Mr. Modi says Sonia has been living in India for almost 50 years and still can’t speak Hindi. He’s just been to Kerala, there are people there who for hundreds of generations have not even spoken Hindi, there are still many people in the South, who like the French do with English, will refuse to respond if you talk to them in Hindi, even though they’ve seen enough Bollywood films to have a chat with you in the language, especially if it’s about who’s right, Kangana or Hrithik.
Truly, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, have done more to sell Hindi to India than the politicians of the Bimaru states, the cow belt, Mr. Modi, and the other Chaddees of the RSS.
Mr. Modi is still desperate to put the foreign tag on Sonia. He had stopped doing it for a while. Now, he’s doing it again, after meeting the Malayalis, people who, like the Assamese, often put up a sign, when the No 1 guy comes to visit, “Welcome to the Prime Minister of India”. Which reminds me of the 1999 elections, when Sonia hammered Sushma Swaraj and also won in Amethi. A young journalist asked an ancient lady in a Bellary village if she would accept Sonia Gandhi, in spite of her being a foreigner.
The lady pointed at a small hill in the distance, and said, “Son, when I was your age, anyone who came from beyond that hill was a foreigner.” Like an American Aunty, who visits her husband’s family and wears a Sari, Mr. Modi can be seen asking for votes in all sorts of attire, turbans, tribal gear, local costumes. Why? Why do politicians who visit Assam wear their big round hats? Because they’re outsiders, foreigners, and they want your vote, and so have to blend in and pretend to be insiders immediately.
If I were Mr. Modi I would stop reminding India that Sonia is a foreigner. India has forgotten, why remind them that some lady with no great political skills, came to India some 50 years ago, from the force of necessity joined politics, and proceeded to hammer ferocious and strident, muscular right-wing politicians, in election after election.
It’s like if Pataudi had married an Italian, and she became a great default captain of the Indian cricket team after his death, and famous captains of cricket from all over the world came to visit and shake her hand. If I was an Indian cricketer I would be terribly embarrassed, and the less we talked about it, the better.
-Roy Daniels for The India Observer