Tag Archives: Politics

Dr Shyam K Bhat MD is a
Psychiatrist and Integrative
Medicine specialist.

He is board certified in
Psychiatry, Internal
Medicine, and
Psychosomatic Medicine,
with additional certification
in clinical hypnosis


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The Difficulty of being Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi and Arnab GoswamiI am watching Rahul Gandhi’s interview with Arnab Goswami.

It’s an emotional experience.

At times I find myself angered on Rahul’s behalf, and want to protect him from the big bad interviewer.
But Arnab seems to be holding back – compared to his usual aggressive bombast, he is gentler with the young Gandhi, displaying rare flashes of empathy. Could Arnab actually become a psychotherapist? I wonder.

My reverie is interrupted by a curious phenomenon – Rahul Gandhi referring to himself in the 3rd person.
Arnab asks him a question.

And Rahul Gandhi says, “ To understand that question you have to understand a little bit about who Rahul Gandhi is and what Rahul Gandhi’s circumstances have been and if you delve into that you will get an answer to the question of what Rahul Gandhi is scared of and what he is not scared of”
He continues to refer to himself in the 3rd person.

As a psychiatrist, I find this fascinating – To refer to oneself in the 3rd person (a phenomenon called “Illeism”) points to an underlying psychological issue.
Illeism is a symptom of discomfort with the self.

Rahul is psychologically dissociating himself from who he is currently.Poor Rahul.

He doesn’t really want any of this. Rahul Gandhi’s facial expressions throughout the interview reveals a man in torment, conflict, and pain.

I empathize.

Narcissistic wounds are being defended by identifying with a grandiose false self, while the true self is fragile, cowering, frightened of the big bad world.

The little boy who was never held as a child is now being asked to take over the family business, even though his heart is elsewhere.

Rahul Gandhi would rather be in Corfu, or Venice or anywhere else but here.
But he finds himself in Amethi fighting an election , having to talk about complicated problems and to deal with bad men such as Narendra Modi and that Kejriwal.

The man deserves our empathy, not our derision (or our votes.)

Disclaimer: My comments about Rahul Gandhi are speculative and are not intended to be a clinical or diagnostic conclusion.

Primal Scream

I was driving through Bangalore, past a few men riding the kind of expensive bikes favored by the weekend cyclist, but instead of streamlined Lumen helmets, Gandhi topis on their heads.

A few kilometers away, nearer Freedom Park, I negotiated the car past a crowd of about 50 protestors on motorbikes, a few trailing behind in cars.

In the past the protests that I had witnessed usually involved the beleaguered poor shouting against the atrocities of a government that didn’t care about them until election time. But this time is different: as so many newspaper reports have noted, this time, it’s the urban middle class who are on the streets.

The protests of the past had always been on foot, but this one is on wheels.

Whether or not these protests will help change India for the better, one thing is for certain: these protests are not really about corruption.

These protests are not about any one issue at all. The protests are an emotional outburst, the cry of an aggrieved segment of society, pent up anger, and energy – there is a celebratory self-congratulatory quality to the protests, as if the purpose of the protests is achieved simply by the protest itself.

Down with Corruption! is a battle cry, a collective scream fuelled by the frustration of many injustices; the frustrations of living a capitalistic life in a world governed by relics of the Nehruvian state, but also frustrations that must come from elsewhere, the simmering discontent, anger, dissatisfaction and stress of an emerging middle class that feels its ambitions thwarted in one way or the other.

This is not a protest, as much as a collective catharsis, a group therapy session, the membership of which is marked by wearing Gandhi caps, shouting slogans, anger coursing through the veins.

There is nothing as exhilarating as the power of righteous anger. This is our Woodstock without the music. Our primal scream.

The Mark of a Man

The video that might signal the end of ND Tiwari’s political career could easily have launched him on an entirely different, and arguably more important, career.

If he had played it right, ND could have been an inspirational figure for the old, the infirm, and the sexually dormant all around the country.

Across the globe, another octogenarian politician Bob Dole is remembered more for his Viagra ads than his failed attempt at winning the American presidency.

But Bob has nothing on ND. Bob didn’t star in his own sex video, and to be honest, didn’t have much of a political career.

ND, however, after three decades of screwing the country, showed that he could also do the same to women.

Now, of course, in his debut video, ND lacked the pep and vigour some of us have come to expect from these productions.

For those of you who have not yet seen the video, here’s a recap: ND is lying on his back, his body stiff, save for the vital organ. His eyes are shut and he is looking up at the ceiling as the women minister to his body.

The overall effect is of someone who is undergoing a mild form of torture.

But nevertheless, let us not forget that this video is the first of its kind – an 80-something public figure showing that he still has sexual needs.

What exactly are people outraged about? That he was with prostitutes? That he was doing the dirty at the Raj Bhavan? That he was cheating on his wife?

Sure, those are all issues that are deserving of social censure. But the real reason that people are upset is actually this: ND is an old guy, and our society expects 84 year old grandfathers to play the role of the benevolent, kindly old man fading gently into the sunset.

And then here comes this video, of this old man with three younger women, and viscerally, people react with disgust or ridicule.

Let’s face it – our reactions to ND’s antics are nothing but ageism, a prejudice that is perhaps harder to fight than racism, or sexism, and one that will affect all of us, if we live long enough.

I might be overstating it a bit, but ND might in fact be a hero.

Instead of resorting to the “video was doctored” excuse, he should have held his head high, called a press conference, and used this opportunity as a “teaching moment”.

ND I am sorry that you saw the video of me with those three women.

Reporter Are you sorry because it was an immoral act?

ND No, no, I am sorry that you didn’t have to pay for the video

. Pandemonium breaks out. The reporter thrusts a mike in ND’s face.

Reporter Sir, sir, what are you saying?

ND The video took a lot of effort on my part. You must have seen clearly that I was not actually enjoying it. I was just doing my duty, my son.

Reporter Duty?

ND Yes, I was helping all the older men in our country. Tell me, son, when you are in your 80s and feel that you can’t perform as a man any more, who will you remember? What will you remember? Yes, you will remember ND’s old but strong body and you will think to yourself: If ND could do it, so can I