Monday, May 23, 2011

DMK revival already starting......Kani’s already being seen as a “victim”

The way Kanimozhi has been treated – being denied bail in spite of the Supreme Court’s views on the bail v/s jail debate – and the way the father-daughter meeting in Tihar jail is being covered by media makes me believe that the revival of DMK has already started. Indians love tear jerkers and Indians are perpetually protective of the perceived underdogs. The same factors that made DMK the villain are working now to making them the underdogs.

I have written earlier my views on Kani’s arrest. There is no reason for her (or anyone else really) to be denied bail in this case. Reasons: Firstly, if the worry is that these people may tamper with evidence or influence witnesses, then the solution is in making sure that this doesn’t happen. The solution is not simply jail the concerned person. Secondly, the Indian judicial process is so slow that these people may stay in jail as under-trials (not convicts) for ever and that can hardly be called fair. And lastly, Kani is a woman and the Supreme Court has apprently specifically said that bail must be a preferred choice when it comes to the young and the elderly and women. The Delhi HC denied bail after the special 2G court denied it. It appears that the courts are pandering to public opinion in coming to their decisions. Even though the public may feel happy with Kani getting jail, I hardly think it is a fair decision.

There is also a huge difference between Raja and Kanimozhi. Raja is a man and in our society, a man is considered capable of being a thief. A villain. A woman on the other hand can be a vamp.....but the common sense is that women can be possessive about their men; they can “prey” on other men; etc. But our society has never really accepted that a woman can be a thief. A scheming corrupt politician who stole hundreds of crores of rupees. Let’s be clear: the aam aadmi is happy to see Raja in jail, but the same aam aadmi’s heart goes out to Kani.

Further, Kani comes out as being a shy and polite woman. She’s not brash as Jayalalitha or Mayawati are. She has the demeanor of being the victim here. Her statement that she was made the shareholder upon the insistence of her father may not cut ice with the courts; but it does with the masses. When she is jailed, it’s almost like Sita being “jailed” in Lanka. When Kani weeps in court, a million people weep with her. She pulls at the heartstrings of many millions not only in her native TN, but all over the country.

This is hardly the first time that Indians have sided with women who have been seen as underdogs. Indira Gandhi was booted out after the Emergency in the 1977 elections. But the country voted her back to power with 350+ seats (65% of the total number). Again, it was the policies of the Janata government between 1977 and 1980 that made Indira Gandhi the “victim”. All her “crimes” during the days of Emergency were forgiven by the public of India. Likewise, Jayalalitha has been accused of severe charges of corruption in the past; she was made the villain. And yet, the same public of TN has voted her back to power every five years. Because the public have felt sympathy for her after she lost power. It’s the same with Sonia Gandhi. When she sacrificed the PM’s post for Manmohan Singh in 2004, she deified herself as a “devi”. The politicians may have cast aspersions against her nationality, but the public had already made up her mind about her. Sonia benefits from the same sentimentality of Indian people as Narendra Modi does with the sentimentality of the Gujjus. Everytime someone attacks Modi for his communcal philosophy, the people of Gujarat rise in his support. Likewise, every time the BJP accuses Sonia of personal corruption or other similar charges, the people of India have risen in her support. It is probably this understanding that made Advani remove the attacks on Sonia in the case of holding a large stash of illegal money abroad. That was backfiring.

As long as an Indian woman politician behaves in a coy, demure, “sati-savitri” manner, she will eventually earn back the sympathy of the voters. But if she behaves as a brash, aggressive “phoolan devi” type of person, the people will be unforgiving. Mayawati has reasons to worry, but Kanimozhi, Sonia, Jayalalitha and even Vasundhara Raje don’t.

The real truth is that if DMK and Kani really need to be punished, then she should be handled with utmost care, respect and decency. She should be freed. The public must feel that she has not been victimized. Over a long period of time, the public will punish her by not voting her back to power. Too much haste, and she’s back to power. Such are the ways of Indian society and politics!

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