Feb 182011

… and then Yudisthtra’s chariot came down to earth

- The Battle, Mahabharat – following Yudishtra’s lie to Drona on the death of Ashwattama.

Yudishtra, for me, is the one character in the Mahabharat whose motivations and actions I can least understand. The son of Dharma (Righteousness) and Kunti he turned silence into a fine art.

He kept quiet when his mother handed over Arjun’s bride to the 5 brothers. He kept quiet when Shakuni goaded him into  gambling his brothers, himself and then his wife. And when the famous vastraharan was played out – at the end of the first game of dice – he kept quiet when his wife- his dharmapatni -was being stripped in front of an entire sabha. When  the second game of dice was fixed and the Pandavs lost – rather than challenge the cheaters – he quietly took his brothers and wife into exile. He vasicallated when attacked in the forest. He would have possibly accepted permanent exile before the war -but for Draupadi throwing an outraged tantrum – “my sons,  brothers and father will fight to avenge me – she cried. I haven’t yet bound the hair by which  Dushashan dragged me into the sabha – i won’t rest till they are dead.” The only proactive scene that he has is the Yaksha Prasana -a set of metaphysical questions and answers – that, in his context,  are more an academic discourse than  practical application.

if i had to make a case against Primogeniture – Yudishtra would be it…. he had no business to be king. He didn’t have the courage to take hard desicions. Dharma without Karma is futile, Karma without Dharma is amoral. Yudishtra was the former, Duryodhan was the latter. There is little wonder that the Bhagvad Gita was imparted to Arjun – the third son – not Yudishtra the King to be. (my personal favorite in the Mahabharat was Bhim – because he really did do his duty)


Yesterday, when I heard the PM address the Press Conference the Yaksha Prasana came to mind.  It was a nice academic conversation – yes there is corruption. No, there shouldn’t be corruption. But what can we do -our hands are tied by Coalition Dharma.

If I hear the words Coalition Dharma one more time, I will break something. What is being practised is not coalition dharma but coalition adharma. If the price of power is to put up with this – then it is better to lose power.

as someone who voted for the Congress  because of MMS – and this was the first time i had cast a vote because i wanted someone in power, the rest of the time it is a negative vote to keep someone else out of power – keeping silent on corruption because it is the politics of expedience  is a terrible let down.

There were some answers that i was satisfied with. For example, when he dealt with the loss on 2G – the extent of loss depends on how you account for it. But, it was an economist’s answer – the academic in me was satisfied – the voter in me and the citizen in me was gravely disappointed.

I was happy with his answers on Telengana – building of consensus; Assam – the need for peace and the fact that he can’t reveal his favorite cricketeer ( that gem of a question came from Anuradha Prasad ‘do you want India to win the world cup’ ‘who is you favorite player’). I found his answer on food inflation to be accurate and honest. I found his add on comment saying that the Government could have prevented inflation but that would  have impacted growth – to be honest and brave. They could have, and it would have. That statement also tells me that he is not the puppet that he is made out to be – the Party would have sacrificed growth for lower inflation.

I also accept his word that the government has got 7 out of 10 things right

But, while I  do all that – i found the silence of the last 3 months on the 3 things that the Government has got wrong to be inexplicable. Much as i found Yudishtra’s silence…


But what really got me angry was the comment that the media should not play up scams it will impact the way the world sees us….

It was the same reaction that I had when the earlier PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee said on the Gujarat riots “I do not know what face I will show them (the world) now after the shameful events in Gujarat.”

My reaction in both cases was the same – really. you are worried about  the world – shouldn’t you be worrying about what your own people think ?

Yudishtra behavior again – he was so busy playing dharmaraj he forgot to be that..


Finally, it is never too late. There are three more years of this Government. There is still time to change – and to provide the growth, development, inclusiveness and social justice that has been promised. But for that the corrupt and the corrupter need to be penalised and made examples of.

If there is a General Election tomorrow which party will I cast my vote for ? Definitely not the BJP. Most likely not the Congress. Most probably MNS.  Three years later … who knows?