In the new year 2020 while extending greetings to all the readers, it is an occasion to remember two great Indian personalities: 12 January is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, an Indian Hindu monk who became inspiration for youths and 11 January is the tragic day when Indians lost their darling Prime Minister Lalbahadur Shastri at Tashkent some 44 years back. Of course, 14 January is Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan, one of the most auspicious Hindu festival celebrated in almost all parts of India and by Indians world over, may bring change and good news for all of you.
Right from the mythological days the cultural India has been known for the contribution of brothers and sisters in every field. As per the legend, there was once a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed. Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion. Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil. Even Ramayana had a key characters Lankapati King Ravana’s sister Shurpankha. She was considered to be instrumental for the war of Ramayana and the result is known to everyone.
Modern Indian rulers have such combinations of brothers and sisters, latest being Supriya Sule, a Member of Parliament daughter of Sharad Pawar, the Maratha strongman, and her cousin Ajit Pawar, a Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Ajit deserted his Godfather Sharadrao in recent political crisis and was sworn in as a Deputy Chief Minister in the 80 hour Devendra Fadanvis Ministry. Supriya played a key role to convince her brother to return to Shard Pawar fold which led to the formation of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress-Congress Ministry headed by Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray keeping the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party BJP out of power in one of the most important state of India. Of course, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, late PM Rajiv and Congress President Sonia’s daughter has preferred to come to her Congress MP brother Rahul Gandhi’s rescue.
Even when M.Karunanidhi, the legendary DMK supremo died and there was a rift for succession between DMK leaders and even among two of his sons, M.K. Stalin, former Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and M.K. Alagiri, former Union Minister, Kanimozhi, a DMK MP, the step sister played a key role to settle the issue in favour of Stalin. Of course, in Indian politics it was not always the case that sisters sided with the brothers. In 1984 when Jammu and Kashmir Governor Jagmohan dismissed the Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abadullah, Khalida, one of the sisters of Dr. Abdullah, was on the rival side. His brother-in-law G.M.Shah played the Raj Bhavan game and became the Chief Minister by toppling Dr.Abdullah.
Even the royal family of Gwalior had not only mother and son on the rival sides but brother and sisters too continued to be on rival sides. A Congress MP Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia deserted Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and contested on Jan Sangh as well as Swatantra Party tickets, preferred to go to jail during PM Gandhi’s 1975-77 Emergency and became the founder Vice President of BJP in 1980 but her son Madhavrao, late Union Minster, opted to be with the Congress. Both the sisters of Madhavrao, Vasundhara Raje, former Chief Minister of Rajasthan and Yashodhara Raje, former Minister of Madhya Pradesh, preferred to be with their mother’s party. Madhavrao’s son Jyotiraditya, former Union Minister, continues to be with his father’s party. Dushyant Singh, Jyotiraditya’s cousin and the only son of Vasundhara, is a BJP MP.
Sometimes sisters and brothers have to change the political colours with time. P.A. Sangma, a close confident of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, deserted her on the issue of her foreign roots along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar and all the three established the Nationalist Congress Party. Late Sangma’s son Conrad Sangma is today the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and heads his National People’s Party having alliance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP. Conrad’s sister Agatha Sangma who was earlier the youngest Minister in the Congress led UPA government headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh as NCP MP, is now a MP from her brother’s party in the Lok Sabha.
Next Column: The vision of giants for Republic India
Photo line :
A NCP MP Supriya Sule with her Deputy CM brother Ajit Pawar