Thoughts on economics and liberty

India’s ruler who doesn’t know even ONE Indian language: Sonia Gandhi’s ढोंग

This must be true. From a speech given yesterday in Samrala, Panjab. I've not located the source on the internet, yet, but there is significant evidence, which I discuss below.  [Addendum. I've been provided the source:

What I can read from the notes is: "captain amrinder singh, Ambika Soni Ji, … ndar Kaur Bhah??, rak ji, bk han prasad, Singh libra ji, sanai aur viro ki is bhumi ko me ni karti hu". The proper one is: "Swadhinta senani aur viro ki is bhumi ko me naman karti hu" (as noted above in the image).

Evidence of the veracity of these "notes":

a) "Clad in a salwar kameez and donning a mustard duppata". (Tribune) The notes clearly have the salwar as background. The salwar kameez matches the picture in The Hindu.

b) "The UPA chairman was presented a siropa and a shawl by PCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh, MP Partap Bajwa and AICC incharge GS Charak." Amarinder Singh is clearly mentioned in the notes.

c) The bodyguard depicted above matches the one in the picture here, in The Hindu.

d) I've cropped and turned upside down a small section of the picture of Sonia sitting on the chair. It looks like this:

This little snapshot is difficult to read but had this picture been taken with a powerful digital SLR (as it almost certainly was), then it it likely would have, if blown up, matched the image above (which shows the detailed text).

e) While Indians are smart, it is rare for a picture to be "doctored" so quickly and so genuinely. I therefore rule out doctoring of this picture. This is a genuine article. It is also very rare for someone to be smart enough to strike out words, and generally create such a powerful impression of authenticity. 

Ideally I'd like to see the original high density 4-6 MB picture from which the "notes" were identified. Nevertheless:

I'm almost 99 per cent convinced about the authenticity of the above picture of Sonia Gandhi's "notes". 

If true, it is a sign of EXTREME SHAME for India, that we couldn't find ONE PERSON who knows an Indian language, to govern India.

An Italian who had learnt a Indian language (and taken Indian citizenship) might have been tolerated as the head of India's ruling party. But this is intolerable. A foreigner effectively ruling independent India.

And we have the shameful picture of a Sikh "honoring" this "Indian" foreigner with a sword. The entire Sikh religion is besmirched by such actions.


This is as authentic as it gets:

Thanks, AS Raghunath.


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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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46 thoughts on “India’s ruler who doesn’t know even ONE Indian language: Sonia Gandhi’s ढोंग
  1. Bhagwad Jal Park

    Two things – I have a problem with the language Indians use to describe the government in power. I find "ruling party" an extremely offensive term. In India, no one is supposed to "rule". We allow entities to "govern". Another idiotic phrase only used in India is "in power". Both "ruling party" and "in power" show the relationship we Indians have with our politicians. We view ourselves as subjects rather than the owners of the country.

    Second, I couldn't really care less about what language a person can and cannot speak. Doesn't affect me in any way.

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Agreed. I used the term “ruler” as shortcut. I’d like to have used “head of elected political party” but that’s too long.

    Disagree ENTIRELY with your view that “I couldn’t really care less about what language a person can and cannot speak. Doesn’t affect me in any way”.

    How can Sonia Gandhi possibly represent India when she could not pick up ONE language properly in the many decades of her life in India? Most IAS officers learn a totally new language within the first year of the job. That’s often in addition to the COMPULSORY exam on at least one Indian language. Why is this the case? Because it is necessary to connect with India at multiple levels (including understanding the literature).

    The US is largely a free country would not tolerate someone who was not born in USA becoming its leader. And if ANY (US) leader were not able to read and write English, it would be the end of that leader’s prospects. In India we have absurd empty headed people like you who don’t understand the BASICS of the social contract and preach reckless meaningless libertarian views. According to you if the British were to come back, that would be fine, too. Such is the emptiness of thought that you represent.

    Language is the root of society. For Sonia not to know EVEN ONE Indian language enough to be able to write it, is SIMPLY INTOLERABLE.


  3. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    On FB:


    Vishal Kumar Singh Why blame Sonia Gandhi ? Blame Indian people for electing congress who in turn gave Sonia Gandhi the power. Shame on you and me.

    Sanjeev Sabhlok True. Well said!

  4. Bhagwad Jal Park

    Come Sanjeev – ad hominem arguments again? "absurd empty headed people like you…" Have you ever heard me refer to you in these terms?
    Coming to the British, if the British gave everyone equal rights, established democracy, treated everyone equally, and maintained proper law and order, why would you or anyone for that matter have a problem? What is the goal here? The goal is to live peacefully without oppression and with freedom and rule of law. The goal is not to have a person speaking a particular language at the top.
    Are you more concerned with ends or are you ideological about the color of a person's skin and the language they speak?

  5. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Yes, sometimes ad hominem becomes imperative. It was a conscious decision to potentially distance myself greatly (and publicly) from your approach.

    And as expected, you did confirm my worst expectation – indifference between whether India is governed by Indians or by the British (or anyone else). “if the British gave everyone equal rights, established democracy, treated everyone equally, and maintained proper law and order, why would you or anyone for that matter have a problem?”

    Of course there is a problem!!

    This argument violates the very foundational principle of the social contract – that it is the PEOPLE of a society (with appropriate boundaries) who must send their representatives to govern the society. Surely the people of India did not OFFICIALLY INVITE THE BRITISH to come over and govern India. [Although there were many cases of UNELECTED Indian kings officially inviting the British to help them against other Indian kings].

    That’s the problem.

    Had the British settled down in India (as Ruskin Bond and many others did, for instance), and been ELECTED to represent the Indians, that would have been acceptable (although I’d still want the condition of birth in India to be considered carefully). That, however, was not how the British came to power in India.


  6. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    Bhagwad —

    Hear! Hear!

    Sanjeev —

    1. Ad hominem never becomes imperative. It is a logical fallacy. Just because it helps your argument in some way does not negate its fallciousness.

    2. Also taking your conclusion to the logical end — The Indian Prime Minister must know Tamil (and Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Oriya, Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi, Assamese . . .) because by your logic if s/he wants to govern Tamil Nadu (don’t forget the Central government does govern the states via the union list) s/he must know the language of Tamils. Do you know anybody who knows ALL indian languages?

    3. According to your interpretation of the social contract — people of a society choose their representatives to govern their society. On what basis can you claim that Sonia Gandhi has not been chosen by the people (at least the people of Rae Bareilly)? According to your interpretation Sonia Gandhi is just as much a representative as any other person who knows atleast one Indian language (and BTW do you have any knowledge of whether Sonia is unable to read, or understand or talk in Hindi?)

    4. And lastly should one feel a need to identify with politicians (via a shared language, heritage, religion, caste etc) or judge the politican based on performance (disregarding any shared language, heritage, religion, caste etc)?

  7. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear PD

    Ad hominem is the end result of serious differences of opinion. A generalisation based on other evidence. In this case I provided the evidence – which was obvious to all but Bhagwad (but presumably you aren’t persuaded?). I agree that logic should remain the first port of call.

    I did not say that Sonia was not properly elected. I haven’t challenged her legitimacy UNDER THE CURRENT LAWS (I might disagree with the fact that someone not born in India is able to head the largest political party and even officially be eligible to become Prime Minister – so the situation is not permanently legitimate).

    I’m more ashamed that Indians couldn’t find someone who knows at least ONE Indian language, to represent them.

    Sonia Gandhi needs to use the Roman script to write simple Hindi. That’s sufficient proof of her inability to write Hindi (speaking is a different matter).

    It is not expected that an Indian politician know ALL Indian languages, but at least one! That’s just an expectation. Not yet a law. Ultimately, that might need to be made a condition, as well. It is such a basic requirement of being Indian.

    Re: “identifying” with pollies, sorry, there is no question of that. However, these people are REPRESENTATIVES. Can a square peg represent a billion round pegs?


  8. Polevaulter Donkeyman


    You ask can a square peg repesent round pegs. I ask (for example) can a non-dalit represent dailts? Can a muslim represent non-muslims?

    There is only one criteria for representation. Can the representative competently represent his/her constituency? Whether one can read Hindi in devanagri is irrelevant (that is no barrier to communication)

    There are many other, more legitimate grounds to attack Sonia. What do you think your classical liberal heroes would say?

  9. Bhagwad Jal Park

    Ahem – I said the British should also give us democracy. So surely your statement "who must send their representatives to govern the society" is meaningless no? If the people want to elect foreigners, who are you to preach otherwise to them? We are all humans. What is this "foreigner" nonsense?
    The fact that the US will not elect a foreigner is a shame to them and a credit to us. They must be more like us IN THIS respect, not the other way around!
    Coming to ad hominems, I think you need to learn the difference between a person's IDEAS and the person themselves. You can call my IDEAS thick headed if you wish and distance yourself as far as you want from them. But to call ME thick headed is uncalled for and frankly quite cheap. It's not something I would say to you no matter how violently I disagree with you – and going by our exchanges in the past, this has been the case quite frequently.
    In fact, you ALREADY understand this which is why you said "It was a conscious decision to potentially distance myself greatly (and publicly) from your approach." The operative word being my APPROACH…not ME.
    So no – ad hominems are never an imperative. The fact that you say this leads me to suspect you don't appreciate the difference between a person's ideas and the person who owns them.

  10. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear PD

    I speak only for myself. In my view I’ve already said enough about the socialist policies of Congress, and the shoddy quality of representation it provides. This information about Sonia merely adds to the sense I get of India being ripped off.


  11. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Bhagwad

    It is absurd to live in a theoretical world (“If the people want to elect foreigners, who are you to preach otherwise to them?”) which has no empirical content.

    And yes, I’d strongly oppose the idea of foreigners contesting elections in India. Why don’t you take this proposal to the Indians and see how they react!!

    This absurd delusional thinking that has NO RELATIONSHIP with reality is why I sternly criticise liberatarianism of all stripes (leftist – being yours, and “rightist” being PD’s). Both you and PD end up in TOTAL CONFUSION on many (not all!) issues.

    It is “empty headed people like you” that I criticised. The operative word is empty headedness, a voluntarily chosen state of mind. You are free to use practical empirical knowledge to fill it, should that be convenient to you. The last time I challenged you to write a rational suicide letter. That has not yet been presented. This time I ask you to take a proposal to India’s parliament to elect British citizens to the Indian parliament. Try a movement of the sort that Anna ran. Do some fasting (since you defend Anna). Try dying for your EMPTY ideas, for a change.


  12. Ashish Deodhar

    Don't you think this post is a bit populist? How does it matter what language a person speaks? Don't we have many Indians who can't speak their own mother tongue very well (or prefer not to)?
    To the extent that Sonia Gandhi's lack of mastery over any Indian language demonstrates that she isn't connected to the masses, I will reluctantly accept your argument but I don't think most of the readers of this blog will interpret it that way.
    Unfortunately, Sonia Gandhi's race and nationality has greatly distracted people's attention from Congress's real failure. Resorting to the cheap politics of race and place of birth (I am not suggesting that you are resorting to it but I know a few very prominent bloggers who do!) defies the purpose.
    Forget Sonia Gandhi. She's here today, gone tomorrow. Congress and its socialist ideology is the real problem; the only problem! It was as much a problem when it was headed by Indians as it is today when it is headed by an Italian – the question of race, colour, nationality is a red herring. 

  13. Bhagwad Jal Park

    If you recall, I DID write your suicide letter. That was a theoretical challenge by you, and I took it up. Just because something is "theoretical" doesn't mean that it's not worthy of discussion.
    The fact that you need to indulge in abuse and rhetoric to prove your case points to a certain lack of persuasive points.

  14. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Ashish

    I’m noting my serious concern that someone who heads India’s largest political party doesn’t have even the knowledge to write one Indian script. The fact of Congress incompetence and harm caused to India I’ve documented 100s of times.

    Yes, to me the matter of birth is not settled yet. In the more mobile world you have today, birth might not be as big a deal as it was in the past. And I have no objection to Rajiv Gandhi marrying an Italian. Indeed, people should be free to marry whomsoever they wish. But then to foist this half-educated person on India is a very big issue, and raises the matter of birth as a qualification for high office. That would be the case regardless of the competence of such a person.

    The matter is not settled. To make sure that such a thing doesn’t happen again, I’d want a significant review of this matter from first principles, else you’ll soon get people like Bhagwad who petition for British citizens to be allowed to become India’s Prime Minister.

    This is NOT about “race or colour”. It is about nationality, the foundational concept of a nation. I was in two minds about Sonia Gandhi entering politics. Now I’m becoming seriously concerned that such a person is heading India’s largest political party and was technically elected to be Prime Minister.


  15. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Bhagwad

    I’m happy to review the said “rational suicide” letter again, but my recollection is that such a thing doesn’t exist. I know it is asking too much (I’m sure you are as busy as I am) but could you please refer me in the right direction (URL)? I’d like to refresh my memory on the said letter.

    I’m not indulging in abuse! No foul words used. Just debatable, parliamentary words. Yes, rhetoric, sure.

    Theory without reference to reality is NONSENSE. That is my main point.

    I’d like to see ACTION behind your words.

    I’d like to see you make full preparations for your (or a close family member’s) rational suicide instead of talking theoretical rubbish re: “self-ownership”.

    I’d like to see you fast to death in a public place for a “Petition to Request British Citizens to Represent India and Become Our Minsters”.

    All other stuff is precisely that: stuff and nonsense.


  16. Bhagwad Jal Park

    Sanjeev, I suggest you forget looking at "nationality" and look at "humanity" instead. We're all humans. And if a person follows the law and support the basic principles of a free country (including democracy itself), it doesn't matter which patch of land they were born in.

  17. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Bhagwad

    In principle I would agree with you. But that’s pure abstract theory. And the world is real, with its specific evolution and history. The arguments I make are designed not for a theoretical, abstract world of imagination, but for the real world of TODAY.

    I trust that clarifies where I come from.


  18. Polevaulter Donkeyman


    Can you guess who said —

    It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England.

    One hint — It is not Sonia Gandhi!

  19. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    The point being that by your logic whoever said that and thus denigrated Indian languages has no business being looked to for advice/inspiration. Sonia may not know how to read and wrtie Hindi (or any other Indian language) but AFAIK she has not denigrated any.

  20. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    My point was NOT about denigration {least of all by someone who may have had limited knowledge (Macaulay) given the very limited development of most Indian languages by then – most of them did not have well developed written scripts then, and very poor translation from Sanskrit} but about someone who has lived in India for MANY DECADES but never bothered to learn even ONE Indian language. Yet does not hesitate from offering herself to “rule” India.

    And if Sonia had 1/100th the competence of Macaulay, one might have paused for a moment. But she is a totally confused socialist.


  21. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    Limited development of most Indian languages?
    Assamese —
    Bengali —
    Gujarati —
    Hindi —
    Kashmiri —
    Malayalam —
    Marathi —
    Punjabi —
    Tamil —
    Telugu —
    And finally — criticise Sonia on being a confused socialist, not because she uses Roman script to read Hindi

  22. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear PD

    You do realise, I trust, that Macaulay did not have the benefit of Wikipedia? Do go back to 1830 in your mind. That’s what I’ve suggested in my notes on Macaulay. If people start using TODAY’s knowledge and standards to judge what was generally known in 1830, you will commit HUGE mistakes!

    It is not my area of specialisation, but I can definitely state this with some confidence that compared with English (which had its first dictionary by Samuel Johnson in 1755 and its first novel by Chaucer in the 14th century, most Indian language (except for Sanskrit) had no dictionary, no grammar and no novels till late into the 19th century. The few pre-1830 writings in the average Indian language would have amounted to little more than a few records of official transactions, a few religious documents, a few mythological stories and poems, a few scientific and mathematical (mainly astrological) documents, and a few records of herbal medicine. No more than ten per cent of the population could read and write, of which less than one in a thousand could perhaps do so proficiently.

    Note also that unlike books in European languages, few ORIGINAL translations of Indians books were available in European languages since Indians did not bother to study anything except their own little restricted books. The upanishads had been translated into French by from Persian (!) and Schopenhauer read these in that strangely distorted version.

    Motivated by curiosity a few English translations of Indian books did emerge by 1830. Brahmins refused to teach Sanskrit to the British. The translations by the British, under such circumstances, were generally bad and mostly incoherent. Please let me know which Indian books were available to an average Englishman who came on temporary duty to India in 1830, and the reason for Macaulay’s comment can be perhaps better understood.

    What I don’t understand is why you bring in this HISTORICAL and totally irrelevant issue to the fundamental issue of Sonia’s INCAPACITY to write a single Indian language.

    Imagine a Greek who barely knew English were to become head of a British political party and give his speeches in English using the Greek script. Or imagine an Arab who did that. Or a Chinese. Would that be TOLERATED BY ANY BRITISHER? I seriously doubt it.

    What I marvel is the suicidal theorising of “educated” Indians who DENY basic truths about nationality and language and live in an “idealistic” plane.

    I will leave this issue here. You are welcome to live in your dreamworld and imagine that Sonia does well for India by writing Hindi in Roman script. I refuse to tolerate this INSULT TO INDIA. It is almost as if India is still a colonial nation.


  23. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    Macaulay may not have had the benefit of wikipedia, but he didn't need it. As the Law member of the Governor-General's council he had enough resources to find out that which, in the absence of wikipedia, would be impossible for me. The wonderful thing about Wikipedia (and the internet in general) is the democratisation of knowledge analogous to the printing press, not that they generate new knowledge (not known to anybody before).
    You say that with the exception of Sanskrit other Indian languages lacked a dictionary, grammar and novels (lets include literature here). I wish that sometimes you actually follow some of the links I post in the comments (Lord knows how many times you have encourages to move from twitter to your blog), which would help you in not making clearly erroneous assertions. If you followd the link for Tamil literature you would realise that Tamil had a well developed vocabulary, grammar and corpus of literature well before Johnson's dictionary and well before Chaucer. Please acquaint yourself with works such as Patiṉeṇmēlkaṇakku , Eṭṭuttokai , Pattuppāṭṭu . and Tirukkural which are just a few representatives of the corpus of Tamil literarure. The grammar book for Tamil Tolkāppiyam has been dated at the very latest to the 10th century CE. There was similarly a big corpus f Bengali literature. The problem with Indian languages was not the languages themselves but the illiteracy.
    Given the enormous power Macaulay had why did he not commission more translations of Indian works into English? It is not as if there were no Indian who would have done it. Do you think people such as Raja Rammohun Roy, Vidyasagar wanted to confine Indian languages to themselves? According to Macaulay Indian languages are poor and rude, He also said — "I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia." and "We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect."
    Do you agree with the above statements by Macaulay?
    You call my raising Macaulay as irrelevant to Sonia's inability to write an Indian language and thus it being India's shame that she is the leader of the largest party in Parliament. You insinuate that this is a colonial mindset. By that token what should you call your praise for Macaulay, who was one of the architects of colonial rule in India? I praise Macaulay for his ideology not because of his colonial pretensions, not because of his nationality but because of the essential truths of liberty he espoused (but sadly did not extend to India). By the same token I don't criticise Sonia because she was born Italian, I criticise her on her actions.
    As for a greek not knowing english and leading a British party — Did you know that George I had NO knowledge of English when he became King of Great Britain? And as Bhagwad Jal Park very aptly stated above — our tolerance is a credit to us, and other should be more like us.
    As for suicidal theorising of “educated” Indians who DENY basic truths about nationality and language and live in an “idealistic” plane. — Are you implying that Muslims should only vote for Muslim representatives? Dalits for dalits? Bengalis for bengalis? If not then why are you denying basic truths about religion, language, and oppression of lower castes and living in an idealistic plane? I have noted that even now you have not answered my questions of whether Muslims should only vote for Muslims etc. Why is that?
    And finally please point out to me where I have said that Sonia does well for India by writing Hindi in Roman script  ? I have only said that Sonia's inability to read and write in Devanagari has no relevance to whether she is a good MP or she does well for India. Can you point out how her inability to do so has any impact on her ability as an MP?
    P.S. I refuse to tolerate this INSULT TO INDIA. — You may feel insulted but YOU ARE NOT INDIA

  24. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear PD

    1) Why do you think I’m interested in the history of Indian (or any other) languages?

    2) Why do you think that what Macaulay said is in ANY way relevant to Sonia’s knowledge of at least one Indian language?

    3) Why do you think that a MEDIEVAL king who came to power based on a fluke of marriage between princes and princesses and its consequences is relevant to a discussion of a MODERN DEMOCRATIC society?

    I think you’ve lost the plot. You are missing my point ENTIRELY!


  25. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    1. I don't care if you are interested in the history of Indian languages (or not). However you made an unsubstantiated assertion that Macaulay was right in promoting English as the major (only?) mode of instruction because of the limited development of Indian languages at the time he wrote his famous minute. My citations were to show how wrong you were. You may not be interested in the history of Indian languages. However I sure do hope that you are interested in being accurate. Are you?
    2. Beacuse according to you Sonia's inability to read/write Devanagri is a valid criticism of her leadership. By the same token Macaulay's intentional denigration of Indian languages should also disqualify him from being an inspiration to you. But (rightly so) he is not. The point I am trying to drive here is that the fluency or not of  a language has no relevance to the ability of one to represent people (as long as one can still reasonably communicate via intermediaries). You have not shown how Sonia is unable to communicate with the people she represents.
    3. Don't you see the parallels between George I becoming the King of GB by some family relationship and Sonia Gandhi becoming Congress president due to family relationship? Do you think the common Indian person (or atleast the common Congress worker) is that far removed from the medieval worship of monarchs? And the example was a counterpoint to you saying that the British would never accept a foreigner — I showed you your error.
    4. I get your point exactly. Your point is that to represent a people one should be fluent in that people's language, otherwise all those people who freely chose her should be ashamed. My point is (and you still have not answered that) how is it different from saying that to represent a people one should share their religion? If one wants to lead all Indians then why shouldn't one be fluent in all Indian languages? Can one who knows no Tamil lead Tamilians? Can one who knows no Marathi lead Maharashtrians? If your answer is yes, how do you reconcile it with your insistence that Sonia should be able to read and write Hindi in Devanagri to lead India? Do you have an answer?
    5. BTW you still haven't shown me where I said that Sonia does well for India by writing Hindi in the Roman script. Can you back your (unsurprisingly another unsubstantiated) allegation that I did, otherwise issue a retraction? Given your style I wouldn't be holding my breath.

  26. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear PD

    1. You do need to avoid your tendency to insert YOUR views into what others say. I NEVER suggested that “Macaulay was right in promoting English as the major (only?) mode of instruction because of the limited development of Indian languages at the time he wrote his famous minute”. Such absurd conclusions from what I said make it difficult to discuss issues with you.

    2. I still hold that the average Indian language’s development was relatively modest by around 1830, but I won’t be further discussing it since this is (a) not of particular interst to me given limitations of time and (b) irrelevant to the topic under discussion. Even if it were, it doesn’t imply that Macaulay naturally had access to this information, or even was interested in it. His opinions on India’s language are a curiosity that historians can debate (if they wish). I have no interest in this issue except to note that you don’t appear to be a specialist in either Macaulay or Indian langauges: and if you are, please send me a peer reviewed academic journal article you’ve written – for me to spend time on. I’m not interested in two blind men debating on issues they barely understand. All I said is BE CAREFUL about attributing your current knowledge to those who wrote 180 years ago.

    3. “Macaulay’s intentional denigration of Indian languages should also disqualify him from being an inspiration to you”. Sure. But you haven’t proved his intention. I know that statement he made from many years, but I don’t have any evidence that this statement was a deliberate misrepresentation. SECOND! I’m not inspired by Macaulay!!!!! I’ve formed my views on my own and only recently have I bothered to read Macaulay (I did read a short essay of his about 30 years ago but that left no impact on me, then). All I’m informing the people of India today is that their criticism of Macaulay seems deeply ill-informed.

    And given the calibre of “educated” Indians like you who misrepresent EVEN me – despite plain english statements that give NO capacity for misrepresentation; and given the calibre of people like you who ATTRIBUTE EMOTIONS (e.g. your ABSURD suggestions that I have ever suggested that Macaulay was right on his language beliefs or that Macaulay is my inspirtation!) to me when I have NOWHERE INDICATED any such emotion even remotely (!), it is not surprising that “educated” Indians have tended to misrepresent Macaulay.

    Please don’t put words (and EMOTIONS!!) in my mouth (or heart!).

    I do think you’ve totally misunderstood the thrust of my argument which was to show that Sonia Gandhi is not only incompetent (socialist), not only corrupt, but also ignorant of the culture and ethos of the nation she claims to represent. The shame of this person being the head of Congress has escaped you, and you’ve gone off on an absurd tangent, also attributing absurd things to me.

    Let’s leave this here. You are most welcome to ignore Sonia’s lack of knowledge of even one Indian langauge. I believe this further demeans India on the world stage – as a nation of 1 billion slaves of a dynasty, a nation of 1 billion that could not find one of its own to lead the nation.


  27. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    1. WHat do you think is the disqualifying characteristic of Sonia Gandhi (please choose only one option)? a) That her political philosophy is socialist; or b) She cannot read and write in Devanagri

    If your answer is a) I agree with you. If you choose b) then you are no different from the BJP (whose main plank against the Congress is Sonia’s foreign-ness, given that they have also become Socialist in outlook)

    1b. Would you support Sonia Gandhi as leader of India if she was 100% free of corruption and was Adam Smith/Hayek/Milton Friedman rolled into one but she could not read and write in Devanagri? (everything else being the same as in she became Indian via marriage)

    If your answer is no then again you are no different from the BJP. If your answer is yes then why play into nativist and chauvinist beliefs?

    2a. I have never suggested that you suggested that Macaulay was right in promoting English…” What I am suggesting is that if according to you it is Sonia’s foreign-ness (inability to read and write Devanagri) which is disqualifying then similarly Macaulay’s foreign-ness (and denigration of Indian languages) must be held against him. But you don’t do that, you quote him approvingly. That suggests to me a certain doublethink on your part, that you are raising Sonia’s foreign-ness to appeal to a nativist chauvinist section of India and not because that her deficiency makes her unfit to govern.

    2b. Who care if the “average” Indian language’s development was relatively modest around 1830? As has been pointed out to you many many times quite a few Indian languages were very well developed by 1830. It says quite a bit about you that you want to hold to a position despite all evidence to the contrary. The relevancy of this topic to the discussion at hand is that you raised the issue of Macaulay choosing English (to the denigration of Indian languages) since Indian languages were not well developed. You now don’t get to choose to call this topic irrelevant unless you accept that Macaulay was as insulting to Indian languages as Sonia (if not more so, after all she hasn’t tried to suppress the Indian languages in favour of foreign languages). And I don’t have to be a specialist in Macaulay or Indian languages to know that Macaulay denigrated very well developed Indian languages. Today sources (and meta-sources) such as Wikipedia have democratised knowledge enough that the basics are known (or could be known) to all. And beware raising the issue of specialist knowledge. Do you know that you have a climate section on your website at Are you a spcecialist in climate science? If not then better take down that section.

    3. What about “It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England” do you think is not derogatory to Indian languages? And do you think Macaulay said the above statement without meaning to denigrate Indian languages? Did these words come out of his mouth/pen without any effort by his part? Did the words write themselves? Did his mouth open and emit these words wihout conscious effort on his part? Are you claiming that Macaulay denigrated Indian languages without knowing their development? If that is so then that is reckless, wilful denigration at best. And given the argument at his time whether to use Indian languages or English as the mode of instruction (see here for more details and that it was widely known that Indian language and learning were well developed (e.g. James Mill was in favour of education in the vernacular languages) I fail to see how Macaulay did not intend to denigrate Indian languages vis-a-vis English

    3b. As for “inspiration” you sure do quote him approvingly (and there are many things to quote approvingly) but by your logic since he denigrated Indian languages he is not a fit character to approve of. Substitute “inspiration” with a similar word of your choice”

    4. As for misrepresenting you — Your point in the above post seems to be that Sonia Gandhi is not fit to be Congress leader because she cannot read and write Devanagri, and as has been pointed out to you over and over again, that has no relevance to either her governing philosophy or the fact that she is freely chosen by her constituents. You have not yet shown the relevance. It seems that this is just a convenient nativist, chauvinist stick you have picked up to beat her with. And how do you know that she is unaware of the culture and ethos of the nation she represents?

    5. And once again — should Muslims only vote for Muslim representatives? Dalits for dalits? Bengalis for bengalis? Can one who knows no Tamil lead Tamilians? Can one who knows no Marathi lead Maharashtrians? After all a non-Muslin doesn’t know the culture and ethos of Muslims, a non-dalit doesn’t know the history, culture, ethos of dalits, a non-bengali does not know the culture of bengalis, a non-Tamil does not know the culture and ethos of Tamils, a non-Maharashtrian does not know the culture and ethos of Maharashtrians. Can you answer this question at all?

    6. Finally did you figure out where I said that Sonia does well for India by writing Hindi in the Roman script? Can you back your (unsurprisingly another unsubstantiated) allegation that I did, otherwise issue a retraction?

    P.S. On what basis are you claiming that Sonia is not Indian? Do you think you are more Indian than she is? Do you think one can actually make an objective determination of the Indianness of one vis-a-vis another? Do you think Sister Nivedita was not Indian? What about J B S Haldane?

  28. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear PD

    Let’s just stick to the issue.

    “1b. Would you support Sonia Gandhi as leader of India if she was 100% free of corruption and was Adam Smith/Hayek/Milton Friedman rolled into one but she could not read and write in Devanagri? (everything else being the same as in she became Indian via marriage)”

    Yes. I would support her SUBJECT to (a) her knowing at least one Indian language, (b) a law being introduced into parliament – by her – to prohibit such Indians from holding the office of Prime Minister or President.

    You muddle up. I’m not bothered whether she writes Devanagari or not. I’m bothered that she doesn’t seem to know ANY Indian script.

    You are also mixing up two things: (a) the suitability to hold office in a PARTICULAR nation, and (b) the nature of policies a person advocates.

    Sonia, in my view, is unfit to hold the office of India’s PM, just as Macaulay was unfit to hold ANY office, it being a colonial government. She is unfit because she not being born and brought up in India, and not having the deeper understanding of a society that comes from being so brought up, including knowledge of at least some local script, she cannot possibly represent Indians.

    It is ridiculous to say that I’m asking Muslims to represent Muslims, etc. You do jump off the cliff, given the slightest opportunity, don’t you? I’m talking about representing INDIANS. India, which is an independent sovereign nation, with its own social contract, army etc.

    Having said that, Sonia ALSO fails totally on the policy front. Macaulay was at least mostly in the right direction, subject to the constraints of the 1830s. His opinion about India’s language is irrelevant since I consider him totally unfit to have come to India as part of a colonial government in the first place. However, we can’t undo that. We have to assess him therefore on his broader set of ideas.


  29. Polevaulter Donkeyman


    1. So is it fair to say given Leader #1 who is 100% free of corruption and is Adam Smith/Hayek/Milton Friedman rolled into one but cannot read and write in any Indian language and given Leader #2 who knows fluently all Indian languages but is socialist, collectivist, corrupt, you will choose Leader #2?

    2. As for representation haven’t the people of Rae Bareilly have made the determination for themselves? Do you think they are not good enough judges of whether she understands their society?

    3. I have not said that you asking Muslims to represent Muslims. What I am saying your logic leads inexorably to Muslims voting only for Muslims. Non-muslims are unfit because they are not born and brought up as Muslims and thus not having the deeper understanding of Muslim society cannot possibly represent Muslims. And a similar logic leads to Bengalis, Tamils, Marathis wanting only Bengalis, Tamils and Marathis to represent them.

    4. And as for representing INDIANS, do you have any proof that Sonia is not Indian? She may not be Indian by birth but she definitely is Indian by choice. And don’t you think that affirmatively choosing to be Indian is atleast equal (if not superior) to being Indian due to blind luck?

  30. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    Re: “it fair to say given Leader #1 who is 100% free of corruption and is Adam Smith/Hayek/Milton Friedman rolled into one but cannot read and write in any Indian language and given Leader #2 who knows fluently all Indian languages but is socialist, collectivist, corrupt, you will choose Leader #2?”

    Yes. ONLY Indians should have the right to be represented in their parliament. It is not possible for Adam Smith/Hayek/Milton Friedman to represent India. And so on, for other nations.

    And if someone is “fluently all Indian languages but is socialist, collectivist, corrupt” and if people choose such a person, then that is their business. I can leave such and India (and have), but I can also fight to offer a BETTER alternative (which I’m doing).

    I think we’ve wasted enough time on this. You won’t get this basic point, so let’s move on. Abstract REPETITIVE debate for the sake of debate is your forte. Not mine. If you want to be a leader for India who offers liberty and integrity, then please step forward. Else pl. go to some other blog. I’m sure there are plenty of places in the internet world to keep you occupied in idle talk.


  31. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    You are correct. Economic freedom is NOT my #1 priority. It is a subsidiary priority.

    No.1 is life
    No. 2 is liberty

    None of these can be sustained without the state. The state (which I call the fort) is therefore the No.1 practical priority.

    Within the state I demand a social contract focused on the defence of life and liberty.

    To run the social contract the government MUST be selected by members of the society, not by outsiders.

    Hence the priority of being a GENUINE representative of the people of the state/society (whatever you call it) over the abstract and hence MEANINGLESS concept of “economic freedom” which cannot exist in isolation of the free state.

    The free state with its OWN representatives is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than someone’s silly abstract priority of a particular freedom. First make sure you have a strong, representative state. Then talk about economic freedom.

    This, sir, is the REAL WORLD. Not the moon or Mars.


  32. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    1. You and I agree on one thing —
    "the government MUST be selected by members of the society"
    Sonia Gandhi was freely selected by the constituents of the Rae Bareilly LS constituency (do you have any proof of vote rigging, voter intimidation?). What gives you the right to force them into who they can or cannot select?
    2. How would you define a genuine representative? Shouldn't voters be allowed to determine for themselves if a candidate could be a genuine representative or not?
    3. I find it curious that you separate life and liberty (and your ordering thereof). I would think the concept of liberty subsumes the concept of life. After all violating someone's life is also a violation of their liberty. Your ordering seems to imply to me that according to you a state which guarantees life but does not provide a single iota of liberty (like 1984) is preferable to statelessness. Am I correct?
    4. As for a strong state — I hope you understand how such a state will be captured by special interests. Animal Farm by George Orwell is instructive.
    5. Before you accuse me of being a socialist like Orwell (since I admire his writings), 1984 and Animal Farm are what led me to classical liberalism and thereon to minarchism (I don't know if I wll ever be able to reach anarcho-capitalism)
    P.S. Since I am nearly 100% sure you will direct me to BFN and DOF I will appreciate if you can provide some page references supporting your arguments.

  33. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear PD, you continue to misrepresent me.

    “What gives you the right to force them into who they can or cannot select?”.

    Of course I not only admit their right to elect Sonia (under the current social contract), but have repeatedly stated that I rate the most corrupt politician WELL ABOVE idle intellectuals. So, yes, I have no legal objection to Sonia’s role.

    I have an objection, though, that someone like her should be allowed by the laws of India to get elected. That objection requires me to work for laws that will rule out the possibility of such people entering parliament. That I will, through India’s constitutional processes – subject to my returning full time to India (which is subject to FTI’s adequate uptake).

    Just like I will (subject to authorisation of the people of India) work to overthrow socialism, I will overthrow laws which allow Italians or others to come to India, get married to someone, then – due to their INTENSE CORRUPTION – take over the governance of India.

    On other matters, let’s leave it for now.


  34. Polevaulter Donkeyman

    I have an objection, though, that someone like her should be allowed by the laws of India to get elected. That objection requires me to work for laws that will rule out the possibility of such people entering parliament. 
    Translation — I will work for laws which force people not to vote for their favoured nominee.
    I do not want to give the impression that I am against all laws which govern eligibility to stand for elections. But any law should have a rational basis behind it, and the law should address narrowly the evil which it is designed to obviate,
    Q. What is the rationale to prevent a naturalized citizen from standing for elections? I can understand a limitation which governs the number of years one must be resident to be eligible (to allow oneself to assimilate and acclimate to native problems, issues (and even traditions)).
    Q. Are there any national security issues? Henry Kissinger was a naturalized American citizen and was the National Security Advisor and, later, Secretary of State, in which positions he was privy to very sensitive information. Wernher von Braun was a scientist who worked on the Nazi missile program and a decorated Nazi War hero was a high ranking official in NASA and was again privy to missile and rocket technology being developed by the Americans

  35. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    PD, not national security issues necessarily. Issues of suitability, of the knowledge of India.

    Kissinger was a pastmaster of English. We have a case of a person who has simply not bothered to get to know even one Indian language.

  36. bruce

    I am disappointed, I thought by now she knew Hindi at least.
    Even I can read devnagari, it is not hard, a few weeks at most. I have become rusty from not using it but I can still decipher street signs and headlines on TV news. I don’t believe there is a proper sense of pronunciation from romanised transliterations – the script is necessary, otherwise bad habits develop, lazy vowels…
    Madam may just be too old now for this. Growing up in Sydney I know many Italian women – my brother married one. They are very elegant and assertive but not usually very smart – they hide their simple-mindedness behind great confidence and stylishness.

  37. Prakash Sharma

    I red most of the argument between Mr.Pole’vaulter’ vetrivel and Mr.Sanjeev
    I have only one thing to say . If a person who is living for 40-45 years in a foreign land, doesnt pick up that language or learn it . It only means he is least bothered about that nation . Sonia is one among them . even a period of 10 years is more than sufficient to learn a foreign language just by daily dosage of listening to it . and this woman has spent more time in India than she has spent in her home country Italy .yet she cant utter a few words in some indian Language ? which is totally unacceptable . The popular adage ‘When in Rome , do as the romans do ‘ is only applicable to people goin to Rome is it . and not for people coming frm Rome to India ..?? like sonia ??

  38. Prakash Sharma

    one more thing. Iam no expert like u guys on discussing serious issues ..but i always go by plain logic and simplistic views . Sonia is there at the top just becoz of a famous surname ‘Gandhi ‘ and not becoz she is capable of handling a nation of 1 billion ppl . In this nation , where people migrating frm one state to the other r not considered for election or equal status , u think people of this country would have accepted a foreigner Sonia as the head of the country without the ‘Gandhi’ name associated with her ?

  39. durgesh

    No doubt her entire dynasty is Dhongi but why? because she knows that in a country of duffers dhong works best , can anyone win the trust of people with such dhong in western society? no they not duffers to be impressed by idiocity. It happens only in India.

    English……..why to target her when this entire nation takes pride in speaking english.

  40. durgesh

    Political Dhong is a well established practise of Indian politics , it was started by Gandhi who stayed half naked as a sacrifice for those who did not had clothes but still this country is pathetic………….see china no half naked sacrificing leader still has almost destroyed poverty.

  41. durgesh

    No he did not sacrificed but he cashed the sacrifice and brutal death of Gandhi as becoming a political heir of Gandhi.

  42. கார்த்திக், कार्तिक्क, Karthick

    This is the first time I’m visiting your website. Such a great site. Im happy that this dangerous lady is going out of power. Just a autocratic kind of a person she is. Time for Sonia and team to go for a long holiday. BYE BYE…..

  43. sharmilla

    Actually Sanjeev Sablok is absolutely correct. This italian citizen who has probably never become an indian citizen (which why she refused to be PM), a poorly educated woman but enormously scheming, lying, looting and along with her ‘sickular’ psychophants an exterminator (literally and figuratively) of the Indic cultures and religions, has been allowed to “rule” over us (our fault entirely). Indians, even poorly educated ones, working abroad learn the native language in no time, why did’nt she do the same? It only makes her contempt for India and her cupidity glaringly obvious.

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