When Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister, Doordarshan used to telecast a German slapstick-fantasy comedy called Didi’s comedy show.
When one sees the ‘interactions’ Rahul Gandhi had with students of a Catholic school in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, recently, one is not only reminded of that 1989 show of Dieter Hallervorden, but one also feels that it is a pity Rahul chose politics as a career.
What a great loss to the genre of comedy.
But the heir of the Congress' first family being an awkward performer is not the topic of this article.
It is the proactive way in which Christian educational institutions, often government-aided, are promoting Rahul among students of impressionable ages that is the real question at hand.
In the video of Rahul dancing with the schoolchildren, one can hear the school authorities, including a teacher probably, egging on the students to chant ‘Rahul Rahul’.
If the teachers and clergy on stage are behaving in this manner, it is high time children are taught the idea of restraint and the indignity of sycophancy.
That students are made to assemble in school without face masks and a Member of Parliament is seen interacting with them throwing caution to the wind, during the phased relaxation of a lockdown, is a sad commentary not only on our polity, but on our idea of what a 'civilising education' is supposed to mean.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, too, runs a lot of schools. The old establishment media hawks have been going through every text of the extracurricular kind in almost every Sangh school, scanning them for any controversial material and have been highlighting what they deem is suitable for their narrative, to denigrate our traditional education.
When is the last time one read in such establishment media any critique of Catholic catechism, which is mandatory for Catholic students in even government-aided Catholic schools?
That is the double standard, the loaded platform of unethical journalism — which is the norm of the Lutyens media.
But imagine this.
Modi is not yet prime minister, but prime ministerial candidate. And this prime ministerial candidate has been called to an RSS school. A girl is called on stage to do push-ups along with him. And then Modi dances awkwardly with the girls, along with a couple of BJP or Sangh leaders.
Meanwhile, the school teacher is egging the students to chant ‘Modi Modi’.
What kind of outrage that would have caused, if it were in reality? There would be media debates on the ethical aspects of such behaviour.
The average Indian newspaper-reader or television-watcher would have been bombarded with debates castigating a 'communal Hindu party' with unbecoming conduct, and why voting for it would lead India downhill.
Parents send their wards to school so they can acquire an education. They do not send them to school so they can become cheerleaders of a politician — is what these pseudo-journalists would have told us.
The New York Times would surely have jumped into the fray with an article censuring Sangh Parivar schools for 'political grooming of impressionable minds'.
But, unsurprisingly, in the case of Rahul Gandhi, there is a ubiquitous silence. Not just silence, but an active endorsement of such buffoonery.
The reports of the event in India Today and Hindustan Times show no criticisms of the 'ethical aspects' of such promotional behaviour by schools of a particular religious persuasion run with Indian taxpayer money.
The fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church, in particular, and the evangelical industry, in general, have been using all their resources to boost a Congress-DMK victory.
Kanimozhi, DMK MP from Tamil Nadu, is close to Jagat Caspar, a fanatical Catholic clergyman and anti-Hindu strategist.
The Catholic Church has a gory tradition of siding with racist and fascist forces throughout history — and Caspar is not divorced from this engagement either.
He markets the theological equivalent of a snake-oil cocktail, which is a heady mixture of Thomas-Christianity bedecked with Tamil pride and a hatred for Sanatana Dharma.
The Catholic Church and the evangelists have grown powerful in Tamil Nadu during the Dravidianist decades. Though their aim of destroying Hinduism through the Dravidian racist movement has failed, with the unexpected rise of Dr. MGR, who respected Hinduism and is universally loved in Tamil Nadu, the Church has been using its nexus with the anti-Hindu DMK in its crusade against Hinduism.
It would be not be exaggeration to comment that the the Church, perhaps, sees the takeover of the Congress by the Sonia Gandhi family as the 'Constantine moment' for India.
A careful observation of Rahul Gandhi's temple visits would reveal that he is almost lost in Hindu temples.
He behaves in a way that sends out the signal that he is there because of electoral compulsions. But watch him in a Church. One can find him in his elements.
And Rahul kneeling before the Catholic clergy in Kanyakumari district, where Hindu-Christian confrontation is a day-to-day affair, is actually a message to Hindus and Hindu organisations of the district — of how powerful the Catholic Church is despite the BJP being in power.
So, a DMK-Congress in power in Tamil Nadu is a strategic and crucial victory for the anti-Hindu forces. By already separating Tamil from its Hindu sacredness, the region has become a cultural desert.
Now, religio-political schemes are being made to cut off Tamil heritage and culture from mainstream Hinduism — which will kill the Tamil soul and make it ready for 'harvest' by Rome.
It is in this context that one must look again at the awkward dance by Rahul Gandhi and the failure of the school in question to inculcate a 'civilised neutrality' to such inanity, to know for sure whether this episode was indeed funny or not.
Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.
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