The media was abuzz with activity over the past few days over a statement made by the leading bollywood lady Katrina Kaif comparing her citizenship status with Rahul Gandhi, the leading contender for Indian Prime Ministership (readers would recall that Manmohan Singh is ready to quit, immediately when asked to). Allegedly Katrina told the interviewer what if she has a British passport, or that she is half Indian, so is Rahul Gandhi. The context of her statement was concerning the fact that how she and Rahul being half Indian affect their work or their acceptance among people.
But the statement snowballed into a big issue, or that is what was projected in the media. This was courtesy Messer Manish Tiwary and Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the official spokespersons of the Congress party. Foot-in-the-mouth has become a household phrase thanks to its overuse in media with respect to statements made by Congress leaders including Dr Singh. A similar situation was created by Mr Tiwary when (I don’t know what was he smoking) he asked mediapersons if he should seek Johnny Levers views about Rahul Gandhi too. It appears as if sycophancy in the party has reached such a pinnacle that an apolitical (Katrina I am sure never intends to join politics) statement by an actress cannot be taken in right spirit. Forget about right spirit, just that Manish Tiwary has a microphone to speak to facing scores of cameras, doesn’t allow him to make such callous, critical and cacophonous comments.
The curious case of Rahul baba’s citizenship has always been a no issue for the Indian polity, for Indian psychology doesn’t see it wrong for a half Indian male to become Prime Minister. That there are remote chances for him to get the top post especially at this dismal rate of performance is a different story altogether and requires a different essay. It is probably Katrina’s not-on-purpose kicking a small dust storm which has irked the party. Thanks to the media which carefully crops headline-worthy quotations of any interview, however relevant or irrelevant it is to the larger topic, that we get to see headlines like ‘Katrina questions Rahuls citizenship’, ‘If I am half Indian, so is Rahul Gandhi’ and much more vicious and incriminating ones at that.
With the renewed hatred towards politicians among the masses, what Congress fails to realise is that, no one will see Katrina’s statement as harmful but will take Congresses attack as vile. An old adage says “vinaash kale viparit buddhi”, and no one other the grand old party is proving it right at the moment. When there are larger issues to be addressed, when there are opportunities to come out clean, when there are stronger messages to be sent to, what they are engaging is in picking up all trivial issues and painting it in gaudy colours which looks sore to the eye and pricks the senses of common man.