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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2734

Rishi Kapoor’s Attention Grabbing Tweets

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

Yesteryear film star Rishi Kapoor may not have lived up to his inherited thespian genes but he sure has the knack for attention-grabbing Tweets. He had showed it a few weeks earlier when the ‘non-saffron’ section had applauded him for lambasting the beef ban move of the BJP; now he has done it by lambasting what he sees as the Nehru-Gandhi monopoly in naming public places and national assets.

‘Do they (Nehru-Gandhi) think it is their father’s property’, he had asked rather inelegantly but in a language that perhaps comes naturally to out of work ‘stars’ of the past. Like or dislike such words, it guarantees headlines.

That it is not always necessary to use street language of the kind used by Rishi Kapoor to grab the headlines was demonstrated only a day before him by the former army chief, Gen (retd) V.K. Singh, who now serves as a junior minister in the Narendra Modi government. ‘Name Akbar Road after Maharana Pratap’, said he in a letter to the union urban development minister, Venkiah Naidu. What the good General was trying to emphasize was that the ‘Hindus’ see Akbar as a merciless killer, not a benign ruler.

Rishi Kapoor’s outburst naturally proved to be a hit with the sensation-seeking electronic media where the anchors fell over each other to praise him for his series of Tweets in which he took on the Nehru-Gandhi family. The BJP and the TV studio hoping political pundits were euphoric in their praise of Kapoor. His criticism came, as was to be expected, only from the Congress party spokesmen.

The verdict on the electronic media clearly favoured the podgy ex-Bollywood ‘chocolate boy’ because it is an undeniable fact that we have had an excessive reliance on one family for naming public places or whatever.

But the criticism coming from Rishi Kapoor looked a little odd, considering that his illustrious father, Raj Kapoor, was a ‘confirmed Leftist’ whose ranks in Bollywood was headed by Khawja Ahmed Abbas. In the days gone by it was a tribe that was generally not so allergic to the ‘family’ as some of the present-day Leftists are known to be.
Not just Raj Kapoor, most of the leading actors of the past were great admirers of Jawaharlal Nehru and it was only when his daughter, Indira Gandhi, imposed Emergency that some of the actors turned critics of the Nehru-Gandhis.

One does not know how well Rishi Kapoor is grounded in the history of free India, especially the years immediately after Independence. If he is aware of it he would probably know that there was little opposition to the spree of naming ‘everything’ after the Nehru-Gandhi family. It may be because of the tremendous public adulation of Nehru that clearly lasted beyond his life.

Some might say that the idea of naming things after political leaders should be given up altogether. It looked possible when in the movement basically about propagating Hindi in the 1960s resulted in erasing nearly all the names and statues of former colonial rulers from the roads and parks across the country.

One of the last such acts came in the 1980s when Connaught Place and Connaught Circus were renamed—only to generate a controversy that is still alive because the names chosen were those of Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi.

But this is one relic of our colonial past that continues to fascinate most people in Delhi—at least those who have lived since the pre-Metro era. They hardly use the words Indira Chowk and Rajiv Chowk for Connaught Circus and Connaught Place. Most of the addresses of commercial offices in the area retain the old ‘colonial’ name. Metro riders, however, cannot use any other name but Rajiv Chowk.

In order to sound ‘fair’ in his criticism, Rishi Kapoor has suggested the names of a number of public figures, industrialists and showmen mostly, who deserve to be commemorated with streets and other public places named after them.

That suggestion is welcome, except that he seems to be ignorant of the fact that the present dispensation is no different from the Congress in this respect: It wants everything named after its own icons, some genuinely its own and some poached from the Congress.

Is it Rishi Kapoor’s contention that he is fine with the idea of today’s ruling Parivar (family) restricting choice of names of public places from among its own ranks?

There is, however, a vital difference behind the anger expressed by Rishi Kapoor and the demand from Gen (retd) Singh; one questions the dependence on one family for the names and the other hardly conceals the ‘Hindutva’ agenda of his party.

Rishi Kapoor may have to seek apprenticeship of someone like Anupam Kher—a ‘junior’ in the profession-- to fulfill his political ambition—provided he has one. His suggestions on the choice of names will find ready acceptance if Kher can certify that a previous Tweet of his on beef ban should be forgotten to welcome him to swell the crowd of ‘saffron stars’ and ‘nationalists’.
Gen (retd) Singh has expanded his role beyond that of a media-baiter that had become necessary because of the carping against him by the ‘Presstitutes’. He is obviously relishing his role as an advocate of ‘Hinduvta’ that was impossible during his long years in the Indian Army. He clearly felt stifled in the ‘secular’ army the way he felt chocked inside when he had to attend the Pakistan Day celebrations in Delhi a year ago.

In fact, Gen (retd) Singh could well be feeling like a ‘bird in a cage’ in his present job too when the department he handles, the external affairs ministry, is for all practical purposes run by the prime minister rather than by his senior in the ministry, Sushma Swaraj. One hardly hears the senior and junior foreign ministers expounding on India’s relations with the outside world.

Any suggestions for renaming the external affairs ministry, Mr. Rishi Kapoor?

- Asian Tribune –

Rishi Kapoor LASHES out at a man on Twitter, calls him d**khead and a loser!
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