King and Com­moner


The monarch of yore is skil­ful in ex­ploit­ing old feu­dal ties. As his mo­tor­cade neared the vil­lage of Dabka where two score vil­lagers waited un­der a wel­come arch be­decked with the odd, with­er­ing bougainvil­lea, Mad­havrao Scin­dia alighted with a con­trolled royal swag­ger and, gaz­ing into the hori­zon with eyes full of nos­tal­gia, an­nounced: " Oh, this is where I had killed my first ti­gress. I know this vil­lage." He had done his home­work and knew that the vil­lage had a long- stand­ing de­mand for the con­struc­tion of a link road. " Let this elec­tion be over,” he promised, " and you will have your road so that I could drive to your vil­lage." Sud­denly, by co­in­ci­dence or de­sign, a vil­lage pri­est ap­peared on the scene and some­one sug­gested the " ma­haraja" ride to the vil­lage in­stead.

At nu­mer­ous pub­lic meet­ings ev­ery day Scin­dia invokes the name of his benev­o­lent grand­fa­ther who brought about tremen­dous eco­nomic, so­cial and agrar­ian re­form in his state and af­ter whom he has been named. “I am a grand­son of Mad­hav Ma­haraj,” he says, paus­ing to let the im­pli­ca­tion of the state­ment sink in, and then asks the old­est man in the au­di­ence: “Do you re­mem­ber how Mad­hav Ma­haraj ad­dressed the farm­ers?” Some­one says: “An­na­data”( the bread­giver). “That's what I say. Think of what we in the Congress( I) can do for you.”

De­cem­ber 3 1 , 1 984


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