Year of the Joker

Rupa Gulab

Going by recent events, 2012 is going to be one heck of a crazy year. I have not consulted a Chinese astrological calendar, but I feel in my gut that for India, this is the Year of the Joker. The Election Commission (EC) kicked it off by arbitrarily deciding that if 2011 was the year of exposures, 2012 would be the year of modest cover-ups. They ordered that all statues of Chief Minister Mayawati and her party symbols (life-sized elephants) be concealed before the UP elections. While I was amused to note that in one park Mayawati’s statue was draped with pink fabric (her favourite colour), I’m seriously worried.

Consider this: Mayawati has covered practically every available inch of UP with colossal statues of herself and elephants – in which case, we may have to import zillions of yards of tarpaulin and the economy may sink further. Honestly, nobody can understand why more commonplace symbols of other parties like cycles, lotus flowers, clocks et cetera haven’t been issued a cover-up order too. The theory doing the rounds is that the EC wanted Mayawati’s statues covered up on the grounds of aesthetics alone. Hmm.

Now on to another chief minister: Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh (MP). I absolutely must thank him for inaugurating a workshop conducted by the MP government’s Cow Protection and Conservation Board. I wish I had been there because the things they
earnestly discussed were wackier and funnier than the stuff you hear at stand-up comedy shows. Fortunately I read about it and learnt some rather interesting information that I’d love to share: 

In case of a nuclear attack or leak, do not ever stand close to a Hindutva fanatic without a sturdy clothes peg clamped on your nose. They believe that smearing themselves with cow dung can insulate them from nuclear radiation, ew.

They also believe, “Those who drink the milk of jersey cow and buffaloes commit more crime than those who consume only desi cow’s milk”. Really? Tut, I wish they had bothered to inform senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Narendra Modi about this before they had instigated and/or encouraged communal riots that led to so many murders.

Forget medicines for high blood pressure – all you have to do is touch a desi cow and you’ll be fine. I am waiting with bated breath for my friendly neighbourhood chemist to start stocking cows. I suspect he may have to buy a much larger store. 

To add to the fun, some Muslim fundamentalists have fought back against the saffronisation of MP by issuing a fatwa against surya namaskar. Wonderful. Finally, I truly appreciate the fact that India was divided, but I wish it hadn’t been done on the basis of religion. If I had been born then and consulted, I would have wisely suggested that liberals of all religious faiths live in one country, and fundamentalists of all religions be packed off to the other one – they’d probably kill each other (fingers crossed) and the Indian subcontinent would be a much safer place.

Now that I am done with elephants and cows, I am moving on to Baba Black Sheep. You cannot blame me for laughing out loud when someone threw black ink at Baba Ramdev during his hypocritical press conference on black money and corruption. It didn’t hurt him, so I don’t really see what all the fuss is about and why the ink-thrower was thrashed black and blue by Baba’s loving supporters. I’m just disappointed, very disappointed that the ink-thrower hadn’t flung lauki juice on Baba Ramdev instead – it may have brightened his dull complexion, for starters. It also would have been more appropriate considering that Baba Ramdev has been propagating the virtues of lauki juice for so long. As for me, anything Baba Ramdev propagates is banned in my house. I don’t believe a word he says!

Oh, there were so many other things as well that made me smirk this January. For instance, LK Advani goes on an anti-corruption yatra, wastes litres of precious fuel, and a few months later, his party eagerly hires a corrupt minister thrown out by Mayawati. And, hold your breath, Gandhiji impersonator Anna Hazare’s nephew is campaigning for the Congress! The moral of the story: we evidently cannot trust anybody, but we should be hugely grateful that at least they make us laugh.

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: FEBRUARY 2012