On the drowsy midsummer night of May, though tired to the bone, I was not able to catch sleep. The old ceiling fan too was making a disturbing noise and the summer heat was penetrating through the window panes. Unable to bear the heat anymore, I chose to move out of my house in the last lane of Daryaganj towards the ring road. The night silence was occasionally broken by shrilling barks of the stray dogs or the watchman’s whistle. Walking past the fire station, I reached the ring road. The road was perhaps closed for repairs, as there was no vehicular traffic. Across the road, the green lawns of Shakti -Sthal appeared to be cooler. I therefore decided to venture into the park inside. Unmindful of the security, I squeezed myself inside the wicket gate. The sky was blue dotted with white clouds floating here and there. Indeed the climate inside was much cooler.
I little later as I walked towards the Samadhi, I got scared at the sight of a shadow moving in the inside lawn. From the sketchy figure, I could relate it to Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, attired in a closed neck coat and a cap on head. The gait of the shadow with both hands clasped on the back and shoulders leaning to the front too matched with Pandit Nehru as I could link the figure with the many photographs of his persona I had seen in the exhibition room. The ghostly figure was soon joined by another one and it was that of a woman clad in saree. From the hairdo of this figure, I could easily relate it to that of Indira Gandhi. From Shanti Van perhaps Pandit Nehru had come to meet his daughter. The woman bowed before the male figure and the two started strolling closely. From behind the hiding, I was dumb struck as I saw another shadow moving in the direction. A frail figure clad in white dhoti kurta and cap on the head, it was definitely that of Chaudhary Charan Singh. He had walked here all the way from Kisan Ghat, I presumed. The three appeared to be gloomy and sad.
Now I could hear them talk as they walked closer to the bush I was hiding behind. Tomorrow the nation would be observing your 55thdeath anniversary, father, the woman appeared to be saying. Yes, the gloomy voice came out as the third figure was trying to keep pace with the two. I am sad, Pandit Nehru uttered, and so am I the woman uttered in a low tone. Our long legacy has been lost by your third generation, said Pandit Nehru. I am ashamed to see that your grandson and granddaughter have failed abysmally in the Lok Sabha elections this time again. The fatigued woman was deeply thoughtful. I wonder what all went wrong in the upbringing by my bahu Sonia, who had bravely remained the center of power for long after the demise of my son Rajiv. The congress party now appears to be scattered with each one of the past stalwarts engaged in promoting their own wards.
Suddenly from nowhere another figure appeared from the dark. The cool looking person touched the feet of Pandit Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Charan Singh. Like you all, I too was turning and tossing restlessly in my Vir Bhoomi Samadhi, said the young figure whom I could easily relate to Rajiv Gandhi. It is indeed a sad day for all of us. The seat of Amethi that I had long reared with my blood and sweat has too been lost by my innocent son. The fault is not that of Rahul,baba, said the woman, he was never interested in politics and was forcefully dragged into it by the party cadres while your wife Sonia too failed to gauge the consequences. But it is indeed shameful that the congress party has once again been reduced to limit itself to double digits failing to get the official opposition status.
Just a few days back as they had assembled at Vir Bhoomi on my 18thanniversary, everything appeared to be good. All of my family members were hopeful of scoring good numbers in this Lok Sabha election and forming the next government with the alliance of third front. It is just unbelievable. One after the other debacles are continuing, Rajiv appeared to be saying.
Now the lean and thin figure in white attire too entered the conversation saying that his son Ajit Singh and grandson Jayant too had lost the elections and what to talk of the Rashtriya Lok Dal party reared by me for long. You are right Chaudhary ji, said the woman. The entire political atmosphere has undergone a change.
The masses whom we could win with empty promises and a few morsels are now an enlightened lot. They don’t need just money idling at home but they look for productive work too, I feel. True, they are more sensitive to their dignity as well as the dignity of the Nation, uttered the woman. It is high time that the congress party should change its strategy of playing the blame game and contesting elections on their own strengths, came the conclusive voice from the long coat attired person. And what about the interests of farmers, I had long been fighting for, questioned the figure in white dhoti kurta?. Chaudhary ji, remember these very farmers used to be funding the coffers of erstwhile kings and later the British government without any doles, said the woman in saree. And in spite of all the subsidies of free power, subsidized fertilizers and seeds, and the MSP, they continue to reel under poverty with instances of many of them committing suicides as a result of being under heavy debts, the graceful woman uttered.
Perhaps my scheme of MNREGA was a folly as it produced an entire generation of idlers. A Nation preferring to survive without work, the woman added. May be, but I am not a party to it, you know, the man in long coat said. I also find that the core value of being a secular party too is fading away, he muttered. Does our scheme of promoting the cause of minority communities with reservations too does not hold any good, he asked. No, but the ploy has been stolen by other parties and has lost its relevance in elections, Rajiv seemed to have said.
So what is the recourse everyone asked Nehru in one voice. The solution is devising schemes to promote the dignity of poor masses rather than making them do with freebees. Generate employment by implementing labor-intensive industries that could substitute imports as well as raise duty of items of mass consumption. The farming community may be advised to involve in cooperative farming and build their own warehouses as not to depend on ‘ahrtiyas’. Let the ‘ahrtiyas’ come to them instead of the farmers going to them. They should be taught to produce more than three crops a year the quality of which should be preferred in the international markets, said the man in long coat. Yes, the woman in saree moved her head in affirmation. There is a need to again promote cottage industries all over the country to generate avenues of employment in the remotest villages. We need to stop misguiding the farmers with agriculture loans that are not required to be paid back. Ultimately it will tell on the health of the very public sector banks I had so dearly nationalized, said the woman. I think you are right, Chaudhary ji appeared to be saying. But how to convey these words of wisdom to the members of our clan, the woman asked. As they looked around, afraid of being spotted behind the bush I tried to escape and in the effort, a thorn pierced my arm. With a cry as I opened my eyes, I was lying on my cot and the charging pin of my mobile phone had injured my shoulder. Bewildered, I got up from bed and tried to recall the dream as it re – flashed before my eyes. And before I forget, I texted it on my phone which I am pleased to share.