Opinion » Comment

Updated: October 4, 2013 00:24 IST

What the great-grandson didn’t learn

Vidya Subrahmaniam
Comment (145)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
AGREEMENT WITHIN DIFFERENCES: Nehru (right) and Patel differed with the utmost respect for each other, and concurred and united with the utmost respect. Photo: Gandhi Smriti
The Hindu
AGREEMENT WITHIN DIFFERENCES: Nehru (right) and Patel differed with the utmost respect for each other, and concurred and united with the utmost respect. Photo: Gandhi Smriti

Should Rahul Gandhi read the correspondence between Nehru and Patel, he would know that differences can be expressed with greater finesse than what he has shown us

The walloping Rahul Gandhi gave the Manmohan Singh government on the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers has expectedly led to shock-and-awe in Congress and government circles.

Rahul has a way of springing surprises but the angry-young man-act executed in full public view crossed the boundaries not just of decency but the rules by which the Cabinet system of government runs.

Mercifully, the United Progressive Alliance government did not treat Rahul’s “nonsense” diktat as an announcement in itself. It undid the ordinance by due process — by having the Union Cabinet reconsider and withdraw a decision taken by the Union Cabinet.

The most striking thing about Rahul’s theatrics was his vocabulary which did not go beyond “rubbish” and “nonsense.” Of course, anyone hearing him at the Press Club of India, which was the chosen venue for the mutiny, would have got the drift — that he was lamenting the loss of principles in current-day politics. Noble thought, but can principles be restored by disobeying the principles of governance?


If Rahul had gone to his own library, he might have chanced upon a volume containing letters exchanged between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. If he read the correspondence, he might know from whom he has inherited his temper and a somewhat irksome tendency to be self-righteous: his great-grandfather. But he is also likely to know he has missed out on many of Nehru’s great qualities. His towering intellect and the scholarship he brought to any discussion. The elegance and beauty of his writing. And the most relevant attribute in the current context: the civility with which he treated his colleagues. Nehru differed strongly with Patel but held him in deep affection and respect, and when needed, readily admitted that he was in the wrong.

Nehru and Patel clashed rather fiercely on the functions of the Prime Minister and his position within the Cabinet (Nehru-Patel; edited by Neerja Singh, 2010). Nehru argued that the Prime Minister should “have full freedom to act when and how he chooses” and if he was restrained from doing so, he would be reduced to a “figurehead.” Patel’s counterview was that a Prime Minister acting this way would be a “virtual dictator.”

The differences arose following Nehru’s decision to send his emissary, H.V.R. Iyengar, to Ajmer with the brief to report back to him on the adverse situation faced by Muslims in the disturbed aftermath of Partition. The time was December 1947-January 1948 and Nehru and Patel furiously corresponded on the propriety of Iyengar intervening in a matter that Patel said fell in his domain. Exception to Iyengar’s visit was also taken by Ajmer’s Chief Commissioner, Shankar Prasad, who in a letter to Patel’s private secretary, V. Shankar, argued that the visit had “weakened my position, bred public distrust and aroused bitter partisan comment.”

Nehru saw no wrong in Iyengar visiting Ajmer on his behalf. Writing to Patel on December 29, 1947, Nehru said Iyengar was only deputing for him, and besides there was an immediate need to “calm down the apprehensions of Muslims” who were “terrified and leaving in large numbers.” Nehru and Patel thereafter decided to take the matter to Mahatma. Each wrote a note to Gandhiji, and importantly, with a copy to each other in order that there was no mistrust between them.

In his note to Gandhiji, Nehru argued that the Union Cabinet was the final authority, “…but in the type of democratic set-up we have adopted, the Prime Minister is supposed to play an outstanding role. This I think is important, as otherwise there will be no cohesion in the Cabinet and the Government and disruptive tendencies will be at work…” Nehru said if a difficulty arose in this way of functioning it could be easily resolved by “personal contact and discussion between the parties concerned.” He himself, he said, had endeavoured “in almost every matter of importance to confer with Sardar Patel.”

For his part, Patel wrote to Gandhiji conceding that he and Nehru had “temperamental differences and different outlook on economic matters and those affecting Hindu-Muslim relations.” But he also noted that they placed the country above everything else and cooperated in their common endeavours aided by “mutual regard, respect and love for each other.” Patel’s case was that if Nehru’s concept of Prime Ministerial supremacy was accepted, “(that) conception would raise the Prime Minister to the position of a virtual dictator… (which) in my opinion is wholly opposed to democratic and Cabinet system of Government.” Patel said while the Prime Minister’s position was “certainly pre-eminent,” he had “no overriding powers over his colleagues; if he had any, a Cabinet and Cabinet responsibility would be superfluous.”

Gandhiji’s assassination

Interestingly, Nehru and Patel both offered to resign from their respective positions, while insisting at the same time that the other should stay. In the end, the differences were not resolved because of the assassination of the Mahatma on January 30, 1948.

The murder devastated the two leaders. They were stricken that they were quarrelling while the country badly needed them to stay united.

On February 3, 1948, Nehru wrote to Patel emphasising their close bond over a quarter century: “… in the crisis that we have to (face) now after Bapu’s death, I think it is my duty, and if I may venture to say, yours also for us to face it together as friends and colleagues. Not merely superficially, but in full loyalty to one another and with confidence in each other. I can assure you that you will have that from me …”

Patel responded two days later with equal grace and affection: “The paramount interests of our country and our mutual love and regard, transcending such differences of outlook and temperament as existed, have held us together… His (the Mahatma’s) death changes everything and the crisis that has overtaken us must awaken in us a fresh realization of how much we have achieved together and the need for further joint efforts in our grief-stricken country’s interests.”

Nehru and Patel differed with each other with utmost respect, and concurred and united with utmost respect. Later on too, there were serious differences between the stalwarts but these were acknowledged in a language that was unfailingly civil and polite.

There is much Rahul can learn from this. Differences have to be intellectually argued out and not by calling a decision “nonsense.” There can be no excuse for incivility in the language used, especially when it is directed at the head of government. Rahul undermined and insulted the office of the Prime Minister, whose occupant, the great-grandfather insisted “must have full freedom to act when and how he chooses.” Finally, no matter whose side Rahul takes in the discussion between Nehru and Patel on the power and position of the Prime Minister, he should know that neither would have liked a partyperson to publicly disparage a Cabinet decision. More so a partyperson with a vaguely defined role but with seemingly unlimited authority.

More In: Comment | Opinion

India needs freedom from dynasty politics to re-invent real democracy

from:  vijay raina
Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 21:18 IST

No point in preaching value system in political governance as dealt in length by the editorial

It is generation gap and times are different between 1950s and 2013
political system has been totally corrupt as the ordinance was made to protect convicted Law makers which was shamefully approved by the cabinet . Drawing comparison between Rahul vs Manmohan and Patel vs Nehru is not apt as the yester year leaders preached what they practiced and were icons and the common man were in awe of such leaders not like the present day political class barring a few most of the political class has no principles and integrity and honesty

from:  Siddavaram
Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 12:26 IST

I do like the outcome. I am happy that the ordinance was withdrawn. I am sure
that not many will disagree with the ultimate decision of the Cabinet. A great
mockery of the Supreme Court was averted.

Unlike Mr. M. K. Gandhi's dictum, that the means are more important than the end,
the young Mr. Rahul Gandhi did exactly what is father did when he (Mr. Rajiv
Gandhi) in an open forum declared that Mr. Venkateswaran would no longer be his
Foreign Secretary for apparently disagreeing with him. Mr. Venkateswaran
resigned immediately. Mr. Venkateswaran reported into Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. Mr.
Singh certainly does not report into Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Not on paper at least.

What saddens me is that Mr. Manmohan Singh has nobody but himself to blame
for his current "Napunsak" status. It would perhaps be forgivable if he were
incompetent. For a competent man to let the country down repeatedly is just

No roads named after you Mr. Singh, when you fade away...

from:  Benu
Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 01:50 IST

Many have hailed Rahul's intervention in the still born ordinance.No
doubt there are occasions when he had made self criticism in the
past.There is also the history of his maintaining stoic silence when
scams after scams involving lakhs of crore rupees were mushrooming.In
this background I feel that if Rahul Gandhi had not had an inkling of
how the President's mind was working when he demanded a briefing by the
Law Minister, it is doubtful if he as one who had stood by the party
till the ordinance reached the President's desk would have gatecrashed
Makan's Press meet to INSTANTLY set in motion the damage control
exercise before it was too late. The last line of the article of
comparative study aptly sums up Rahul Gandhi as a party person with a
vaguely defined role but seemingly unlimited authority.

from:  G.Jagannathan
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 23:39 IST

Rahul, the youth of the country are with you!!! Ignore the commentaries about
disrespecting elders and such. It is the elders who have sunk the country - and the
youth have to save it now.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 23:21 IST

Let us admit that RG is a Vice President because he is a G with
Nehruvian heredity, that he was listened to because he was RG, and the
cabinet acted because he was RG. And the show goes on without any
bickering, back stabs, press notes, etc from members of the cabinet
because he is RG. Can anyone else imagine that they would have all
these benefits ?? They would have only invited opprobrium and show cause
notice and termination of membership of the party. RG is special in

from:  Narayan Srikanth
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 21:36 IST

Rahul Gandhi is no Nehru. Anyone compared to Nehru will fall short. You can compare
Rahul to Advani. Advani had a foul mouth. Such comparison with Advani and Modi
shall show Rahul in good light.

from:  Amrit Rao
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 19:17 IST

Nehru and Patel fought for a very noble cause and from grass roots and
followed the principles of Gandhi and grew up to become giants morally
and politically. In their growth they were exposed to dealing with
people of different views, and acceptance. Their approach to issues
were consistent with basic values, which ensured that they could work
together in spite of their differences. Rahul Gandhi unfortunately
lacks the background of having grown from grass roots and dealing with
people who has views opposing his views. Greatness has been thrust on
him by the sycophants and not really earned. The public knows of his
resentment towards ordinance but does not know on what grounds he
found it rubbish. He is not known to have taken consistent stand
based on values and principles as he has not expressed his views on
any of the scams and on black money held in Swiss banks. So it is
incorrect to weigh him against Nehru and Patel and foolhardy to expect
that he will behave like them.

from:  Srinivasan Santhanakrishnan
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 17:35 IST

It is important that as Indians we learn to call a spade a spade. Someone need to bite the bullet can tell the PM off. Can you name anyone in the ranks and files of sychophacy that make up the Congress party to do it? No, it only Rahul. And he said the right thing, and importantly in the right way. Perhaps the Congress is more open and democratic that we Indians would give them credit for.

from:  sathyavrath
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 14:58 IST

What Rahul did was to deliberately snub sibal and PC and indirectly hit at MMS. It is really surprising that Sonia Gandhi did not open her mouth to his utterance and took exception to his public outburst instead of merely offering lip service to PM.MMS also deserved this humiliation for allowing massive corruption to happen right under his nose and having turned a blind eye to the whole sordid episode.

Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 14:51 IST

Compairing with Patel & Nehru is not acceptable. A person do not have proper education cannot behave with dignity and respect. He not only disrespect an elderly person but disrespect and misbehaved with the Prime Minister of India. He has learner the dictatorial attitude from his grand mother who impose emergency in 1975 violating all democratic policy and norms.

from:  Chanchal Dutta
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 14:42 IST

The politicians are just reflecting or pretending sometimes the mood of
the nation like movies are mirror of society though with a little bit
exaggeration. Mr Rahul Gandhi is trying his best portraying the feelings
of youth of this country. Also the writer has conveniently overlooked
the age of Lt Prime Minister Nehru & the great Patel and young MP Mr
Rahul Gandhi. I think Mr Rahul Gandhi has given a face-saver to highly
infamous party by enacting a orchestrated drama. Great job Mr Rahul
Gandhi the young politician.

from:  deepesh Kumar
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 13:14 IST

I agree with one of the below comments that Rahul just wants attention!
He wants to be portrayed as someone who cares so what better way than to
gain media attention by gate crashing and speaking in a fit of rage.
Its about time that incompetent self appointed do gooders of the nation
were shown the door.

from:  Priyanka
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 13:11 IST

Rahul Gandhi was right in speaking his mind about the
ordinance.When elder follow flawed path and make compromises
the young should not be expected to follow protocol and use soft

from:  sarbas kumar
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 11:34 IST

A "nonsense" will remain a nonsense always. A polite euphemism will
not change the underlying character of the intended act. The proposed
ordinance could not have been described in much better words. Rahul
expressed his angst!

India had parliamentarians!

It is better to speak in a language that is understood.

from:  Sudhakaran
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 11:30 IST

Rahul cannot emulate any common worker of his party as worker has to
cultivate his base. All will agree on the matter that when anything
get by inheritance, its value is zero. Just Rahul has got this power
by inheritance and hence he can ignore all the constitutional
precedence. As democratic country, Indians should think on the dynastic politics which goes nowhere and one should be elected on
personal merit. Besides Leader should be trustworthiness and not a
whimsical one.

from:  Atul Warhekar
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 09:34 IST

All said and done when Rahul wanted to stay away and "grow up" behind
the scene and mature to be ready for political entry the media to a
large extent and the opposition and the people ridiculed him almost
everyday. This probably has affected his ego and thinking and has
possibly given him the idea that to survive and make a lasting
impression in Indian politics he has to do what he did-.
Unfortunately Nehru was a shrewd politician unlike Manmohanji who is
but an economist at best.

from:  subramanian Jagannathan
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 08:18 IST

The issue with Nehru's communication is that he was under the impression that he had more powers than others.

At the time of Gandhi's assassination or prior to that India was not a democratic country as claimed by Nehru. Congress did not get the mandate to rule but was chosen by the British to hand over the power. Also, there was no constitution and no concept of collective responsibility.....

from:  Ganapathi Iyer
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 04:57 IST

May I suggest, with all due respect to the author, that the comparison made between the
present day and Nehru's era is dumber than a bag of rocks. Such politeness today would let
Lalu, Raja and the likes of Maran laugh their way to the bank and then come back to the
parliament to loot us some more. A case could be made that Nehru's "towering intellect" did
not foresee the problem of thugs and criminals entering the government, and, perhaps not in
the too distant future, the Prime Minister's Office itself. A problem that his own great-
grandson has to tackle with force and a dose of much warranted curtness.

from:  Mukund
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 04:25 IST

This article is trying to make a mountain of a molehill. Rahul has no vision for the country and when the President had reservations on the ordinance on the face BJP showing opposition to it, he ventured out to show off his POWER as a cover up to fool the public. (akin to sonia expressing her desire not to take PM position on the face of the then president's reservations)

It is a blasphemy to compare Rahul-MMS with Nehru-Patel as the only similarity between Nehru and Rahul is the lineage and between Patel and MMS is the title 'Sardar'. Patel was never subservient to the dynasty and came out in open to declare shamelessly that I am warming the PM's chair for the Prince to get mature.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 04:17 IST

When Mother India is ragged by ordinance, as usual most of decision
makers/witness to the incident simply looked around somewhere; Polite
word is preferable but nothing big wrong, if end result is big good for
the nation; Even nation of good people indulge in war to bring larger
peace & happiness to the world;I don't agree with the argument that
PM/Cabinet authority is always final, if applied collective wisdom is so
pathetic like in this case;

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 00:02 IST

The author has completely missed the point here. The exchanges between Nehru and Patel were based on ideological differences. Both had the best of the interest of the country at heart. The difference was in the approach.
The only thing common here is the dignity of the office of the prime minister. Otherwise both are totally different in every aspect. Here the issue is protecting the corrupt and/or criminal lawmakers, which is not in the best interest of the nation. Mr. Gandhi is totally justified in expressing his outrage, as the representative of the disillusioned young generation in a manner that captures their true feelings. In a country of 1.25 Billion people, how difficult is to find some else to represent the people or lead the country. It is time for a change. It is time for the old guards to go.
Jai Hind!

from:  P Kolangaden
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 23:11 IST

Thank you Rahul. You have proven beyond doubt that you and only you can
deal with today's corrupt and mafia politicians.

Jai Hind! You have confirmed my vote for you.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 23:00 IST

Too much of a fuss is being made about this. All that Mr Rahul Gandhi did was to call a spade a shovel. What's wrong with that? If you want restraint burnished in flowery eloquence, go find an accomplished orator or rightly revel in the distinguished prowess of the late Pandit Nehru, but don't fly off the handle and sermonise a man who had the courage, at last, to do some plain speaking and phrase the matter in the exact manner in which thousands of normal Indians would have thought of it. No, I am no apologist for Mr Rahul Gandhi and dread to think that he might one day hold the very office his illustrious and controversial great-grandfather did, but that does not, even for a minute, take away my admiration for his act of speaking his mind whilst NOT holding his tongue. Sometimes valour trumps discretion.

from:  Kay Nathan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 22:40 IST

True education enlightens & make one composed and refined. It leads to
equanimity - the symbol of great visionary and statesman.Views may
differ and everyone has the right to express it in a true democracy.
Views need pillar of strong,coherent and forceful logic and one need
not and should not use indecent languages to establish one's views
.Rahul Gandhi has every right to give vent to his opinion and he had
ample opportunity to do so in the proper forum before the promulgation
of the ordinance.His knee-jerk reaction tends to indicate that it was
to stem the tide against UPA-2 Government's obnoxious and disgusting
endeavor to protect the unscrupulous politicians across the party
line. It also highlights unholy nexus among the politicians of all
ilks. Withdrawal of the ordinance indicates the success of civil
society and all kudos should go to nobody else but the social media
like twitter, facebook et al &not to any individual despite all the
histrionics and hype.

from:  Pradip N Pal
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 21:57 IST

It is very difficult to convince myself that Rahul has an opinion on
stuff like the Ordinance, or that he cares about the country. It is a
hopeless comparison which you are making. What he did was either a
confused reaction or a political gimmick. Whatever it was, something to
be ignored!

from:  Gopika
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 21:33 IST

But, had not Rahul uttered this "nonsense' what in general feel from the way he had put it, but the truth can't be hidden. He said the right thing in the wrong way. There is no meaning in comparing him and his great grand father as the times are changed, and Delhi has abundance of blunders being done now by the politicians. And it is a real outburst and today he said he moves or trying to move in the Gandhian path; we can't at least right off his good intention.

from:  Mohandas K
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 21:21 IST

It is a shame that we have to discuss the audacity of a young man questioning the
Prime Minister. Just because he is the grandson of Indira Gandhi! Has he proved
his mettle anywhere, in any activities? Will our countrymen ever wake up to the
reality that we are still ruled by a 'raj', a dynasty, the Nehru dynasty? You need to
be a Sanjay Gandhi or a Rahul Gandhi, the only mandatory condition to be the
emperor of nearly 1.3 billion people, the emperor of India! Democracy does not
work here, if democracy worked out, how can you have the Nehru family at the
helm always, except few breaks? Democracy is a way to intoxicate the people into
the belief that they are the ones who choose their leader! That is a big nonsense in
reality! The Gandhi family and their courtiers known as high command, rule this
nation to their liking. Will we ever start protesting together, against this unofficial prince(
or the king-in-waiting) of our nation and show him his rightful place?

from:  Chellappan Pillai
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 21:00 IST

They wouldn't have cancelled the ordinance if Rahul had not done it
this way. Once in a while you have to give a blow to remind everyone
that what they are supposed to do. Just be happy with the outcome. It
is as simple as that. Nonsense is always nonsense. Do you know whether
he has read all the books or not? What if he had read all the letters
and books and grown up like this? Don't assume something and write. If
he had written a letter or whatever to Mr.PM and down the line these
people will say that letter was missed in "transit". Then we'll have
supreme court appoint CBI to find the letter. That is also nonsense.
Let CBI first find the missing coal files... Move on guys... Better
things to do in life.

from:  Sundar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 20:50 IST

A beautiful article, those were the days without any fodder, medical seat, coal, commonwealth games,2G scams........
With present day politicians, the outburst was required otherwise more dishonest politicians would be law makers and rob the country and the people.
Imagine the Ordinance passed by the Cabinet and some tribal people in Madhya Pradesh receiving electricity for the first time more than 66 years after Independence. This amply illustrates where we are.
Mr Manmohan Singh is a great economist but also most shameless PM.

Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 20:42 IST

if Rahul's so called outburst is the reason for pulling this ordianance back then why is he not doing the same for getting swiss bank money back and other cases were public wanted ? Also comparing Patel and Nehru to Rahul is really unfair, the earlier had contributed for India's independence and bringing the states united and what really Rauhl has done ?

from:  mahesh
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 20:13 IST

I do not understand why RG's outburst is causing such a commotion. He
is an individual who has every right to express his opinion in a way
and manner that he deemed fit and able to. We should not bring
emotions into the picture. People seem to take this as a humiliation
of the PM and have a problem that it was done during a foreign visit.
Such emotional things do not even matter in governance which should be
based on reason. Here we have a person who expressed criticism (RG)
and then another(PM and his cabinet) who need to take this criticism
into account as they deem suitable. The author should also realize
that times have changed, all we should ask for is people to act and
behave reasonably with honesty.

from:  Rohan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 19:56 IST

Aptly timed and precisely written write-up! The uncouth language used
by Rahul to censure Union Cabinet’s collective decision—no doubt a
wrong one— was embarrassing not only for the government and the
Congress party, but for the general people of India as well! The
country deserves a far better political vocabulary, and if the Congress
Party’s future PM –a well educated, well brought-up youth of Nehru-
Gandhi family— is capable only of venting his strong opinions in no
better a language, that’s an ominous sign for the Congress in days to
come. The temptation to appear a “macho-man” need not necessarily be
coupled with an adieu to verbal sophistication. Nor should it take
recourse to undermining the established constitutional offices and
political institutions that might otherwise lead to anarchy in the long

from:  D.K.Bhatt
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 19:32 IST

How well said that Rahul undermined and insulted The Office of the Prime Minister. This is nothing but Goondagiri and high handedness that only comes with Unlimited Power accorded to him by our Slave minded chamchagiri Congress politicians. Instead of restraining him, Madame Sonia thundered in a Public Meeting that BJP is the One who is degrading the PM. How shameless, these people they call themselves as the Heirs of Pandit Jawaharlal and Smt. Indiraji. Even God may not be able to save Our beloved country if they come to power in 2014.

from:  Dr Trinadh
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 19:28 IST

Excellent opinion so graciously crafted. I wonder whether Rahul Ji,
ever reads ! Therefore your mention of His library is perhaps out of
place. If one can observe all his movements, style, vocabulary etc.,
one would conclude that at 43, sadly he is not matured nor he is
interested. He knows well enough that sycophancy in congress would
to any unciviliy on his part, hence he can execute diktat without
any responsibility and modicum of respect towards others. Can such
highly arrogant behavior be tolerated or accepted by any party ?
Can country accept such highly irresponsible and immature leader as
an aspirant Prime Ministerial candidate ? God save the country.

Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 19:27 IST

To me the whole scenario seems to be a drama by Mr. Rahul, to gain
public confidence and become the next PM. Am sure once he becomes the
PM, the ordinance will come back again and Lalu is going to roam around

from:  Subbu Dharma
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 19:14 IST

"Mercifully, the United Progressive Alliance government did not treat
Rahul’s “nonsense” diktat as an announcement in itself. It undid the
ordinance by due process — by having the Union Cabinet reconsider and
withdraw a decision taken by the Union Cabinet." Of course it was an
announcement it self. Only the paperwork was left and PM's return was
cited as an excuse. Congress Party high command could judge the move of
the President and to save the face Rahul was tutored to have a show. He
delivered his lines and vanished into the green room.

from:  Chandran Avinjikat
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 19:13 IST

@P. Laxman Rao
What if this is all staged? Seriously, congress is the one in power and a person of congress comes out and makes a statement against his own party. Don't you see a conflict here?

The movie named 'The Bogus Bill' was produced, directed and acted out by congress.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 19:06 IST

If we do not support our leaders in the good work they do, how are going
to move forward ? Sometimes i feel we all are like rats who are always
trying to pull other rats down.

from:  Ashish Negi
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 18:52 IST

Firstly the above article written by vidya subramaniham has enabled me
to learn about the decency and mutual respect our leaders of the past
had for each other, and this is the same thing that lacks in todays
polity of our country. As far as Mr Rahul Gandhi's sudden outburst
agianst his own party's government and Prime Minister is concernd then
it clearly signals to the royalty that exists in the congress party.
One must not forget the fact that he is the heir apperent of the
congress party and someone who is largely percievd to be country's
future prime minister. And one must also not forget that perhaps if
such a critisim would have come from some other quarter then perhaps
the Congress and the UPA would have not even given the entire ordiance
a rethink.This kind of royalty exists almost in every political party
of this country.

from:  Saket Kumar Jha
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 18:39 IST

It is a wonderful article. We get goose pimples when we read about the
yester year leaders and their love for the nation and for colleagues.
At least by reading those letters of the "Greats" our politicians should
make politics adorable

from:  S S Rajan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 18:25 IST

Very Apt and Timely article by Vidya Ji. While most people discussing on
the theories of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, author here compares
the way people handled the conflicts in the past. There is a sheer need
for our politicians to learn putting arguements in a proper way and as
per the situation.

from:  Kul
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 18:21 IST

We are expecting too much from Rahul Gandhi.. In fact, this entire
episode seems to be a staged drama to project Rahul as a leader in the
crusade against corrupt leaders.. And in doing that he undermined his
own cabinet/PM and the
sycophants in the cabinet can't do anything about it.

from:  Kalpin Patel
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 18:05 IST

A mature article! Such impetuous outbursts show the nephew and
His late uncle share some undesirable traits.
The voters must realize the dangers of unmerited dynastic succession stemming perhaps
solely from control Over party funds held wherever.
The volte face of Seniors in the cabinet is pathetic,.all these loyalists have suddenly lost their
judgement and self esteem though the earlier Bill and the hasty ordinance both deserved
their fate. The President should not accept legislation submitted by the UPA government for
his assent unless they come with NNC (No Nonsense Certificate) from the PM in waiting!

from:  Subrahmanian
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:58 IST

Media has been giving undeserved and excessive credit to Rahul over the issue. The use
of abusive language apart, he and his chamchas need to answer, why he did not express
his 'great convictions' earlier ? Why did he not have the courage to answer queries of the
press after his drama? It was more like a drama!

from:  Umesh
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:51 IST

Those days leaders cannot be compared to the present day leaders. We
live in a generation where charges of corruption proven against
leaders, often red handed in front of camera are shamelessly defended
by them. Today's politicians are often equated with being cunning and
shameless. In this backdrop there has to be strong reaction to immoral
and unethical deeds of parliamentarians. This ordinance was unethical
and immoral.

I think what Rahul did was just perfect. Time has changed and people
have changed. So what happened in history may not be compared with
what should have happened in the present.

from:  Akshit
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:41 IST

Hope this article read by Mr Kid. Nonetheless we can see him as a responsible opposition after 2014 polls.

from:  Vineet
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:28 IST

How do you compare Rahul Gandhi with stalwart personalities like Iron man Patel and Nehru.They were charismatic leaders and became leaders of the masses by virtue of their true leadership qualities.They were having true Leadership qualities and sacrificed a lot for this Nation.But at present the laymen of this country and Nation as whole is getting sacrificed for the so called leader. I do not understand how people of this country recognise Rahul Gandhi as Leader, whether he fulfills the basic qualities require to become a Leader of the biggest Democratic country like India. Except congress courtiers and flatterers nobody consider him as leader. At present day politics our media is having a prominent roll to play if they choose to give publicity to the true and patriotic leader those who having true leadership quality and ability to give good and corrupt free governance to people of this country. As far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned his only qualification is he belongs to Gandhi family.

Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:24 IST

Tear it, rubbish are flippant comments, rhetorical statement but not a proposal from an MP. Election is away in 8 months time, politician both parties give toe curling statements or words.The congress has no idea as to answer the electorate for the present devaluation of rupee, cost of living, and hyper inflation(50%) in 5 years.This country's banks are protected not like western countries, where turmoil started..Both parties go out of their way to avoid saying anything of substance.There is no use in comparing the present day politicians with Nehru and Patel.

from:  R.Chandrasekhar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:22 IST

Fools rush in where angels dread to tread. Appalling display. I only hope that this is a
'cleverly' orchestrated drama by the Congress to put Rahul in the fore front backfiring
upon themselves!!!! Where was Mr Gandhi when the bill was put to vote before it was
sent to the President? Where did he come from now? Does he even know the workings
of the Government? A sixth standard Civics textbook is what I recommend!

from:  Gayathri Sampath
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:18 IST

I am appalled at the positive comments on Rahul Gandhi's Behaviour, degrading PM and cabinet a constitutional Institution's by their own right. Show the level of ignorance or lack of prudence among Indian voters....and these are all educated people(possibly voters). No wonder India deserves such corrupt government.

Secondly He came out against it only after all the NGO's and some political parties went to president and only after President Questioned the Ordinance. If his press meet can change congress's also makes you believe that he was one of the main people who approved ordinance as we know this PM and his cabinet takes their orders from rahul and his mom.
Patheric day for Democracy... and he is praised by many commenters here says a lot about why india deserves such government and indians are good for being slaves for single family.

from:  yavaid
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:16 IST

That shows editing superiority and excellent publication of article
from Hindu. I hope such kind of information will only strengthen our
ways of looking all our heads of the nation in different scales. But
past is past present is present and in this you have to choose a best
one. Once all we choose our respected PM, we must accept that in the
present conditions he is the best PM.

Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 16:56 IST

I think its an appreciated work by Mr Rahul Gandi,because now days
nobody is raise their voice against wrong things and we are feel that we
don't have any problem then why should we react.If our legend leader
thought so we don't get independence yet.

from:  Ammu
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 16:54 IST

Well, there is a time for fine words and protocol and a time for directness. At any
rate, I do not believe that Rahul Gandhi's "outburst" was spontaneous. It stinks of a
staged show.

Can somebody tell me why we have this scion of a dynasty still holding the reins of
power? I am sure Patel would have disapproved of the setup.

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 16:50 IST

A superb and eye opening article to all those who crave for humility and modesty in actions and politeness in speech. It is shocking that the great grandson of a leader who was a thorough gentleman behaved in an intemperate manner belittling the office of Prime Minister for which he stands to be an aspirant in the next year’s election. We have to take the best of the past even though the past is not applicable as it is today and emulate them to win hearts and solve problems.

from:  S Raghavan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 16:46 IST

Superbly put. A great article.

It also Augurs well that The Hindu does have the potential and people like that.

MMS is not Nehru nor Rahul is even a shade of Patel but then India is still India and they should respect our Elders, Culture and also Congress culture too not simply accumulating money by Politicians in Swiss bank with Power

from:  Thyagarajan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 16:41 IST

I am puzzled at Vidya Subramaniam's article.Rahul Gandhi’s snub was not an off-the-cuff remark. It was intended to boost the sagging morale of the party workers as a counterweight to the increasing popularity of Narendra Modi. The author should have known that things have changed a lot over the years between Late Nehru to Rahul. Forget them.We as Aam Adami seniors have long back realised that our children are not like us and our grand children are much more different and independent.Can we dare advice them ?For that matter even the TH 's present Editor's views might vary with his predecessors. Isn't it Vidya Madam?

from:  K.S.Padmanabha
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 16:36 IST

Expectations from Rahul is very high, had he read the letters it would not make any difference he is not in that calibre

from:  prazad
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 16:07 IST

If Mr Rahul Gandhi had not aired his opinion against the ordinance , in
the manner he did, the ordinance would have been passed by now and
MrLallu Prasad Yadav would be walking free. Comparing with past
stalwarts is not justifiable because times are different. Writing
polite letters following protocols would not have resulted scrapping of
the ordinance.

from:  P. Laxman Rao
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 15:40 IST

Sir, there is no comparison between that day leaders and present day leaders. they
sacrificed their property, time and youth for the nation.even then comparing Nehru
with Patel is also not palatable.Patel adjusted, and compromised so much for the
benefit of nation. If Patel was the PM of India, history should have been different
and no present day problems should have emerged.but Gandhiji favoured Nehru.that
is the history of India.. .

from:  kvl shanta
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 15:26 IST

What a superb article by Vidyaji. It is very timely. No responsibility
and no accountability to governance, but still he could undo a cabinet
decision. The Bill and Ordinance is "minus" on one side and it faced
"minus" from Rahul, a party person of cheap tactics, thus fortunately it
resulted into "plus". Welcome these type of articles from The Hindu
with more frequency.

from:  Krishnamurthy G
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 15:15 IST

Rahul's outburst clearly shows that while his heart may be in the right place, his level of maturity is such that he is not suitable to be leading the country nor even to occupy a position in the Cabinet. Unfortunately, this means that he would be left to create more mischief by forming a third center of power. Only solution is to end the dictatorship of the Gandhis by easing them out of power. Patel was right when he sniffed the Nehru tendency towards autocratic rule. It has blossomed fully in his progeny.

Excellent article.

from:  thampi
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 15:01 IST

Vidya Subrahmanyam has brought this piece quite appropriately; the reference to the
powers of PM as interpreted by Nehru and the counter by Sandra Patel on the apprehension
of uncontrolled dictatorial power in the hands of the PM are very valid. The issue was that of
home department being handled by a specially assigned Chief Commissioner of Ajmer; the
protocol should have been to route whatever the PM wanted, through the Home Minister.
Patel was right questioning Nehru. There was no nicety in Nehru claiming 'PM should have
full freedom to act when and how he chooses'. That was outright autocratic. We have
accommodated Nehru for his unstinted patriotism, intellectual acumen and selfless
sacrifices, but his temper and adamancy have always been a problem. Indira Gandhi is no
less brazenly even bordering intimidation. So, Rahul can be no different. But, he is neither
intellectual, as his great grand father nor street smart as his paternal grand mother.

from:  M.R.Sampath
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 14:55 IST

From all this ordinance drama we can churn out several facts.
1.) Manmohan as a PM wields no power. But we already knew that. Now we also know that he is just being shameless now. Since he is thinking that sonia G did a great thing for him by appointing him on PM post because in reality manmohan singh cannot even become a MP leave aside PMship. So Manmohan ji is utterly thankful to our lady bountifull.
2.) Second Rahul G is still a kid who shoots and scoots from hip and then leave the party to fend for his statements and abondon all responsibilities. Also as a 47 year old he says "mummy says I used strong words". Not a mature leader at all. A kid really. If he becomes PM he will our very own Kim Jong(I was going to say Nixon but Nixon was a strong willed man).

from:  harsh vs
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 14:42 IST

One can clone a legend as it is biologically feasible, but not his
visionary. How come the respectable author trying to compare the
legends with a man of no vision and manipulative attitude. No matter,
he might be from a luminary family but the past cannot be equated to
the present chaotic politics and selfish politicians. The author
forgot to mention, the present day politicians seeks neither advice
nor learn from legends because they feel like legends and force
others to follow their wicked path. We are living in a modern jungle
without basic values and common sense. These two variable were kept
constant and would become antiques in our forgotten civilization.

from:  sandeep kumar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 14:33 IST

Smt.Annie Besant,a British national and who participated in National
movement for Independence and took active role in 'Home Rule'and also
acted as President INC.Mira Alfassa, a french woman, was instrumental
in popularizing,Aurobindo Philosophy and shown the world what the
India is.Born in Albania,lending her hand for the poor and
oppressed,Mother Theresa, shown the world what the compassion
is.Unfortunately, the present leadership imported from Italy, have no
regrets in their acts of omission and commission. The chair person of
UPA has no responsibility of anything that is happening in the
country.If some thing goes wrong,it is conveniently attributed to
someone in the government.Take it for Bansal's dismissal or anything
.Son-in-law is looting the country and honest IAS officers are
penalized.Rahul Gandhi is Vice President of the party, where no
internal democracy is there.Everything is according to whims and
fancies of 10,janpath. as if We are not in a democratic country.

from:  Dr.Srinivasa Varma
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 14:29 IST

An ideology of all time put in the form of words is extremely
excellent....!! The person having the critic on the difference of
opinion has to have the patience to accept the others viewpoint on the
subject matter. Thanks to Vidya for making a remarkable effort to bring
the ideology into this impatient politics.....!! All youth politicians
should have the respect to the post, which represent the integrity of
the country, which everyone of us have to learn from the pages of

from:  Vedaprakash
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 14:09 IST

The supremacy of the cabinet has already been undermined by the
existence of Sonia Gandhi and her NAC. Reports say that Sonia was very
well aware of this ordinance. We know nothing can be passed by this
govt. without Sonia's stamp of approval. Faced with intense public
criticism as well as opposition from the President due to appeals by
other political parties not to give assent, Sonia decided to withdraw
the ordinance. Now, who shall be made the "bali ka bakraa"? Of course,
our dear PM, MMS.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 13:51 IST

Sorry all,
I beg to differ becoz look at the love these two gentlemen had for the
country. Those were legendary days strode by immortals when we look at
the current time.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 13:35 IST

The vivid description of Nehru-Patel relationship by Vidya Subramanyam is masterly and touchy. Though the article is a trigger to the angry out burst of Rahul Gandhi,It is a real discourse to millions across the nation, especially youth. The article indirectly stressed the importance of developing a reading habit.Though i am 63,the article influenced me and created an impact on me to tread correct path.

from:  Araveeti ramayogaiah
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 13:34 IST

What the author fails to mention or comprehend is the difference
between the aptitude of political class during these time spans(the
50s and now). At those time, we had leaders with exceptional
scholarship and/or great will to serve the society which definitely is
not the case now. We have left politics as field to be pursued by
people instigating communal-ism and promoting hatred among people
or/and filling their pockets with corrupt practices. At those time
people had respect for their leaders, so when Mahatma Gandhi stoop up
against a riot, people would understand his words even while they were
uneducated. Today we have people more educated, and with more respect
towards each other in the society, but a political class which injects
communal-ism for their personal gains. In such a scenario, I would
like the media to not go so hard on Rahul Gandhi. I dont see anything
wrong in what he speaks for. And he would learn to express difference
with elegance as he matures as a politician.

from:  Rahul Choudhary
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 13:32 IST

I completely agree with you, Ms. Subramanium. Rahul Gandhi may have
been well-intentioned when he walked into Press Club that day, but
like you, I wish he'd used diplomatic language to shoot down the
Ordinance. What would have been even better would have been for him to
raise the issue at the right time, at the right place. Surely he has
been aware of the plans for this Ordinance brewing in the Government
the last few months. Why not speak up then and be a part of the
governmental process? For someone seeking to make the Congress more
democratic by breaking chains of hierarchy, it is ironical that he
chose to do it as an outsider ( in a 'him v. Government'showdown)
rather than as an internal dissenter. And with the Congress government
scrambling to scrap the Ordinance, it looks like a classic case of
Rahul Gandhi exercising power without owning up the responsibility of
having allowed the Ordinance to reach such a stage.

from:  Ms. Wistful
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 13:25 IST

But at that time there was no opposition for the Congress party , Nehru and Patel with each other are the opposition which the article expressed, but now there is a Big opposition in the country for Congress party and within also.By seeing Nehruvian politics Indira got frustrated and after becoming Prime Minister acted like Patel saab and Rajiv also did like the mother but Unfortunately both were murdered , so Rahul by keeping everything in mind moving smooth and intelligently.

from:  sivaram
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 13:06 IST

I strongly affirm what the author wanted to say in a nutshell that
Rahul'ji' undermined and insulted the office of the Prime Minister
notwithstanding his good intent to oppose the irksome bill against the
tainted leaders. He is very lucky being born in a family of
quintessential letters. Why the ordinance and Bill gets approved and
then withdrawn, in a jiffy, that is a different story but Rahul ji
should have rendered nous while producing his statements. Author has
rightly sent a message to him that he must not go off-track against his
family values. If he really has noble intents he should also know to
covey them aptly.
I also thank ‘The-Hindu’ for being exclusive in the print media.

Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 12:49 IST

'Nonsense' was a very favorite word of the great grand father, Jawaharlal Nehru. By uttering the same word, the great grand son perhaps wants to become another Jawaharlal. Good luck to him!!!

from:  S Subramanian
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 12:39 IST

Rahul Gandhi's sincerity and noble intentions have never been in question. But there is no place of recklessness in politics and especially it leaves little scope for someone who might one day can take reigns of this country in his hands. This immaturity is hurting Rahul and his prospects for the PM post however i see this outburst as a sort of rebellion to let loose from the shackles. He should learn to make his choices and decisions himself, civility in expression and eloquence will be learnt by experience without giving much of an effort i reckon. Unless he gains enough credibility to be taken seriously at least he is never going to win trust of the common man he wants to work for. Perhaps reading all about his great grandfather's life; the grit and unmatched intellect and persona he was known for will surely give this lost prince some idea.

from:  Anoop Sharma
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 12:31 IST

I find it most ridiculous that one has to follow some kind of family tradition in speaking. It is always good to know history but you don't have to carry any baggage for your conduct in present times. Just because your grandfather or his father did something how are you obliged to follow the same tact. Rahul Gandhi is an youngster living in 2013 and he has to reflect the culture of his age and time which he has done while delivering his message in a cut and dry fashion instead of the "around the nose" and two-faced communication style which out politicians follow usually.

from:  Manish
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 12:22 IST

It shows that Rahul Gandhi is not a matured politician. But, the
congress party has boasted him unnecessarily since he belongs to Nehru-
Gandhi family. Congress party is short of leaders as the present leaders
are having personal/regional interest. It is the time congressmen should
dispense with Sonia/Rahul Gandhi and function as a really democratic set
up. If India have to advance in all its spheres dependent on Nehru-
Gandhi scion should be stopped as there are good leaders who are young
and intelligent have been shunted out.

from:  S. Raghavan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 12:16 IST

In my opinion PM or President no one is above the Country itself, I do
not understand what purpose this article serves? We all know this
ordinance wasn't good for the country, even if the ruling party had such
an idea it should have been tabled in the parliament discussed and
voted. Why should we even bother as to how Mr. Rahul Gandhi has to
express his opinion.

from:  Maheshwaran P
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 12:05 IST

Comparing Rahul Gandhi to Nehru or Patel or any other intellectual is an
insult to those intellectuals and ludicrous at best.

from:  Himanshu Sharma
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 12:02 IST

Great Article and Great insights. Not just for Rahul Gandhi but for a
lot of youngsters as we are still learning to disagree with respect.

from:  Vinod
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:56 IST

Look at these portions from the above article carefully: "The walloping Rahul Gandhi gave the Manmohan Singh government..."; "Mercifully, the United Progressive Alliance government...."; "Rahul has a way of springing surprises....."; "....he was lamenting the loss of principles in current-day politics. Noble thought, but...."; "There is much Rahul can learn from this...". The author is diligently putting across her conviction that Rahul is a very good person at heart (unlike his opponent, of course) and can mature to become a good leader, if he follows her advise, that is! By the way, this article is satire at its best, especially when it says, "due process" was followed to annul the ordinance, despite the hurry shown by Rahul to withdraw it. See how S-T-R-O-N-G our Government is!

from:  Sreekumar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:38 IST

I don't know why are we treating Rahul Gandhi's criticism as a criticism
of the PM; it is quite likely that PM did not champion even support the
ordinance to protect the criminal MPs, it is likely he was unable or
unwilling to stop it.

The criticism was actually directed at memebrs of congress and its
allies who were pushing for the ordinance possibly to ensure the
stability of the government.

from:  Nidhi Prabha Tewari
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:38 IST

VIDYA SUBRAHMANIAM's historical analogy of Nehru-Patel's countenances
has further invoked our displeasure of an extra-constitutional
authority diluting the merit and supremacy of the PMO. If I withhold
my views on the person at helm for the time being, the blatant
ridiculing of the collective decision of the cabinet in public that
too by a member of the treasury bench does not portray the correct
picture. That the propriety of the cabinet has been belittled. That if
such volatile overriding antics are allowed, the Nation might be
inching towards the recent catastrophic US shutdown which is an
aftermath of an ignoble egoistic tug-of-war.

from:  Sourik Purkayastha
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:34 IST

Excellent article.

from:  Rakesh
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:31 IST

There is no doubt that the words uttered by Mr. Gandhi beside being
indecent undermines the office of Prime Minister. But, if you draw
your attention to the speeches/ utterance to the political parties in
recent past, you will find that every political party in a way or
another eroded the sanctity of the office of Prime Minister. Now a
days there is competition among all politicians that who shall be the
more vociferous in doing so. If the civility and respect, what had
been professed by our Great leaders in past, ought to be learnt, that
is not only for Mr. Gandhi but for all politicians who every now and
then does not escape any chance to humiliate other politician(s) in
full public gathering. I think the writer is very much depressed becoz
Mr. Gandhi though using the indecent words, have expressed the feeling
of common people. Had it been uttered by so called DEVELOPMENT MAN,
who have nonetheless uttered more indecent words for Prime Minister,s
office in past, it would be pro bono!

from:  Nitin Kumar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:27 IST

I believe Rahul's statement was not against Prime Minister, but the entire political class. The underlying thinking that compares Rahul's snub to Prime Minister's "wrong decision" is flawed at best. That thinking lacks the resilience to see through the reality of decision making in governments. The thinking is corrupt in intent as it attempts to safeguard all the other players who were actually supporting that bill.

During the election year, these things would keep on happening. We should just watch the tamasha rather than delving deeply into subjects. Manmohan Singh is one of the finest Prime Minister India had. The work done on both economic and social sectors are tremendous compared to any other previous governments. He command the respect!! And no one can take that away. People will remember him, irrespective of all the tamashas happening now!

from:  Shaurya
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:24 IST

i strongly oppose the above given article. I dont know why he has been criticised by you when he has done a gud thing. First you say that he has done nthing ,,,always comes in vision with the advent of elections. Now with his storming the meeting and strongly locking horns with his own party members.. That was really a gutsy act nd required a vital mental build up....If that law gets initiated then you still have the problem that it is allowing the tainted ministers to form the government....

from:  rajat
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:21 IST

What an exceptionally well thought out and well written article!

from:  Vibhuti
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:17 IST

Thanks to the author and The Hindu for bringing in a timely article reminding India's civilized political culture prevalent at the time of independence. Both are great leaders and proud sons of Mother India. True, Rahul has to learn a lot from his grandfather if he really intends to play effective role in Indian politics. Also, the entire political spectrum has to imbibe the intellect, patience, vision and selfless service from our past leadership. Every political party must nurture a culture of keeping the welfare of the nation uppermost. There should be constructive cooperation among parties to solve people's problem and take the country forward.

from:  Dhanasekaran T
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 IST

I personally feel this move by Rahul Gandhi was pre-scripted to appeal
to the 'rebellious' youth aspiring for a leadership change that they
can relate with that can clean-up the system and bring-in change. This
was a perfectly executed political move with the sole motive of
promoting Rahul Gandhi as a supreme head in Congress that even the PM
bows down to. The timing is perfect too; with the LS polls looming
next year, this is a perfect time to portray Rahul Gandhi as prime
ministerial candidate. The unexpected surprise would have worked
towards Congress's favor, with a populist decision taken by the

With regard to learning from Nehru and Patel, I am not entirely
convinced about this because of the fact that it was six decades ago.
While the principles does not change, the societal behavior has
changed tremendously, and it may not make sense to expect similar
restraint today.

from:  Puneet
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 11:13 IST

Great article.But being RahulGandhi he won't be able to understand anything.He has shown it time and again.

from:  arul
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:53 IST

I just could NOT understand what message M/s Subrahmaniam has given in the article. Just because Mr. Rahul Gandhi happened to be the Great Grand Son of Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, he should not have expressed his views. The expressions of Sri Rahul Gandhi while on Press conference will speak volumes of his anger and dismay. It is a clear evidence that in every step he was objecting and the party leaders never bothered to see his mind and opinions. He has RIGHTLY expressed his views at the RIGHT Place otherwise the ordinance would not have withdrawn. His RIGHT expressions with RIGHT words in RIGHT place born the fruit. By this act he has proved himself to be the GRANDSON of the GREATEST Parliamentarian ever born in INDIA, Mr. Feroze Gandhi. If you see anything good in Nehru's Government it is only because of Mr. Feroze Gandhi only. He never allowed Mr. Nehru or his henchmen to take either the Member of Parliament or the Parliament as a whole for a ride. Now what is happening is disgusting.

from:  Gangadharan Nair
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:36 IST

Nice article! Young politicians like Rahul have lot to learn about resolving differences from history.

from:  Sasi
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:30 IST

Excellently illustrated the point.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:29 IST

That would be one of his many flaws, he needs to learn how to deal
with disagreements diligently and one cannot quote a better example
than the one above. Taking help of someone more empathetic can
always help, which in the case of congress would be a difficult to

from:  SAN
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:10 IST

the thought of Rahul gandhi being brought in the frame of comparison
with such giants is in itself a big joke !

from:  shantnu das
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:09 IST

The author is expecting too much from Mr. Gandhi!

from:  Srinivas Aluri
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:07 IST

I want to thank Vidya Subramaniam for the well researched article.
It was timely

Rahul is a school drop out kid.
It is widely reported, which has not been denied by his mother or Rahul himself that he did not successfully pursue any academic program leading to a degree. We do not know what his academic interests and what subjects he studied in India or overseas.

We all know he has not displayed any intellectual attainments in any forum so far. As B G Verghese noted the other day, Rahul is known for one liner observations..

I wonder Rahul will have any time to sit down and read serious stuff of the kind the author referred to.

from:  T.K.Jayaraman
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:06 IST

Just a reproduction of the correspondence at that time, without any significance or relevance to the present, and without any insight.
By making the statement that he did, Rahul has emerged as a man with simple and clear thoughts, unclouded by layers of considerations that ultimate camaflouge the self interest. This utterance of his is comparable to the famous Rajiv Gandhi quote that every Re. 1 that Government spends, only 10 paise go to the intended beneficiary.
His statement has the effect of signalling the arrival of the Congress Party Supremo who is ready to take on the 'Modi onslaught'.

from:  V Ranganathan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:05 IST

Sardar Patel,"Iron man of India" and Jawaharlal Nehru "Rose flower of
India" are borne once in a century.Their mutual trust and belief
cemented by absolute loyalty to Nation and a living Gandhiji are
matters of history to be read only by historians.Time, temperment,
ethics and mutual respect have mutated to present day ethos of current
generation.Laughing in front and hitting in the back, leg pulling and
mud slinging are the most common words in current vocabulary.If you
are very soft in words, you are mistaken as a coward.Many of the
western imperialistic and autocratic remnants are still in the
Indian men's vocabulary.Anger leads to spontaneous outbursts."Measure
your words" is one among ten commandments of wellness.Sardar Patel was
more generous and history has not reported anything other wise.Jawahar
Lal expressed anger by even throwing pillow rests and face in
red.Genetics teach inheritance of traits where female contributes more
genes than male and Rahul cannot be an exception.

from:  Dr K V Peter
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 10:04 IST

Sir,Though this is Good Foot Note on History it is misplaced on a
young(growing old in age)person who NEVER had to learn that RESPECT is something ONE HAS TO EARN NOT BY COMMAND.The SAD statement by the P.M on the floor of the Parliament that he GET Respect from his Cabinet Coleagues and Leaders of the Foreign Nations has to be read in the context of Mr.Gandhi's insult to him
and the Cabinet.Within SECONDS Ministers after Ministers DESERTED the P.M and "AGREED" with Vice President of the Party

from:  Ajith Kumar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:51 IST

It is all very well to suggest that 'differences have to be intellectually argued', but this
requires the person concerned in the first place to have the intellect to argue.
Propriety and respect for due process are not the only things that that this young
man has not inherited from his great-grandfather.

from:  Ajit Chaudhuri
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:47 IST

The assumption Rahul is a self-righteous leader out to correct any
wrong is the goings-on is simplistic. If he had done this when even
the idea of perpetuating the continuance of convicted legislators, of
which he should have had full knowledge, that his outburst needs to be
tempered by the civility shown by his great grandfather would have
sufficed. That it took his high morals almost three long months to
exhibit itself points to compulsions and expediency rather than
conviction. Ahead of him, BJP protested with the President and
differences in Congress itself surfaced. The queries from the
President was foreboding enough which called for a change of course.
At 44 with ill-concealed dynastic ambitions, Rahul converted a
potential embarasssment for the Party, read family, into a projection
of his bold principled personality, no matter what it did to the image
of the worshipful PM! The obsequious Congress coterie plays after all
to the princely conductor!

from:  G Balasubrahmanyan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:45 IST

The truth has been said with great decency. There is always a scope of learning at every stage. Present leaders should start reading more about how the country has been run for more than 6 decades and how many times right and wrong decisions were taken which had heavy consequences. It will greatly guide the well minded leaders and thus will help our country.

from:  Pankaj Kumar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:45 IST

it is quite unusual and absurd to hear such a statement from a person
who is likely going to be a prime ministerial candidate.he not only has
undermined the position of P.M but also has jolted the indian matter how important figure he is for congress and U.P.A
but he can not issue such seditious and offensive dictations.

from:  amir amin bhat
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:44 IST

Indeed a great article it should inspire, but its just a matter of perception when it comes to compare between what was done by the father of nation. Why everyone is shouting that Rahul has used wrong words? Why not focus on the REAL issue. Please do not do this, our nation has suffered enough, if someone is doing something good we must appreciate it so that others can be motivated to do what is 'right'.

from:  Pranjal
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:39 IST

Thanks The Hindu! This is such a wonderful write up and at the most
opportune time.

However, where is the comparison with those giants, who gave all and
received the respect of the masses and- upstarts (startups?), at best,
who have not even started earning anything, just inherited.

from:  Sundar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:31 IST

What a sweet intellectual theatrics by the author to elevate Rahul from
where he is to the level of Nehru!!! Good attempt. I hope people are
able to see through the artice and the real motive! I will also not be
very surprised if in the coming days we get to see Rahul's personality
getting projected on Mahatma Gandhi. The field has been nicely set!

from:  Dr. Ramanathan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 09:11 IST

Vidya Ma'am I have read lots of your article but I must say this is one of the best article read so far. One must choose correct words to express his temperament.

from:  Shubham
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 08:50 IST

Insightful article. It is such inherent traits of our national leaders which has shaped a
tolerant, compassionate and a respecting country. As for Rahul's outbursts, i tend to
consider his overall frustration with Indian politics that triggered it. Such an outburst
needs to be looked at against the backdrop of the grass root works that he has been
effecting past 7 years or so.

from:  swamynathan v.
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 08:44 IST

Not sure what Finesse this author want to project and practice. So this suggest persons running the country should write letters instead of meeting the press. If you are stuck in propriety then you won't get the work done. People obsessed with propriety can only be a good critic. Nation wants a task master not a seasoned bureaucrat.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 08:34 IST

Apt article…Good insights on 'appropriateness and etiquette' in communication exemplified in the exchanges between 'Great Leaders' like 'Utopian' Nehru and 'Pragmatic' Patel - who have gained their towering statures through lives immersed in study, struggle and sacrifice. As an academician wedded to life-long-learning, I have good grasp of the Socio-Economic-Political, Historical, Cultural and the Ethno-Linguistic-Religious and Psychological dimensions of the South Asian Region. This is how it could be:

While Indira did gain from the ‘rub-off effect’ of being a ‘constant companion’ of Panditji, learning the ways of the Congress under his charge and even becoming the president of the INC at just 42 vide a dynamic dynastic game-plan, her inherent impervious impatience and imperious nature was in full play during the post 1972 politics that culminated in ‘Emergency’…

Rajiv had some-what matured under the tutelage of the redoubtable Parthasarathi and Dr. PC Alexander – with his radiant persona and handsomeness successfully covering-up his innate simplistic nature - competent friends like Mani Shankar Aiyer, Sam Pitroda, Arun Singh, wily Arun Nehru and more had helped build his image of ‘future-focused’ politician rather successfully before it got demolished by the ‘Bofors Scandal’ and the VP Singh campaign.

The ‘brash’ Rahul is behaving like proverbial ‘Bourbon’ – who has learnt virtually nothing! May be the power is too ‘heady’ for him and is impelling him to behave like the ‘drunken monkey’ from the Panchatantra! His behavior is very much akin to that of the impertinent kids in the Delhi Elite. Either they are too childish or they just don’t care!

Now Rahul’s retort that ‘his words are strong (wrong) but they do reflect his feelings’ does image his immaturity – for he just said and did ‘what he felt like’ saying or doing. We are being constantly measured by what we say, what we do and how we behave – essentially rooted in our thinking, feeling & yearnings. Personality is nothing but ‘Attitudes in Action’ and a ‘Mature Person’ knows that ‘while he cannot help the way he feels, he can help the way he thinks and acts’ – In this aspect, Rahul indeed cuts a very poor figure. Down with the now increasingly nasty dynasty! My argument rests…

from:  Kumaraguru Bhagavatula
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 08:14 IST

I think Ms. Vidya need to understand 2013 is not 1947. People do not respond and correct mistakes unless visible threats are posed before them. Use of muscle power (political or otherwise) and bribe alone works. We need more analysis and recommendations on how to correct this decay in the moral fibre of our society.

from:  TNSR
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 08:06 IST

Was the crass behaviour not bog standard imperious petulance?

The more serious point was that the Indian PM was left with the
unenviable position to select between a public display of party
disunity, salvaging his ego by resigning but damaging party's
prospects at the forthcoming elections, and reinforcing public
misconception that he can only ask 'how high' when the family orders
him to jump.

The gravitas of the Indian PM's office would only be damaged if the
dynasty continues in power. History will acknowledge, and Indian
people will (eventually) appreciate, the astuteness with which Dr MMS
(who put his party interest before national interest and probably his
personal ethics) conducted himself on this occasion.

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 08:04 IST

The PM (MMS) certainly maintained the dignity of office and civility of human nature. But the
angry-young-man was just in a high and full of himself that day.
Wasn't he at his best during sabarmati asram trip later ? Hope he went there to atone his sin
of outburst at the press meet. Had he stayed back and answered the questions of the press;
after his 'nonsense', may be then, the situation would have been differant. He could have
explained the delayed response and his views on why the bill went to the president.
I guess the author should arrange for books/class on civility to Rahul, before he calls the
letters and books written thereafter on these letters between panditji and sardar as
'nonsense' of the past. I dont want our leaders and their historic correspondence denigrated
by the impetuous.

from:  hansa
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 07:57 IST

One agrees with the author on the lack of civility exhibited by Rahul Gandhi in public. On many earlier occasions too, Rahul has displayed a lack of historic perspective. Obviously, the angry young man has a long way to go. But, Rahul's indecent outburst against a collective cabinet decision of his own party is vastly overshadowed by the spineless reactions of members of the cabinet, the Congress Party and the Prime Minister himself. Mr. Maken who until the very minute of the outburst of Rahul Gandhi was taking a different line, suddenly reversed his decision, all in front of the amused journalists and claimed Rahul's thinking as the official party line. This was the signal for the cabinet colleagues of the PM to fall in Rahul's line immediately. Poor Man Mohan Singh was left with no choice but to either resign or fall in line too. The exchange between Nehru and Patel must be read by the cabinet colleagues of Man Mohan Singh too to learn to stand up for what they think is right.

from:  Subramanyam Sridharan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 07:35 IST

Thank you Ms,vidhya for taking us to the 1947 and 1948,when the Indian stalwarts were running the administration of this great country.But at the same time I want to ask you, that how could you imagine that the present generation will replicate those standards of
Panditji and sardar Patelji.

from:  V.Shanmuganathan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 07:32 IST

Nehru and Patel could indulge in such niceties because they did not have a Modi breathing down their neck. Time was short and the initiative had to be taken. It had to be taken in such a way that people will talk about it for a long time, strong enough that nothing else will be talked about, short enough that people can quote it verbatim and sincere enough that people will overlook the style. Ms. Vidya, you have give it to him, Rahul achieved them all. Even after one week columns have been written about it, TV channels are still discussing it, the short "nonsense, deserves to be thrown away" is now a famous quote and people are not questioning his sincerity. More importantly it overshadowed the anointing of Modi in Delhi.

from:  C. Nandkishore
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 07:31 IST

The whole article appeals very much to me. But, what's the point in writing all this just for a wrongly used word "nonsense". The argument between Patel and Nehru is significant from both the sides. Now, the scenario is completely different. The argument Rahul raised is unequivocally true. The tone might be a little offensive. But, the content is very much clear and nobody can find a fault in that.

from:  Dhanunjayaro Marisarla
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 07:09 IST

Nice article. A great example to sort out the matters. However, the
problem is that we do not have people who put nation above everything
Not sure what was in the mind of Rahul Gandhi, as this whole episode
looks like an agenda to show Rahul Gandhi as good person. If he is
having such noble thoughts then he MUST first act against his dear
As a true follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who often said "Change your self
and whole world will change around you", Rahul Gandhi must first clean
the system within. If he cannot take action against Robert Vadra then
there is no point voting for him.

from:  Vaibhav
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 06:43 IST

Very good article. Rahul's outburst in the press conference of the
Mr.Makkan, official spokesman, was shocking. His words were most
inappropriate. He could have asked his mother who lead the core group of
the party, or waited for the PM to arrive. Did he have some other motive
in this outburst. Did he want to establish his superiority over the
cabinet? People were wondering why out of all people, Rahul should
behave like this.

from:  Ramachandra Menon
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 06:38 IST

I wonder what Nehru, Patel or any of the champions of our democracy would have to say about the dynastic politics being practised today. Is there anything in their written works that refers to such practices?

from:  Aditya Narayanan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 06:27 IST

Normally Rahul Gandhi never interfered in the affairs of the Government; he did not even gave his opinion. However, the proposed ordinance was a fireball which would have perpetuated corruption in India and would have undermined the authority of the top judicial body. It seems top politicians of all parties had discussed and approved the concept of the ordinance. But the the Law Minister, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Home Minister and the Finance Minister were finally in the forefront to protect the corrupt and criminal politicians. The whole country was against the ordinance, including the President. Rahul rose to the occasion and helped save the ugly situation, where even the Supreme Court could have declared the ordinance null and void even after its approval. Rahul's friendly advice would not have worked on the Cabinet.

from:  MP Singh
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 06:18 IST

The writer is equating an era when the written word was the order of the day with an era where communication is almost instantaneous. Where is the time for observing the kind of decorum witnessed in the years bygone. Also Manmohan Singh does create impatience in the gen next with his slow ponderous methods not wanting to call a spade a spade in the interest of coalition dharma. He is erring on the side of caution most of the times. Despite being an advocate of unleashing the animal spirit to put the country on the fast lane of growth there is little action on his part which would indicate his intentions.
Criminals in politics should be thrown out like a fly in the ointment. If Rahul has come out in such an unpalatable manner it is indicative of the impatience of his countrymen. He should not regret his action but continue to be vocal on all that is wrong in our polity. Does not a son when he comes of age speak against his mother's out of date attitude? Well done Rahul!

from:  R.Vijaykumar
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 06:00 IST

A balanced historical perspective. However Rahul is no Patel and the advice is superfluous.
At least Manmohan Singh is respected in the circle of world leaders but he has himself
diminished the status of the post of PM by his subservient approach towards the party high

from:  Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 05:56 IST

I will have to laud Rahul on this. He spoke and saved the country from a
disastrous piece of law. And that too at a time when there is a feeling
that democracy is giving way to autocracy.

from:  Dharma
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 02:37 IST

Well written with perfect historic context!!! Excellent

from:  Sandesh
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 02:34 IST

A lot is being seen into Rahul's ourburst and his so called concern into this senseless bill. Where was Rahul's concern during CWG, Coal Scam, Adarsh or atleast during the Delhi Rape case of Nirbaya. We have never seen him speak against these issues and suddenly he has become a hero for the media and the zombie congress men.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 02:27 IST

Considering the title of the article "What the great grandson didn't
learn...",I believe that writer has covered very limited area.The writer
could have mentioned about many more things and more important things
which Rahul didn't imbibe from Nehru's legacy- namely statesmanship,
concern for common people and having a vision for country .The Nehru scion
should rise above these so called publicity gimmicks if he is to be
considered even worth comparing with Nehru.

from:  Abhi
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 02:27 IST

Only 2 words in the above article- Intellect & scholarship- is the main
difference. Comparing a collage drop-out with Nehru, I think, will be a
disgrace for the great leader even though of blood relation.

from:  vinu
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 02:10 IST

Such a high level of civility that existed between our leaders of the past era is very hard to spot now a days! It is such a shame to see the level of behavior our leaders have stooped down.
In his conceding post election speech, McCain said "I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him (Obama), but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.". No wonder why America is so great!

from:  Siva Ramaswami
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 02:10 IST

The ordinance passed by the PM deserves the outburst of Rahul. Neither Nehru nor Patel envisioned that a PM would pass an ordinance to protect the convicted criminals. Here, it is not intellectual differences to argue with civility, but a criminal act by a PM to protect the criminals. What civility existed in the ordinance passed by PM? Rahul response is as good as it could get.

from:  KVRao
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 02:08 IST

This is a great article :) gracefully written and reasonably argued.

from:  Amogha Dalvi
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 01:57 IST

Plainly said, Nehru & Patel were national leaders & titans of a
bygone era in India. That cannot be so for Mr. Rahul Gandhi or
for Mr. Manmohan Singh, despite the latter's distinguished
services to India's financial situation. Both owe their rise in
politics to accidents of history. Which is not so in Nehru &
Patel's case, whose baptism in the fire of India's freedom
struggles can never be forgotten.

I recall here the words of a celebrated former US Presidential
candidate who demolished his opponents public claim to the
revered President Kennedy's mantle with the devastating comment,
"You Sir, are no Kennedy!" In a similar vein I wish someone would
tell the Gandhi's scion, "You Sir, are no Nehru!"

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 01:53 IST

That was a fascinating write up on the two tallest of leaders, the jewel of India, and the
Person who consolidated India. Both then were under the umbrella of the Father of the
Nation. Those were the days, when leaders gave importance to high values in all their
Actions. Times have changed and we are witnessing erosion of values at all levels. The
Congress was then at the height of power, and we are now in an age of coalition politics.
There is one silver lining. The prime minister of India , acted with grace, maturity and
Humility. His statesmanship in troubled times has helped the congress party to be in power
And the historian will praise him for the role he played from 1991 as finance minister, and
Later as the Prime minister. The young congress leader also has realized that his words
Were strong and he might have by this time realized that outbursts sometimes might
Boomerang. This article should help him. Bouquets to the esteemed columnist.

from:  C p Chandra das
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 01:52 IST

Completely agree with the author's view. This episode makes one feel
that Rahul Gandhi might have grabbed the headlines with this act of his,
but it cannot take him beyond that.

from:  Ranjith
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 01:27 IST

If Rahul had gone to his own library, he might have
chanced upon a volume containing letters exchanged
between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel.
~ Unlikely. Only the discerning possess such libraries. Like
Father, like son. Do you recall, Vidya, how rudely his father
snubbed Mr.Anjiah, the Andhra PM?

from:  Soundararajan Srinivasa
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 01:18 IST

Thanks for this article! It is always nice to read articles that
present us with the views of our freedom fighters, and how they
performed the task of nation building in those difficult times. I
think that these articles are even more relevant in the present day
context, where we are mired in the negatives of corruption, pseudo-
secularism, votebank and dynastic politics.
I would love to read more articles on these topics, such as the
debates in the constituent assembly and the parliament of India. This
would also help the citizens think more deeply about nation building.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 01:04 IST
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