When you live in what is essentially a police state, clumsily camouflaged in democratic garb, you have to be doubly careful about airing your views. Especially when that police state is slowly but steadily going down the theocratic path, as is happening in India. I think almost all countries are police states to a certain extent. Look at the USA, the biggest “spreader of democracy” in the world. Look at how a black person was shot dead from behind by the police recently in South Carolina. If it had happened in India, there would be big hue and cry about human rights violations, blah, blah by the foreign media. In the USA’s case it is just an officer “executing” his duty.
Well, I’m least bothered about countries whose democracy spreading fervor is largely dependent on access to oil reserves and other self-interest factors. It is the theocracy that is spreading its tentacles in India that has piqued my interest now. Every other day a new swami or swamini comes out of the woodwork with wacko solutions for the problems we face, and not all of them are from the fringe. Some are reigning ministers in the central cabinet. One guy, Baba Ramdev, who was caught cross-dressing once, has a cabinet rank in Haryana. His yoga apparently can cure homosexuality and even AIDS! I hope the Indian government lobbies for a medical Nobel for this guy.
Another guru said we have to make the cow as the mom of the nation. That raises interesting possibilities. We already have a guy as the pop of the nation. Now if a cow is going to be the mom, where does that leave the bull? The paramour of the nation? The bull excrement is hitting the fan and scattering around the nation rapidly. And no one can stop it.
Maharashtra recently banned beef based on questionable interpretations of our religious and cultural traditions. The Aghoris, who could perhaps be considered as the real spiritual guys in India for the way they renounce all worldly things, are said to eat human flesh. They smoke ganja and drink liquor too. They are a part of our culture, whether our globe-trotting, a/c-loving gurus and matas like it or not. An Aghori (harmless in most cases), eating human flesh, can roam around free with his skull and other ghastly paraphernalia, while a Malayali (harmful at times!) in his lungi in Mumbai might end up in jail for five years for eating some heavenly beef ularthiyathu. Go figure.
I hope one day we get a prime minister who is a devotee of an Aghori guru. National weed – Ganja; National flesh – human; National plate – skull.
A few weeks ago, Rinpoche, a close friend, posted a message in our WhatsApp school group asking to turn our lights off for one hour on March 28. Rinpoche, a bleeding heart liberal if ever there was one, always wanting to help the poor, the destitute and the old, posted that with good intentions, because, you guessed it, he is also worried about the environment. He was taking part in a global movement called the “Earth Hour”. This is one of those highfalutin ideas about which I am always sceptical. A group of guys in the developed world get together and do something symbolic accompanied by big hype. Then it becomes a global movement. The resources, not just energy, that these countries consume (waste) is what gets my goat every time I hear such gimmicks. Conceited grandstanding, that’s what it is, by a bunch of people who have wrought more than enough damage around the world through their imperialism and their meddling in other countries’ affairs. Per-capita power consumption in most developed countries are 5 to 10 times that of India. We are already enduring many “earth hours” a day in scheduled and unscheduled power cuts. So, let us know when you are ready to do an Earth Month, or at the very least an Earth Week.
Aisatsu-mawari – In Japan, when you move into a new location, you go around saying hi to your neighbours with a small gift to introduce yourself. A new person taking charge of a company or a department also does something similar by visiting clients and all other departments. This is called aisatsu-mawari. Our prime minister has been on an extended aisatsu-mawari, and at times it seems he is on a permanent aisatsu-mawari. Our man was recently sighted in India preaching to his choir. He said his government was for the poor. Well, we know that, don’t we? All governments are for the poor; i.e. the poor corporates and the poor oligarchs who fund their elections. In his speech, he asked whether it is wrong to think that each citizen should have a house to live in. I don’t doubt his sincerity (if it was a Congress PM, we would have laughed our freakin pants off). However, like his exhortations on toilets (see potties in Gujarat), his track record in tackling homelessness during his 13-year reign in Gujarat is nothing to write home about. Gujarat ranks 6th by population and 2nd by percentage of homeless people among the major States. Maybe, he would be better off adopting the Kerala model for everything else other than sucking up to industries and swamis.
P.S. In the meantime, back in God’s Own Cakkoos, the railway god appeared to complain that the high priest (our CM) and his coterie are denying him the chance to shower his metro blessings on the people of Trivandrum and Kozhikode. This blog knew that nearly four years ago in 2011 (see monorail, yay!).