‘Baap ka maal samaj rakha hai’. It is a cheap crack. I’d like to have seen Rishi Kapoor say that when Indira Gandhi was in power. Hitting at them when they are dead is not courage. The dead can’t hit back. Bikram Vohra joins the renaming row. The veteran journalist says this is a cheap shot from Chintoo Baba
Let’s not make the sycophantic tsunami of naming parks and palaces and public places after the Gandhis into some diabolical plot. We love to snivel and grovel in front of those in power with all that feet touching brown nosing stuff. None of those people who now fling clods of mud on the Gandhi name had the guts to say anything then. I didn’t see the Kapoor family making any protest.
Being the first family of cinema the Kapoors were buddies with the Gandhis. Also, there is something distasteful about tweeting phrases like ‘Baap ka maal samaj rakha hai’. It is a cheap crack. I’d like to have seen Rishi Kapoor say that when Indira Gandhi was in power. Hitting at them when they are dead is not courage. The dead can’t hit back.
It is also a non-issue. This is exactly where we go wrong. We forget about the common enemies of mankind like poverty and disease and unemployment and hunger and we go hankering after ego trips based on cracking pedestals and toppling statues.It is just not classy. And frankly, most of the public doesn’t give damn what you call the airport or the road or whatever public entity you have in mind. We had that spasm where city names were messed about and simply ended up echoing the original with no monumental gain. I don’t go round saying Indira Gandhi International Airport. Nobody does and I lose no ground of any sort even if I did say it.
No one gets up in the morning and worries about the nomenclature. We worry about paying the bills, the school fees, how we will navigate some harebrained new political initiative. You really think folks go to a park because it is called Sanjay Gandhi Park and that is a magnet or (we) visit a museum because of the name?
Of course, we overdid it. But the money wasted in renaming these edifices could create hospitals and schools and be put to better use. Why do all of us have to learn a whole new set of names that have no genuine meaning and no relevance to the betterment of our lives?
What are we going to do —replace them with another bunch of political yahoos? And even if we do that, what have we gained? Like it or not, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty was in the catbird seat for a major span of post-Independent India. They are part of history. The good, the bad and the ugly. We voted them into power, so we are party to the contract.
Leave it. Build another park and give it whatever name you want. Airports, roads, stadiums — do the math of what it costs to change the name. Just stop wasting time and energy in exercises that insult intelligence. One would like to believe the Indian people have seen through these wasteful tactics to deflect from the realities on the ground. Yes, of course, this anti-Gandhi wave can become a fad for a while and excite people to engage in much breast beating, but be a little honest.
Is it really such a revelation?
We still say Connaught place. Victoria Gardens will always be Victoria Gardens. Do you say, Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan? Apollo Bunder is just that. VT station is just that. In Kolkata, Park Street is just that.
Dalhousie square, Writer’s building, Flora Fountain, Crawford Market… one can go on and on.