One Narayan Rane, once-Chief Minister of the great state of Maharashtra, quit a party not long ago. That party, of course, is the Shiv Sena. It is not known for being, shall we say, generous with praise for those who leave the party. It is not being generous with praise for Rane.
Last Friday in the party organ, Saamna, the chief of the party, Bal Thackeray, referred to Rane as a dedh-phutiya: an obviously scornful term that, loosely translated, means "one-and-a-half foot twerp". Rane is, shall we say, not the tallest of men.
But not for nothing did Rane grow up politically in the Shiv Sena. At a rally in Andheri, I learn from Sunday's Hindustan Times, he responded to Thackeray's insult. "Colour and height do not determine political success," said Rane quite properly, "but your work does."
So far so good.
Then Rane added that even Lal Bahadur Shastri and ... Adolf Hitler were physically small men.
What was that loud noise you just heard, you want to know? Lal Bahadur Shastri, turning in his grave.