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The response to my column last week left me humbled. And, I am not the humble type. I cannot reply to everyone who tweeted the column, posted a like on Facebook or wrote a comment, so consider this my way of saying thank you to all of you. Almost all of you. Most of you approved of what I wrote about the exclusive private club called Lutyens Delhi conspiring to keep Narendra Modi out of national politics, but there were those who charged me with "always criticising" the Gandhi family. To them I repeat the words of Harry Truman. "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Those who enter public life must learn to accept public scrutiny. As a political columnist it is impossible for me to not comment on the Dynasty that has ruled India for nearly all our 66 years as a nation state.
Speaking of said Dynasty reminds me that the only other piece, in more than 25 years of this column's existence, which evoked a similarly overwhelming response was about Sonia Gandhi. This was in the summer of 2004 when for a brief moment it seemed as if she would become prime minister. Before her "inner voice" piped up and told her not to take the job, I wrote that it offended me that India should have an Italian prime minister. This was before Twitter and Facebook so the response came in letters to this newspaper, hundreds of them. Most people agreed with me. Those that did not wrote angry blogs reviling me. Some even called me a "Fascist".
This time my worst critics were more restrained, saying only that I now count among a new breed of "Hindutva journalists". What can I say? I am not a Hindu, I am not religious, but I am proud that India's religions, in their essence, give believers the right to question even the gods. It annoys me that the RSS and its ugly spawn, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, have never understood this and speak instead of the need to