Monday, April 21, 2008

Where is 'equality for all' ?

-by KParthasarathi Monday, April 21, 2008
The recent controversy over the naming of the airport at Hyderabad betrayed the unseemly enthusiasm of the Congress to name it after Rajiv Gandhi. The Telugu Desam party was justified in opposing this. It has always been the practice to name the airports after the famous local leaders. Mumbai airport is named after Chatrapathi Shivaji and the one at Nagpur has Dr Ambedkar’s while Kolkata airport bears the name of Subash Chandra Bose. Chennai airport remembers Anna and Kamaraj by naming the two terminals after them.Ahmedabad is named after Sardar Vallabhai Patel while the capital’s airport carries the name of Indira Gandhi. Amritsar carries the name of Ranjit Singh. Why then deprive Andhras alone their genuine desire to name their airport after their local leader? Congress refuses to learn their lesson from the past mistakes. The people of Andhra value their Telugu pride very much.TDP itself came about as a result of the hurt when a Telugu Chief Minister was insulted publicly.Telugu atma gauravam (Telugu self respect) became NTR’s popular slogan. To ignore and ride roughshod over their plea to retain NTR’s name is to provoke the Telugus needlessly. This is bound to hand over TDP a cause to fight for and hurt the Congress.
The question also arises why every airport, building or institution or social schemes should be named after the members of single family alone. India does not mean Nehru and his family only. I am sure Sonia Gandhi would not want that all institutions and buildings be named after her family members. It should be the result of the misguided enthusiasm of her acolytes thinking that such a measure would please her. Perhaps she should publicly announce her distaste for naming all and everything after the names of her family members lest the people think that these things are done at her behest.
It is not that the nation does not have tall leaders other than the members of Nehru-Gandhi family. Just see a sample list of schemes under Rajiv Gandhi’s name alone. Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for the children of working mothers, Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for SC/ST candidates, Rajiv Gandhi National Awards Scheme for Original Book Writing, Rajiv Gandhi Bharat Samvrudhi Yojana-Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, , Rajiv Gandhi Udayam Mitra Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidytikaran Yojana (RGGVY, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Rajiv Gandhi foundation,Rajiv Gandhi shiksha Mission,Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award,Rajiv Gandhi shelter scheme,Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhawan,Rajiv Gandhi Computer Saksharta Mission, Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Rajiv Gandhi Swavlamban Rozgar Yojna, Rajiv Gandhi Rehabilitation package for fishermen,Rajiv Gandhi University, Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards. And now Rajiv Gandhi International airport. The above list is only illustrative and not exhaustive. I have a high regard for Rajiv who had the right impulses and the passion initially to set things right but could not do so for various reasons. All the same our love for a leader or leaders should not become an obsession. There were/are equally capable leaders who are no less worthy. The names for land marks/institutions should not be mired in controversies. The ruling party may be under the impression that the credit for the schemes could be appropriated for the party with the name of its leaders. People are no more politically naïve and are aware which government brought what scheme and are not deluded by mere names. How long would it take for new dispensation when it comes to power to change all names? The best course would be not to use any name of political leaders at all. Where there is such a desire to name after a politician, it would be ideal to have a consensus with the major opposition parties.
We boast ourselves as the largest and vibrant democracy with equal opportunity for one and all but at the same time expose our slavish mentality in eulogizing members of just one family however deserving they may be as if the rest of illustrious Indians do not account for much in our scheme of things. The high command of the Congress that boasts itself as a 'democratic and secular' party is pretty anxious that none in their ranks shall do or say anything that would injure the felicity of the members of the' first family’. The top leaders of the party would expect a deferential silence to and unqualified acceptance of the wishes of the supremo.In such an ambience where is the hope for 'equality for all' in our country.

1 comment:

  1. you have zeroed in on the root-cause:
    "We boast ourselves as the largest and vibrant democracy with equal opportunity for one and allbut at the same time,expose our slavish mentality in eulogizing members of just one family."

    at the same time, you have offered a solution:
    " The best course would be not to use any name of political leaders at all."

    good analytical writing and very appropriate use of words.
    keep it up.