The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Friday, 15 June 2012


Theatre of the absurd - To sum up the state of affairs of the Indian politics after what has been happening on the Presidential election in last two days

Politicians, of the day, are probably the most derided and the worst performing social lot in India today, and they themselves are responsible for the hara-kiri, June 13, 2012 firmly proved it.

Office of the President of the Republic of India, an intermittently respectable institution, was never such a hotly debated issue.

Yes, it has been honoured by the luminaries like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan or recently by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Whenever some strong person with impeccable record has commanded the office, he has commanded the respect the highest office of the country deserves. But, equally true is the fact that likes of Pratibha Patil have demeaned it to the extent that no one takes it seriously now.

Pratibha Patil is the supreme example how political parties are manipulating the political equations to install partisan or puppet candidates in the office. Sometimes, they succeed installing names like Giani Zail Singh or Pratibha Patil. Sometime, they fail thanks to the rare good luck of the Indian democracy when we get some APJ Abdul Kalam.
The current political drama since last two days is the testimony to it. All the big parties are avoiding the neutral candidates. It becomes even more pathetic in the light of the possibility of a hung parliament after the next General Election, whenever it is held, 2013 or 2014. The decorative post of the Indian President will go alive then playing significant role in the formation of the next government.

And so on display is yet another round of absurdity where senseless and opportunist political equations are being made and remade every passing moment. A worrying aspect of it is the consistent reduction in the number of candidates contesting the Presidential polls. Even the first election to the President’s office saw five candidates in fray while the last thee elections have seen just two candidates in fray each time. Had it been a case of consensus, it would certainly be a heartening development for the Indian democracy. No, it has been more about back-door politics to serve petty political interests in an era of coalition politics. The choice has been deliberately reduced to one or two names who could serve the political interests of the ruling party of coalition.

So, irresponsible debates like political or apolitical President are being floated when almost half of the Indian Presidents have had apolitical backgrounds. War of words has well surpassed the rhetoric threshold to the ugly domain of blackmailing, intimidation and mockery.

Political managers and head honchos are crisscrossing the country to make maximum out of the musical chair. 

Didi met Mulayam yesterday and the mocktail was transformed into cocktail. A day when Dr. Manmohan Singh, the incumbent prime minister (he might well be the next President if Didi gets her sweet revenge!), was tweeting on demise of the Ghazal exponent Mehdi Hassan, Mamata-Mulayam scheming was all set to roll the tweeting or messaging machines into overdrive on possible journey of our dear reticent prime minister from the 7-Racecourse Road to the Raisina Hill. I am sure he would not have expected it even in his wildest thoughts.

Airwaves that were in overdrive on digging even the minutest details about Prabab Mukerjee and his extended family expecting him to be the next resident of the Raisina Hill address went into hyperdrive to catch the development and those elusive TRPs. Dear Pranab Babu ceased to be the darling for the time being after the last evening and another good name, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, came into prominence by this evening.

The political atmosphere is highly charged. The airwaves are to remain in the overdrive mode for some more days till the situation becomes clear. But the back-door politicking may even exacerbate the odds by creating the arena for an early General Election.

Let’s come down to some behind-the-scene possibilities:

Mamata’s revenge – Mulayam’s game: UPA cannot see its candidate win easily without Mamata and Mulayam’s support. Both need funds from the Centre for their ailing states. The initial thought was - now with a joint front, they could have extracted even bigger cherry than what they had been demanding for in the past. Poor UPA strategy-making again! Although, yesterday's developments have almost closed the doors for Mamata, Mulayam's deliberate flip-flop has left him in the race. 

Also, even if this move delays Pranab’s candidature or gets him sweating while contesting the poll against a candidate like Kalam, that will be a topping for Didi, because Pranab’s humiliation will let Didi feel like having a sweet revenge given the long history of differences between Pranab and Mamata. According to reports, Pranab and Mamata have not spoken to each other since past many months. 

Mulayam’s prime-ministerial ambition and the ramshackle third front: UPA-2 has been a nightmare and Dr. Manmohan Singh has washed away all he had earned during UPA-1 days. 2014 looks gloomy for UPA-2. Mulayam might look at working with other parties to form a third front. Okay, there will be many prime-ministers-in-waiting then but that can be worked out. No one can stop Muluyam from having ambition to inhabit the
7-Racecourse Road
. The ramshackle third front formed in this case would certainly look for the General Elections as soon as possible.

The country has already seen the bane of V P Singh/Chandrashekhar/Deve Gowda/Gujaral days. Are we ready for yet another round especially when the economy is going through a tough phase?

A ploy to install Rahul Gandhi in the PM’s chair: Politically 8-year old Rahul Gandhi has failed to deliver so far. Congress’ rout in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has broken the myth and charisma with which Rahul Gandhi was launched at the national political scene. The current generation of Ganhdhis is the weakest one in terms of political branding and outreach and no more enjoys a numero-uno status in India’s politics now.  The PM’s chair looks a distant dream for Rahul Gandhi, even after a decade from now.

What is the solution then?

Make Rahul PM now – as Mulayam’s party said on June 13. There have been many in Congress demanding it for ages.

Removing Manmohan Singh from the office for it would deliver the wrong message. Rahul and the Gandhi family would be seen as too power hungry; opposite to what Sonia Gandhi had been trying to project ever since she joined the politics 'reluctantly'. Also Manmohan has been a family loyalist always toeing the Madam’s line, come what may.

So there had to be a way to find an honourable exit and what could be better than gifting him the highest decorative office of the country for his unblemished and committed service to the family.

But even openly doing this is bound to send wrong signals. It was needed to be done clandestinely. So, rope-in the seasoned friend Mulayam (though occasionally wavering, as is the case now with changing stands in past two days) and the mercurial Mamata to fire shots in disguise in order to call names!

What could be the spoilsport in this scheming? For the moment, Sonia Vs Mamata ego clash looks to have overtaken this possibility. 

Remove Pranab honourably ploy: Speculations are rife and reports are quoting sources saying Manmohan Singh is not happy with Pranab’s performance as Finance Minister and wants to take over the ministry to work on the slowing economy. Now given Pranab’s stature, he cannot be said openly to walkout or leave the portfolio. But this being the last stint in politics, Manmohan would never want to demit the office as a bad prime minister and poor economy manager. Also, the Congress party cannot afford to fight the 2014 General Elections midst the doom that has started its build-up already. But Pranab is one adamant name. So what is the way out?

Install Pranab on the Raisina Hill. Pranab has already said he is playing his last political innings. So he would love to get the farewell to the Raisina Hill as already evident by his eagerness. He has even spoken to the Left for support as Biman Bose said yesterday.

Mulayam’s big game – Mamata may be the scapegoat: Mulayam-Mamata bond looked to get broken yesterday with the Samajwadi Party saying it had not rejected Pranab’s name and Mulayam was slated to meet Sonia Gandhi. What does that mean? Mulayam’s party can easily help the UPA sail in Mamata’s absence. And if Mamata does go out, UPA’s dependence on the Samajwadi Party would be a delicate balance giving Mulayam more chances to bargain. For the moment, after derailed Sonia-Mulayam meeting today, as quoted by some sources, Mulayam-Mamata bonhomie continues. But there can be change of mind given Mulayam’s flip-flops. Reports say Sonia is to speak to Mulayam and Mayawati before announcing Pranab’s name as UPA’s presidential candidate tomorrow.

These options may look natural, dramatic, contradictory or unsubstantiated but certainly not outrageous the way Indian politicians have behaved in the last 48 hours. Outrageous – what else we can say after the petty politics on display reduces the country’s highest office to mere a seat of partisan politics where no ethics but the political survival becomes the ultimate aim at the cost of democratic values.

This political theatre is getting absurd with each passing hour. The drama is so intense and high-pitched that the airwaves are going live. They are getting rich fodder good enough to make hourly timeline of the events.

Let’s see what the coming hours throw in this theatre of the political absurdity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -