Monday, June 11, 2012

Kaun Banega Rastrapati?

This appeared in Sunday Times yesterday....

Kaun Banega Rashtrapati...

Welcome to the latest Reality Show in India. The race is on for the top job and there are any number of contestants fighting tooth and nail to win the jackpot.And what a jackpot it is!No exaggeration, but becoming the President of India may well be the most coveted position in the world. What perks! What a residence! And zero responsibility. No wonder so many hopefuls are frantically scrambling for the honour. Clearly, they are greatly inspired by Shrimati Pratibha Patil’s tenure. And longing to step into her chappals. Here is a lady who was propelled into the Rashtrapati Bhavan as our 12TH President, almost by default. Startled but entirely delighted when her name was thrown into the ring less than twelve hours before the announcement , Pratibha swiftly grew into the ceremonial role and didn’t look back even once, except to check if her entire family was right there behind her, as she merrily traipsed the globe. It’s silly to ask what exactly she did during her tenure. She wasn’t expected to do anything, for God’s sake! And she was good enough to oblige. Which is pretty much why she’d been hand picked for the job. These are delicate decisions that require forward thinking. Those who orchestrate such mighty matters, are good with math. It’s all about getting the numbers right. Who knows what may happen during a national emergency? Which person could pull the rug from under the feet of which party? What then? Aha – that’s when a compliant President comes into the picture. It helps to have someone co-operative sitting pretty as the Head of the State, the Commander –in- Chief of the Armed Forces.All it needs is some nifty juggling - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Basic stuff. An accommodating Prezzie doesn’t get into details. It’s left to experts. A number here, a number there – big deal. Everything can be managed. Yes , baba. Even in a democracy!

· The current Presidential race is slightly different. There is open lobbying for the job. Nobody is shocked. We live in different times, and soliciting is no longer considered bad form. It’s fine to go out there and hustle to become the President of India.Nobody blinks. Nobody goes ‘tch tch’. That’s how it’s done aaj kal. Look at the blatant way in which our top stars aggressively pitch for plum roles in Bollywood blockbusters.There’s no shame attached. After all, dhanda is dhanda. Same thing here.The Presidential race has also been reduced to the bargaining power of candidates. And what’s the use saying stuff like, “Would Dev Anand or Yusuf Saab have gone around with a begging bowl asking to be cast in a coveted role?” We know the answer. Was there less competition back then? Not really. But the heroes had their pride and self respect to consider. A few hints here and there may have been dropped. But there it stayed. Ditto for our former Presidents ( well, not all, but most of them). Going by the fierce horse trading taking place on the national stage, we have diminished the nomination process to haggling in a noisy mandi . A tacky affair between interested parties and their sponsors.

But,unlike other Reality Shows on television, this one doesn’t need a star anchor. Nor a panel of celebrity judges.Some canny producer should instantly cash in by jumping on the Presidential bandwagon and announcing a show of shows - the first of a kind, in which the aam aadmi can participate . Why not? It would be a win-win situation for all. And the gullible of the land would actually believe their votes have made the difference! The show could be cleverly formatted adopting various platforms. ‘SMS your choice to’’ kind of stuff. Twitter, Facebook.... the possibilities are limitless. And highly lucrative, too. Since the people of India would be directly involved in such an enterprise, it would have to be converted into a talent based show. I am sure Purno Agitok Sangma can sing, dance, play the guitar, pull strings and so on. Pranabda would need some coaching in this area, but he has other skills which could be tapped into - miming?? Someone else could blow his trumpet or undertake playback singing ( strictly Rabindra Sangeet, of course). If we get this right, we would have our Indian Idol in Rashtrapati Bhavan... without involving Asha Bhosle. And then the Rashtrapati Bhavan could host the biggest rock show in India – what a gig that would be! All Bharatwaasis, warmly invited.

14 comments:

Strandofsilk.com said...

I love the analysis, insight and the amazingly witty Titles to the articles. Love the idea of the SMS in your votes, maybe even an X factor style sing-off that lets the contestants showcase their many talents or lack-thereof!

You are truly a hero for covering every possible topic with such finesse and ease.

Please do not stop blogging (not like you were going to!)

B.Nadkarni said...

Nice and funny way to sum up the race for president of India.But the irony is the middle class,upper middle class and rich only sit at home during elections and allow other people to vote the politicians who play havoc with the system and we take great pride in discussing politics over a cup of tea or write in columns in newspapers!!!!!

t O m S o N said...

Who said Prez Patil didn't do anything?? She pardoned the maximum number of rapists and murderers on the death row! All those haramis are the ones who are going to miss her!
Such a senseless lady she was!Good riddance!

Narinder Jit Kaur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Narinder Jit Kaur said...

Tch...tch...tch...! Things have come to such a pass, that the Presidential election, which was perhaps the most somber and scared activity in the whole electoral procedure in our democracy has become a blatant auction. Imagine, UPA govt is going to give a special package to West Bengal to get Mamta Di's acceptance of Pranab Da's name!How the ruling party has to bend its knees, just to nominate it's candidate! This is a mockery of our democracy. B.Nadkarni is right that a big section of our society has distanced itself away from active participation in electoral process, leaving the field free for all the gundas, underworld dons, sadhus and corrupt people. A very well-written thoughtful and thought-provoking piece!
www.narinderjit.com

Pooja Rathore said...

good one De!pranab da and some other people who are running for the post.....all maha boring(we know if they become President what to expect-"nothing", why not give someone else a chance- sometime back you suggested Narayana murthy of infosys- a good choice- The sms idea is good.very well written column.

Sidhu Saaheb said...

I strongly suspect that Sonia Gandhi is going to pull out a surprise candidate out of her non-existent hat at the last moment and that her candidate is going to win.

Tsomo85 said...

Amen! Infect the entire human spices are worth watching over a pop corn. From current affair to natural disaster. What and who are we? "NOTHING"

Tsomo85 said...

OR "NOBODY" Man this one self realization gives enormous satisfaction and joy I tell ya.

Martina said...

Gosh,imagine if Rashtrapati Bhavan were to host that rock show- after all "har Idol ke peeche hote hain, na jaane kitne idol..." :p
- In Pratibha aunty's case, her entire family, in Pranabda's case,a shonar Bengal(with of course the rabindrasangeet)HAHAHA

Subhorup Dasgupta said...

This was really funny, and perhaps sad at the same time. In my opinion, given the impunity with which the governing classes get away with violating all sense of propriety, the only solution is to put Cyrus Broacha in the house on the hill. At least, we will be a happier nation. For all we know, he might actually do the nation some good too, unlike some of the horses in the race.

My journey said...

Sometimes I wonder what exactly is the role of a president? World tour with family or receiving guard of honor in every country the president visits?

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Maulik Singhal said...

Amazingly witty and humurous you are. Loved the article to the core and specially the innovative Rock Show was 'even-the-dead-will-laugh' types. Great job! Lets see who wins the sizzling rock show this 22nd July. :p