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
MADHAVRAO SCINDIA: FEUDALTIES