Monday, August 09, 2004

Main Hoon Na!

The seven Indian truck drivers held hostage in Iraq are still captive. The day before yesterday there were hopes that they would be released but then we heard that the kidnappers wanted more money and also appeals from Asha Parekh and Amitabh Bachchan.

There are some Bollywood fans among the captors. Bollywood fans seem to be invading every nook and corner of the world. So how could our External Affairs Ministry be unaffected. Bollywood has no place for subtlety so the ministry men threw diplomatic caution out the South Block windows, and went for the gut.

They are vocal, when not equivocal. And whoever said Natwar Singh has asked his men to shut their mouths is wrong. The ministry men open their mouth whenever they want to change feet.

By now the whole country knows that we have a minister of state for external affairs who has taken charge to deal with the situation while the senior minister Natwar tries to find Non-Aligned Movement to revive it. So the burden of solving the crisis in Iraq landed on E. Ahmed's shoulders.

Since the kidnappings in Iraq, Ahmed has become a household face. Who needs a spokesman when the minister himself can speak on affairs foreign.

And when Ahmed speaks, he does it in typical Bollywood style. He is aggressive and muted at the same time. So he went ahead and called the US the “occupation” force in Iraq. The official spokesperson couldn’t have managed that because that’s not the official Indian position.

That brings me to a recent National Interest piece written by Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta. He has ripped apart the external affairs ministry’s handling of the Iraq hostage situation and E. Ahmed’s Main Hoon Na mentality. Must read. Click here.

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