We are becoming too sensitive. Last week, 8 persons attempted suicide in Rajkot to get the cow declared as Mother of the Nation. (Pls read http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/rajkot-8-attempt-suicide-demanding-cow-be-declared-as-rashtra-maata/). A few months back, a Shiv Sena MP had demanded the same. (Pls read http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/declare-cow-as-mother-of-the-nation-shiv-sena-mp/).
This was bound to happen. After declaring Gandhiji as the Father of the Nation, we stopped at that. Didn’t our founders know that Indians are clannish & other national icons should have been so honoured to avoid controversies? With a strong Prime Minister leading a government having a full majority, I request the Government of India to set up a committee and recommend names for the full set of national icons.
To get this going, here are my suggestions for our National Family:
Father: Let’s stick to the venerable MK Gandhi. That there is no other claimant for the position is evidence enough of his universal acceptance.
Mother: I don’t really back the cow for I want real humans. But I don’t want to have people dying on this account. Also, I will never annoy the Shiv Sena. So, Cow gets my vote for as the Rashtra Mata. Also, the cow has never been considered an animal, rather a part of the family, in our rich tradition. It has also taught us to be modest & humble. I remember, as a kid, we used to say "gai humari mata hai, humko kuchh nahi aata hai". It is still the same story.
Chacha: Nehru has occupied this position for a long time & Indians don’t rock the family boat. So, Nehru remains the Chacha.
Tau: I would go for Sardar Patel, simply because he was older than Nehru & Nehru is the Chacha. But at a time when the Jats are not in the best of moods, let us opt for the original Tau of indian politics – Devi Lal. Isn't a Jat being the Rashtra Tau a far greater honour than anything else? We can now hope that the Jats will forget about reservations for a few years. And that the railways will be able to peacefully move men and goods around.
Mausi: If Cow is the mother, shouldn’t Buffalo be the maternal aunt? After all, gai-bhais are always spoken as a pair. Buffaloes, though not revered as the cows, have been an equally integral part of agrarian life. And Mausis have always been an integral part of the family lore. Even Sholay, the first celebration of male bonding, had a Mausi playing a pivotal role in the movie.
Mama: Now this is the most difficult position. Who should be the role model, Shakuni or Kans? But we are selecting a national icon & Kans is definitely not a role model. My vote goes to Digvijay Singh, being the mentor of Rahul Gandhi in his (so far) failed political journey. For all the good intentions backing the wrong horse, shouldn’t this be the only criterion to emulate Shakuni mama? Diggy Raja wins hands down.
Bua: Umpteen no. of movies (the David Dhawan-Govinda ones are recalled immediately) have had a spinster Bua in a key role, who is wooed by the father/uncle of her nephew’s/neice’s love interest. Reminds you of Jayalalitha? Same here, and so it is her as our Rashtra Bua. Whether in prison, or out of it, she is the most sought after neta by the political backroom boys in Delhi.
Didi: This is a no-contest with Mamata Banerjee the only claimant. (If you do not find an image here, you can very well guess why!)
Bhaiya: Only a UPwala can fill this position for obvious reasons! We can consider the Biharis too, but the greatest of them (Laloo Prasad) will never be accepted by the proposed Rashtra Mata & Rashtra Mausi. Since beginning, every street level wannabe politician in UP has aspired to be the CM & every state level neta has considered himself to be a potential PM. A difficult choice, this one, as every UPwala thinks he is a political strategist. But I have the solution! As a national icon, who can match the Chhora Ganga Kinarewala? Even the most bhaiya of bhaiyas would agree.
Beta: Another no brainer. The one who has managed to stay a youth icon even deep into his middle age, the one who is (Congress’s) hope for the future, the one who is still feeling his steps in the world… Can there be any other National Kid?
Beti: Left out because our nation/society/tradition does not love, respect or care for our daughters.
Which completes our Rashtra Parivar, as far as I am concerned. But these are only suggestions from my side. For, I am a nobody & believe our netas are better suited for the job. I am sure, amidst all the walk-outs & sit-ins in the parliament, they will manage to find time for this job in national interest.