NaMo, PaChi, chai, MaShAi and Mahabharatha

Those who know Gujarat politics know that its chief minister Narendra Damodardas Modi‘s claims of having been a tea-seller at Ahmedabad (or was it Vadnagar?) railway station in his youth is a minor “fake encounter with facts”. Sonia Gandhi‘s man friday from the land of Amul, Ahmed Patel, has helpfully clarified that Shri Modiji was only a fafda-seller at his uncle’s shop.

Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped some Congressmen from revealing their upbringing.

Mani Shankar Aiyar with Doon school, St. Stephen‘s college and Cambridge in his curriculum vitae said Modi could sell tea at the Congress office, prompting the BJP (or its corporate sponsors) to do some “Chai pe Kharcha” to organise Modi’s “Chai pe Charcha“.

More recently, when Modi began doing some major fake encounters with economic facts, finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, with Harvard on his CV, stepped in to remind the world that what the BJP’s “prime ministerial candidate” knew about economics could be written on the back of a postal stamp.

The condescending comments revealed the class prejudice prevalent in Indian society and politics, writes P.M. Vasudev in Deccan Herald. But it is not something Aiyar and Chidambaram discovered with Modi on the horizon; we have grown up with it since the time of the Mahabharatha:

“With many of the negatives in contemporary India, it is possible to trace to the Mahabharatha the attitude underlying the statements of Aiyar and Chidambaram.

“At the display by the Pandavas and Kauravas on completion of their training in military skills, their guru, Drona, dared any person in the assembly to challenge Arjuna.

“When Karna rose to do so, Drona insulted and humiliated him about his lowly social position as the son of a chariot-driver and questioned how he could dare challenge a prince.

“Of course, in doing so, Drona brushed aside the main issue – namely, the skills of the contestants.

“Betraying deep-seated rank prejudices, he taunted Karna about his social position. It is a different story that Duryodhana, who had his own agenda to put the Pandavas down, stepped in and made Karna the prince of a small state, so he could compete with Arjuna ‘on a par.’”

Read the full article: Class prejudice, competence & spirit of democracy

Photograph: courtesy Daily Bhaskar

Also read: Do they teach this at Harvard Business School?

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10 Responses to “NaMo, PaChi, chai, MaShAi and Mahabharatha”

  1. Nastika Says:

    Mahabharatha is a great story written among many other things to highlight these prejudices. It is a pity that Aiyar & Chidambaram haven’t learnt from the great epic :(

    BTW, P.M. Vasudev seem to suggest that these practices existed since Mahabharata. The fact is, that is precisely the reason why it was written – for education.


  2. s k muthanna Says:

    Mani shanked aiyer. needs to get out of his branded school n college fixation. Once upon a time the brands did matter and were winners always. Now the tables r turned and street smarts n street vendors r set to rule d roost. Grow up msa u r terribly outdated in your demeanour n thought!!

  3. Deepak Says:

    Ha ha, look at the words used in the article
    “More recently, when Modi began doing some major fake encounters with economic facts” – this is the language of Chidambaram and Churumuri using same language!!!?? Churumuri paid media of CON party – proved!! I rest my case, you honour!! LOL

  4. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Nastika, On the other hand, Aiyar and Chidambaram have learned well from the great epic. After all Aiyar’s ancestors it down on palm leaves and Chidambaram’s ancestors may well have financed the effort.

    What was the intent of the education in the epic. Perhaps one was: how to institutionalize such practices for eternity? If it was, how well they (we?) have succeeded with the brilliant caste system.

    Why would Aiyar and Chidambaram give it up now. They are only articulating their divine right laid down in the epics!

    Come now, dont tell me it is up to the reader of the epic to draw their own conclusions…

  5. asha Says:

    The Harvard Educated FM gave us double digit inflation and prices of essential commodities sky rocketing while ex-petroleum minister Monkey Shankar Liar was inducted into IFS because his mother begged JL Nehru to have him inducted into IFS. The result of this is for all to see..Monkey Shankar Liar quickly and efficiently started working for Pakistani’s and Chinese while he was in IFS…he even collected money during his Cambridge days to support the Chinese army during 1962 India China conflict. Churmuri of course continues to sing for its supper as expected.

  6. dhly Says:

    Its arrogant of both Aiyar and PC; But with Mahabharatha episode Only Roylaty were eligible for the contest. So, Dhuryodhana stepped in. Drona always wanted his favorite student Arjuna to win, thats how Ekalavya got the shaft.

    But what is overlooked is as always the play of Karma. Story of Karna is reeking with Karma. As is the Kaliyuga Retro.

  7. M Says:

    In politics, people always sympathize with the candidate whose profile is closer to that of an ordinary man. Doon, Stephen, Cambridge and Harvard are indeed great institutions of learning. But how many average Indians have even heard of them!

    In the primary election battle between Obama and Hillary in 2008, people sided with Obama because he had no means to say “I have been in the White House and so I know how to run a Presidency”.

    Democratic leadership in not about how special but how ordinary you are!

  8. Mithila Says:

    Did Gujurat Chief Minister sell tea during his student days? I am not sure about it. But, is it really relevent in our debate on future leadership. Remember, Abraham Lincoln was bon in a log cabin. His is remarkable story of the rise from humble beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land. But Lincoln is remembered for bringing about the amancipation of slaves.
    Here we have a PM candidate who is an autocrat , backed by corporate interests. A PM candidate considered a blot on India’s secular credentials. He is projected as a penecea for all our social and political maladies, but keen taking lessons on economics from Baba Ramdev.
    Gujurat is one of the fastest growing economies in the country. But study reveals that the state is the fifth hungriest. Who will fix this chronic gap between rich and poor? Narendra Modi? Not at all. Thats why I am in completee agreement with social activist Medha Patkar’s assesment of Narendra Modi when she said that she hasn’t seen a bigger liar than Modi while referring to Modi’s over-hyped Gujarat model of economy.
    A humble tea seller is secular and dosen’t differentiate his buyers.


  9. Anon Says:

    Media celebs don’t get sleep if they don’t bash NaMo. Yesterday attended a function in which the editor of a prominent Kannada daily took a dig at Namo almost unnecessarily. He hasn’t looted your personal wealth, then why this anguish & fear?

  10. asha Says:


    These MSM morons are shivering in their pants, because their 65 years of skullduggery and looting of the nation in tandem with the KKaangress will come to an end if NAMO becomes PM. That in a nutshell is the reason for their frustration and ranting against him. Added to that MSM has lost credibility in the last 5-6 years after the advent of social media and their bluff gets called almost instantly by SM.

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