Peace prize in times of war

Rupa Gulab

I'm overjoyed that US President Obama got the Nobel peace prize based on the rather impressive body of work he's not yet done for world peace. This means, I stand a chance to win it within the next few years - hey, I too have good intentions to foster brotherly love. I'm anti-nukes. I go one step further than Obama as well - I believe that even Osama bin Laden has a good heart - all we have to do is find him and rip it out as proof.

Osama bin Laden's first wife Najwa appears to agree with me. In a book she's written (Growing Up bin Laden), she describes Osama as being "as shy as a virgin under a veil". Despite his coyness, Najwa was perpetually pregnant - not because Osama shares the same gene pool as Playboy's Hugh Hefner, but because Osama solemnly said it was important to make many warriors for Islam. See now, this is what I really admire about virtuous people. They manfully suppress their shudders, close their eyes, and do what must be done. All they yearn for is a pat on the back from God at the end of it all. How sweet!

Honestly, virtuous people never cease to amaze me. I was shocked when I recently read that liquor baron Vijay Mallya gave a bunch of MPs a Diwali card attached to a bottle of Black Dog whisky. The gift didn't shock me, but a particular recipient's response made me yelp. BJP's Prabhat Jha virtuously returned the gift to Mallya dubbing it anti-Indian culture - of course, he didn't do it discreetly, he barked about it to the media. As far as I'm concerned, it's okay if you don't drink, but it's very annoying if you publicly attempt to make a virtue of abstinence. Mr Jha went so far as to say that there was no way he could even keep the bottle of evil in his house, subtly implying that an elaborate purification ritual would be called for. I have no clue who the upright and uptight Mr Jha is, but I'd certainly like to have a little chat with him. Does he not know that many of his illustrious party leaders cheerfully imbibe gallons of anti-Indian culture? And, since when was alcohol anti-Indian? I think someone should tell him that my favourite Hindu God, Shiv, certainly won't give him a pat on the back for dramatically returning the bottle - he'd probably laugh at him and call him a silly girl.

There's an edgy new buzz phrase floating around these days: Love Jihad. It sounds so cool, you can't blame me for assuming that it was the name of a new hard rock album with a theme of cynical bitterness and/ or the pain of rejection. Naturally, I eagerly Google searched it and came up with a shocker. It's about certain Right-wing Islamic groups in Kerala who allegedly specialise in converting girls of other religions to Islam. Young lads lure gullible girls by pretending to fall in love with them. Apparently, in return for this service, the pious young lads get money and, sigh, a pat on the back from God. Former arch-rivals, the VHP and the Church, have hastily joined hands to fight this Love Jihad. What I'm cynically wondering now is how long the peace between the VHP and the Church will last. Suppose, a Hindu girl falls in love with a Christian boy or vice versa? Will we then get two more cool buzz phrases like, say, Love Crusade and Love Dharma?

Industrialist Anil Ambani is next on my scorn list. After years of washing his dirty linen in public, recommending wicked people as future prime ministers and suchlike, he recently went on a series of pilgrimages. I suspect he never found God, which is why he decided to find the next best option on his return: his big brother. An olive branch was graciously offered. Not being particularly fond of olives, Big Brother said he'd have preferred a phone call instead. Now, if President Obama, can make this pair of siblings kiss and make up, I'm sure even God will approve - we're all heartily sick of this family drama. Besides, he owes it to the world to do something at least to prove that he deserved the coveted peace prize.

 

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: NOVEMBER 2009