One Year Down, Four to Go
The acche din sarkar is just over a year old, hooray. I’m celebrating with a glass of champagne because it means that there are only four years left of Mann ki Baat lectures, wall-to-wall posters of the Dear Leader in public spaces and inch-to-inch ads in newspapers, flashy but trashy PR events, idiotic bans, interminable speeches, so many U-turns that we’re feeling dizzy, and jumlas, more jumlas, and (sigh) even more jumlas. Now I understand why Baba Ramdev winked frequently when he informed every passing news television cameraman that the Dear Leader would bring black money back to India if we voted for him.
Since report cards are all the rage these days, I’m giving this government two out of 10 – hey, I’m being generous here. It hasn’t been ‘acche din’ for most of us, sadly, but I must be fair and acknowledge that a few living beings have benefitted tremendously. Starting with the Dear Leader himself, of course. He’s been enjoying fabulous back-to-back holidays abroad on our money. On the rare occasions when he deigns to visit India, the poor chap is way too jetlagged to attend Parliament regularly (oh, how I wish I had a relaxing job like that too). His mummy is evidently having a good time as well, with her sari collection increasing by leaps and bounds. Every time Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants to send a loving message to India, he sends a sari to Mummyji. Now if only he’d send our mothers saris too, perhaps we wouldn’t continue to scoff at that ‘acche din’ slogan.
While I don’t know too many people who love this one-year-old government, I do happen to know a few members of the animal kingdom who do:
Cows, Bulls and Buffaloes: Cows have always had a fairly decent time in India, strolling through streets, happily chewing discarded plastic packets without fear of being grilled, but bulls and buffaloes have never had it so good before. The beef ban has recently been extended to them in a few more BJP-ruled states, and they’re still rubbing their eyes with disbelief. Those with a cynical bent of mind are wondering if this is another jumla. As for you, if you’re yearning for a steak and you live in certain states, be prepared to pay about twenty grand. That’s because you’ve got to fly to a non food-fascist state to consume it. Warning: do not doggy-bag the leftovers when you fly back because you can be arrested for mere possession of beef.
A Certain Columnist’s Dog: Let’s call her Aunt Tee, okay? A few years ago Aunt Tee’s dog blushed with shame because Aunt Tee refused to clean up after the dog went to the bathroom on Marine Drive. A huge row broke out, reporters scrambled to cover the issue (but not the dog’s mess, unfortunately) and the poor dog got bad press. Now that this government is in power and Aunt Tee says nice things about them ever so often (including glossing over their jumlas), her dog can go to the bathroom on any pavement in the country and still get a clean chit. Bow wow!
Pigeons: Pigeons are hoping and praying that the proposal for a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is not a jumla. If the BJP government delivers on this promise, they can puff out their chests as is their wont (56 inches is an acceptable figure these days) and brag to their feathered friends that they have access to the world’s tallest rest-room. Oh, and of course they can talk about how they have so much in common with America because the Statue of
Liberty and the Statue of Unity both end with the letters ‘t’and ‘y’! Yeah, I know this matching-the-letters game sounds extremely childish, but that’s the way this government thinks (sigh).