“Friends, Comrades; this is the first time I am visiting this beautiful little town. We felt as if the almighty had appeared before us in response to our continuous prayers. Minutes before he began his speech, we had welcomed him with a loud “Pandit Nehru Ki Jai” slogan. This happened in the late 50s when I was a student, and the hero standing on the dais before a huge gathering was the very same Nehru whose immortal lines “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny…” was still fresh in my mind. A few years later at the same venue, there was a huge crowd. A lean tall white-clad man in his 60s stormed his way on to the stage and greeted us by waving his hands…”Ladies and Gentlemen… It’s almost midnight now… and you are all assembled here, not to have a darshan of me…. It shows the political spirit in you… If you vote for Muslim league, you are voting for Pakistan… if you are voting for the communists, you are voting for China…” He was no other than V.K. Krishna Menon who was the defense minister in Nehru’s cabinet.
Namaste….if you give up English, you giving up a little physics, a little chemistry, a little mathematics… Yeah, he too was lean and white-clad… Rajaji, as he was fondly called, the first governor general of India.
Another person whom I admired was the late EMS, though he was the leader of the communist party of India. He was witty but stammered while he spoke… “That CH is a Scholar. He quotes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and of course, Koran but does not know when to quote what. Anyway, don’t vote for him”
Gone are those days. Politics has become less interesting, may be because there are umpteen political parties whose leaders are more concerned about regional, linguistic or communal issues.