Politcal faux pas often cost dearly and no one but Narendra Modi could, by now, have had the acute realization of that. A skull-cap is a smallest form of cap originally worn by Jews. It is still very popular head wear for them. Being cousin brothers in faith, Muslims also carried the traditional cap with them through ages. Needless to say – It cost one nothing if you put it on. It is very light and fully ventilated. You get fresh air without removing it, unlike the other caps that you need to bob up, time to time, to release the warm ambience of your covered head.
The RSS’ parochial ideology and lopsided notions of Hindu Nationalism had compelled Modi to refuse to wear the skull cap during his three-day ‘Sadbhavana’ fast in Ahmedabad in 2011. Sayed Imam Shahi Saiyed had offered Modi a skull cap but Modi Ji asked him to offer a shawl instead.
Shrewd politician that Nitish Kumar is, he wore the skull cap and visited several places to greet people on the occasion and prayed for the progress of the state. At a prayer at the Gandhi Maidan, the chief minister prayed for prosperity and growth and eradication of poverty in the state. Later, he ate “sewaiyen” with children. Wonderfully different and low-brow politician that Shivraj Chouhan is, he emulated and and won the heart of Muslims all over the country. He sported a skull cap while greeting Muslims on the occasion of Id-ul-Fitr. The real life actor-politicians of Congress are now finding the theatre of competition tough. However, State Congress unit president Kantilal Bhuria and former Union Minister Suresh Pachouri also covered their head with skull caps while sharing the dais with Chouhan at the Idgah in Bhopal. Now, whenever someone talks or looks for a skull-cap, he thinks about the aversion of Narendra Modi to sport this innocuous hear-gear rather than as a part of Jewish or Muslim’s traditional attire.
That reminds me of the famous conservative American Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. He is a powerful political commentator. Since he was 16, Limbaugh has worked a series of disc jockey jobs. His talk show began in 1984 at Sacramento radio station KFBK, featuring his ongoing format of political commentary and listener calls. In 1988 Limbaugh began broadcasting his show nationally from radio station WABC in New York City. He committed one of the worst political faux pas of 2006. Rush Limbaugh was entering into the Missouri Senatorial election. There he had challenged the honesty and sincerity of Michael J. Fox, a well known celebrity and Parkinson’s Disease patient. Michael J. Fox was an advocate of ‘Stem Cell Research’ and Limbaugh, being a Republican of mind, always opposed it. In his election debates Fox was successfully exhibiting the uncontrollable symptoms of his disease. Laugh made a fun of his disease. He cast aspersion at his disease and suggested that Fox is a good actor. He might have altered his medication to create tremors.
Despite being a sharp mind and cute observer he failed to read the American mind. He didn’t realize that the public would still able to accept the stretched opposing views but Americans have a natural sympathy for someone obviously in pain or physical distress. He drastically underestimated the American character. To ridicule a person suffering with a terminal illness was never acceptable to the American electorate. Rush comments about Fox did not win the day for him in the Missouri election and further damaged whatever remained of Limbaugh’s credibility in the process.
Unfortunately, the terminal visitation of RSS is its inability to know its public. It talks of Hindu Nationalism but forgets that despite the real or imaginary brutalities of Muslims rulers and exaggeration accorded to the stories by Fake Historians, India has always been a country of Love, Sacrifice, Accommodation and Tolerance. We have a ‘Ram’ in every Ramazan and an ‘Ali’ in Diwali. No matter how the paid chroniclers cast or rewrite the history, the great masses are not going to be hoodwinked with cheaper slogans. It is not to forget the visitation of a disease, an outbreak of an epidemic. It is God-sent. But how to forget the pogroms, disrobings and fake-encounters that took place with the connivance of state administration ? History neither forgives not forgets.
The Chief Minister, who had refused to put a picture of Modi in any of his poster at Bhopal thought it fit to visit Idgah and wish his Muslim subjects and with a conspicuous well discussed skull cap. The renowned well respected senior Film actor Raza Murad was present there. He, not only profusely appreciated the BJP leader’s gesture of putting on a skull cap also took an indirect swipe at Modi. “I do not think much importance should be given to sporting a skull cap as wearing it does not mean anything much,” the actor said. However, the actor quipped that it was time that Modi learnt some things from Chouhan and does not show his “aversion” to skull caps.
It would be relevant here to mention that Narendra Modi Ji, the Chief of BJP’s Election Campaign Committee, also tweeted an ‘Eid Mubarak” message, saying, “May everyone in the country be blessed with happiness, peace, prosperity and good health.” The irony of fate – Uma Bharti ji is still not willing adjust with the reality and forget that it was Shivraj Chouhan who is occupying the chair once vacated by her under the cloud of allegations. In Nagpur today she said,“I am really hurt that a C-grade actor standing beside the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister poked fun at Narendra Modi. I am surprised as to how did this happen. It is the occasion of Eid so anybody can stand beside anybody. I would raise this issue at the party’s appropriate platform.” BJP spokesperson Meenakhi Lekhi, echoing similar sentiments, said -“A reel life villain is discussing the real life hero, what could be a bigger irony than that. The name is Murad, I think he should not be talking ‘namuraad’ (damn) things,” she told media in New Delhi. Murad is not only a good character artist but a witty bloke also.
As the election dates are clearly visible and nearing and (political) lines are being drawn, it would be safer to predict that the proverbial political hare that Narendra Modi is, would dissipate his energies and agility and alacrity before the sincere tortoises. His real or ballooned populariy would burst at the seams. Public is getting tired of watching him day in and day out without any concrete ideas. The data concerning to poors of Gujarat are exposing his propaganda blitz. By the time the election arrives, he would become a damp squib.
The better bet for BJP is Shivarah Chouhan, a savy well behaved politician who is becoming more acceptable for masses in general and minorities in particular. Rahul Gandhi is a non-starter. The most powerful weapon in Congress arsenal, namely Priyanka Gandhi has already lost her political sheen and innocent smile in suspected real-estate deals of her husband. The coast is clear for a new faces. As for other politicians – there is a saying – Frogs can croak only in the rainy season. They would not be visible in the political heat of country summer.
So, the better bet would be – either Nitish or Chouhan. These two are “skilled chaps” who dont mind the “skull cap”.