SUJIT DE, KOLKATA
The discourse on some television channels on the ‘gotra’ and the size of chest of our political leaders makes me wonder whether these are issues for the voters before an election or for the negotiating families before a marriage. It has come to such a pass that some television channels even start focusing on whether Rahul Gandhi is a ‘janeudhari’ (sacred thread wearing) Brahmin or not. This reminds me of what one of my friends used to say before his marriage. Whenever he was asked about his priority in marriage, he said, “pahele darshandhari piche goon bichari” (beauty first, only after that comes quality). Obviously, he had less concern about whether his would-be wife was going to be a good human being or not. His top priority was the external beauty of his life partner. Unfortunately, our political discourse has relegated to the level of “pahele janeudhari piche goon bichari” (sacred thread first, after that comes quality). It is highly unfortunate that a symbol like sacred thread that creates division within a religion has been glorified and it is being made politically normal and correct. Also, there are discussions about whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi indeed has a 56-inch chest as has been claimed by him. Again, this has no bearing on political leadership. Mahatma Gandhi had a skinny body but no one complained about it because the father of the nation was a political leader and not a competitor for the title of Mr Universe. Instead of engaging ourselves in such nonsense gossip, we need to judge our political leaders by the yardstick of whether they have a clear vision to generate employment, develop human resources and better agrarian scenario. We must not indulge in such non-issues that can divert our attention from inclusive growth, which is the crying need at the moment for our hungry, malnourished children, unemployed youth and poor farmers.