The ‘naashta’ that changed the face of Karnataka

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda released the ‘Gowda Papers’ recently. This was quite different from Pickwick Papers or the more recent Anderson Tapes detailing President Richard Nixon’s omissions and commissions in the Watergate scandal.

The papers released were only a fraction of the treasure trove the ex-PM had painstakingly compiled over the years.

I had a chance to peep at some of the papers which were what you could call ‘History in the Making’ (or ‘Unmaking’, depending on how you view it). A stickler for details, Gowda had neatly compiled the papers into various folders and given appropriate headings and subheadings, as his wont.

For instance, he had a file, ‘NICE Papers’ and understandably, next to it was ‘Not so NICE’ Papers! Probably it listed the unsuccessful attempts to scuttle the project and the recent SC verdict.

Some folders were labeled, ‘Dharam’, with sub-headings such as ‘Daily visits’, ‘Hourly discussions’,  ‘Coaching’, ‘Advice to CM’,  ‘Advise against the previous Advice!’ Some files were marked ‘ Come Right Now!’ in which points were scribbled in a great hurry.

There were a few files marked ‘VERY IMPORTANT’ or ‘VERY URGENT’ and had papers of over five years bursting out of the files. They must be the papers pertaining to the Metro rail project and the Devanahalli International Airport!

Whereas ‘Delhi Metro’ was written in green ink, red ink was used for ‘Bangalore Metro’. There was several box files, which could easily weigh few tons marked ‘Mono’. Probably it was the Monorail project, thought of as alternative to Metro by the Ex. Since these files could not be carried out of the room,  the ‘Mono’ papers never made it to the Press and that’s how’ Metro’ got lucky and scraped through and probably will see the light of the day some day!

One shelf had folders labeled ‘Madam’ probably meaning Sonia Gandhi. Another, with some loose sheets in a new file had ‘Rahul’ written on them. For a second, I thought the former PM had words of advice for Rahul Dravid for the World Cup. But cricket was the last thing he would ever think of, and the name he was referring must have been Rahul Gandhi. It was a big box file with only a few sheets.

The ‘Rahul Papers’ will follow later, when Arjun creates enough smoke through reservations, for Manmohan to dash out of the burning kitchen and poor Rahul is forced to take over as the chief chef! Rahul Gandhi, that is. 

In a file marked ‘Madam-URGENT’, there’s an interesting line: ‘7:41 hrs. I am on my way to meet madam for Breakfast at 8’0 clock.’ The next line reads, ‘7:42 hrs. I asked the driver to take a U-turn and go to the airport to catch the Bangalore flight.’

Historians would be chewing nails off their little fingers or back of their little pencils unable to decide whether: 

a)     Mr. Gowda had inside information that he would be served Pasta with Lasagna which he hated, but was willing to gulp it down for the sake of Karnataka, or, 

b)     At the last minute, decided  ‘enough is enough’ and dashed home for his favourite  ‘Raagi Mudde and Soppina Saaru’.

This is crucial, for, had he put up with the breakfast and discussed with madam, the recent political history of Karnataka might have taken a different course.  Who knows, it’s quite possible, the first son might have become the new CM with Janardhan Poojary as his deputy and the present CM might have been doing what he did best at National College—that is, throwing paper arrows as a backbencher in Vidhana Soudha and producing the odd movies!

Strange are the ways Fate makes its moves thro’ breakfast meetings that don’t take place and U-turns which spark off deft political moves.

The last file, which caught my eyes, was the one, which was marked: ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. ONE MORE TO GO.’