The one-man army, popularly known as Subramaniam Swamy, has again raised a controversy about India’s Family No. 1 without verifying the facts. Earlier Swamy had claimed that Sonia Gandhi became Indian citizen without surrendering her Italian citizenship. This time he has discovered that more than a decade back Rahul Gandhi had claimed it to be a British citizen.
I did some research to find out how it happened. I will share the inside story with you.
Rahul was in London in connection with the registration of his company. He had to declare his ‘nationality’. He felt irritated but was told that he had to furnish the information. He looked around for a dictionary but it was not there. He rang up mom who was in Delhi. When the phone call came Mom was in a serious discussion with Digvijay Singh about the future of India. Digvijay Singh, always eager to come to Madam’s help, rushed to lift the receiver but was stopped. The call had come on a phone none other than other Sonia and Rahul were allowed to use. The brief conversation was like this.
‘Yes, dear, what’s the problem?’
‘Mama, what is my nationality?’
‘What? Who has asked you? Are you holding a press conference? I told you several times not to hold any press conference without my presence.’ Mama was a bit annoyed.
‘No Mama, I’m not holding any press conference. How can I do that without your permission? Actually, I’m completing a form for the registration of my new company. I have to write something against the column, nationality.’
‘What a stupid question? Asking the future Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy such a silly question?’
‘Mama, I know it is a silly question but the fellows here are not ready to accept the form unless I write my ‘nationality’. Please tell me what does it mean and what is my nationality?’
‘Hold on for a minute. I will have to check.’
She asked Digvijay Singh to get a dictionary from her study room. Digvijay Singh rushed to her study room and brought The Concise Oxford Dictionary.
‘Find out the meaning of the word ‘nationality’. Quick.’ She ordered Digvijay Singh.
Digvijay Singh found out. ‘Ma’am, there are two meanings: one, the status of belonging to a particular nation and two, an ethnic group forming a part of one or more political nations.’
Ma’am got annoyed. ‘What does it mean, belonging to a particular nation? How dare they ask Rahul which nation he belongs to? A nation belongs to us, I mean to Rahul and me.’
‘Very true, Ma’am. Please tell me the problem I can find a solution in no time.’
‘There in England, the English authorities are asking Rahul, my innocent child, his ‘nationality’.’
‘Ma’am, perhaps they want to know his citizenship.’ The wise man understood the problem.
That upset Ma’am even more. She never liked the word ‘citizenship’. She took a deep breath. She had to be cautious this time. She asked Digvijay Singh to find the meaning of the word ‘citizenship’ in the dictionary.
Digvijay Singh again turned the pages of The Concise Oxford Dictionary.
‘Yes Ma’am, I found it. Unfortunately, again there are two meanings: one, a legally recognised subject or national of state or Commonwealth and two, an inhabitant of a town or city.’
A cautious and loving mother did not want her son to get involved in any legal issue though she knew that India was part of the Commonwealth. She decided to play safe.
She resumed her conversation with Rahul. ‘Sorry dear for making you wait. I have verified. Where are you at the moment?’
‘I’m in London, Mama.’
‘Very good. I know London. It is a beautiful city. Since you are presently residing in London, you are an inhabitant of London. Since London is in Britain, you are an inhabitant of Britain. So, you are citizen of Britain. That means your ‘nationality’ is Britain.’
‘Is that so, Mama? I can write ‘British’ against the column for nationality?’
‘By all means, clear. You can be doubly sure of that. Right now you are an inhabitant of a British city and India and Britain are parts of the same Commonwealth. Please go ahead. Best of luck for your commercial business there and political business here.’
‘Thanks, Mama, for help and advice. I love you, Mama.’
‘I too love you, dear.’
The conversation between the Mama and the son was over. Madam turned to Digvijay Singh. ‘Thank you very much, you are always so helpful.’
Digvijay Singh bowed before Ma’am and said with a broad smile, ‘Always at your service, Ma’am.’ He was happy. His future in the party was secure.
Subramaniam Swamy and media are making much ado about nothing. Instead of blaming The Concise Oxford Dictionary, they are blaming Rahul Gandhi. How unfair!
(The views expressed in the article are personal, the author is a former Indian Revenue Services officer)