Monday, February 21, 2011

India needs a 'Bauji' not a Lame Duck!

This is Mahima... and the pic was shot by her proud dad at the Victor Awards held on saturday. Mahima was running a fever, but made it to the function armed with the Rainbow Caps that found several takers!
This appeared in Sunday Times.....

India needs a ‘Bauji’ , not a Lame Duck…

A telling scene from a recent Bollywood movie (“Patiala House”), pretty much says it all. A character ( splendidly played by Rishi Kapoor) addressed by all as ‘Bauji’, thunders away and asserts himself in front of cowering family members, including a mute wife, a bullied son,plus assorted aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces… even neighbours. His word is law. Nobody challenges Bauji’s diktat. The dharma of coalition family politics is alive and thriving in Southhall where Bauji resides as the absolute autocrat, not just within the confines of his sprawling ‘Patiala House’ ( a symbol of his identity as a proud Sikh patriarch in racist Britain), but the community at large. Bauji is an old fashioned tyrant – someone who is convinced he is right about everything and is not embarrassed to lay down the law. It doesn’t matter a damn to him what anybody thinks, least of all his miserable son (Akshay Kumar) whose one dream to play cricket for the English team has been shot down by Bauji ( no self- respecting puttar of his can ever play for the Goras). Others are similarly brow beaten and tightly controlled by the dictatorial Bauji, who, of course , believes he is doing what’s in the best interests of his parivaar. So much so that an inked rap singer in the making is forced to sing bhajans, while a young daughter, in love with a local English boy, is ordered to marry a suitable Punjabi kudda picked by Bauji. All this is packaged in a charming and entirely old fashioned melodramatic style that reminds viewers of well remembered blockbusters from another century that actually focused on story lines, dialogues and instinctively understood that for a movie to touch our desi hearts, there had to be moments designed to get those tear ducts into overdrive.
Watching our Prime Minister offering himself up for instant skewering on tv recently, it was impossible not to compare Manmohan Singh to Gurtej Singh ( ‘Bauji’). If only Manmohan Singh had taken a few tips from Bauji before agreeing to his public grilling ( mild and over-polite as it may have been), perhaps the nation would have felt a little more reassured about its future and the future of this particular mish mash of a government. The P.M. is sounding sheepish, defensive, apologetic and … and… weak! Yup. Lame duck, all the way. Why he is bringing Caeser’s wife into this, we don’t know and don’t care. Manmohan Singh has to realize this mess is not about just him – it isn’t enough to claim individual moral superiority and go on about his own conduct being above suspicion. It is about closing his eyes, looking the other way and keeping mum. He says he has a job to do ( darrrrrling, please do it!), and he is not quitting. Fine. Don’t quit, Sir. But can you please get on with it? That dreaded and disgusting ‘C- word’ ( compromise) has been used excessively by the prime minister. Someone should have told him, it is a lousy excuse to trot out at a time the country needs to hear something better. He spoke about his personal frustration. But what about the collective frustration of the one billion plus citizens of India, who are running out of patience? And excuse me, but it sounds bloody awful when a leader confesses he is not ‘as big a culprit’ as he’s made out to be. Reading into that line, it would be fair to conclude we can call him a chhota-mota culprit… not a big one! Manmohanji, please take another look at ‘Patiala House’ – Bauji would never say something like that and talk himself into a corner. Even during the film’s mushy, sentimental climax ( how we love our rona- dhona), when Bauji is confronted by his rebellious family ( the mute mom finally finds her tongue), Bauji refuses to buckle, even as he faces a small army of extremely angry family members. After a quick and private rethink, Bauji figures it is a smarter, shrewder move to go along with the majority and change his rigid position. Whether he really does have a genuine change of heart, or is merely pretending, isn’t made clear. Which is great. Bauji emerges as a wily, old fox who knows when to back off and when to bare his teeth. During the rowdy climax, Bauji is shown dancing an energetic Bhangra with the very people he once terrorized and bullied. But even under dramatically changed circumstances, we know he’s the boss. And he’ll continue to call the shots in ‘Patiala House’.
The film’s unexpected success has a lot to do with our nostalgia for a Bauji. The Great Indian Family survived over centuries because of generations of ‘Baujis’ who led from the front, even if some of their decisions were horribly wrong. They were the unambiguous leaders of the pack and not too many people dared question their authority. Indian families continue to follow this tradition, albeit with modern day clauses that demand a more inclusive approach to decision making. Had Manmohan Singh followed the Bauji model of leadership and led the country in a more effective manner, he would not have found himself in this embarrassing position in which he has to waffle and claim he had no reason to believe “serious wrong had been done’’( when he appointed A.Raja the telecom minister for the second time). Come on, Manmohanji. These sort of remarks make you sound either too naïve or too evasive. While nobody is saying you should have cloned Bauji ,perhaps some of Bauji’s better traits ( fearlessness in the face of daunting opposition) would have served you – and the people of India – better.
Paradoxically enough, one feels like crying, “Come back, Bauji! All is forgiven!”
Yes… India is that desperate.
The Kasab verdict is out. Yes, he must hang. But will he? And more importantly, when? Ten years from now? Twenty? He will join 30 others on the President's list ( pardon).Pratibha Patil will take her own sweet time to examine each case. Nobody will remember nor care by then ( Afzal Guru is still hanging around ) what happened on that horrible day (26\11)when terrorists struck Mumbai and killed 170 people in cold blood. But... at least Indians the world over will take comfort in the fact that we adhered to the judicial system and democratic principles were respected throughout the long trial. This won't bring the dead back... and we owe it to their families to keep up the pressure on the government not to allow Kasab to become yet another statistic.


Vrinda said...

Kasab should be hanged immediately. No more delay on this...Pressure should be given on government in order to take the action immediately.

cmpershad said...

` ‘Patiala House’ ( a symbol of his identity as a proud Sikh patriarch in racist Britain), but the community at large.'

Difference between Bauji and SMS is like between Patiala House and Patiala Large :)

*Aham* said...

so many petitions hanging around... yet no one hanging around.

ajeeb iftefaaq, our india and her paradox.


after attacking men with erectile dysfunction in bollywood... compromise is the new cuss word of politics.

india has travelled from Manmohan desai to manmohan singh... and like manmohan desai who started with "Chalia" and ended with "Toofan".. wish the Singh also does some toofaani dhamaka before he bids us good bye.

obssesor said...

I hope you write about Mahima next, Kasab is getting really dreary.

Atul Kulkarni said...

You wrote down the words I was struggling to put together...Not only me but most of the Indians carry the same feeling

Enough is enough ..We are done with this "Lame Duck" ..

We need a Change

ashwini said...

Let me just say that, to really make a change, people have to do what the people did in Egypt. But do we really want or can do that? How much does the rich educated vote count? I think there are too many less well off people who vote, and hence we get the leaders that we do. Wouldnt we all like to be in the same position ?Power without full responsibility? We all can say: I didnt do it, she told me, or I didnt decided that he told me?

No offence to anyone.

goodluck said...

All our prime ministers were lameducks with the exception of Shastri and Indira Gandhi. But when Indira Gandhi declared emergency, all the hell broke loose. India needs permanent emergency to make them atleast punctual and stop becoming armchair critics. To tackle corruption, one must do away with unbridled Capitalism which breeds corruption to expand its tentacles. Capitalism is not only about creation of wealth. It is also about grabbing of wealth and opportunities without bothering about the consequences. Thus we have SEZs grabbing farmers's lands showing them the money. And mining industry is out to destroy forests and mountains. And construction industry will use up all the sands and build towers. The prime minister is like that head of the family where all his sons and daughters want to take their own decisions making the head of the family a lame duck. This lameduck is somehow functioning over a dysfunctional family. We want a tiger or tigress to take over and silence the nibbling lambs, barking dogs and strutting ducks.

Madhu said...

Yeah, Kasab would be hanged only after some 10 years. Reminds me, once of my favorite series is John Rain by Barry Eisler. Perhaps you woud have read his books? My favorite. India needs a John Rain, I think, no offense.

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Tsomo85 said...

Aww mahima is kid! Even younger then what I thought. Way to go girl. Cute both of you!!!

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Tsomo85 said...

Congress has miserably failed by underestimating late PM Indira Gandhi (ghongi goriya) but Manmohan Singh has exceed congress party's wishful dream & judgement by electing him as their leader. Because he really did turn out to be mute puppet & will remain so!

Anil Kumar said...

This prime minister's behaviour is similar to the Indian foot soldiers who were serving Britishers before independence. I used lots of crude language to bring home the point for last couple of it PM's mute silence on big corruptions for years...Introduction of Cheerleader raands in IPL...Lalit Modi the dream bastard...Old bastard Sharad Pawar...Randua Vijay Mallays...BJPs dog like mentality...Bollywoods jugalbandi with sluts in media...Mulla news channel ND24X7 and few more. Many of the things are now being raised by media after a long time....I am just ashmed to see the standard of journalism in India and their hidden motives.
Except Arnab Goswami on Times now and Baba Ramdev comments... everyone else has some interests and present the story in their own twisted way to suit their interests.

Just now the news is that some bastard called Sharrukh soor khan has said that he is expert in taking off sarees...May be his mother KHALAJAN was wearing the saree and he was practicing this art on her...And even the bigger culprit is that SLUT on news channel who is repeatedly beaming this as news..

Hang these people or tie them with a rope and plug it behind the towing trucks and parade them through the streets till each of their bone comes off from flesh...Let the eagles have a field day !!

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