The leader of the Congress Party in India Rajiv Gandhi was in Singapore and Malaysia recently on a speaking tour. He basically addressed a audiences mainly composed of the Diaspora Indians in these two countries.
In Singapore, he was the guest of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore. In Malaysia he was on the invitation of organisations that were related to the MIC.
Given the fact that Rahul was important member of the Gandhi family, his great grandfather, grandmother and his father were former prime ministers of India, he is regarded as the natural heir to lead the Congress Party in charting the future of course of politics in India. If BJP fails, there is possibility Rahul could become the prime minister.
At the Lee Kuan School, there was big gathering of academics, students, members of the mass media and others. His speech was followed by a question and answer session. However, despite the attention and attraction of Rahul’s visit to Singapore, his speech and the follow up questions and answers to questions left much to desired for. His crossed leg presence sitting down and one of the legs pointing in the direction of the crowd was considered ill-mannered at least from the Indian cultural point of view. His arrogance and supercilious attitude towards some questions and that “I know it all” attitude does not augur well for an aspiring leader of India.
While he gave evasive answers to questions never directly answering them, he was caught flat footed one particular question. When an author of a famous book on Asian economy asked him to explain why during his family’s rule that the per capita income of Indians stagnated or declined but arose during when the family was out of power, he was caught, unable to give a quick or an intelligent answer, he retorted back by asking the author “what is your hypothesis”. To give Rahul the benefit of doubt the author rephrased his question to answer, but then it was too late. But however, Rahul unable to answer even after the rephrasing ended up by taking a few gulps from his water bottle to hide his nervousness.
At least in Singapore, despite its rather controlled atmosphere, the audience were allowed to ask questions that they preferred. But in Malaysia, the event organised by the MIC related organisations were rather pathetic. Given the “yes man”attitude of MIC leaders and their supporters, none in the crowd could raise questions of a similar calibre as in Singapore. Given the controlled and selected nature of the crowd, the event ended up with photographic sessions and questions about how Malaysian Indian could benefit from having relationship with India. It is always about MIC getting something from someone!
Either in Singapore or in Kuala Lumpur, no one in the audiences were able to raise questions about the role of the Gandhi family in the Sri Lankan affairs, to what extent was India responsible for the massacre of hundreds and thousands of innocent Tamils in the closing stages of the civil war and what India has done to alleviate the sufferings of the Tamils.
Remember, the genocide took place when Congress Party was in power, Sonia Gandhi the mother of Rahul was the close advisor of the government or even who called the shots in terms of the national policy of India. At least someone could have asked the question whether the civil war against the LTTE by the Sri Lankan armed forces supported by India and other powers was one way that Sonia sought to seek revenge on the Tamils for the murder of her husband Rajiv some years back?
I can understand why questions on Sri Lanka were avoided or not asked when Rahul was in Singapore. But surely, when he was in Kuala Lumpur, someone in the audience could have raised questions about the massacre of innocent Tamils in the north of Sri Lanka during the civil war.
Not all MIC members are immune to the suffering of Tamils in Sri Lanka, some could have asked Rahul to explain why India did not prevent the slaughter of the Tamils during the civil war. Even if Rahul or the Congress Party then was not responsible, surely there were close ties between the governments of India and Sri Lanka in terms of prosecuting the war towards a final closure. Surely, Rahul is not that naive about what led to the massacre of Tamils in 2009.
The MIC leaders are totally immune to the suffering of Tamils in Sri Lankan and other places. But surely, there hundreds of ordinary MIC members mainly youths who have not forgotten about the colossal tragedy that befell the Tamils in Sri Lanka during the final days of the war.
Was there gag order imposed on the crowd by the MIC leaders on their members so that they could no ask any questions to Rahul about the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka? If this is true, then is this the way that the MIC wants to remain relevant to Tamils or Indians in the country especially with the general election around the corner?