"Man can live about 40 days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air... but only one second without hope," said American evangelist Hal Lindsey.
You may or may not vouch for the authenticity of Lindsey's observation, or seek a fresh clinical test. But you would certainly agree that, generally speaking, hope does help us keep alive against all odds. It eggs us on, to fight to live, to dream and to execute our plans even more aggressively.
So can you guess why Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is smarting under the onslaught of law enforcement agencies on one hand and his political adversaries on the other, has decided to fight back with all the power at his command? It's because Lalu hasn't lost hope.
The never-say-die man that he is, Lalu is used to living the life of a belligerent optimist. He turns into a political bully the moment he senses there is little to lose but a lot to gain. He doesn't care if he finds himself drowning under heaps of corruption accusations. In fact, he draws strength from the "fact" that corruption is not all that matters in politics — even more so in Bihar.
Pushed to the wall, he loves to fight back with all the power under his command. And remember, he has the proverbial nine lives of a cat. Even in the past, he has been slapped with innumerable corruption charges. He has been jailed more than once, debarred from fighting elections. So what? Nothing dampens his spirits. That way, he is a 24x7 politician who revels in launching counter-attacks on his opponents even when the chips are down. He just can't survive without politics.
Little wonder then that within 12 hours of the CBI raids on his residence and other properties, this incorrigibly audacious browbeater roared back from Ranchi where he had gone to attend a court case relating to the fodder scam. "Listen Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah… I shall fight your attempts to target me and my family members. And I will not let you destroy the grand-alliance experiment in Bihar, come what may. I shall never bow down to you pressure tactics," he said.
Continuing in the same vein, he added, "All like-minded parties across India will meet in Patna on 27 August, to expose your nefarious designs. We shall see to it that you all are consigned to the dustbin of history. We won't let you do the dirty tricks against opposition parties. It's an Emergency-like situation in the country."
But this ranting and raving apart, what's the latest news from Patna, where chief minister Nitish Kumar has chosen to maintain a stoic silence over the issue? If signals emanating from the RJD office are to be taken seriously, Lalu's foot soldiers are already busy preparing for the maha-rally in August. The aim of this rally is to take the spectacularly successful "mahagathbandhan" experiment beyond Bihar and launch it on a national scale. And who knows, leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, MK Stalin, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati etc might attend the event to show solidarity with the Opposition's cause.
Lalu is also closer now to Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati than ever before. He thinks he knows their minds. That is perhaps why he made a statement in this regard earlier this week. "There is a strong possibility that Akhilesh and Mayawati will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together. If that happens, BJP will stand uprooted from power," he said.
Lalu's body language at the 21st Foundation Day ceremony of RJD had to be seen to be believed. He was at his aggressive best. Perhaps he was preparing himself for the CBI raids that followed. Who knows?
Be that as it may, Lalu's speech did instill a fresh sense of hope in the minds of his otherwise demoralised followers, who had of late been at the receiving end of their political adversaries. Already, they are flexing their muscles.
And, on our part, we are all back to square one and the perennial question that continues to beg for an answer: Is it time we wrote off Lalu once and for all? Before we reach a conclusion, let's not forget what Lord Bertrand Russell said in his Unpopular Essays: 'Extreme hopes are born of extreme misery'.
Updated Date: Jul 08, 2017 15:00 PM