Posts Tagged ‘Rasheed Kidwai’
Indira Gandhi and the Congress lost the elections held after the Emergency. The Congress split on January 1, 1978; the faction led by Indira Gandhi was recognised by the Election Commission as Congress (I). The ‘Cow and Calf’ symbol of the Congress was frozen and the Congress (I) was allotted the symbol of ‘Hand’. There are two versions of how the Congress (I) opted for the ‘Hand’ symbol.
In his autobiographical political memoir called ‘The Chinar Leaves’, M L Fotedar says that after the formation of the Congress (I), Indiraji had gone to meet Sathya Sai Baba to seek his blessings. Sai Baba raised his hand and said, ‘My blessings are always with you.’ When the Election Commission offered the new symbol to Congress (I), the choice was between a hand and an elephant. Indiraji had the image of Sai Baba’s hand raised in blessing on her mind and so opted for it.
Rasheed Kidwai, however, writes in his book ’24 Akbar Road’, apparently on the basis of his interview with Buta Singh, that ‘Indira was out in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, with P V Narasimha Rao when Buta was asked by the Election Commission to pick up an election symbol; the choices were an elephant, a bicycle and an open palm. Buta was not sure which symbol he should choose, so he booked a trunk call to seek Indira’s approval. The line was not very clear, or, perhaps, Buta’s Hindi pronunciation was so thick that Indira kept hearing haathi (elephant) instead of haath (hand). She kept saying no to it even as Buta kept trying to explain that it was not the elephant, but the open palm symbol that he was advising her to pick. The comedy of errors continued till an exasperated Indira handed the telephone over to Rao. In a matter of seconds, Rao, master of more than a dozen Indian and foreign languages, understood what Buta was trying to convey.’
Between the two, Fotedar’s version appears more credible. For one thing, Buta Singh was not high enough in the party hierarchy at the time. He was a cheer-leader of Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency. After the post-Emergency split in the Congress, the Sanjay brigade had noisily supported Indira Gandhi and many of the Sanjay Gandhi supporters were suitably adjusted in the newly formed Congress (I). Buta Singh was appointed one of the AICC general secretaries.
Secondly, Indira Gandhi was never known to take important decisions in this casual manner. She would consult the people around her but once she had made up her mind, she would take the decision and remain firm on it. Besides, she has always been a superstitious woman and had become more so after the Congress debacle in the post-Emergency period. That she should have on her mind Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘hand raised in blessing’ at the time of deciding her party’s election symbol sounds plausible.
The Congress (I) fought its first election under the new symbol for the Delhi Municipal Corporation and won.
Ashok Rathore of Indore suspected the fidelity of Surekha, his wife of over 21 years. Puja, 19, was the eldest of their three children, the other two being boys. He was said to have engaged a doctor to conduct a narco analysis test on his wife to learn from her about the person or persons with whom she was having an affair. The test, it is said, came negative. Still, Ashok was not satisfied and shot his wife dead in the morning of July 18.
In the narco analysis test, the person’s imagination is neutralised by making him semi-conscious. , the term narco analysis is derived from the Greek word narkç meaning “anaesthesia” or “torpor” and is used to describe a diagnostic and psychotherapeutic technique that uses psychotropic drugs, particularly Barbiturates, which act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. These produce effects from mild sedation to anaesthesia. Synthesized first in 1903, Barbiturates are among the oldest of modern drugs. Three of the most popular Barbiturates, which have been in use in narco analysis, are: Sodium Amytal, Pentothal Sodium and Seconbarbital.
What is significant is that a “neutralised imagination” is not always coherent and also not necessarily able to restructure the events in proper chronological order. This can be easily seen in persons with delirium, because of high fever or some other disease, as to how they jump from yesterday to some happening in 30 years ago and how jumbled their memory becomes.
Reporting the Indore event in The Telegraph (Calcutta), Rasheed Kidwai quotes Dr Saifullah Tipu, senior anaesthesiologist with the Bhopal Memorial Gas Hospital, as pointing out that “narco tests are not proper but exceptions can be made only to assist police investigation in national interest”.
Interestingly, the use of narco tests (by whatever methods) to test wife’s fidelity appeared to be in vogue long before the present-day narco tests gained popularity. A Hindi short story “Vishleshan” (Analysis), written by Chakradhar Sharma some time in the 50s, has its plot on such a test.
Dr Subedar’s colleague, according to the story, falls in love with Subedar’s wife. The wife divorces Dr Subedar and marries his colleague. The colleague, a doctor himself, starts suspecting the fidelity of his wife and spends now most of his time at work.
Once it so happens that the wife comes home late in the night and the colleague takes it as almost a confirmation of the wife’s “affair”. He administers to her an injection to make her semi-conscious and then starts interrogating her. In the semi-conscious state, the wife tells him that she went to see her lover at Neelam Hotel; the two had their dinner in the Hotel; then they went to see a film; after that she spent a couple of hours at her lover’s flat. She, however, stubbornly refuses to give the name of the lover.
Mad with jealousy, the colleague injects the wife with poison and kills her. The next day he discovers that the Neelam Hotel had been closed more than a year ago. Then he recollects how he and (then Dr Subedar’s) wife had met at Neelam Hotel some two years ago, had their dinner there, gone to see a film together; and after that the wife had spent a couple of hours in his flat.