How does she do it?



I have said all I wanted to say about my reservations about the women’s reservation bill in my column anandan on Wednesday this week.

Like I said in the column, I am agnostic about the bill – I neither believe in it nor do I knock it. I simply doubt that it will help at all (help the common woman, that is).

But whatever my reservations, I am amazed at how Sonia Gandhi managed to have the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, March 9. That morning it looked as though not just the fate of the bill but also her authority over her party was at risk. For, I know as a matter of fact that many men in her party were as determined as Lalu and Mulayam Yadav to ensure that it never became law and I thought they would surreptitiously pitch in to scuttle the bill. But now I do not think too many of them will dare voice their opposition.

I wonder what makes Sonia Gandhi take all the right calls and achieve miracle after miracle in such quick succession. This particular bill had been hanging in the balance for 14 years and when several more stable governments could not manage to get it through, it really did require a great deal of political will to push it at the risk of so much endangerment of the UPA’s future.

I have heard people say quite often that we cannot find one single Indian to rule this country and follow it up with the query: why should Indians have to kowtow to the Italian bahu of Mrs Indira Gandhi? In fact, I am looking to all those critics for an answer: yes, really, why?

But I think I have a clue. And that came from a British diplomat to quite another question. We were discussing how the Indian diaspora was among the highest wage earners everywhere else in the world (and thus, not surprisingly, they incurred the wrath of the locals in their adopted countries for beating them to and keeping their jobs by sheer dint of hard work). Yet, when it came to our own country, we were among the poorest, most backward and taking too long getting anywhere.

The diplomat said, “Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Indians follow the rules to the `t’ wherever they live abroad. In India they break the law all the time and so make it difficult for both themselves and others to get along.’’

Then a Congress worker told me why he preferred Sonia Gandhi to her husband, Rajiv. “She has a very European outlook on rules and honour. She keeps her word and will not allow any violations. For example, if the maximum age for a youth congress leader is 35, she will not allow any one older to be elected to that post. No other considerations like caste et al except what is stated in the rulebook. That is heartening for the rest of us: we know we will eventually get there if we fit the bill and no one can bring any untoward influence to bear upon her to push us off the ladder. Even Rajivji was not so correct, he would allow the occasional jugaad. ’’

That was a eulogy of his party president, of course, but I now wonder if that is true. Perhaps she does bring a sense of honour and follows the rules in everything she does and so succeeds more than others who believe in, well, jugaad (manoeuvring people and situations to suit their needs).

But on Tuesday, as she gave interviews to women journalists on television, I was impressed by Sonia’s tone and pitch – happy but thanking all the men for having made it possible. Gracious for their support to both the Left parties and the BJP which have knocked her endlessly over various issues but not gloating about it at all a la the Yadavs, keeping a door open for the allies and, of course, very self-effacing.

I say `self-effacing’ because when I first met her in Nasik several years ago, after she first took over the party’s reigns in the middle of an election in 1998 and miraculously helped a losing Congress win 45 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra, she was quick to give the credit to Sharad Pawar. And when we asked her about her role as the Congress president, she said, “I am only the latest in a long series of Congress presidents. Other Congress leaders have been around longer than I have been and it is they who have done things for the party, not me. I am still learning.’’

I guess she has learnt well by now and I remark upon another thing: in the decade at the start of which even her own party men took her with several fistfuls of salt to now, she seems to have muted the criticism about her being a misfit in Indian politics and put their uncertainty about her ability to deliver to rest.

The Congress is the most indisciplined, chaotic and irreverent party I know. Yet they revere their party president more than the Shiv Sainiks do Bal Thackeray or the BJP does its own succession of party chiefs. Perhaps that is because she delivers to them nine times out of ten, while others do not. But I continue to wonder: did Sonia Gandhi learn it all at the feet of her mother-in-law or is she bringing a European sense of commitment to her party that helps her defeat the might of the BJP and its formidable allies in 2004 and return with an even greater majority in 2009? And now give to Indian women what no man (or even woman — most notably Indira Gandhi) has dared or cared to before?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
  • vijai lugani

    she leaenedrned the political process in india under the leader ship of mrs. indra gandhi and of cousrse from rajiv gandhi. she knows upto this time how to bring together different political shades under one umberala when requied, she does not believe in cast and creed.she is hard worker and of couse haverahul and pryanka and some faithful polrical advisers. the author of this artical is absoultely right in every aspect and more ever she is not power hungry. if she does not like some people she can show them door to get out.

    [Reply]

    Nikhil Reply:

    Vijay Lugani,

    If I write about the good qualities of my dhobi they’re not too far from the ones that you wrote – hardworking, honest, faithful, relatively selfless and mostly fair. For that matter these qualities are universal and necessary to succeed in any profession. What makes Sonia different from us is she finds herself married in to the most politically influential family in our country where political power is hereditary and party members are expected to bow to the whips of party leaders.

    [Reply]

  • Ajay

    Interesting thoughts… However, I think many Europeans may feel that Italian background is bit different from that of Western European one…

    [Reply]

  • http://pages.rediff.com/we-evolve/21809#allfeeds Ed

    Take a dig on this topic at [ http://pages.rediff.com/we-evolve/21809#allfeeds ]

    The bill is only useful when it break the poverty lines, dynasty lines …

    It should be 35% (poor women), 35%(poor men), 30% (talented)

    70% should be representative of poor.

    It should be 35% (poor women), 35%(poor men), 30% (talented – scientist, economist, etc)

    THE BIG QUESTION IS how do we qualify to be

    1 )Identify 70% – Poor & most popular 10 candiate representing Poor People from certain region (MP/MLA area) to whom the Election commision will fund campaign money

    2 )To keep tap on Rich person whose campaign funds/money has to be capped by Election commision and made almost equal to 1).

    3 )Criteria to identify 30% (talented people)

    Ways to find the list 1) and 2) and 3) is something ruling party needs to think and debate instead of wasting time.

    To gauge 1), we need to count the strongest of the following points by Election Commision and more can be added by debates

    A) Years of work
    B) Have an open debate at ONE or TWO cantenders preferred location agreed by each contenders,
    let contenders speak what they have done and want to do.
    Make people/choser stand in different locations on the debate ground to exibit their support.
    The count done to choose the top 10.
    C) Ensure rotation between Male and Female, thus women whose work and popularity is on her own rather than backing of GOONDAS should be preferred for qualifying 1)
    People backed by money and goonda power cannot qualify for 1)

    D) Every term, Election commision can choose certain region by Gender, thus they can choose between the women & men that qualify for 1) or term when both women & men qualify for 1)

    Debate should be there to decide if 2)candiates should be allowed to contest irrespective of gender.
    Cap/restriction of number of time(2 times max) a candiate can stand for elections in a sequence.
    Debate on how election commsion will enforce 1) on all parties and in all regions.
    Debate on how to lessen the dynasty and family business and bring democracy by Election Commission criteria in 1).

    [Reply]

    Nikhil Reply:

    Ed,

    Because you write of so many different, often contradictory, qualifications for running for office may be you should be our next Election Commission.

    [Reply]

  • Vijay Saini

    Meekly following Sonia Gandhi is the slave mentallity. Although India is a free country now, it would take us a very long time to get over the slave mindframe. I think we are ripe and ready for foreign rule by proxy. Any country can capture us in reality.

    [Reply]

  • AB

    Funny article, then lets elect Silvio Berlusconi as president of India.Problem solved

    [Reply]

  • Jitendra

    I have never read such a degrading article. It is a shame that we still have white man’s lackey amongst us. It is achivement of Mcaulays education aystem that country continues to create such people even after 62 years. She can do it because congis are a party of chamchas and nincompoops including PM. Not a single congi has any moral, ethics and no one is ready to stand up for the good of country. They only stand up to save their chair and that depends of congi president. This article talks of European values and commitment. Is author trying to say that India does not have people with values and commitments. We have plenty of people but stupid system of election where masses of Idiots vote on the basis of caste, religion and personal loyalties. What a stupid assumption on the part of author that Eurpeons are better then us. In western coutries it is the system that works but people are no different from us.
    This bill is wrong because it will create rabris. Every from of reservation and quota should be removed if country has to make any progress. Otherwise mediocres will continue to stuff this country and we will reamin a third world country forever. Singapore, Japan and Malayasia are better than us without importing any whity. Have you ever thought why we are still joke of the world after 62 years. Reservation is an indication of failures of Govt economic and social policies, and majority of the time Congi traitors have been in rule. Wake up and get rid of banana spine and start believing in yourself and it is shame that congis have imposed a whity on us. It hurts my self respect.

    [Reply]

  • LAKSHMANAN

    Any type of reservations, on a permanent basis, is a threat to liberty, standard of life, freedom and finally to democracy. See what is happening in government due to reservations, especially reservation policy in promotions. Merit is sidelined and in the name of social justice many people occupy posts which they would not have got but for reservations. It is not their fault and no one is worried about the declining standard of Administration which is directly affecting the generl public.

    The introduction of reservation for women may be an eye opener in the years to come and after 10 or 15 years every all shall join together to undo reservations of any kind, I hope.

    [Reply]

  • Nikhil

    Oh god! When will journos stop sucking toes of the Nehru-Gandhi family? Perhaps, never.

    [Reply]

    Bhukkal Reply:

    Thats the best summarisation of this article, Nikhil. Well the journos are on fat pay packets….there is no responsible and honest journalism left, they have to also buy flats in posh areas, salaries will cater to their chai paani only… Shameless Creed, I wish there were Kiran Bedis in Journalism as well.

    [Reply]

  • Ekta B

    Although an expat now, this is definitely the way I see things under Sonia Gandhi in India, a very well written article indeed.
    I have now lived overseas for the last 14 years and as someone who has been given their fair share in an adopted and foreign land and made to feel so at home, I must say it feels good to read that Sonia has achieved in India (not from a political but recognition stand-point) what we hope to achieve overseas as immigrant Indians.
    I hope there are more people like her from different political persuasions for it would make for a better and stronger India.

    [Reply]

    Nikhil Reply:

    Ekta B,

    To be where Sonia is in politics today, one has to first marry in to the most politically influential family in a country where dynastic politics reigns supreme. This privilege is found only in India and not in the West. After looking at the success of political heirs in India, I’m convinced humans are capable of being reasonably successful if they’re thrown in any job.

    As far as success of foreigners in India is concerned, we already do it well in many different spheres.

    [Reply]

  • Anil

    Basically I am against any kind of reservations. The historic bill however was a necessity because of our historic suppression of the female gender over thousands of centuries. The real necessity is the empowerment to the women. The glaring example is in the way women are treated in Army. The strangest thing is that people have totally forgotten the most maligned PM Mr H D Devegowda (the humble farmer) and his Law Minister Ram Das Khalap who tabled the bill for the first time.

    [Reply]

    Anil Reply:

    One more point about our Constitution. India gave voting rights to women since its independence. USA gave voting rights to women almost 80 years after the blacks got to vote in 1870 !

    [Reply]

  • Gopi Thomas

    Although I do not care about congress party and its politics, I do admire and respect Mrs Gandhi. Like many, I was questioning her selection, her “foreign” status, her commitment etc. I have come 180 degrees around, she is an exemplary leader, good disciplinarian. I firmly believe now, that she at the core, is 100% “Indian”, much much more than many of her followers or other Indians. I do believe she wants to create a better and new India on the foundation of our ancient and rich heritage. Originally it was the call of her husband; now I truly believe, to her, it is now the call of the country.

    [Reply]

  • Atul8

    In all my years of international travel, I learnt a valuable lesson about myslef and my countrymen…. we lack accountability & discipline.

    Of course, controlling the congress coffers does help, but Sonia’ foreign roots are really an advantage in this Jugaad ridden society

    Most important, normally europeans are not given to visions of grandeur when in power, unlike in our case where the lust for that red light on the car is more important than perforing their gievn jobs.

    It has to be the European sense of commitment….all the way!!

    [Reply]

    Nikhil Reply:

    Atul8,

    If you think Sonia’s european heritage makes her special in Indian politics, too bad we let the British go, is it not?

    The European sense of commitment and discipline were not achieved overnight by passing bills for quotas in European governments. If you’re suggesting to overcome lack of accountability and discipline in India through more political quotas, perhaps, you should continue with your international travel till you see clear.

    [Reply]

    Atul8 Reply:

    Nikhil,

    My response in one line -

    Too bad we did not embrace and carry forward the sense of discipline & accountability when we let the British go.

    You need to do something about your aggression – it is colouring your usual objectivity

    [Reply]

    Nikhil Reply:

    Atul8,

    The sense of discipline & accountability is not a British – or should I say Italian – USP. Such characteristics are universal and cultivated in societies where merit and systems are valued more than quotas and personalities. We could not develop that sense because of intellectual lethargy and we let ’some’ leaders off the hook when they dilute democractic processes.

    What you may see as aggression, I see it as a natural response to the perfidy of the mainstream media. Happy international traveling, for you.

    Atul8 Reply:

    Nikhil,

    Whatever we are, we have done unto ourselves – good or bad.

    But when a discussion veers away from the issue to personalities, then it becomes a clear indication that objectivity is losing out.

    Musnt let that happen in the interest of a healthy debate.

    Nikhil Reply:

    Atul8,

    Dear, the article revolves around hollow personality and not substance. The comments will not be too far off, would they? I fundamentally disagree with your point of view and I had to express it in a sharp way.

    Atul8 Reply:

    Nikhil,

    You were not being sharp. You were being obtuse.

    However, enough has been exchanged on this topic, and we should move on.

    Nikhil Reply:

    Atul8,

    It provoked you, that’s all I wanted. Enough said!

  • Harish

    Is ambika soni ghost writing these articles :)

    You did hit it out of the park with the European honour bit maam…stupid and rash…but..takes guts..the right wing is sort of like the australian team in the early part of last decade on the internet…and they are still reeling in shock and have not attacked this piece in earnest even after two days…

    [Reply]

  • http://- Rajeev

    This article truly reflects dark skinned Indians’ mentality…eternal slaves :)

    [Reply]

  • Anil

    The Congress is the most indisciplined, chaotic and irreverent party I know. Yet they revere their party president more than the Shiv Sainiks do Bal Thackeray or the BJP does its own succession of party chiefs.

    The first sentence is unadultyerated lie.. i have never seen any congress man being anythgin beyond yesman to the nehru family figure.. Somehow this is being presented as virtue which it is not.

    BJP is nto family rule Shiv sena could be another matetr altogether but to ask BJP men to be supine and fawning liek congressmen towards their leader is negating the intra party democracy of BJP. Everyone is free to express hsi/per opninon noone need fawn like congressmen do to the later of 10 janpath.

    [Reply]

  • http://- Rajeev

    I get a feeling that Anandan may be dreaming for Congress ticket in 2014..Good going..Why don’t you start licking feet of Sonia like Barkha did recently.

    [Reply]

  • sumit

    It is amusing to read the vitriol being poured at Anandan. All BJP khaki knicker wearing ‘ common people’ abasing themselves by abusing Ananadan. Calling her a boot licker,vying for a ticket etc,heh heh ,the usual BJP/RSS propogandists at work.
    While I may not agree with Anandan about Sonia Gandhi’s qualities, she does write in an interesting manner.
    And one error which I may point out.The present President of the Indian Youth Congress is above 35, so much for Sonia Gandhi being a stickler for rules.The rules were amended and the minimum age made 37 just to fit in Rajeev Satav.
    And how about all those who lost the Lok Sabha but got into the Rajya Sabha ?Very against the rules which Sonia Gandhi herself has set isnt it ?

    [Reply]

  • Vikrant Guleria

    Well, I got satisfied with your article but there is one thing about that reservation bill
    that In UPA there are now less male leaders as compared to female hence she is
    so excited to pass this bill, without any proper improvement ,. The reason is that
    in the bill there is a case of rotation of constituencies and the women once selected
    may be selected next time after 3 elections i.e. after 15 years . Hence this bill only
    bringing women to assembly and
    not the women leaders. Are you agree with this point?

    [Reply]

  • http://nicki-minaj.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=117 mbt tataga

    I remember this stuff, apparently they are still working on how long it lasts. Last time I heard they only last less than a 2 years.

    [Reply]

  • http://nicki-minaj.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=117 mbt tataga

    Thanks for the very good explanation! Well done.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.webspawner.com/users/davemartin84/index.html Rosalina Achor

    CITES refers to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and is an international agreement between governments. To help you out, be sure to take the following tips to heart

    [Reply]

  • http://www.fastcatsoftware.com/phpBB2/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=81182 Arla Stryker

    Remember that the acai berry benefits strongly out weight the side effects. After five days on the Dukan diet I had lost 4lbs, the easiet 4lbs I had ever lost in my life.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    I also got little shocked by knowing this that english is not already the national language in the u.s. And it is also the point to think on that though english speaks and write in every country , there is no any specific place for the english language and not in any country not even foreign countries.

    [Reply]

  • jack adam

    Oh! i was till thinking English is National Language of U.S. but it’s really not. This article is aware me . thanks to spread it among us & i think we should also think Eng spoke and write in very country.

    Lne Consulting

    [Reply]

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O2U6KP6W4F2ABXZ4YKX2WZITLU Jason

    If you’re in India then french would facilitate however world wide Spanish is sometimes thought-about a universal language beside English.
    suppose i do french with law what kinda job can i get?? can foreign language facilitate ?? i do have time on weekends if not then that course do i do.
    lne consulting reviews

    [Reply]

  • Dhivya Priscilla

    Really very good information You have provided.
    You did
    a different and fabulous work….http://adyar.bestinchennai.com

    [Reply]

  • Hannah

    Oh is it true.I cant think it so.But nice information you have provided.

    [Reply]

  • videh kumar

    I have just read a news item where it was mentioned that case against a rapist was recommended by the Delhi Police for withdrawal in the interest of public goods. So attitude of Delhi Police is really great. No wonder rapists keep getting bails. If this is correct I feel soon the slogan on Police petrol Vans will be read as Delhi Police ke haath Rapists ke saath. So Neeraj / Shinde Saheb, hope you all will do some thing seriously to change this impression.

    [Reply]

  • abhishek

    Neeraj Saab, time to be a naukar of public has come.

    [Reply]

  • Ramesh Kumar

    ALL THESE TECNICALITIES ARE MEANINGLESS.POLICEKNOWS FOR WHOM THEY ARE WORKING.THEY KNOW FOR WHOM THEIR BOSSES WORKING.WHY A HONEST POLICE OFFICER LIKE KIRAN BEDI DOESNOT BECOME HEAD OF DELHI POLICE.? HOW MUCH POLICE IS ENGAGED IN GAURDING OUR VERY POPULAR LEADERS.? NOT ONLY TOP LEADERS ,BUT THEIR CHILDERN AND GRAND CHILDERN GET BLACK COMMANDOES.WHY?
    MR.GUPTA YOU CANNOT TALK OF REAL ISSUES ,THAT IS YOUR PROBLEM.
    SO FORGET IT.ONLY SOLUTION IS ,PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO LEARN FROM BENGAL.JUSTICE BY PEOPLE.
    WE HAVE SEEN CAPABILITY OF HOME MINISTER AND DELHI POLICE WHEN THEY ATTACKED SLEEPING PUBLIC IN RAMLILA GROUND.HINDU RAMDEV A SAINT ONLY CAN BE ATTACKED BY DELHI POLICE.
    DP IS HELPLESS EVEN WHEN THEIR OWN HONEST OFFICERS ARE DELBERATELY CRUSHED BY SPEEDING CARS.

    [Reply]

    DTH Reply:

    I feel the same way s you. Delhi Police is a corrupt, and useless organization. There is NO WAY it will ever reform from within itself. Only hope is Justice BY THE PEOPLE – we just will have to do whatever it takes to get rid of this official menace! I think that’s what is root of all insurgencies – when people cannot take official corruption, lack of any morals anymore. India is fast approach that with all branches corrupt to the core…

    [Reply]

  • citizen of banana republic

    when all the police appointments are being done using the political connections then what else you can expect. Congress is raping the people of india and these mother ****** on the open roads of delhi are raping our friends and family members.

    [Reply]

  • ANGRY

    Forget about fixing this corrupt and useless police force of 85,000. Can you believe that number ??? WOW. Just blew me away. OUR TAXES pay for these lousy incompetent fools who are little more than thugs who will shakedow the poor, prey on the innocent and rule with fear those who enter police stations. India needs a revolution. STOP PAYING YOUR TAXES until those idiots in parliament who are elected to serve this nation actually do so by holding people accountable. They have raped this country so much that rape of women is “normal” in their world. Wake up Indians. Stop being passive. There are 1.2 billion of you – stand up and do something like other countries have done.Get rid of the idiots or accept your lot.

    [Reply]

  • Angad Chaudhry

    My fellow citizens: Let’s not beat around the bush and blame Kumar or Shinde or Dikshit or Delhi Police or the lack of laws or late justice or……The root cause of the root cause of extreme crime in most parts of India is “Rishwat”. Let me connect the dots for you. Safety on streets can only be there if majority of police’s attention is there to patrol the streets for crime, respond to crime quickly……. But what if police attention is somewhere else?? What if noone in police dept cares about crime? What if noone gets fired for too much crime (instead gets fired for not passing portions of bribes upstairs)? In India, when the policeman leaves home to go to work, do you think he is thinking what he can do to lower crime today? No, he is thinking how to increase the bribe amount—-where to go, whom to threaten, how much to demand………The police on the street is there to collect bribes from all kind of sources rather than protect the citizens. In bribes they get money; in protection they may get killed. So why would the crime not increase? We have no police—every citizen knows that——they refuse to accept an FIR, they come to the crime scene when every else has gone home, they refuse to patrol the streets, they refuse to have bonafide intelligence system. Why? Because there is no money in any of these while bribe = free money. Why do they collect bribes? Answer: So that they can keep some and pass some to their boss who, in turn, keeps some and pass some upstairs……..right up to the top brass. The top brasses demand bribes from their sub-ordinates and, if they don’t, they are discarded to security jobs, to police training, to far way places……..So every policeman’s attention every minute is on where to attack for bribes not to protect the citizens. You can dance around this subject but in the end you will come to the root cause: demand for bribes everywhere by everybody all the time is the root cause of most of the evils in India, including ineffective police. To minimize crime, we need to eliminate the word bribe from the Indian Politicians / Administration and Judicial dictionaries. My fellow citizens: vote only for those people whose explicit agenda is annihilate bribes (rare honest individuals regardless of party, honest Mr. Modi even though he is tainted with the blood of many, Kejriwal’s party……). If you keep electing bribe-taking people, we would have repeat cases of the kind we are discussing right now and you wold be dancing around random subjects while many innocent women would be raped brutally. Think and vote for ultra honest bribe-killing politicians ONLY.

    [Reply]

  • rajat

    dfdfdfdfdfdfdfd

    [Reply]

  • Guest

    Have often wondered how the contents of terror alerts, sensitive intelligence by any standards, make their way into the media after each blast.

    [Reply]

  • Abigailsmith

    In actual way the delhi Police is totally corrupt and does not provide a security to the girls and woman in the capital even 16 december 2012 gangrape is just a example and Latest news 5 year old little girl had been gang rape and Police was give a bribe to Little girl parent for the silence against this Rape.I want to know that when Delhi will improve our behaviour about citizen .Shame delhi Police.

    http://www.prlog.org/12118548-performance-bike-promo-code-save-up-to-60-get-instantly.html

    [Reply]