No, Jairam Ramesh, India’s Legacy Goes Beyond Nehru And Gandhis

by Suhas - May 12, 2021 03:28 PM +05:30 IST
No, Jairam Ramesh, India’s Legacy Goes Beyond Nehru And GandhisCongress leader Jairam Ramesh. (Yann/Wikimedia Commons)
  • The leaders of the Congress party, even after seven years of Narendra Modi in Delhi, seem to think that they can say anything and get away with it as long as their media ecosystem toes their line. But then, say hello to social media, Jairam Ramesh.

About 70 government schemes, 26 sports, tournaments or trophies, 17 stadia, four geographical landmarks, nine airports, four power plants, almost 100 educational institutions, 41 awards ranging from sports to literature, 17 scholarships or fellowships, 17 national parks, sanctuaries and museums, 37 medical institutions, 35 institutions, chairs or festivals, and thousands of roads, localities and places are named after people of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Why are we talking about this? Let us come back to that in a short while.

Jairam Ramesh was supposed to be on the thoughtful, articulate and intellectual side of the Congress party. Or that’s what we were told during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) years by Padma-awardee journalists.

But it is only recently, especially post-social media that many learnt that the epithets are given, such as thoughtful, articulate and intellectual, were just relative – when compared with Rahul Gandhi, that is.

Many veneers have fallen since discourse moved largely to social media, where the responses are often sharp and people call out nonsense almost as soon as you click on the ‘Tweet’ button.

On 11 May 2021, put out an unsuspecting tweet completely lacking in self-awareness.

He tweeted: “My younger son, who is currently pursuing his education in the UK, got his first shot in London. No photo of Boris Johnson on the certificate, unlike what occupies pride of place with flowing beard on the CoWin certificate in our country.”

Jairam Ramesh must have been thinking his masters in Janpath and Tughlak Lane would be very impressed with his snide tweet. Whether that happened or not, Ramesh’s notifications went berserk, most of them showing a Nehru stadium-sized mirror to him.

It is interesting that Ramesh is not making his wards study in an education system his own party created and, of course, named after the Nehru-Gandhis. Ramesh needs to send his son to get educated in the UK because his party did not do more for education than naming institutions after Nehru-Gandhis, but I studied in a humble engineering college in the outskirts of Bengaluru.

We had to pass through a splendid highway that was built by Atal Bihari Vajpayee under his landmark Golden Quadrilateral project. Within a couple of days of Vajpayee’s electoral loss in 2004, photos of Sonia Gandhi were put up on the highway prominently. After all, she had contributed to the building of this highway by losing an election and helping Vajpayee become Prime Minister.

Every common Indian has at least one experience like this. Some live in Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, drive through Rajiv Gandhi sea link, study at Indira Gandhi University or read about the antics of some students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and so on. Nehru-Gandhis are all around us, in every sphere of public life.

After naming a sports award after Rajiv Gandhi whose sports prowess is unknown, naming a power plant after Indira Gandhi even as she left crores of homes without electricity, naming even a business management school after Jawaharlal Nehru who thought profit was a bad word, it takes a lot of brazenness to tweet what Ramesh did.

With lakhs of things, if not thousands, named after the Nehru-Gandhis, Ramesh seems to have a problem with one photo appearing somewhere and this incensed people.

At the time this article was written, Ramesh’s tweet had nearly 4,000 replies and nearly 1,000 quote-tweets, almost each of them a stinging rebuke on the same lines – "do you even realise the irony of what you are saying or are you so dense?"

The leaders of the Congress party, even after seven years of Narendra Modi in Delhi, seem to think that they can say anything and get away with it as long as their media ecosystem toes their line. But then, say hello to social media, Ramesh.

In a discourse controlled by gushing anchors who were beholden to the UPA, such questions would never have been asked but then, these are not those times any more.

On a slightly unrelated topic, this is where the Congress party and the Lutyens ecosystem's visceral opposition to the Central Vista project come from – they hate the fact that someone else will write his name in history other than the Nehru-Gandhis.

They wouldn’t have had any problem with the Central Vista project if a UPA-3 had implemented it, because, after all, it was the leading lights of UPA-2 including Ramesh who had said that a new Parliament was needed. Nobody else should leave a legacy, only Nehru-Gandhis should, they think.

Reluctant techie. Bangalore lover. Man of eclectic passions with cricket and politics topping the chart. Wit, subtle humour, sarcasm aficionado. Keen on understanding Dharma.
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