HAVE YOU COME ACROSS A MIND SICKER THAN THIS?
During my long years with the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), I had , inter alia, handled the external aspects of the tribal insurgency in the North-East, the Khalistani terrorism, the Jihadi terrorism and the external aspects of the physical security of the Prime Minister of India.
2. In June 1985,Rajiv Gandhi undertook his first travel abroad as the Prime Minister of India. He visited France, Algeria, the USA and Switzerland. He went back to India and came out again in October to visit the then USSR and Holland.
3.His June visits coincided with the first anniversary of Operation Blue Star in the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Khalistani elements based in Pakistan, West Europe and the US took a vow to have him assassinated before he returned to India. I was asked to help the SPG, which is responsible for the protection of the Prime Minister, during his visits to France, Switzerland and Holland.
4. That was the first time I came into contact with Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka. Rahul and Priyanka were young kids at that time. I had an opportunity of interacting with the kids, particularly in Paris. I have not met them after October,1985, but have maintained a distant interest in their welfare and progress in life.
5.I have been worried, like many of our fellow-citizens, over the declining and depressing state of affairs in the country. I have written a number of articles critical of the way Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh has been handling the situation. Some of the articles were mildly critical, some very hard-hitting. I had also suggested that the time had come for the Congress to go for mid-term elections to remove the political gloom.
6. I believed that Shri Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, was the man for the occasion and it was time for him to enter the political arena and take over as the PM after winning the elections. Between 2000 and till recently, I was a strong supporter of the BJP, the RSS and Modi.
7. Last year, I started visiting the Twitter site regularly in the hope of keeping myself in touch with what was being discussed in the Twitter world. That was the beginning of my interactions with the online followers of Modi. I was shocked by their uncouth manners, foul language and extremist mind-set. Whenever I tweeted anything positive about Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka, the followers of Namo came down on me like a ton of bricks and subjected me to vile abuse.
8. I was called an old man who had become senile and developed Alzheimer’s disease. It was claimed that my cancer had spread to my brain etc. By nature, I am a pleasant and polite person. I was shocked by the kind of language used and threats uttered by the online followers of NaMo. Twice I quit Twitter in disgust and then I came back because of my curiosity.
9. I wrote articles drawing attention to the Stormtrooper like methods of the online followers of NaMo and the kind of abuse and character assassination being directed at me. I sincerely believed NaMo was not aware of the obnoxious behaviour of his online followers. I wrote and tweeted a number of times suggesting that he should openly condemn their methods and dissociate himself from them. There was no response. I couldn’t help believing that his followers were indulging in such methods with his knowledge and approval. That was the beginning of my disillusionment with NaMo. My writings and Tweets became increasingly critical of of NaMo’s followers whom I started calling the NaMo Brigade and NaMo himself.
10. That was also the time when I started taking fresh interest in the personalities, policies and activities of the Congress. I did have hopes that Rahul could turn around matters, but my hopes were belied. I started thinking that the time had come for Priyanka to enter the political scene to set matters right with the support of the GenNext of the party. Rahul had not been able to enthuse the younger elements in the party and the country. It was important that Priyanka tried her hand at this.
11. In the beginning of June, I wrote my first article suggesting that Sonia should induct Priyanka into active politics. I was surprised by the initial condemnation of my articles by friends and foes alike. The NaMo Brigade stepped up its attacks on me. I was insulted. I was ridiculed. My sanity was called into question. I decided to go into a mode of watching silence.
12.To my surprise, after about three weeks, others too started discussing Priyanka as a possible political aspirant--- Shri Virendra Kapoor in Rediff, the Sunday Guardian and some other columnists and papers. Last week, NDTV had a series of political discussions on the likelihood of a mid-term poll. One of the questions polled and debated was the chances of Priyanka.
13. I drew the attention of my Twitter followers to this and tweeted once again why I had suggested the name of Priyanka.I tweeted in two consecutive tweets: “As yesterday's developments in Gujarat show, NaMo will not be able to shake off his dark shadow. Namo is darkness at noon. Priyanka is brightness at night.” My reference was to the shadow over NaMo after the conviction of 31 of the accused in the Naroda Patiya case of massacre of over 90 Muslims by a mob egged on by some Hindutva Top Guns. My allusion was to Arthur Koestler’s novel of the last century based on life under Stalin. I was buried in an avalanche of abusive tweets from NaMo’s followers. Some of them even accused me of giving a powerful political slogan to the Congress for the next elections.
14.A couple of days later, one of my followers drew my attention to a defamatory, calumnious blog post twisting the meaning of my Tweets. The post deleted my reference to the conviction of the accused in the Naroda Pitiya massacre case and carried only my characterisations of NaMo as Darkness and Priyanka as Brightness. The post alleged that this old man used to send love Tweets to Barkha Dutt of NDTV, now he has started sending love Tweets to Priyanka.
15.His rage over my suggesting Priyanka as a possible future leader was obvious, but he was unable to counter me logically. So he indulged in character assassination.I have not come across a more sickening mind. It was the reaction of the lowliest of the lowlies.
16.Previously,whenever I used to protest online against the abuses and character assassination directed against me by NaMo’s supporters, my well-wishers in the BJP and the RSS used to ask me to ignore them. They used to claim these were not well-educated people capable of politeness.
17.But the man who has attacked my personal honour and projected me as a decrepit old man with a hunger for attractive women is not an uneducated person. I understand he is a graduate of one of the prestigious IITs of India. After having lived in Mumbai for some years, he is now reportedly based in the US and has allegedly been co-ordinating the online Blitzkrieg of NaMo from his safe sanctuary in the US.
18. If this is the kind of people who are the brains of the NaMo For PM campaign, would it be in the interest of the country for NaMo to become the PM? Everyman is known by the company he keeps. This is the kind of company NaMo keeps.( 2-9-12)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter @SORBONNE75)