E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: In the second decade of the 21st century, India has two Yuvrajs trying to lord over all they survey.
The first Yuvraj is on the cricket field: Yuvraj Singh.
A brilliant fielder at cover-point and a batsman who can hit the leather off a cricket ball at will, he is every captain’s dream colleague.
This Yuvraj is a teen prodigy who came good despite a stormy upbringing: His partnership with Mohammed Kaif when India chased down England’s 326 to win the NatWest series, after being 147 for 5, is part of Indian one-day cricket folklore, second only to the win at 1983; make that third only to the World Cup win in 2011.
When he hit six sixes off a hapless Stuart Broad over in a Twenty20 match in 2007, even his critics had to sit up and say “wow”.
“Critics”, because Yuvraj Singh was not having the same success in Test match cricket. A nervous starter, he was vulnerable against both the short-pitched ball and the turning ball in the early part of an innings. Eventually he lost his place in the Test team to Suresh Raina.
To add to his woes, he was injury-prone, lost the vice-captaincy of ODI team, became overweight, and somewhat overbearing. He began making news off the field, even going after a pesky spectator who called him a ‘water boy’ because he was in the game only as a twelfth man.
From such a precarious down-in-the-dumps position, Yuvraj Singh rose like a Phoenix in the just-concluded World Cup. He worked hard on his fitness, lost weight and became the original mean and hungry looking man, batting and fielding like a man possessed.
He even sharpened his spin bowling to such a nagging length that he was difficult to score off and took more wickets than the main spinner in the team, Harbhajan Singh. He was adjudged ‘man of the match’ four times, eventually being declared the most valuable player of the tournament when in the finals he took important wickets and stayed with his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to fetch India a famous victory after 28 years.
This is our first Yuvraj, who, despite a stormy childhood at the hands of his father Yograj Singh, started as a precocious talent, went into the doldrums and a period of uncertainty but bounced back and delivered when it mattered most and fulfilled his promise.
His aura is now firmly back.
The “water boy”, Clive Lloyd said, “was drinking from the fountain’.
Our other Yuvraj also plays in white, but in a different field: politics.
Quite unlike the other Yuvraj, Rahul Gandhi burst on to the scene with a “home” advantage.
He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His bloodline was impeccable. His parents were happily married. Being the son of the most powerful and influential Congressman, Sonia Gandhi, he didn’t have to work his way up into the “team”. He was captain material from the day he entered the park.
The crown prince: if not Royalty itself, he was the closest to Royalty in a democratic context.
With his great grandfather (Jawaharlal Nehru), his grandmother (Indira Gandhi) and his father (Rajiv Gandhi) having all been prime ministers, the trajectory was clear for this Yuvraj from the day his mother heard her “inner voice”. Congressmen openly admit this Yuvraj has to only choose the time and day when he would like to become PM and the incumbent will readily make way.
This Yuvraj doesn’t have to bother about critics who criticise him, because they don’t.
This Yuvraj’s teammates doesn’t have to bother about the taunts of rivals and teammates, because they don’t.
This Yuvraj doesn’t have to bother about spectators who make fun of him, because they can’t get close to him.
Sure, he works hard like the other Yuvraj, travelling extensively in his continuing ‘Discovery of India’, campaigning in constituency after constituency. He even tries to get down from his ivory-tower SUV and mingle with the aam janata especially the young. And, he hasn’t shown any undue haste to become prime minister.
Sure, he says the kind of things people like to hear. He says he is against the pomp which most Congressmen fall prey to such as motorcycle outriders and the “lal batthi” (red-light) syndrome. He admits that he had it easy but wants to democratise the party to allow youngsters to enter politics.
Still, success eludes this Yuvraj unlike the other Yuvraj.
Except for the childlike enthusiasm of the ‘Amul Baby’, the nation doesn’t know where he stands on the key issues of the day. Be it talking about “Kalavathy” or joining protesting farmers, the only arrow in his quiver seems to be symbolism.
His stand on substantial issues like Maoism, poverty, inflation, terrorism, etc, are unknown.
He holds on to his two-nation theory of India as if no other thought passes between his ears.
Worse, he has exhibited a penchant to put his foot in the mouth that exposes his limited knowledge of the Indian political system and the freedom struggle. His statement that ‘his family had made sacrifices’ to the country was met with strong criticism, perhaps deservedly so. The WikiLeaks cable that showed that he felt the growth of radicalised Hindu groups posed a greater threat to Indian security than Islamic terror groups, evoked guffaws.
So far, this Yuvraj hasn’t done anything spectacular to show that he has it in him to lead the nation despite the red carpet laid out for him. Indeed, if he was the other Yuvraj he would have been dropped from the team.
If this Yuvraj doesn’t come up with the numbers, doesn’t show leadership qualities soon, his ascendency to the throne will be regarded as a pure dynastic ritual rather than as any achievement that propelled him to that exalted position.
Whereas the cricketing Yuvraj changed his work ethic for the better which got him handsome rewards, the politicking Yuvraj is still only gardening the pitch, after taking guard nearly a decade ago.
Surely, it is time the crown prince Yuvraj took a leaf out of the commoner Yuvraj and belted some sixes and announced himself in the IPL—the Indian Political League.
Else, “We, the People” will be entitled to ask, why and not why not.
Photograph: Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi watching the 2011 World Cup semifinals between India and Pakistan in Mohali (courtesy PTI via The Times of India)
Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Has Rahul Gandhi blown it?
What Amethi’s indices tell us about Rahul Gandhi
In one-horse race, Rahul Gandhi is a two-trick pony
‘Politics is about solving problems, not evading them’
‘Most opaque politicians in the democratic world’
Jesus, Mozart, Alexander and apun ka Rahul
A functioning anarchy? Or a feudal democracy?
Rahul Gandhi‘s ascension: a foregone conclusion?
One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi—Part I
One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi—Part II
This is an interesting comparison. But I think it is biased.
1. The Cricketer Yuvraj’s family wanted him to become the Captain of India team. When Dhoni was chosen over him, you know what happened.
2. Also, the thirst for Captaincy saw him being removed from his home team in IPL – Punjab. Hope now that he has become captain of Pune team, he will move to the next level in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.
Well, this is not to say that he hasn’t worked to get back to his form. It is commendable. And yes Phoenix comparison is apt.
Now to Rahul. I hope you have forgotten about the last General Elections and Congress’ performance in UP. Remember 20 seats in UP. And I am sure you will remember how much they had earlier from the most populous state where Congress was pushed to the sidelines. One of the main reasons that Congress was able to form a Government. Of course, the other being YSR getting more seats in AP.
Yes, he comes from Royalty. But he doesn’t behave like one. How many other politicians who behave like him.
Of course, he is a prince in waiting. But neither mother nor the son have shown any urgency. Remember that for any other political leader, the wait would have been over bearing. Take Karunanidhi and sons, Biju and Navin Patnaik, Deve Gowda and HD…And if you want more recent and in your face example, Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Please give it to the Congress and Sonia Gandhi that they are waiting and letting the Yuvraj groom “himself”.
I think it is very unfair to call Congress a family party by media and people. Manmohan Singh (whether puppet or independent) has been PM for two terms. Give credit to Congress (or Sonia, if you want to) that she has etched his name in history books rather than her own son’s (or daughters).
There is no comparison.
Yuvraj Singh plays cricket; a GAME, he does not save the country.
RG may be a lame duck but not because he is not like Yuvraj Singh.
Cricket fans would do well to remember that the world of cricket flourishes under the benevolent eyes of its godfather politicians.
Comparison is very apt.
About asking questions is also very apt. Damn sure Indians will ask questions. But just the way MMS and his Government has been able to elude the media on issues they don’t want to answer about, RG and his Government (I know this will happen even if I and many other Indians do not want it, thanks to the no-ball champions in the Congress team who time and again go crying to and fall at the feet of the family) will answer only the questions they want. There will again be crap about two nation theory sold time and again even though it was his “Sacrificial Ancestors” who carved several two nations out of what could have been one strong nation.
PS: On a different note, I think the mother and son are discussing how their statues will be carved out of Mayavati and Kanshi Ram’s statues when they topple the Bahujan Govt in UP.
i don’t see a day far away
when pandit jawaharlal’s great grandson
will have to pray
that u.p.’s good folks won’t let his dumb dumb ass
go any further astray.
The family culture is very strong in India. It is inherent in our nature. Why human beings, take a look at Gods. Lord Shiva and family. Vishnu and family.
And it is not for anything that people have elected the family yet again. Remember, we are democracy, they could have changed. I think only educated elitist like us and media which make bones about family.
Whether family or not, Governments have to perform. If they don’t people can chose not to elect the Government again. Take a look at TN for that matter.
On your PS: Please note, if Maya has done a good job of governance, she will remain in power. If she hasn’t then people will not re-elect her again. And then the statues must be not carved but demolished.
At present top on the list of things Yuvaraj needs to know is how cow dung looks like and how it burns!!! Poor guy still confuses cow dung with burning human bodies after donkey’s years in Discovery of India.
Stupidity is the genes of Nehru family.
A good governance does not give one a right to spend money from public coffers to erect their own and their party symbols’ statues all over the state while the same money could have been spent on schools, healthcare, infrastructure and preventing mass migration of poor to unfortunate places like Mumbai to get trashed in the hands of the Thakrey goons.
Yuvraj Raul Vinci a.k.a. Rahul comes across as an amiable person today. His true colours will come through if and when he is in that position of supreme power in India.
Never forget, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty never cared for a progressive democratic India, that was only a side effect. Right from 1947, Nehru kept playing people against each other in an attempt to consolidate his power. The way he cheated the Sikhs was one example (Punjab only became a state in 1966 after years of begging Nehru for a Punjabi homeland, a state of their own.
Another example – even worse was his handling of the Kashmir issue. In 1947 Sardar Patel was given the task of unifying nearly 600 independent states into the Indian union. Nehru played politics and took Kashmir under foreign policy instead of domestic policy. While all the other states were integrated, you can see the Kashmir mess even today, with Pakistan occupying large portions of the Indian state.
Indira Gandhi’s lust for power and money was even worse. The horrible machinations of the enormously corrupt license raj grew and flourished under her. In the early 1970’s she demonstrated her real goal by imposing emergency rule and arresting anyone considered a threat to her position in power.
Her handling of the Sikh situation was despicable at best. She propped up and supported Bhindranwale to counter the Akali Dal power in Punjab, in the end he was made a scapegoat and assassinated by our army. In that operation (Blue-Star) in 1984, 39 other gurudwaras in Punjab were bombed in addition to the Golden Temple.
Antonia Maino a.k.a. Sonia Gandhi is not even Indian. She is of Italian birth parents and kept her Italian passport till recently. How can such a corrupt foreigner have India’s interests at heart? She ‘s in it for the power and money.
Raul Vinci a.k.a. Rahul Gandhi would do better to get out of India and go back to his home country.
I fully agree. Nehru was the rascal even British were afraid of.
Nehru was the reason for corruption in India. He started the rot. More Indian need to realize this rather than eulogizing Nehru as a visionary and what not.
Jagadish, Narayana, and all other Congress haters on this page,
Past is past. You people must stop living in the past forever.
Even if one were to accept that Nehru and Indira made some small mistakes, that does not give you the right to criticize Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi towers above his father and grandmother when it comes to dynamism, intelligence, magnetism, capability to pull crowds, and love for India.
Rahul Gandhi has the sense of direction to set India on the right path towards progress and development. Rahul Gandhi is indeed the only hope for India, if we need to become a developed nation.
The haters must stop hating, and open their eyes to the dynamism and vision for India that Rahul Gandhi has.
Jagadish, your analysis of complex issues is going to get you into Simple trouble:)
Hmm. It would be interesting to see how many words coming out of the one who *towers above his father and grandmother when it comes to dynamism, intelligence, magnetism, and love for India* are dedicated towards these mentioned attributes and how many targeted at state governments where Congress is not ruling…
Even the two-nation theory he is advertising is copied from Barrack Obama’s presidential campaign. And not to mention the campaign for change.
Also, is it irony that the visionary could not see the rampant corruption going around or was he just like our Hon. Prime Minister? Clean beyond cleanliness?
PS: I am not a Congress hater, nor do I hate the first dynasty of democratic India. I just don’t like people idealizing anyone without seeing their actions (or lack thereof).
the problem is that amul baby is still infant and his mentor diggy is pushing him in wrong directions.