Indian politicians, we all know, are so cut off from the people they are supposed to serve that few among us take their political platitudes about the common man seriously.
Still, every once in a while, one hears so bizarre a comment from these politicians – blinded as they are by ill gotten monies – that one is revolted by the very idea of having such mercenaries in leadership positions.
This afternoon, addressing a mammoth public meeting in Lucknow, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati was blaming the current state administration headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, for its ineptitude. She had a personal grouse too. Apparently, Mayawati wanted to land at the meeting venue by helicopter and had for the purpose even had a helipad built nearby. But, she said, the state government denied her permission to land there by helicopter.
Righteously angry, she said she was thus forced to travel by road to reach the meeting and along the way, noticed the poor multitudes who were hiking it up to hear her speak.
To react to what I heard would perhaps be a waste of my emotional energy; more so because Mayawati rose to the pinnacle of power in Uttar Pradesh state politics having started out as a champion of Dalits (untouchables). Coming from a Dalit background herself, she doesn’t see the gross irony that while the people who propped her leadership on their shoulders have remained as suppressed and burdened as ever, while she has become a multi-millionaire within a span of two decades.
But honestly, it is the people that are to be blamed. And they vindicate my lack of sympathy for them as I see the nearly 100,000 strong turnout for her public meeting; which also prompts me to wonder how on a working afternoon, more than 100,000 people had nothing more productive to do towards earning a livelihood than sitting in an open ground in scorching heat, just to see a corrupt politician crib about having to travel by road and not by helicopter.
And what can I say for Mayawati… The 17th century French Queen Mary Antoinette, who asked her country’s poor to eat cake if they couldn’t afford bread, seems like Mother Teresa compared to India’s modern day dalit royalty.