What do you do with Prince Hamlet of Amethi?

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    [​IMG]

    What do you do with Prince Hamlet of Amethi?

    MJ Akbar

    The intriguing aspect of Rahul Gandhi's confessional is not his uncertainty about becoming Prime Minister but the certainty with which he rejected the thought of marriage and children. The first is easier said than done. The second is easier done than said. You need the consent of around 100 million voters to become Prime Minister; to become daddy you just need the consent of your wife.

    Rahul Gandhi explained that if he got married and had children, he would "become a status quo-ist and be concerned about bequeathing my position to my children". There was a bit of a contradiction. After all, if you do not want to be PM then there is no position to bequeath to your children, so go ahead and enjoy a family. But mild confusion can be forgiven in a man at a transitional stage of his life.

    Is this a subject for a political columnist or a Freudian analyst? Is Rahul Gandhi's reluctance towards both the chair and the cot the cry of a son forced into a job he does not particularly relish by a mother who will not take no for an answer?

    There is something bewitching about the thought process in a dynasty. It does not seem to occur to anyone that it is perfectly possible for a prime minister to have a child without forcing him or her to become a carbon copy. Rahul Gandhi did not have to become a politician. He could have led an extremely rewarding life as a professional. There are presidents and prime ministers all over the democratic world whose children believe their parent made an awful career choice. There are other offspring who think politics is a pretty good idea. In either case the decision lies with the child once he or she turns an adult. A parent should at best have an advisory role, not a decisive one.

    Some of the most powerful politicians in India are childless: Jayalalithaa, Navin Patnaik, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Narendra Modi. Does this make them either more honest or better administrators than Nitish Kumar, Shiela Dikshit, Raman Singh or Shiv Chouhan, who have children? Those who can rule with competence and honesty will do so whether or not they have children.

    Politics is a demanding profession. Its occasional spasms of glamour quickly fade before the grind of detail, whether in constituency management or governance through files and voter persuasion. Public life is a business in which the voter is a shareholder. Rahul Gandhi has taken the important responsibility of a radical surgery on his party, but does give the impression he is bored by the demands of government. He finds it difficult to sit through a Budget speech, for instance, where a normal politician would be engrossed.

    This leaves Congress with a peculiar problem. What do you do with Prince Hamlet of Amethi? How do you infuse electoral sparkle around a PM-in-waiting who prefers waiting to becoming PM? Do not blame Congress spokesmen for looking bewildered. This is not the script they got from AICC.

    But this dilemma could set off private - very private - rejoicing in the heart of many Congress leaders within the 60-70 age band. As Rahul Gandhi delves into soliloquy and wonders whether it is to be or not to be, ambition flowers elsewhere. Seniors like P Chidambaram or Kamal Nath would love to be a Dr Manmohan Singh to Rahul Gandhi, giving him as much power as he wants as Congress president while they got on with the complicated job of running a government.

    Rahul Gandhi is serious about reform within the Congress; he believes, correctly, that Congress has become, like other parties, an oligarchy. He is trying to change a system that Sonia Gandhi could not, or preferred not to. The problem is that after five years of disarray Congress does not want two heads. There is enough confusion in the ranks without adding any at the top. Power is about problems. One headache is bad enough; two can be unbearable. Power and responsibility must sit on the same chair.

    Perhaps Rahul Gandhi is preparing his party for postponement, not abdication, and has decided that even if he does become PM it will not be as leader of a fractious coalition in which policy is under constant pressure from implicit blackmail by partners. But if he means what he says about children, will the dynasty that began with Motilal Nehru, gave India three Prime Ministers and might offer a possible fourth, end with him?

    One cannot see Congress reaching out to Priyanka Gandhi's children when Rahul retires in three or four decades. Rahul's decision might even be a practical move. If he married now and had a child in a year, he would be around 85 before he was in a position to transfer the torch. Unlikely, although not impossible.

    What do you do with Prince Hamlet of Amethi? by The Siege Within : MJ Akbar's blog-The Times Of India
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    pankaj nema likes this.
  2.  
  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,162
    Location:
    EST, USA
    Prince Hamlet's dilemma wasn't "how to . . . ," rather whether or not to kill his uncle when he was answering nature's call. Furthermore, there is no intra-family intrigue; i.e. Rahul Gandhi is not being targeted for murder like Prince Hamlet was. Looks like the Shakespearean concept has been forcefully imposed in Rahul Gandhi's case. Silly title.
     
    W.G.Ewald and parijataka like this.
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    The status quo prince doth protest too much

    Swaminathan SA Aiyar

    Dear Rahul Gandhi, You hit the headlines last week by saying you are disinclined to marry and have kids because then "I will become a status quoist and will become concerned about bequeathing my position to my children." Second, you said you are not in the race to become prime minister.

    It would be gratifying to think you actually seek to end the status quo, but I suspect nobody believes you. Why have you and your mother done absolutely nothing to erode, let alone end the status quo after so many years in power? Why have you fortified the belief of every Congressman that your party has no rationale, ethos or future without the Gandhi dynasty?

    No Congressman thinks the feudal principle is affected by your getting married or having children. Mayawati and Jayalalithaa are both unmarried and without kids, and they run fiefdoms no less feudal than the Congress. Absence of children has never meant decentralisation.

    In feudal parties, criticism of the family is treason. All successes (like the 2009 general election) are attributed to the family, while all debacles (like the 2012 UP election or 2010 Bihar election) are blamed on flawed courtiers. If you really want to end the status quo, you should say plainly that you flopped badly in Bihar and UP, and so should be replaced by somebody better. If you don't say so, and if you and your partymen think nobody is better, then the status quo is here to stay.

    After talking for years about promoting youth in politics, you have indeed promoted many newcomers to important ministerial positions. They are young by Indian standards, but many have greying hair. The list in New Delhi includes Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora and Jitin Prasad.

    Is this your idea of smashing the status quo? Every one of these young men is son of a top Congress politician. They are intelligent, well-educated, and capable enough. But they represent dynasty with a capital D.

    Is the position very different in the states? The new chief minister of Uttarakhand is Vijay Bahuguna. Is it just a remarkable coincidence that he is the son of former Congress Chief Minister HN Bahuguna? You lost the UP state election, but had you won, Rita Bahuguna (daughter of HN Bahuguna) would have been in line to become CM. Does the status quo get any better than this?

    In Maharashtra, you appointed Ashok Chavan as chief minister. Predictably, he was the son of a former CM, SB Chavan. After the Adarsh housing scam, he was replaced by Prithviraj Chavan, a decent man but one lacking a political base in Maharashtra. He owed his appointment entirely to the high command, which you accuse of excessive power, but then do nothing about.

    You have repeatedly said that you want to bring more intra-party democracy to the party. You once said that every MLA you meet aspires to become an MP, and every MP aspires to become a cabinet minister; but every sarpanch you meet does not aspire to become an MLA. You criticise this lack of upward mobility, and say it must be corrected.

    But intra-party democracy surely has to go further than that. You fail to say that you want every cabinet minister to aspire to become prime minister or Congress president. That is the true test of intra-party democracy. As long as the top positions are hogged by the Gandhi family, intra-party democracy is a sham. You and Sonia look as entrenched as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles in England.


    The status quo prince doth protest too much - The Economic Times
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    parijataka likes this.
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    BACHELOR VOWS

    In Indian tradition the vow of bachelorhood carries with it an inexplicable stamp of tyaga (sacrifice) and purity. This idea has a long lineage, perhaps going back to the elevated status endowed upon asceticism and most certainly upon Bhishma, the venerable old man of the Mahabharata. In the epic, the prince, Devabrata, swears first that he would never claim the throne to enable his father, Santanu, to marry Satyavati. He then vows never to marry so that there would be no son of his to lay claim to the throne. For these acts of self-sacrifice, his father and the gods blessed him and he earned for himself the name Bhishma. The story is not without modern variations. Nirad C. Chaudhuri confessed in his autobiography that he had been shocked to learn that Subhas Bose had married in Austria. It had seemed to him that some of the veneer had been removed from his hero who, by marrying, had proved that he was human after all. In this tradition, through some weird logic, bachelorhood is seen to be synonymous with the state of celibacy. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, in his quest to make himself a “half-naked fakir”, took the vows of brahmacharya even though he was married. It was an act of self-cleansing. The most contemporary example of this celebration of bachelorhood comes from Rahul Gandhi, who said that if he got married and had children he would be forced to think of his sons and daughters as possible successors.

    It is entirely possible that Mr Gandhi had his tongue close to his cheek when he made this statement. Or at least it was made only half in jest. To take the quip completely seriously would be to interpret it as a critique of the dynastic principle that operates in Indian politics. Indeed, the critique could be extended to the position of Mr Gandhi himself since his rise in the Congress and in national politics is totally the product of his lineage. Mahatma Gandhi, perhaps because he had taken the brata of brahmacharya, did not induct any of his sons into politics. But Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, had no such vow to pull him back. His daughter, his grandson and his great-grandson have all followed in his footsteps — the first two as prime ministers and the third as a prime minister in waiting. If Mr Gandhi is taken at his word, the Nehru-Gandhi line could come to an end with him. But he may have spoken in haste, if not in jest.

    Away from politics, what is undeniable is that Mr Gandhi is the country’s most eligible bachelor. He is young and is blessed with good looks and charm; his designer stubble conveys an attitude of cultivated carelessness. It is sad that he is saddled with responsibilities that force him to justify his unmarried state. In so doing, Mr Gandhi, utterly unknowingly possibly, harks back to a hallowed tradition. But no friend of Mr Gandhi would wish upon him the mantle of Bhishma who in the epic had moral authority but no effective power. Mr Gandhi is better off without vows.

    Bachelor vows
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    It is very interesting that in one day, two newspapers (Telegraph is said to be pro Congress) have used media space to ridicule some innocent statements by a political person.

    Is it to give a wake up call to Rahul Gandhi to introspect and get going?

    Or is it with a tinge of sadness that Rahul Gandhi is not meeting the mark expected of him as the dynastic successor giving ground to the NDA to rejuvenate itself in national politics with serious consequences for the UPA?

    One cannot grudge him is he wished to stay unmarried or not be the PM. It is after all his choice and no one else's.
     
  7. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,510
    Likes Received:
    506
    Someone might think that either he intends to kill Varun or vice versa in some palace intrigue. Varun has been boycotted by the Dynasty to extent that even his wedding was not attended by anyone from it. But political water is thicker than blood, it seems.

    If Congress has become an oligarchy plus autarchy the blame lies within his family. Let him break those shackles. Who stops him?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    To be or Not to be questions the righteousness of life over death in moral terms.

    I reckon the writers are using the dilemma to wonder what rationale makes him adopt such a perssimistic attitude that Rahul Gandhi has taken to reject marriage as also decline to be be PM,

    I reckon that the writers are, in a tongue in cheek manner, asking him to move out and let others carry the standard into battle in case he is not up to doing it himself; rather than wearing the mantle of a General in battle and not doing the honours or allowing others that privilege.
     
  9. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,510
    Likes Received:
    506
    He is apprehensive that he might be exposed as an illiterate, that he really is. His arrest warrant by FBI is still alive. No Rahul studied at Harvard or Cambridge, it was Raul Vinci, an Italian citizen. That makes him a foreigner. It might even be possible to prove it, and deportation might follow.

    It is perverse to even remotely compare him with Bhishma, who gave all and owned nothing and exercised no power at all.
     
  10. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,929
    Likes Received:
    4,563
    Location:
    Raipur
    He himself is confused about his political career. He is in the dilemma because he is truly confused (or mad) unlike Hamlet's feigned madness :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    parijataka likes this.
  11. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    972
    Likes Received:
    912
    Location:
    india
    Only thing is Hamlet was considered cool in his days, Rahul Gandhi is considered fool in all days.
     
  12. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,529
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    There is always a spoil-sport who has actually read the subject play. :)
     
    pmaitra likes this.

Share This Page