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...And food for the soul

Narendra Modi

Modi has apparently done everything right till now — focus, energy, talk, marital status, bull’s eye. But some of his facts need correction. A basic, reliable school-level history textbook is recommended to clear such misconceptions. The stress from trying to capture the imagination of India can be too much.

On stress, Modi is recommended Ashwagandha, a herbal remedy. This can be followed by a quick reading of all of Wendy Doniger’s books. To relax Modi can watch The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Rahul Gandhi

Needs to movebeyond his alphabet soup. Its essential ingredients are the RTI,which the Congress brought in, FDI, which the Gandhi family brought in; the NREGA, which the UPA fathered....

Rahul, prove you are human. Read iPad. The NREGA is fine, and so are the FDI and RTI, and rights-based promises,but India now, across cities and villages, wants to come out of the rut and zoom into the future. That’s the writing on the wall, unencrypted.

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Sonia Gandhi

Sonia could look up two European tomes on the inevitability of decline: The Last Days of Pompeii By Edward Bulwar-Lytton and The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

Jayalalithaa

The formidable and unpredictable leader could quickly go through Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. If she hasn’t already. It’s good to know about a world order governed by billionaire geniuses.

Arvind Kejriwal

Talking of Rome and Greece, another European classic could help another Indian leader, Arvind Kejriwal, the “common” man with a genius for uncommon victories.

He has even met the autorickshawwalla who slapped him.

Kejriwal could take heart from Asterix the Gaul, the first volume of the comic strip series that was listed as the 23rd greatest book of the 20th century by French newspaper Le Monde, between Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (22) and The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco (24).

The story in brief: All Gaul is under Roman control, except for one small village of the indomitable Gauls. Asterix penetrates the Roman camp to rescue Getafix. The Romans are tricked into a long hunt for the unseasonal strawberry; later into drinking a magic potion that leads to long beards and hair instantly. Caesar is forced to acknowledge the Gauls’ might, and sets them free, reminding them that they are enemies still.

At some stage Kejriwal should read Chomsky on Anarchism.

Mamata Banerjee

Didi’s was a no-show in Delhi, but her odd style of functioning is still beloved in Bengal. She will get validation from another unusual style of functioning, practised by the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland:

“‘Get to your places!’ shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder, and people began running about in all directions, tumbling up against each other; however, they got settled down in a minute or two, and the game began. Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingos, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.

The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting ‘Off with his head!’ or ‘Off with her head!’ about once in a minute....”

Mayawati

She can watch Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: “...But square cut or pear shape these rocks don’t lose their shape/ Diamonds are a girl's best friend....” She can plan her next birthday party. This year she skipped having the usual lavish one and held a meeting to weep for the Muzaffarnagar riot victims

Nitish Kumar

For him, the song Nice guys finish last: “Nice guys finish last. You’re running out of gas. Your sympathy will get you left behind. Sometimes you’re at your best, when you feel the worst....” The rest is punk rock