The fine art of passing the buck is practised universally, But Satiricus must proudly claim that nowhere else but in the Government of India has it been mastered to such perfection. Take this WikiLeak about Cash-for-Vote in the Lok Sabha trust vote of 2008. What did Wiki Leak? It leaked that Nachiketa Kapur, an aide of Satish Sharma and “a very close friend” of the Gandhi family, showed some US embassy officials two suitcases stuffed with cash to the tune of 50/60 crore rupees, and said they were for buying support of MPs of various political parties for the trust vote. Some MPs were bought for 10 crore each, the PM was working on some others, while Rahul Gandhi was working on still others. During the vote the money did make the mare go, but alas, just before the vote BJP played the spoilsport and publicily displayed a bundle of notes with which votes were sought to be bought.
Naturally enough, the spontaneous first reaction from the treasury(-looters) Benches was – deny, deny, deny. Nachiketa who? Satish Sharma had never heard of him. Why? Satiricus cannot say, because Satiricus does not know if Satish Sharma is hard of hearing or suffers from political amnesia. But Satiricus is well and truly impressed with the impressive skill with which Pranab Mukherjee passed the buck. He said the government of the day is accountable to the 15th Lok Sabha, and not the 14th; what has happened has come to an end. See? Satiricus lives and unlearns. In his innocence (or ignorance) this simpleton thought that the party in power and the government in place were integrally connected not withstanding the serial number of the Lok Sabha. It has now been revealed to him that that is not at all the case, consequently the misdeeds of the party in power during one Lok sabha are over when the Lok Sabha changes although the party in power does not change. It can forget the misdeeds of the past and look forward to the misdeeds of the future. The bottom line: The more scams change, the more they remain the same.
Figures never lie, Satiricus has been assured. But what happens when one figure for something is by no means the same as another figure for the same thing? Then it becomes a mathematical mystery beyond the arithmetical ability of an illiterate fellow like Satiricus, causing confusion worse confounded in his bird brain. Take what happened not long back.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar informed the Rajya Sabha a few months ago that there had been just six farmers’ suicides in Vadarbha during the preceding five months. Yes, just six. The same day, same time, in Maharashtra, the then Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the figure was not six, but 343. That was 57 times greater than Pawar’s count. How come, simple Satiricus wondered. In answer a cynical friend replied Pawar is getting senile and does not remember how to count. Then with still more cynicism he added, of course the Hon’ble Minister was not deliberately and dishonourably attempting to mislead the country. Satiricus remembers that Pawar’s numbers came in a written reply to a question in Parliament. Both stories were reported by PTI.
But that was only one part of the fun. For a few days earlier, Minister of States for Agriculture KN Thomas pitched his count at 23 suicides in Vadarbha in the same period, but according to a body called Vasantrao Naik Farmers’ Self-Reliance Mission in Vidarbha, as many as 62 had committed suicide in one month alone. But hold on. The story of the funny figures does not end here. If Shri Pawar was to be believed, only 3,450 people committed suicide in India in the last three years, but according to the then Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, there were 5,574 suicides in Vidarbha alone! On top of this the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) put the number of suicides in the last three years at nearly 50,000. NCRB further stated that nearly 200,000 farmers killed themselves between 1997 and 2008. Will some one kindly tell Satiricus whom he should believe: Sharad Pawar? Ashok Chavan? Or the National Crime Records Bureau? Satiricus’s cynical friend’s bottom line : This can happen only in India.
The other day Satiricus was reading a book on the ancient history of the world. History is itihāsa in Sanskrit, and that means “it so happened”. And what did this book say happened? It made the abominably anti-secular assertion that almost all Hindu temples in various parts of the world were forcibly converted into Muslim places of worship.
To cap it all, about the holy of Islamic holies, the Kaba in Arabia itself, the book dwells on the scurrilously strong, pernicious possibility of its being a Sun Temple. It says that the Kaba was a centre of Sun-worship is also confirmed by whatever memories of the pre-Islamic Haj piligrimage survive in Muslim accounts. Now, can we secular Indians (including Satiricus, born Hindu by anti-Islamic accident) give credence to such a calumnious claim?
Finally, should Satiricus conclude with the world-famous and ever-cautious European archaeologist Hrozny? In his considered opinion “it is not impossible” that the ancient Sun God Yave (Yayash in Sanskrit) “continued to be worshipped in northern Arabia till the time of Moses”. But of course this worldwide Sun worship was done without namaskār to Surya, no?