Thursday, October 11, 2012





After over 48 hours of panic over the allegations levelled by Shri Arvind Kejriwal of India Against Corruption (IAC) against Shri Robert Vadra, the husband of Ms.Priyanka Gandhi and the son-in-law of Mrs.Sonia Gandi, the President of the Congress, the Congress has cooled down and worked out a strategy of tiring out   the IAC in general and Shri Kejriwal in particular.

2. It is reported that the initial panic was triggered by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi herself which led to the unwise intervention of a number of senior Ministers in support of Shri Vadra and the tactless remarks of Shri Vadra in his FB.

3. After this initial spectacle of chicken-like panic, Ms.Priyanka Gandhi, who is concerned over the likely impact of the allegations and the subsequent crisis management on the credibility and political future of the family and the Congress, reportedly stepped in to calm down the panic.

4.A new set of crisis management advisers not haunted by memories of the old Bofors controversy against Rajiv Gandhi, took advantage of certain evolving characteristics of L’Affaire Vadra. Firstly, there has been no smoking gun so far. Secondly, there has been no paper trail. Thirdly, Shri Vadra’s alleged involvement was with a listed company and not with shady individual businessmen, either in India or in the diaspora abroad. Fourthly, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, during his first two Press conferences, seem to have fired all his bullets without seriously hurting Shri Vadra. He does not appear to have any more unused bullets at his disposal. And, fifthly, by announcing beforehand that he would be exposing another prominent personality on October 16, Shri Kejriwal has set a trap for himself. Whether he targets another prominent personality or tries to re-use the same bullets against Shri Vadra, he will dilute the public focus on the Sonia Gandhi family.

5. Congress circles feel that the allegations made by Shri Kejriwal are nothing but re-cycled versions of allegations made by a national business daily earlier this year. Those allegations were not taken note of by the conventional media---print or TV----, but were noted and exploited on the Net by a group of NRIs, which has been carrying on a campaign against Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and her family and in favour of the Hindutva organisations. This NRI group kept the allegations re-cycled through various means and these have now been picked up by Shri Kejriwal and his IAC. It is claimed that in addition to these re-cycled allegations from the Net, there have been no new allegations in the charges levelled by Shri Kejriwal.

6. These Congress circles draw attention to the intriguing coincidence between the campaign against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi unleashed by Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, on the issue of her foreign travel expenditure and the campaign against Shri Vadra over his wealth unleashed by the IAC group. They suspect that the same group of pro-Hindutva NRIs is the inspiring force behind both the campaigns.

7. The initial panic was also caused by the dramatic projection to the viewers by the TV channels  of the charges made by Shri Kejriwal against Shri Vadra. This panic  has also since subsided. They point out how the TV pendulum dramatically swung towards Anna Hazare during his fast in August last year and then equally dramatically swung away from him when there were signs of agitation fatigue in Mumbai where Anna went for the second stage of his campaign. They are hoping that the TV pendulum, which has swung towards Shri Kejriwal, would similarly swing away from him if he keeps re-cycling old allegations.

8. The new strategy of the Congress is to give a long rope to Shri Kejriwal and not to do anything in panic. Unless Shri Kejriwal is able to come out with a smoking gun or new evidence, this strategy might work.(12-10-12)

(The  writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:  Twitter @SORBONNE75)




I had never met Varsha Bhosle personally, but we were great admirers and critics of each other’s writings. Between 1999 and end-2001, we used to exchange E-mails often. Then, out virtual world friendship dried up. I used to wonder why she had stopped writing for Rediff. I sent her a couple of E-mails to which I did not get a reply. I did not follow it up.

2. I was shocked to read last week that she had committed suicide in her Mumbai flat by putting a bullet into her head. Some reports had attributed her decision to kill herself to spells of depression caused by loneliness.

3. This is not the first time in my life that I had come across suicides that were difficult to explain and understand. Very often, the suicide is blamed on depression. Possibly, but the depression need not necessarily be due to loneliness.

4. When I was living in Europe in the 1970s, I was very friendly with a young Indian couple. They gave the impression of being very happily married. They had lovely kids. All of them were enjoying their stay in Europe. She was a delightful cook and hostess. I used to eat in their house every Friday. She gave the impression of being a picture of joie de vivre. One day I was shocked to hear that she committed suicide when she was alone in the house by jumping down from the fourth floor. Till today, I have not been able to understand why she had to do it.

5.When I was in service, the wife of a colleague committed suicide with a firearm when she was alone in the house. Another colleague shot himself dead inside his bathroom. In both these cases, I knew they were not happily married and could guess that personal frictions could have contributed to the extreme step to commit suicide.

6. I have seen many other cases of suicide in my life. One thing strikes me about all these cases. A tendency to brood in the case of the persons committing suicide. All of us have our unhappy and depressive moments in our lives. Sometimes, it is due to loneliness, sometimes due to family discord, sometimes due to professional problems.

7. Most of us get over those negative moments very fast. We don’t brood over them. We don’t develop a guilt complex as if something is wrong with us.

8. But some people cannot take their negative moments in their stride. They cannot forget them easily. They have a tendency to brood, when they are alone, about the negative experiences. Nothing undermines your confidence in yourself and your ability to cope with the ups and downs of life more than the tendency to brood.

9.My advice to all people with a tendency to brood is: Please, please, please don’t. When you brood, you develop a guilt complex. When you develop a guilt complex, you lose the will power to live.

10. When you have negative moments or negative experiences in life, tell yourself: So be it, so what. Develop the ability to take life in your stride. All of us have the best of moments and the worst of moments. We should not allow the bad moments to sap our will to live. Nothing saps your will more than the tendency to brood.

11. My advice is: NEVER BROOD. (11-10-12 )

(The  writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:  Twitter @SORBONNE75)