Tantia Tope, Laxmi Bai, Scindia

S Islam

Veteran Congress leader Ashok Ghelot, currently chief minister of Rajasthan accused Jyotiraditya Scindia of betraying trust of the people and Congress ideology as well. True, joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a time of national crisis speaks volumes about the leader's indulgent political ambitions. This man of Gwalior Royal family found a right place for him. He is now in a party that is ruining the economy, democratic institutions built over the years adhering to the principles as enshrined in the Constitution, social fabric, plurality of the society, and independence of judiciary. They want to thrive at any cost. The country doesn't matter. Nor do they bother about national interests. That Mr Scindia worked for investment bank Morgan Stanley is a well-known fact and this connection is said to have become a key factor in Mr Scindia's decision to join BJP. In Modi regime corporates decide everything. The talks of Scindia to jump ship reportedly started about six months ago. It was only two months ago that 49-year old met Amit Shah and said goodbye to INC—Indian National Congress. There is nothing new in his unqualified support to Modi. He was the first Congress man to hail 'Modi's' 'bold attempt' to abrogate Article 370 in Kashmir but the Ghelots didn't react then. In truth a large number of Congress men are in favour of abrogating 370 but they cannot express their views openly.

It is a tragedy that India being the largest showpiece of functioning parliamentary democracy continues to be plagued by kings and queens. The Scindia Royal family has a chequred history of betraying national interests since the days of India's first independence war in 1857.

Princely states were stooges of British Raj and the Scindias served as lackeys of East India Company to defeat the great Sepoy Mutiny. As for ideology that Mr Ghelot talked about while labeling charges against Mr Scindia he didn't explain what actually he meant. Congress Party's repeated attempts to grill BJP over communalising polity makes no sense because talking about communalism without attacking its economic base is ludicrous.

It was/is shameful for any democratic party in India to allow the members of this royal family to function as democrats. The 1857 British gazetteer speaks for itself:
Rani Laxmi Bai was martyred by the joint armed forces of Scindias and East India Company. And one of the leading commanders of 1857 War Of Independence Tantia Tope was captured in Gwalior State ruled by the Schindia clan and executed on 18 April, 1859 in Shivpuri, part of the Gwalior State.

On May 30th (1858) Tantia Tope and Laxmi Bai, 'the Rani of Jhansi', appeared before the Gwalior court and called on the Scindias to join them. Jivaji Rao not only refused but without waiting for the column on its way from Agra, led out his troops against them on June 1st. But his army, ironically, except the Maratha bodyguard , went over en masse to the 'enemy camp' and he and Dinkar Rao had to fled to Agra.

On the 16th June Sir Hugh Rose arrived at Gwalior and, after a battle lasting two days, occupied the fort and town of Gwalior and the city of Lashkar. On the 20th Scindia, accompanied by Sir Hugh Rose and Major Macpherson was reinstated in his capital.

For his services in crushing 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, lands worth over 3 lakh a year revenue were made over to him, while he was allowed to increase his infantry from 3,000 to 5,000 men and his artillery from 36 to 36 guns. The story of betrayal has a long background and the tradition continues….

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Vol. 52, No. 41, April 12 - 18, 2020