Monday, August 19, 2013

India's Magic Carpet...

This appeared in Sunday Times
                     Congrats, India! We have the world’s largest carpet…
It’s true. India is the proud owner of the world’s largest carpet. Don’t look for an entry for this feat in the Guinness Book of Records. You won’t find it. Just look around you. The world’s largest carpet is right there, under your feet. It covers 3,166,414 square kilometres ( that’s the size of India) and has been painstakingly woven over 66 years. You can call it a work in progress, since talented weavers are still at it. Chances are, 66 years later, equally skilled weavers will still be at it. The knots in the carpet are tight and difficult to count. Which also explains the complexity of the pattern , which changes colours and designs at random. It is an all weather carpet, and can withstand millions of dirty feet trampling over it through the worst seasons. It is rugged and tough and designed for rough use. Foreigners take full advantage of its texture and durability, because they know Indians don’t mind how that carpet is used, so long as the carpet isn’t rudely pulled from under their feet.
 The original Indian Carpet which was much smaller, was woven by master craftsmen in Delhi. Seeing its popularity, other States asked for the same expert weavers so they could also have their own carpets. But Delhi decided one carpet was enough for all of India. The only exception was the national carrier, Air India, which was given its own Magic Carpet (this amazing flying carpet has  been grounded for years) . Even if the other States weren’t too happy with Delhi’s designs, they were not given a choice. Reluctantly, they were forced to accept bits and pieces of the gigantic carpet being woven in the Capital, and asked to contribute big money to keep the entire project going.
The carpet grew and grew and grew. It also started to bulge in strange spots. Delhi explained it was because of the heat and dust in the Capital. There was no alternative  but to sweep years of accumulated muck under the carpet. The States got rather upset and reminded Delhi that there was an equal amount of dirt they had to deal with, and that too, without a carpet to call their own. Their States were looking filthy. No problem, said Delhi, you can transport all your dirt to the Capital, and we’ll make room for it under the same carpet. Soon, a slogan was coined: One carpet. One people. And this is how India became the proud owner of the world’s largest carpet,
Today, the world  famous Indian carpet is hopelessly worn out and shabby, with large holes in it. Despite its sorry condition, there are demands from several countries to replicate this incredible carpet. But the overworked weavers are refusing to oblige. All the rubbish that has accumulated over time, is threatening to escape from under the carpet and expose the people responsible for creating it in the first place . The carpet itself is protesting. “ How much dirt can I hide? I have done this unpleasant work for over six decades. Give me a break! Weave another carpet!” But nobody is willing to listen. The Indian Carpet is invaluable and unique. No other country has such a gigantic carpet. There is a move to create a special museum for this 8th Wonder of the World. America is interested in the mountains of muck under the carpet. So are our neighbours - Pakistan in particular. China has already helped itself to the dirt when nobody was looking. Indian citizens have got  so used to the dirt, nobody notices or cares, not even those with dirt allergies. Some well meaning citizens have appealed to the Prime Minister to nationalize the dirt and make it exempt from scrutiny of any kind. A  bill is soon going to be introduced in Parliament, asking for a special status for the carpet and all that it conceals. This is making the government most jittery. Elections are round the corner. And the Indian Carpet is required by all political parties. The Prime Minister is being asked to provide a solution. But he  has been invisible for months. No, wait. He did show up at the Red Fort on Independence Day. He made a speech. But lost the debate.

 We hear a brand new carpet has been ordered in Gujarat. It employs local weavers only and is called the Modi Carpet. The preferred single colour of the new carpet is saffron.


Unknown said...

The dirt of the carpet needs to be removed by taking the broom in our own hands.Please note that this broom doesn't have any relation with AAP. Youths of this motherland need to come forward and unite themselves leaving behind the barriers of religion, caste and creed and have to break the shackles of regionalism.Then and then only we can get the India carpet without dust.

Aziz said...

Despite lot of difference between Pak and India, but we share great Indian carpet after great Indian laughter.
Nice article

Living with Literature said...

Great Indian carpet that is dusty now hardly has a chance to be cleaned with our great political vacuum cleaners unless they are burnt and unite together for a new one. Excellent article of irony.

ಸಂತೋಷ said...

The preferred single colour of the new carpet is saffron.
Yes, its true, it is the only available proper carpet at the moment as i believe. And we Indian hope is the right choice.

Anonymous said...

I would say again, Shobhaa ... well said.

However, I have to speak my mind on the issue of faith.

For some strange reason, as a nation, we seem to be rushing towards a sudden love for nationwide hatred towards the fellow citizen who does not subscribe to one's faith.

I am proud to be a practicing Hindu alright, but my unshakeable faith in this way of life [Sanatana Dharma means the endless way of proper life] also includes a prayer mentioned in the days of the Ramayana - taught to Lord Ram by Vishwamitra - which was a system of the best form of nature worship called Sandhyavandan.

Its culmination reads:

Aakaashaat patitam toayam
Yathaa gachchati saagaram
Sarva Deva namaskaaraan
Kesavam pratigachchati

Just as waters descending from above
Reach the ocean finally
Worship of all deities
Shall imply the propitiation of the Formless One [Ke-savam - never a body]

Any idiot today can claim to belong to the world's oldest faith and claim the divine right to persecute the minority and other schmucks can say their God is superior to those of the mindless pagans called Hindus ... but ... to me ... the argument is like that of a 5-year-old who says, MY DAD IS STRONGER THAN YOUR DAD! If someone really is a true Hindu [the word being a misnomer alright, but let us not press too much on that point as it would pain] that someone ought to be broadminded enough to follow what was said in The Ramayana, believed to have been penned - according to historians accepted by the wide, wide, wide world - some 5500 years ago ... an era when the rest of the globe was swinging from branch to branch in search of bananas or guavas or whatever ... when we in India that is Bharat ... were smart enough to talk of a compassionate earth that encompassed all possible schools of theosophical thought ... even though such schools were not even being envisaged at that point in time. Come on, India, wake up and grow up!

A Common Man said...

Nice Post. Yes, our india is having the largest carpet in this world.

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rajive-singh said...

v. nice article, as always. hopefully the lethagric people of india will wake up this time and push for positive change.

Aaina said...

@ TVS Hari.
You have spoken so eloquently and gracefully. Indeed, Grow up people just because a certain minority does not subscribe to your ideologies and even if thier ideologies calls you a pagan or Kafir or non believer or beliebers (as in following Justin Beiber), by stepping up in arms against them. How are you any different? Wouldnt the greater good per your ideology to walk away? an

Anonymous said...

@ Aaina!

Thanks for the kind words.

A few famous lines from stuff I remember in Hindi.

Aainaa wahee rehtaa hai!
Chehrey badal jaatey hain!


Chaahey toh nazren pherlo
Tumhey azaadi bakshtey hain
Hum yoon naheen kar saktey
Aainaa hain
Hamaaree bhee kuch majbooriyaan hain!

Unknown said...

The States got rather upset and reminded Delhi that there was an equal amount of dirt they had to deal with, and that too, without a carpet to call their own. Their States were looking filthy. No problem, said Delhi, you can transport all your dirt to the Capital, and we’ll make room for it under the same carpet.

if u want to know abot the wild life sanctuaries of India

Aaina said...

Shukriya, TVS ji. Wah janaab..wah.
Just saw your comments.

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