I do not remember if our security officers go to Israel, the US or UK for training. Israel has an outstanding security and intelligence gathering establishment.
We live in dangerous times. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s motorcade was held up for 20 minutes the other day on an unguarded spot on an unguarded road, not far from the border of Pakistan. He was a sitting duck. Every agency connected with the Prime Minister’s security must own responsibility for so serious a lapse.
I was in New York the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. He was traveling in a car with its hood down. He took an unnecessary risk. His security detail could not save him. Even after 59 years, the mystery of his death remains a mystery.
Indiraji was killed in the compound of her residence. Rajiv Gandhi’s security was drastically reduced after he ceased to be Prime Minister. On 17 June he had come to Bharatpur to campaign for me. With him was one security office. Five days later he was killed in Sriperumbudur. He was 46.
I do not remember if our security officers go to Israel, the US or UK for training. Israel has an outstanding security and intelligence gathering establishment. They know what precisely is going on in the Islamic world. Only once, in 1973, Israel was taken by surprise, when Egyptian armies crossed the area beyond Sherm-el-Sheikh. But ultimately Israel won the war.
It is not widely known that the Vatican runs one of the most alert and competent secret services in the world.
Was it necessary for several Chief Ministers (I do not wish to name them) holding elaborate pujas, wishing the Prime Minister long life? I am a Hindu. Pujas do not save lives. We are a secular state—at least so far. Were the pujas done to provide future safety for the Prime Minister or were they PR exercises, with cameras all over the temple to cover the pujas? Build schools, hospitals, orphanages, create jobs. I am now in my 93rd year. I recite the Gayatri Mantra every day. My advice to the distinguished Chief Ministers is, meditate, pray in seclusion, not before cameras. The Almighty will ensure Shri Modi a very long life, not Chief Ministers.
On 6 January 2021, thousands of hoodlums—all followers of former President Donald Trump—invaded Capitol Hill in Washington, which is where the Senate and the House of Representatives meet. The hoodlums smashed glass windows, destroyed furniture in both Houses and worse. President Trump was watching the horror of his creation on TV. His signal stopped the rampage. What was the objective of this unprecedented outrage? To undo the results of the elections, which Mr Trump had lost by nearly seven million votes. According to him, the election had been stolen. Almost all the Republicans in both Houses and in the country supported Mr Trump. US democracy was under threat.
Last Thursday, 6 January, President Joe Biden spoke in the United States Capitol. Mr Biden is not known as an inspiring speaker. Last Thursday he made a memorable and powerful oration. I shall quote some passages relating to “former defeated President”, Donald Trump.
President Biden said, “For the first time in our history, a President had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached Capitol…. On this day of remembrance, we must make sure that such an attack never, never happens again.
“Close your eyes. Go back to that day. What do you see? Rioters rampaging, waving for the first time inside the Capitol a Confederate flag that symbolised the cause to destroy America, to rip us apart.
“What else do you see? A mob breaking windows, kicking in doors, breaching the Capitol. American flagpoles being used as weapons, as spears… We saw it with our own eyes. Rioters menaced these halls, threatening the life of the Speaker of the House, literally erecting gallows to hang the Vice-President of the United States of America.
“But what did we not see? We did not see a former President, who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in a private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours…
“We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie. And here is the truth: The former President of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 elections. He’s done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interests as more important than the country’s interests and America’s interests, and because his bruised ego matters more to him then our democracy or our Constitution. He has done what no President in American history—the history of this country—has ever done. He refused to accept the results of an election and the will of the American people.”
In the rest of his moving speech President Biden took the high road, speaking of American values and its democracy, “So let us remember, together, we’re one nation, under God, indivisible; that today, tomorrow, and for ever, at our best, we are the United States of America.”