Monday, August 04, 2008

Band Aid for Cancer -- MJ Akbar in Khaleej Times

Fantastic article

Band Aid for cancer

BY M J AKBAR (Byline)

4 August 2008
IN THE general elections of 2004 the irrepressible and sometimes irresponsible Lalu Prasad Yadav used to tow around a maulvi when in campaign mode. Nothing particularly wrong with that. Politicians have this tendency to turn mullahs into best friends at election time.

What was the particular competence of this maulvi that attracted Lalu Yadav? Was he a great aalim, or scholar, erudite in the finer points of Sharia? Was he a fine economist with specialised knowledge in the intricate problems of rural Bihar?

The reason was less subtle. He was a lookalike of Osama bin Laden. He even handed out autographs signed "Osama".

Lalu Yadav sent out two unmissable signals with his thoughtless pandering. He told non-Muslims that the true role model of all Bihar Muslims, irrespective of what they said in their politically-correct avatar, was a person whose name had become synonymous with terrorism. And he told Muslims, particularly their impressionable young, that Osama was a legitimate role model.

Did Mrs Sonia Gandhi, an ally of Lalu Yadav, question him or even raise the subject? Not a word. Votes were more important, even if they came in the name of Osama bin Laden. Did the subject arise when Mrs Gandhi offered Lalu Yadav a prominent place in Dr Manmohan Singh's Cabinet? No.
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