India That Is Bharat
Being a journalist, Satiricus is illiterate, but being a wordsmith he is literate enough to know that a word may have different meanings for different people. Take Bahujan Samaj. For Satiricus—and he believes for people in general—the words mean people in general. But not for Bahujan Samaj Party and its leader Mayawati, Chief Minister of UP. The difference is that we the Bahujan Samaj of India that is Bharat are poor people, but Bahujan Samaj Party has raced past all other political parties of the country in the speed of collecting riches after it came to power in the state in 2007. The difference is impressive because the sums are impressive. According to an organisation called Association for Democratic Reforms, in the first two years in power BSP raised Rs 251 crore, and in 2008-09 the ruling party’s income went up from Rs 69 crore to Rs 182 crore, a jump of 161 per cent—the highest for any political party.
Satiricus is impressed—but can he ask for the names of the crorepatis who gave these crores? He cannot—because there were no crorepatis. BSP wouldn’t give the names, but it solemnly declared it did not receive a single contribution in excess of Rs 20,000. See? This works out to more than one lakh Bahujans who could raise more than Rs 200 crore. Then how can anybody charge UP with being poor? Unfortunately, there are pettey people who have done just that. They have recently crassly claimed that UP is not only poor, UP is acutely poor. A research group called Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, supported by the UN, has developed a new economic measure called Multi-dimensional Poverty Index, according to which acute poverty prevails in eight Indian states, and that includes UP. In fact these states, when put together, have more poor people than those living in the 26 poorest African countries put together.
This is terrible—that is, not the terrible poverty, but the terrible report. It must be terribly wrong. In fact, the very fact that Mayawati has spent Rs 4500 crore on raising memorials including multiple statues to herself is enough to prove her dastardly detractors wrong. Then again, Satiricus recalls that some years ago, when there was an investigation into how Maya (the very word means “riches” in Hindi and “political trickery” in Sanskrit) collected so many crores as personal wealth, she solemnly stated it was the accumulation of gifts showered on her by her loving Bahujans.
Oh, how this poor pen-pusher wishes he was a “Mayawādi” with so much “maya” in his pocket !
Talking about poverty (the absence of) in Maya’s Uttar Pradesh, Satiricus can confidently claim that the same admirable absence prevails in Manmohan’s India. In fact he has proof of this—rather, proofs in plentiful plural. For starters, for instance, it is a wide open secret that we rich Indians have seventy thousand crore rupees in Swiss banks. Would this have been possible if we did not have that much money in the first place?
Secondly, look at the stunning series of super scams in which we are so luxuriously wallowing. Every scam worth the name runs into thousands of crores of rupees. Is this not clinching proof that there was so much money just waiting to be made? Thirdly Satiricus had recently read press reports saying some ministers in some state made so much money every day that the poor dears had to use note-counting machines to count it. Does this not suggest Satiricus should happily look forward to their progressing to note-printing machines? Next, India’s richest man is reportedly slated to become the world’s richest next year. Then would it not be silly to argue that the world’s richest man is from the world’s (almost) poorest country?
And finally, the two most expensive cars in the world, Maybach and Ferrari, are now on sale in India. What does this show? It shows that although Satiricus may not be in a hurry to buy either of the cars, he is obviously in the august company of opulent Indians who can and who will.
Satiricus had read in a book on the history of ancient India that in the Vijaynagar empire gems and jewels were sold on the footpath. Then why not today? Oh well, perhaps our footpaths need to be widened.
What puzzles Satiricus is that in the midst of this financial flood overflowing in India we have a budget. Why do we need to budget over income-expense when we seem to support the entire Swiss economy, and when we can spend crores on fun and games like buying and selling cricketers like cattle? What was all the more perplexing about the recently-presented budget was that in his budget speech the Finance Minister suddenly converted from secularism to communalism and prayed to Hindu deities. Believe it or not, he said, “I seek the blessings of Lord Indra to bestow on us timely and bountiful monsoons; I would pray to Goddess Lakshmi as well.” Saitricus is aghast. Can Congress secularism permit such blasphemy? Never. Once the FM prays to Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth, he might throw in Kuber. God of Wealth, for good measure; and once he prays to Vedic God Indra, he might even invoke the Rigvedic Parjanya Sukta. But can Rig Veda and Roman Catholicism co-exist?