If the Bard of Avon were to write a play using the ongoing developments in the Indian National Congress and their struggle to identify the next national president as material, how would it play out? Without a doubt, for categorisation, it would be a tragedy.
There would be the Central character, maybe an eponymous protagonist, ailing matriarch, Sonia Gandhi, the last real leader who could lead the party, rallying its quibbling fumbling leaders to a larger common purpose, and take Congress to electoral victories. But those celebrations and euphoria is now a distant memory.
The current mood is of confusion, of dithering leaders and wilting cadre, breaking down, pieces falling apart and away, with no cohesion, unity, or purpose.
Methinks, Shakespeare would possibly say, a madness without a method; neither past glory nor present purpose impacts their thick skulls, those gullible, cunning, naïve and scheming minions who charade as leaders, who watch, as things disintegrate.
Shakespeare would not miss the gloomy, distant, aloof, lost and dreamy prince, with no love in his life, no fragrance in his heart, no smile on his lips — given to melancholic soliloquys, or long, meandering monologues — words and phrases with lots of fury, signifying nothing.
This modern play of coming power and family, of contradictions based on highfalutin virtue and low personal ability propped up further with epic scenes and dialogues. There would be the introspective scene, for starters, to be the President, or not to be. Whether in the mind it is nobler to suffer….
Then the backroom intrigue scenes. O’ prince, my prince, please take the crown, holler and yell courtiers, three of them, one cunning, one noble and one both. But the prince has long since left, the shores of the kingdom.
The sister comforts the suffering mother, and tries to reinvigorate the spirits of the brother, and between the two, herself try to wrestle with the demons of ambition, overvaulting ambition that leaps and soars, but there, alas, she can’t rekindle her grandmother’s magic. The wicked people, hoi polloi, voters, citizens, have changed.
In contrast, the other side. In the land now is the reign of the terrible two, wizards from afar, who have spread the poison and hate through the waters, the lands and the airs so deep, people have become enthralled, captivated and shall do only their bidding. Not that I love the queen or her family less, says the supreme lord, but we love the land more. Hear, hear, the masses roar. He will destroy the first family, though he loves them much, the millions repeat, because noble wizard loves the land, and us people, more, much more.
The seven wicked witches, (mostly TV anchors), and four iron armour clad knights, (guardians of the four estates), are all now too weak to do anything, save cringe and impotently wallow. Let us elect a new head for the crown, the inner circle decides. The party looks around — for names, people, faces, characters, and all in good time — Ides of September. There is darkness around, a big storm brewing. The old soothsayer, gone senile, is screaming from afar — “if it were worth doing, it would be worth doing well”.
The twelve wise men sit for a last supper, watched by Sitaram Kesari’s ghost on the thirteenth empty chair, to decide on to the next successor for an agency of the dead empire, long after the last emperor who mattered has given up, and there is neither hope nor redemption left.
The king is dead, long live the king, they scream. They have found a new president. There is hope, they wishingly lie. But quite frankly, everyone has gone to sleep in the entire kingdom, and no one, quite frankly, cares, a dime, anymore....