“How can we live, without our lives?” -John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
I have borrowed the title of this column from a recent article by Uttam Sengupta, Consulting Editor of the National Herald, India. It is fascinating to understand why Sengupta has symbolically compared Lalu Yadav, a popular Indian politician, to King Lear.
King Lear is William Shakespeare’s 1605/06 play set in England. The King wants to retire from duty as king, and decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, but the biggest share to the one who loves him most. The two older daughters flatter the king, but the youngest doesn’t know how to express her love. So, the king gives the flatterers half the kingdom each, and in anger disowns the younger daughter. In due course, the king goes mad because of the mistreatment he receives from his two elder daughters, and finally dies of sadness and depression.
Lalu Yadav’s eldest daughter is a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, and two of his sons are legislators in Bihar. Lalu Yadav, himself, is in jail now, sentenced by an anti-corruption court on corruption charges. What will become of Lalu Yadav in the end is the drop scene of this real-life play – one can only guess. Continue reading