the allegation that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj went out of her way to help Lalit Modi, the scam-tainted erstwhile cricket honcho. Moral indignation has been flying thick and fast, and all those pure-as-the-driven-snow people in the mainstream media (MSM) and in the Congress have been beside themselves with schadenfreude. It's as though they have just discovered a way in which a shamefaced prime minister will resign and seek vanaprastham.

I have news for the usual suspects: the prime minister doesn’t give a damn. (No, he didn’t confide in me, but I am conjecturing from first principles). He’s used to the media, assorted lefties and other malcontents manufacturing wild allegations against him, and he’s generally treated them with the contempt they deserve. I am pretty sure that’s what’s happening here as well.

LalitModiGate is a red herring the govt should ignore it with the contempt it deserves

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and former IPL chairman Lalit Modi.

There are several interesting meta-questions about this non-issue; but, in my opinion, instead of getting rattled by it, the government should just sail on, and brazen it out. The professional agitators will latch on to another pet issue next week – remember last week’s holy fury about the "shouldn’t have done cross-border raid" meme, which has totally become passe – and it’s best to simply ignore them.

I am sure this advice is hard for people to accept: our instinct is to justify what we’ve done, and to convince others that we have done nothing wrong. For instance, the minister took to defending herself on Twitter; her followers warned that in responding to trolls, she was bringing herself down to their level. The fact that the minister herself is tweeting is good, but she should remember how easy it is to get bogged down arguing with anonymous trolls with time and motivation.

This is symptomatic of the BJP’s general syndrome of wanting to explain themselves to their critics and to prove that they are innocent. The fact of the matter is that the accusers are not looking for truth or ethics: the accusation is but one of ‘death by a thousand cuts’ that has been popularized by certain military planners. There is no way you are going to convince the accusers – for they have no wish to be convinced, as they have already made up their minds, no doubt with some lubrication.

The best thing is to sail on through this as though you were an imperturbable battleship (eyes on the prize) facing a minor skirmish with a few nuisance-value pirate boats, or to mix metaphors wildly, to repose faith in the Arab proverb: "Dogs bark, but the caravan keeps moving". It works. Just to give an example, remember how the UPA government stonewalled every allegation of Electronic Voting Machine fraud (which I continue to believe contributed greatly to their surprise 2009 win), knowing full well that the accusers would eventually get tired and move on to something else?

And indeed, contrary to conventional wisdom, foreign affairs has been one of the signal success stories of this administration – and the prize is large, getting the nation’s profile to match its potential. Sushma Swaraj has been an able deputy to the prime minister, and indeed, whatever else has been done or not done, India has arrived on the world stage, emphatically. Thus, it is in the interests of India’s enemies to attack it and reduce its ability to build up appropriate relationships, as seen in the antics of global media that are propaganda arms for various powers. And indeed, the momentum behind #InternationalYogaDay – a remarkable assertion of Indian soft power -- may be contributing to the need to put down India’s government right now.

A second reason is that Sushma Swaraj is a woman, and #despitebeingawoman, she’s holding an important position. Another woman in the cabinet, Smriti Irani, has been the victim of much griping and grumbling, and so has, to a lesser extent, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti. Let us note that no male minister in the NDA-2 regime has been dragged over the coals so far. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan is being dragged in as well.

I saw some speculation on Twitter by @bdutt that either Swaraj or Raje will be sacked by the BJP. Shame, is it? Coming from the MSM, this is rich: they are famous for their thick skin when it’s demonstrated beyond doubt that they are working to certain #deepstate agendas – the latest is the hiring of a hideously racist and bigoted journalist by a famous NGO as their India head.

Note that the MSM is targeting women. Misogyny is the birthright of Leftists in India. Periodically, ‘Maoist’ cadre women exit citing sexual slavery. Greenpeace, laughably, ‘apologised’ for rape and sexual harassment, and weasel-worded why they had not taken action against the serial rapist senior manager. The silence from the usually indignant MSM is deafening.

The MSM is particularly bad about women’s rights. The sorry saga of Tarun Tejpal’s infamous fingertips shows how the MSM deals with women. Another woman reporter was recently arrested in Bengal for orally ‘servicing’ a superior in his car, which presumably was the price of continuing to be employed.

In politics, it remains unfathomable that with all their feminist rhetoric, Kerala communists sidelined their tallest leader, KR Gowri, never allowing her to become chief minister. It is clear that women are in the gunsights of assorted lefties, especially if they are OBCs or SC/ST.

A third reason is that, laughably enough, the media and Congress might think that any mud that sticks to the Modi (Lalit) name will indirectly hurt Modi (Narendra). After all, the Congress has made an entire career out of using the Gandhi name to imply that the Mahatma (the real Gandhi) has somehow blessed the Nehru-Gandhis (the #fekuGandhis, who should actually be the Ghandys, after Feroze Jehangir Ghandy).

I have called this "nomenclature terrorism" in the past: the Left is adept at using insinuation to demonise. For instance, the term "liberal" which appears to be a positive, in fact now means a hate-filled, anti-national, person who may be a poster-boy or poster-girl for raw, unreasoning dogma and blind faith. Through constant repetition, lefties have successfully made "Hindutva", for instance, and “RSS”, words that strike terror into the hearts of half the middle-class people in India.

Collective brainwashing works. In Japan, the "pacifist" Constitution imposed by occupying Americans forbids the creation of any offensive military capability. So much so that now, even when faced with an existential threat by the Chinese, the Japanese refuse to countenance dropping this nonsense. Similarly, in India, the meaningless-in-our-context words like "secularism" and "minority" have been used to devastating effect to mean things that are the exact opposite of their dictionary meanings. George Orwell would be proud of them. Yes, war is peace, too, especially if it emanates from Pakistan.

Fourth, there is the motive of ‘revenge’ of sorts. There was the fuss a few weeks ago about giving an Indian passport to a Kashmiri separatist named Syed Ali Geelani. He declared that he would not fill in his nationality as "Indian", but let it be known that he expected that the passport would be issued nevertheless. That became the cause-celebre du jour for the MSM. In the end, the MEA (or MHA) decided that, going by the book, it would not be possible to issue Geelani the passport.

So this is the MSM’s revenge on the government.

The funny thing though is that all this may backfire badly on the Congress and the MSM. They have skeletons aplenty in their closets. There is the way Rajiv Gandhi’s childhood friend Adil Shahryar was bailed out by the Congress in 1985 as The New York Times reported; how Warren Anderson (of Union Carbide) was smuggled out after the Bhopal disaster in 1984; how Quatrocchi (of Bofors fame) escaped in 1993; and how Kim Davy (of Purulia arms drop fame) was allowed to leave in 1995. Those who live in glass houses had better be careful with the stones they chuck around casually.

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