Neither the revelations of former External Affairs in his autobiography “One life is not enough” nor the snide comments of the BJP leaders come as a surprise.
It is the defensive posturing of the Congress party to the so-called revelations that appears baffling.
The focus of the entire attack on the revelations is that Rahul Gandhi had prevailed upon his mother Sonia Gandhi not to accept the post of Prime Minister in 2004 after the entire Congress MPs wanted her to head the Government.
The Natwar Singh interview which has been making headlines on TV channels is being interpreted as exploding the myth that Sonia Gandhi had made some sort of sacrifice by not accepting the crown offered to her on a platter.
But is it unnatural for a son to be concerned about the security of his mother or the mother to accept his plea?
Now that the Congress is in the dumps it is very convenient for everyone to attack the party that Sonia Gandhi had revived by her sheer sweat and hard work in 2004.
I am not an apologist for the Gandhis but is it not a fact of history that the Gandhi family is the only political family in the country to have lost three of its members to unnatural tragic ends?
Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 at her own residence by her own bodyguards. Sanjay Gandhi died on June 23, 1980 when the plane he was flying crashed near the Safdarjug Airport. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE on May 21,1991 at Sriperumbudur by a human bomber while canvassing for his party.
Rajiv had survived a rifle attack on July 30,1987 while taking a guard of honour in Sri Lanka, a day after the Indo-Srilanka Peace Accord had been signed between him and then Srilankan President Jayevardene.
Given this history it should be perfectly normal for any son to be worried about the security of his mother as was Rahul. Even Rajiv Gandhi was a reluctant entrant to politics and Sonia had even threatened to leave him if he joined politics. But he was prevailed upon by his mother Indira Gandhi to fill the void left by the shattering death of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi. Ultimately he also met a tragic end at the hands of militants and that must have been scary for a young Rahul.
Call it sacrifice or filial instincts of a son, Sonia Gandhi refused to accept the trappings of power or pass it on to Rahul Gandhi when sycophants in the party were shouting slogans for it, not once but twice in 2004 and 2009. I think the Congress should take a bold stand on this issue instead of ducking behind excuses.
However, without taking away from the sacrifices of the Gandhi family my own take on this is that all the three Indira, Sanjay and Rajiv met their tragic end because of their impetuosity.
Indira Gandhi had been warned by the intelligence not to keep Sikh bodyguards in her security as Sikhs were very worked up after Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple in June. But like a star-crossed queen she was more concerned about how the public would react to this ‘exclusion’ rather than her own security and paid the price.
Sanjay Gandhi was notorious as an extra-constitutional authority during the emergency. But after getting elected to the Lok Sabha he was getting acceptance from all sections of the people.
But his love for flying proved fatal as his plane crashed in June 1980 leading to his death. Later it was revealed that Sanjay had been warned by the Director General of Civil Aviation to fly the plane carefully as it was dangerous to fly such planes at a certain height. Instead of heeding to this advice the DGCA was transferred!
Rajiv Gandhi, who was on an election tour of Sriperumbudur on May 21,1991 and he too could have escaped death had he heeded the advice of the intelligence not to get too close to the crowds. But his enthusiasm had the better of him with tragic consequences.
With this history what is wrong if, as Natwar Singh says, Rahul Gandhi prevailed upon Sonia not too wear the crown of thorns?
By: Amitabh Srivastava
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