All the poets and the old time historians said it with so much felicity that it bears quoting ''As some imperial corpse armed and crowned and still majestic fell to dust at the mere breath of heaven, so fell the Moghul empire,'' said British historian Lane-Poole in such evocative lines, or the much quoted Ozymandias of Shelley which is still the gold-standard for the hubris endemic in rulers.
Why does such writing have resonance today for the impartial observer of the Congress party?
With a squandered mandate and appalling arrogance, astonishing tolerance for corruption and dynasty gnawing at its vitals, the Congress party is a pale shadow of the vital organization it once was.
Questions such as, did we the voters opt for a dyarchy (two person rule) are brushed aside breezily? A senior Cabinet minister chuckled as he told me, ''We are like the French,” with an all powerful president (Sonia Gandhi) and the PM (the good Dr Singh). When I ventured,
“But, surely we should have been asked if we wanted this before the Congress party decided for us,” he looked at me as if I was crazy and waved it aside.
Consider, also the curious case of Jagan Mohan. Did he, brought up in the cradle of unquestioned dynasty, commit such a heresy by demanding what he thought was his right as his father's son!
After all, if it goes for the Gandhis, Pilots, Prasadas, Deoras, Dutts, Hoodas and the Scindias, then why not him?
Listen to any one of these silver spoon waving young ladies and gents with their imperial sense of entitlement and off-quoted justification that they were elected by the people. But, did people in whose name a lot of nonsense is spouted actually have a choice?
Politics in the Congress party has, as some riveting new research has revealed, become the preserve of a few families, which get the nominations. The research proves and describes the newbie Congress MPs under the age of forty as the HMP short for Hereditary MPs.
So you have a situation where these privileged and entitled young men and women form the imperial court of the uber-dynast, Rahul Gandhi, who is quite candid about his family business. And does the Aam Admi, in whose name a multitude of sins is carried out, even get a look into the business of governance.
No, they are perfunctorily dismissed as the karyakartas, who Sonia Gandhi counsels patience ''Congress mei sab ka number ayega''.
And, of course corruption where by virtue of experience you cannot beat the Congress, the case of Raja Kapil Sibal's maharaja sized laboured defence of it? Did Mr Sibal exceed his brief by a yard or did he have clearance from the all mighty high command to attack and try and destroy an institution such as the CAG.
Most of us by virtue of our daily life and the wisdom bestowed by being the Aam Admi have a remarkable nonchalance for corruption, but note the dichotomy that we are remarkably proud of our democracy and our institutions such as the courts, the CAG, in short the rule of law, which are conspicuous by their absence in our neighbourhood.
So we might shrug at Kalmadi and say ‘sab chor hai’ when Mr Sibal attacks the CAG and pretends that no crime was committed to Raja's orgy of rent-seeking, we seethe, and trust me Mr Sibal, you will pay a price for being too clever by half.
So please do remember your onions come election time.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)