Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beauty vs Brains: How about both?

The beauty vs brains debate will never be settled, but hints that Home Minister Shivraj Patil has been a stupendous failure in handling his ministry are ludicrous. He is handsome, of course, but that does not mean he has no intelligence. He has not only his own intelligence but thousands of intelligence officers at his disposal. He doesn’t need to be Paris Hilton to prove he is intelligent. And he cannot be Paris Hilton in any case because Paris may be sexy but she is also shrewd. Do we like shrewd? We don’t. The home minister is as handsome as Jeetendra and his shoes are whiter than the Jumping Jack but then Jeetendra has never been a great actor, critically. Shivraj Patil can beat him especially in serious roles. If you have seen the TV footage of the all-party meet on Jammu and Kashmir, you would have seen Mr Patil was so lost in thinking of a possible solution to the problem, a problem he created with meticulous inactivity.
He is only making sure greatness is not thrust upon him. It’s fun to achieve greatness with your own grit and guts. One who creates a puzzle is best equipped to solve it. Indira Gandhi is often credited with creating the Khalistani problem. She died trying to solve it. Her son solved it later. Show us a big problem facing the world, and we’ll show you great leaders who created them for the benefit of human race. After all we must not forget the art of solving problems. Al Gore did not create global warming. We created it and we are solving it.
Some say Shivraj Patil slept through the first 30 days as a small fire sparked by a miscommunication over Amarnath turned into an inferno. Do you expect a 30,000-litre, sky-lift fire-tender to douse a camp fire? You don’t go to a world-class surgeon for flatulence caused by beer. You go and buy another bottle. It does not behove a person like Shivraj Patil to meddle in small problems like Jammu and Kashmir fighting over Amarnath. There has to be substantial damage to deserve his attention. Like when everything went out of control, he was called in by the Prime Minister to wear the Flash Gordon suit. And look, how the situation has changed. There are all party-meets happening all over the place and the Home Minister is presiding over them. With time and a little more bloodshed, the problem will be solved.
If you don’t believe this, just look at how brilliantly and firmly Mr Patil asked a problem to solve itself in the Northeast. Just over a couple of years ago, Manipur was burning over the issue of special powers to the armed forces. The expert and experienced minister silently rebuked the protesters in his sleep. Then when the state was adequately in trouble, he issued statements, which were contradicted by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee. And Manipur burnt and bled till everybody pitched in and stopped the bloodshed. On the sidelines, Mr Patil’s exemplary patience was saluted by all and sundry. He reminded us all of the great Narasimha Rao in the PM’s Chair in December 1992.
He declared a ceasefire against Maoist marauders in Andhra Pradesh. The guns fell silent. Maoists waited for some kind of constructive dialogue to follow. Such fools they are. No talks happened. Our ministers had fooled them. Ha ha ha. Now they are waging a war again. Just wait for a smart move from our minister, he must be thinking of a deadly one. It will be funnier.
It doesn’t happen just like that. He has to think even when he is dozing off in parliament. His mind is always busy thinking of ways to get this country out of the magnificent mess of the multiple internal troubles: Maoists, Saffronists, Islamists, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Patience, please.