December 9 is the birthday of Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the United Progressive alliance(UPA) - the ruling coalition of India. The chairperson of the ruling coalition is usually the Prime Minister of the country, but in her case it is not so. There is a story behind this.
Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India . Chacha(Uncle) Nehru, as he was fondly called by children, was handpicked by the father of the Nation - Mahatma Gandhi, to be the Prime Minister . Some years after Jawaharlal Nehru's death, Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was considered by many to be ruthless in her rule and in her handling of political opponents. She established the Nehru-Gandhi parivaar(family), a political dynasty, as the most powerful force in politics and overlords of the Indian National Congress Party. Her son Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated and her widow was , over time, made the President of the Congress Party. Now there is a slight problem here. You see, Sonia Gandhi was born (if memory serves me right)Shania Maino - an Italian. This led to protests after the Congress party won the elections in 2004. Because this would mean that Sonia Gandhi would now become the Prime Minister. A lot of people were not very happy to see a foreign-born person heading the country. In a very shrewd move , Mrs. Gandhi relinquished the office of the Prime Minister and instead, installed the economist Dr.Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister.
If you had any doubts on who the real Prime Minister is, a peek at Doordarshan News- news channel of the state broadcaster- would provide enough evidence. I switched on the Hindi news at 8pm and was shocked. There was a small photo/logo of Sonia Gandhi in the corner of the screen. The normally dry and uninteresting reports were replaced by a slick promo of Mrs. Gandhi. It made my eyes pop out. Was Doordarshan actually capable of producing this stuff? The report went on to sing great glories of Mrs.Gandhi. It sang praises about her "great sacrifice" and her huge heart . It also showed her children - Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi/Vadera - in a , to put it mildly, favourable light. The propoganda was sickening.
There is a possibility that she is not behind this propoganda . Doordarshan has a history of licking the feet of its political masters. The Government of the day is the overlord of the supposedly autonomous broadcaster. Everyone from the executives to the reporters know that portraying the Government in a favourable light is the only way to earn their bread and butter and ensure their promotion. This is reflected in the massive propoganda unleashed by the channel.
Mrs. Gandhi would be well advised to keep Doordarshan in restraint. Overdoing propoganda could backfire very badly, as the NDA government found to its dismay in the 2004 elections.