Memories of another time and Lalu Yadav's journey to jail
Lalu recalled some of the statistics in it and rattled off things from it like the credit/deposit ratio's, the investment in irrigation and rural development, and the destructive freight equalization policy
Mohan Guruswamy Delhi
I am always sad when I see someone big being taken down. I detested Saddam Hussain and Muammar Gadaffi, but the manner of their end nevertheless made me sad. That final helplessness when the law or foes close in can never be comprehended by anyone but the loser. I feel sorry for the Lalu at the moment the doors of the Birsa Munda jail shut behind him. It truly is a tragedy of epic proportions. At full flight he was a sight to behold and a voice to marvel. He represented forces that never before sat on the high table where power and resources are allocated. When once asked as to what he did for poor people, he just replied: "swarg tho nahi diya, par swar zaroor diya." But there was another Lalu that took over. This was the megalomaniacal side of him that did not restrain him from accepting the limits societal mores and norms insisted upon.
Instead of learning from his guru Karpoori Thakur that to be invincible and unmoved from your essential instincts you have to be honest to the core and above all be seen to be that by all. Ironically enough the foundations of the great chara ghotala was laid during Karpoori Thakur's Chief Ministerial regime (Yashwant Sinha was his Principal Secretary), when disbursement of funds was decentralized somewhat to directly benefit the core constituency of the former Janata Party - the backward classes and Muslims coalition. The upper classes and the dalits were not cattle-herders and hence this 'reform' was meant to benefit the innermost core of that constituency - the Yadavs. Therefore there is some irony in that the roots of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s destruction were laid in the courts of his hero and mentor.
I first met Lalu Yadav in 1988 when I accompanied VP Singh to two desolate villages near Jehanabad, Baghaura and Dalelchak where the Maoist Co-ordination Committee massacred 54 Rajputs. It was still early days for the now out of Congress VP Singh, and he was seeking to shore up his Rajput base in his fight against Rajiv Gandhi. The bigger Thakur’s were all opposed to him. Anyway, soon after we arrived at Patna airport, Sharad Yadav disappeared and just VP Singh, Ramdhan and a few of us went to meet with the aggrieved Thakur’s and the terrorized Dalits who were awaiting retaliatory attacks. That happened no sooner we left.
But next day back in Patna, Sharad Yadav suggested to me that we have lunch at Lalu Yadav's place. So we went off to a small tin roofed quarters of the Veterinary College where the future Bihar CM received us and seated us on a bench. Before lunch he handed us a small towel each and we washed our hands and face while he drew water from hand pump. Sharad Yadav and myself sat facing each other with our legs on either side of the bench and two steel thals were laid in front of us. A pedestal fan fought valiantly against the heat and humidity. The meal was very frugal, but piping hot made up for everything it may have lacked. Rice, dhal and a couple of subzis. I turned down the dahi as I had a notion that anything in Bihar not boiling hot is not edible. I asked for hot tea that washed down the meal instead of the liquid that came from the frayed nozzle of the creaking hand pump.