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April - May 2008
Decade in Indian Politics: Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Congress Party
by Yash Suri
I take strong exception to the opinion expressed by one of the writers in India link International. I feel it is very unfortunate. Extreme view and regrettable. He holds a small minority viewpoint. Probably he is trying to settle a political score on behalf of a right wing party.
“Mahiman jo humara hota ha, woh jaan se piyara hota ha, yeh Poorab ha poorab wale her jaan ki keemat jante hein.” What kind of race are we? We are losing our great cultural heritage and values, aren’t we? Politics is a very dirty game indeed, particularly, so in the Indian-subcontinent.
How much more tapasya (penance) Sonia ji has to go through, when would we stop hurting her by referring to her “a foreigner”? It is time we start calling her as ours. She has adapted herself to being an Indian remarkably well. She is much more adept at even using our colloquials, “laphda ho gaya tha,” like a pakka native I must admire her for that because even I have to struggle for that sometime. I ask the Indian rightists look at it in totality.
Her critics should think long and hard. Not only she has embraced her late husband’s faith, had to go through the trauma of becoming a widow at a young age, raising her children without their father, what we now refer to as a single parent in this country. Thank heavens; she had a wonderful mother-in-law who absolutely adored her.
Recently, I was staying at an exclusive private property in the province of Tuscano (Tuscany) in Italy. After finishing my phone call in the reception area. I decided to have a chat with a very smart young Italian lady. “Senora,” I said, “Can you name the most famous daughter of your country”: “Sophia Lorraine”?; “Think hard”. I had virtually to put words in her mouth, “She is the leader of the largest democracy in the world”. She drew blank. I told her it was Senora Sonia Gandhi. My Next question to her was, “how far is the small town of Orbassano, where she was born and grew up and how long will it take me by car to get there.” And came the reply,”I have never heard of the place.” She went to ask her manager who might know. She too had no knowledge of the place.
“Hang on”, I said to myself, “There is more to it than meets the eye. This is denial; some of our patients with psychological and emotional problems develop this symptom complex. This country is the cradle of Roman Catholic Church, the Seat of the Pope in the Vatican City; millions of catholic pilgrims come here from all over the world, to Rome, Florence and Siena, where I happened to be. In her former home country they are equally, if not more, unhappy with her, because she has let them down for abandoning her faith. Catholics are supposed to convert Hindus and members of other faiths to the Roman Catholic faith and not vice-versa.
When I returned to Britain I put this to tourism people at the Italian Embassy. They should publicise her town in their brochures; and like the Neasden temple in Britain, this could be source of considerable revenue to them. They showed no interest either.
Sonia ji is much more Indian at heart, than many of us living in the United Kingdom. I believe she asks for her favourite Lasagne only once in a while; more often it is North Indian cuisine the family has.
I was deeply moved by some young congress workers; who said they would take their lives, if Sonia ji did not accept the post of the PM.
But sadly, we are very unforgiving people and live in an unforgiving world.
Not many centuries ago, my ancestors too were foreigners, living in south-western Afghanistan, Qandhar province, the most troubled spot in the world now. We are Suryawanshi Aryans.; our names often beginning with Shah, e.g. Sohna Shah, Multani shah, Ramditta Shah and so on and so forth. My Grand uncle was Chandi Shah, who was often mistaken for a European. They had to flee the country following the invasion of Islam. Rather than embrace the new faith, they settled in neighbouring Swat valley, Kingdom of the Hindu Raja, which too later fell and then they moved onward to Peshawar, then on to Lahore and finally settled round Bhera, Jehlum and Rohtas. And fate brought us Afghans together again, when the Afghan Emperor Sher Shah Suri brought my ancestors L. Todar Mal Suri from Lahore to build the impregnable fort on the banks of Jehlum which has twenty-two gates and walls ten feet thick at places. Modern tanks could roll on these walls.
Their forefathers had migrated from central Asia, “gore’ chitte’ blue eyed Aryans from Kashgarh and Khatan areas. Millions perished in the Gobi desert, most inhospitable place in the world. Mine were lucky, they followed the old China silk road, now the modern Korakram Highway
India is a vast land. It has over the centuries assimilated many races that invaded India and later settled here. There were Inter-marriages with other settlers, like the Kushans, the Huns, the Greeks, Assyrians, Israelites. Consequently with the passage of time no one remained pure Aryan.
My daughter Vanita, once on a visit to India, made a very important observation. “ Pa ji, Chander Kanta auntie apart from being very fair has green eyes. You told us Alexander the Great defeated a very powerful Hindu Raja by the name of Poras across the Jehlum river and that this was the subject of a very popular B/W movie Sikndre’ Azam played by the legendry Prithvi Raj Kapoor. He had left a strong garrison behind when he returned to Macedonia. That explains a lot, as her ancestors were from that area, Kanta auntie must have some Greek blood in her.” She did not have a degree in Anthropology but was just an A Level student at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College at Darlington.