Sunday, April 14, 2013

The 'Pee'' in politics.... and Feku Vs.Bachchoo

Another Passionate Indian....image shot at the auction, in front of a gorgeous Manjit Bawa carpet....
This appeared in Sunday Times....

                           The ‘Pee’ in politics…and Feku Vs. Bachchoo
 To pee or not to pee….was never the question. Pee and be damned, said Ajit Pawar.We as Indians seem to be obsessed by two key bodily functions – urination and defecation. It may have something to do with the alarming lack of loos in India. But peeing and crapping in public have acquired so much importance of late that even our mighty ministers have thrown themselves into the problem… and come up with a few innovative solutions. Severe drought in Maharashtra? Worry not, Shetkari bandhus! There’s help at hand. Our dynamic Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, is seeking approval from his constituency to enroll volunteers ready to urinate into dry dams. Empty your bladders, brethren, could well be the rallying cry across arid Maharashtra before the long, hot summer sets in. The water meant for irrigation was diverted years ago to keep the more lucrative construction lobby in business. Now that a crisis of frightening proportions is upon us, it is time for action! Peeing is believing, Shri Pawar would have us think. Yes, he has apologized. And yes, he still has his job. But one shudders to imagine what his next suggestion could be when we deal with a fertilizer crisis, for example. Will he recommend providing natural manure by persuading thousands of sympathetic supporters to use those barren fields for their morning business?
If there’s one thing our netas don’t lack, it’s their ability to get to the bottom of the problem. Any problem. Look at how brilliantly NaMo got directly to the ma-behen level?Women of India should be grateful that the man who is being projected as the Big Saffron Hope for Elections 2014, is so in touch with his feminine side. By channeling the inner woman in him, NaMo may have impressed the well heeled FICCI  ladies.At least those who understand  the power of pappadum politics. They now know they have a staunch ally in Gujarat’s Chief Minister, who is in tune with their secret ambition – which is to roll out the perfect papad and make the yummiest pickle. Perfectly happy to do both, NaMo. But wait a minute, did anybody ask the most famous daughter of Gujarat on Planet Earth ( Sunita Williams) what she felt about papads and pickles, as she space- walked her way into the records?
Then comes the slightly off key RaGa- saga, with the Dimpled Darling giving gyaan to corporate India. It was a sweet effort and most endearing. Especially the  beehive metaphor. The puzzling thing about all three public outpourings is the bizarre approach to sorting out the monumental problems confronting the country at present. One chap jokes about peeing into dams to resolve water issues of  a parched, broke State. And then goes on to make cheap sexual references to extra babies being born in the enforced darkness caused by frequent power cuts! Another talks down to wealthy women entrepreneurs and advises the lovely ladies to stick to traditional skills. While the third confesses to have ‘lost it’ while he shuffles papers and talks about the birds and bees. If this is the calibre of our leaders, it is time to hit those panic buttons. Let’s take a look at the miserable fare on the buffet table. Two unappetizing dishes. One veg, the other non-veg. Thepla Vs. Pizza. What if you don’t like either? Too bad. Is that how starved we are in a vast country of over a billion people? Would any paying customer settle for just two measly offerings on a banquet table? Why should we as citizens not demand more …like Oliver?More choice? More of a say? A richer menu?
Two men have been picked by their respective parties to lead the troops into battle next year. One is charismatic. The other, not.  Both have fiercely loyal admirers and fawning cheerleaders rooting for them.It’s a toss up between a Feku and  Bachhoo. But India is not a Bollywood blockbuster in which the fan base of the hero  can make or break a movie. This crucial election is not the desi box office which sees hits and flops every Friday. Star quality, lineage or even blinding charisma will not be enough to save India from further disintegration.We need world class governance and complete accountability  if anything’s going to change for the better.It is worth reminding ourselves that the man many scholars still regard as the best Prime Minister India has known, was a diminutive, far from magnetic and exceedingly modest gentleman called Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Sorry, Bhai. Sorry , Boss . We deserve better. Yeh dil maangey more....