“I’m not scared of anyone,” “I’m being targeted” are the newest, trendiest political jumlas of our time. From Sonia, and Rahul Gandhi to Kanhaiya Kumar — they are all telling us they are not afraid of anyone.
Rahul Gandhi used the jumla on Tuesday in his first reaction to the AgustaWestland deal when he was asked about his aid Kanishk Singh’s role. “I am always being targeted, I am happy to be targeted” was his response.
Sonia Gandhi has used the jumla twice in the recent past, on both the occasions after being embroiled in cases of corruption. When she was summoned by a Delhi court in the National Herald case, she declared, “I am daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, I’m not afraid of anyone.” After her name figured in the AgustaWestland case, she repeated the jumla, I’m not afraid of anyone.”
What’s the message Sonia or Rahul want to convey to the people as heads of India’s oldest political party? Don’t be scared of law? Does Sonia want to send a message that the law of the land will not catch up with her even if she was found guilty of violating the law?
Is she expressing her own imperious indifference and contempt for law or is she saying something that one hears very often being said that people break laws with impunity because they don’t fear laws?
In a democracy, equality of all citizens in the eyes of law is paramount. Why does she think she is special? It shows her claim to a feudal and privileged entitlement mindset.
Perhaps, her confidence stems from her past experience and a misconceived belief that powerful and privileged people often get away unpunished even after breaking law and found guilty of acts of omissions and commissions.
Sadly, Sonia and Rahul and the privileged class.
People like them have reasons to put their perceived immunity from law on show. The last time and the only time the Gandhi family faced major allegations of corruption was when former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name figured in the Bofors howitzer gun deal. And Rajiv Gandhi emerged unscathed despite there being evidence of kickbacks in the charges of corruption, though the scandal brought him down from power.
And why Rajiv Gandhi only? None of the accused in the Bofors scandal got punished despite there being enough evidence. One of the key accused, Ottavio Quattrochchi, the Italian representative of Snamprogetti in India, was allowed to flee the country owing to his proximity to the Gandhi family. After more than 25 years of cat and mouse game, the Bofors case lies buried in the files in courtrooms and government offices.
Sonia knows very well, and so does the political class, that nothing much is likely to come out of the chopper deal. The scandal has already turned into more of a political slugfest than a criminal, legal case to be fought and won in a courtroom. Her confidence in cocking a snook at law emanates from general experience and sense of entitlement to immunity.
One of the fiercest political battles the country witnessed was between Indira Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narayan in the 1970s, which led to the defeat of the Congress. At no point of time did JP speak any jumla like “I’m not afraid of anyone” though he faced the full might of the Indira government and spent 19 months in jail under the Emergency rule.
JP could indeed not have been scared of anyone. He had undergone third-degree torture under the British rule, escaped from jail to participate in the Quit India movement. Yet, he never put on the sort of arrogance one can Sonia and Rahul showing in public life.
Our local JNU hero Kanhaiya Kumar is another jumla man. In a fantastic turnaround of career, he fancies himself taking on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He says the government is going after him because Modi is scared of him. Yet, he has been using “I’m not scared of anyone” jumla.
Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, who were major student leaders of their time and who spent 19 months in jail during the Emergency didn’t ever declare with any sense of arrogance and pomp that they were not scared of anyone. They also didn’t fancy themselves taking on Indira Gandhi as student leaders. They were under no such delusion because they were led by JP.
The bravados of Sonia and Rahul take me to school days. Only two sorts of boys used to crow all the time that they were not afraid of anyone. One, the class bullies and the other who got bullied. The bullies had to repeat the jumla to spread a psychological fear and the bullied used the same jumla to fight off their fear.
Most people, most of the mango people so to say, are scared of many things. Police, government machineries, courts and such things do scare law-abiding citizens when they are involved or get accused of any wrongdoing. Aren’t Sonia and Rahul law-abiding citizens?
Updated Date: May 04, 2016 11:52:31 IST