Daniel Joseph Boonton, an American historian said, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
When a leader has illusions of knowledge and he suffers from delusions of grandeur, failure is inevitable. In addition, if a delusionist leader has wide-ranging powers without co-terminus responsibility, the result can be disastrous. People soon start to mock at such a leader but the leader, ensconced in his echo chamber, remains unperturbed.
Rahul Gandhi doesn’t hold any office in the Congress party, yet he wields more clout than the Congress President who happens to his mother. The mother, Smt Sonia Gandhi, once a formidable politician, appears to have been reduced to being just her son’s mother.
Just as Rahul’s uncle, Sanjay Gandhi, was able to do what he pleased during the 70s and early 80s, even if it meant overruling his mother, the then PM Smt. Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi too is running his own show in the Congress party, which was once popular across the length and breadth of our country.
Perhaps Rahul Gandhi considers himself as the modern day Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the Roman emperor from 161 to 180 CE. Rahul fantasizes that like Aurelius, he too is great philosopher and a great political leader. However, the only semblance of a virtue that Rahul possesses is a queer variety of stoicism that does not distinguish between stupidity and common sense.
In the past one year, since the Covid19 pandemic struck India, Rahul has become a pantomath of sorts, a man who wants to know everything and in fact knows everything. He has mastery over all the variants of Coronavirus. He is the one and only person, ordained by God, who can decree if the lockdowns induced by the rapid spread of the virus are good or bad.
As a rule, when PM Modi declares lockdown, it is disastrous but when his coalition partner, Shri Thackeray of Maharashtra, declares a lockdown, it is in the interest of the people. That is the theory propounded by Rahul Gandhi.
Similarly only Rahul Gandhi has the divine vision to foretell if Covaxin, the ICMR- Bharat Biotech developed vaccine against Covid19, is good enough for Indians or not.
One of the closest colleagues of Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Manish Tiwari, had said in January 2021 that, “Covaxin was licensed by the government for emergency use only, but now it is saying that the recipient will not have an option of pick and choose the vaccine. Indians are not guinea pigs.”
A few months later, the Congress ruled states are demanding more vaccines, including Covaxin, from the Union Government. Rahul Gandhi at his sole discretion signals to his aides to cast shadow of doubt over Covaxin one day, and make it a coveted brand on another day. He uses his inquisitiveness to ask if Covaxin has any bovine serum in it. He asks this innocently of course. He has no apprehensiveness, if his loaded sense of inquiry adds to the vaccine hesitancy. He is too big to be bothered about the small issues. He is after all the modern day version of Marcus Aurelius.
Rahul Gandhi also thinks that he is biggest strategy expert when it comes to vaccine procurement and distribution. In a letter to the Prime Minister on 8 April 2021, he said, “our states have been bypassed right from vaccine procurement to registration.” He also demanded a greater role for the state governments in vaccine procurement and distribution in the same letter.
However when the Union Government allowed the state governments the freedom to procure vaccines, Rahul Gandhi’s mother, the dejure leader of Congress party, signed a letter along with eleven other senior most leaders of the opposition parties, demanding the Union Government to procure all vaccines centrally and distribute them to the state governments.
There are whispers that Rahul Gandhi was too embarrassed to sign the letter and left it to his doting mother to sign the letter on behalf of the Congress party.
Rahul Gandhi’s hallucination of his being the greatest economist, most accurate soothsayer, most eminent epidemiologist and biggest éminence grise of the world is now well known. He visits schools, colleges and community gatherings and encourages people to ask questions of him but he often ends up doing push-ups and dance steps in response. Occasionally he makes his fans go wild with his sea jumping shows. This may leave the people bewildered but the people who surround him convince him that his acts make him the Hero of the masses. The old Congressmen, whatever is left of them, are left writing in pain and embarrassment.
Rahul Gandhi’s utterances on the rising market capitalization show his remarkable ignorance about business and economy. He does not celebrate when the Indian stock market rises to $3 trillion. Any other leader would have tweeted about it. This is a sure sign of Indians becoming surer of the equity culture. It is common knowledge that if corporates are able to raise equity, their dependence on banks would reduce substantially. Any undergraduate student of Economics would tell you that.
The world over, stock markets are regarded as the barometer that determine how investors evaluate a company in terms of past performance and short, medium and long-term prospects. Gone are the days when a company was considered great because of it sales revenue alone. A company is now termed as a great one if its market capitalization (market cap) commands a high value. That is why companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google are considered as the most valued enterprises in the world even though it is world’s biggest retailer, Walmart that has the highest sales revenue.
However, the Marcus Aurelius of Congress party does not think likewise. He equates the growth in market capitalization to profiteering and views it negatively.
He keeps making snide remarks about two companies whose growth has coincided with the rise in pandemic earlier this year. One of the companies that he often targets is Reliance Industries Limited. He is not happy to see the growth in its share prices.
Rahul believes that if the share of a company rises, then it is must be an act of collusion between the company and the Government of the day. He conveniently forgets that if the shares of a public listed company rise, all the shareholders of the company stand to gain from that appreciation. It is not just the promoters who grow rich, but also all the shareholders that include government entities like LIC and mutual funds of Government owned banks. A small investor also gains, even if nationally if he does not cash out, when the stock prices go up.
Rahul Gandhi perhaps doesn’t know that the share price of Government owned Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) also grew from Rs86 to Rs110 in the last one year. Perhaps the most accomplished businessperson in the Gandhi family, Shri Robert Vadra, should tell Rahul that the share price of Government owned State Bank of India has also grown from Rs185 to Rs420 in the last one year. It is time that someone told Rahul that the share price of SBI Cards and Payments Services Limited, has grown from Rs650 to Rs1000 in the last one year and the share price of Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has grown from Rs1440 to Rs2048 in the same period.
If Rahul Gandhi is unhappy with the rise of share price of RIL share that has grown from Rs1743 to Rs2097 then should he not be unhappy with the rise in share prices of companies that are owned by the Government of India (GOI)? I would like him to make his position known to us. Does he even understand the meaning and importance of market capitalization? His head would start spinning if someone told him that the share price of a new company, Happiest Minds, issued shares for Rs166 per share in September 2020 and it is now trading for Rs1178. This is a 600% appreciation in less than ten months. Why does Rahul Gandhi always target two companies for their growth?
May be he just confuses market cap with profit making that the Bombay club companies enjoyed during the era of licence- raj of his grandmother and his late great grandfather.
The GOI companies, IOC, SBI, SBI cards and IRCTC have become so much more valuable in the last one year. Their market cap has grown by 28%, 270%, 54% and 42% respectively. Why is that not a matter of satisfaction for him? If Rahul Gandhi thinks that the increase in market cap of RIL, which just grew by 20%, is a matter of concern, then the 270% increase in market cap of SBI should be a matter of grave enquiry for him. He should put the economists of Congress party to investigate if the GOI conspired to grow the stock so much.
The truth is that Rahul Gandhi has no clue about what he utters under the illusion of his own grandiosity. His excessive vanity gives the impression of his being narcissistic. To complicate the matters for Rahul, there is no one in the Congress party who has the audacity to question his self-obsessed behaviour. His close aides like Prof Rajeev Gowda add to Rahul’s sense of self-importance by proclaiming, “What Rahul Gandhi says today, PM Modi does tomorrow.”
Prof Gowda perhaps knows that to avoid the fury of narcissists it is easier just to go along with their demands and feed their egos.
This sums up the story of Rahul Gandhi. He thinks he is wise, but most think otherwise.
About the author: Dr. Sudhir Bisht, author and columnist, writes from New