Defeat does different things to different people, but the use of death as a metaphor is revealing of a retrograde mindset unwilling to concede, comprehend or come to terms.
# In 2006, after the NDA had been surprised by the UPA, the BJP leader Sushma Swaraj vowed not to wear coloured clothes, threatened to shave her head, sleep on the ground and eat groundnuts (while also presumably wiping off her extra-large bindi, breaking her bangles and removing her mangal sutra) if the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi became prime minister.
Thankfully, an “inner voice” spared us the gruesome sight, but somehow the election of Ms Gandhi as the chairperson of the ruling UPA, didn’t prompt Ms Swaraj, the newly elected deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, from wanting to carry out her threat even partially.
But the more things change, the less politicians learn.
India has elected its first woman President, Pratibha Patil. India has elected its first woman speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar. And the highest number of women (59) have been elected to this, the 15th Lok Sabha, in post-independent India.
# Yet, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav has threatened to commit suicide by consuming poison if the women’s reservation is passed in its current form. “We may not have the numbers but I will consume poison and die here but not allow the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.”
Mr Yadav is the convenor of the BJP-led National Demcoratic Alliance (NDA), or what remains of it as of now, and he is of course entitled to his opinion.
Obviously, the caveat “in its current form” has a built-in escape clause, but if the BJP or the NDA or both plan to do some chintak on why only 18.8 people out of 100 in an 80 per cent Hindu nation do not trust them to hand them the reins of the nation, maybe they should start by wondering why they are so unappealing to one-half of the population?
Photograph: courtesy iss.net
Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Sushma Swaraj