The great gamblers

Rationalists should forgive me, but the temptation to delve into mythology is so overpowering. Not that the rationalists? own world is devoid of myths, rather their very ideology itself is one.

It is just that the votaries of the DMK brand of Dravidianism have always deemed the two epics as objects of contempt though their own chief, the self-appointed sole leader of the Tamil race and the only champion of self – respect, himself would not miss an opportunity to draw from them, of course with his trademark touch of perversions. Anyway, all that is besides the point

The allusion is now to the striking parallel one can draw between the war at Kurukshetra and the ensuing one at the hustings. Till now, like Bheeshma of yore, the BJP appears unstoppable. The reeling Congress, like Arjuna, always knew they had only one asthra, but to their anguish it so far refused to come off the quiver.

Not any longer, for the Congress, like Arjuna, has now the services of their version of Sikhandi, Sonia. The Pitamaha paid with his life for refusing to fight someone who was a woman in his perception, while Arjuna fired his salvos from behind Sikhandi’s shoulders. Of course, there were no women’s lib in those days to pull up Bheeshma for the slight. However, tales attribute his very fall to a woman’s ire.

The BJP is no Bheeshma to down their defences. On the contrary, they are likely to invoke a lot more array of weaponry, so far kept reseved for this very eventuality. The battle of the ballot will, doubtless be a no-holds-barred one, with Rome and Ram fighting it out, while the Bofors guns, which can also backfire, boom in the background.

Like Sikhandi, Sonia’s entry might just save the Congress from immediate destruction and may offer some respite from the exodus from its ranks. But can the party forever,and throughout the run upto the elections, hide behind Sonia’s pallu and take on the opponents?

After all, Arjuna did emerge from behind Sikhandi and took the enemy head on, a true warrior that he was. But the Congress is neither in fighting shape nor can it lay claim to anything heroic. While only Arjuna hid behind Sikhandi, now there is a whole army of weak-kneed soldiers seeking the safe shadow of Sonia’s presence.

Indira Gandhi was a woman, too. So why all the fuss? True to their tradition, the sychopants have already started likening the bahu to the martyred former PM. But such an exercise would do neither women proud. Indira showed from the front and led the way, as she was familiar with the rough and tumble of politics.

Hers’ was a conscious decision prompted by sheer guts and knowledge of how the system worked. She knew the rules of the game and most often even dictated it. Congressmen rallied behind her because they knew she would deliver the goods for the party. She could at the same time evoke confidence in them while instilling fear in the opponents.

But Sonia? So far an enigma, she still remains an unknown quantify, even to the Congressmen. They have no clue about her capabilities nor do they appear concerned about it. It is their fond hope that her widowhood is enough for them to ride to power.

Theirs is not an expression of faith, as was the case with Indira, but just a blind gamble in their bid for office. It is the only chance for the Congress weaklings to stand up and make a final grab for power and there was no way they could let it pass.

Obviously, the self-seeking insistence of Congressmen has prevailed over even enlightened self-interest. But should the lady allow her self to be used thus and expose her self to the avoidable intrusions into her carefully nurtured personal life and the nation’s most respected family’s past, which are inevitable?

Whatever the provocations, be it a genuine concern for the party of her husband hovering on the brink of disintegration or an irresistible temptation to take a shot at power, we hope the leading lady would have done her homework. Congressmen of course have been doing no other work, except wooing her.

If Sonia clicks, it is happy tidings for the Congress. But if she fails, it is doom for a legacy. Is the gamble worth it, Congressmen? God, save the Queen!

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Jawahar T R