Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Priyanka Gandhi Interview

Priyanka Gandhi (daughter of late Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi) gave an interview to the Indian channel, NDTV recently.

What struck me about PG initially was how friendly she appeared to be, almost warm. May be Barkha Dutt, the interviewer was also struck by this fact too, as she asks, "As a person who'll sit down here under a tree with me and talk freely. Whereas both your mother and Rahul are seen as much more reticent, more withdrawn, more shy. Would that be correct?".

A couple of days back when she was asked about joining politics, PG had said something to the effect that " life is too complex to ever use a word like never". and I was struck by the wisdom in these words. As I grew up, this is something I have realised too .

"I think so, yes. And when I said -- one should never say never in life -- I really meant in life, I didn't mean in politics. I meant in life, because as you grow up, you realise that there are a lot of things that you're very rigid about when you're younger -- you think, this will never happen to me, I will never do this and I could never be like that. And as you grow up, you become a mother and everyday you're faced with something new and you have to respond to that thing. And you realise that your responses change as you grow up, so you can't just be absolutely rigid black and white and say 'yes' and 'no' to things. That's what I meant."

But what really took my breath away was what she said about confronting the assasination of her father, and her recent visit to Vellore jail to meet Nalini, a convict in the case (incidentally, Nalini was initially sentenced to death and her mercy petition was granted by the President at the instance of Sonia Gandhi, who made the case that Nalini's daughter would be orphaned if the sentence was carried out). "[...] people ask about non-violence, I think true non-violence is the absence of victimhood." Wow.

when you are a victim, you do not realise your own agency. A common strand in all of Gandhiji's non-violent actions is just that - the sense of agency, that you (the colonised Indian) can take action to remedy the situation.

That said, there was something else in the interview which made feel very uncomfortable. This is the exchange -

Barkha Dutt - "But, there is a sort of acceptance that one day, if politics goes a certain way, Rahul will be Prime Minister, or could be, I won't say will be.

Priyanka: It's quite possible, yes."

Why is it a possibility, why do we Indians have to put up with yet another Gandhi (not that I have anything against them per se, but the whole idea that if it is the Cong(i) in power, then it has to be a Gandhi, who occupies the Prime Ministerial chair makes me extremely uncomfortable.) I didn't like the sense of the inevitable in PG's voice. If there was a credible, secular option (forget the third front, it is a joke, Allah alone knows which party will jump ship if Cong(i) or BJP were to get seats close to the majority) I would have voted for them. My vote is for the Cong (i) only to prevent Advani becoming Prime Minister.

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