Satiricus is aghast. Satiricus is outraged. He cannot but express extreme anguish and sense of shock at the absolutely unauthorised and abominably unconstitutional behaviour of the Americans. The way they stole into the territory of sovereign Pakistan in the dead of night and inflicted deadly violence on Janab Osama bin Laden, the honoured guest of the Pakistani powers-that-be, was intolerably uncivilized. Satiricus simply cannot imagine how the Americans could be such boors after bestowing billions of dollars on their famous fast friend Pakistan. Why, Oh why, could the Americans not continue the time-honoured practice of duly giving advance info of their planned attacks on terrorist positions to the Pakistanis, so that the Pakistanis could duly pass it on? Why was this due process so unduly violated?
Satiricus has seen pictures of Pakistani terrorist leaders praying for the late lamented Osamaji with tears in their eyes—and he was himself in tears. To add insult to injury, the Americans said we did not tell the Pakistanis because the Pakistanis would have told Osama, and they even said they were not sorry about killing him. Here Satiricus is sure the Pakistanis would readily realise and appreciate the vital difference between the uncultured Americans and us Gandhians. For one Gandhi may go and another Gandhi may come but we Gandhians go on for ever. So what are we doing about our terrorists who are living and prospering in Pakistan? We are doing two things that we are expert at doing—we are sending dossiers upon dossiers, and we are holding talks after talks. Satiricus knows that our dossiers make delightful leisure-time reading for the Pakistanis, and our endless talk is non-stop music to their ears. He also knows that talking and talking and talking with the Pakistanis about their terrorism is the only way to make Pakistani terrorism vanish into thin air.
Satiricus is patriotically proud to learn that with the sad demise of Osama bin Laden our Dawood Ibrahim, who has been living long and luxuriously in Pakistan, has been promoted from No 3 to No 2 among the world’s most wanted criminals-cum-terrorists. But have we ever thought of doing to him what the Americans did to Osama? Perish the thought! Rather, immediately on Osama’s death our government hurried to declare that the American way of doing things is not our way, and we shall continue to talk. Unfortunately, Gen Kayari feared we latter-day Gandhians might do something more than talk, so he warned us, “Don’t even think of a similar strike”, to quote a newspaper headline. Of course, we won’t even think of it. Why? Because we are not irresponsible men, we are responsible mice.
Art Of Bribery
Life is getting a little too complicated for simple Satiricus. Take this bribery business. Satiricus recalls that when, long years ago, he bought a flat in a metro and was required to register the transaction with the housing department of the municipal corporation, his builder had been kind enough to provide him a regular list of the people he had to bribe in that office to get the registration done. The knowledgeable builder even listed the precise bribe amount for every concerned person—from the peon at the door to the big boss in the chair. That such registration was a routine function of that office and no fee was to be paid was irrelevant. In his blissful ignorance Satiricus had no idea that a fee and a bribe are two very different things and that no fee was to be paid, did not mean no bribe was to be paid. So Satiricus went to that office with the list in his pocket, made due distribution of the bribe money, and got the job done.
See? Those were the simple, efficient days. Alas, no more. Now things are about to change—for the worse. For a new law is proposed which says bribe-giving is maaf, bribe-taking is not. It is argued that this law would save the harassed aam aadmi from bribing his way into getting things done. Ah, that is indeed a helpful idea, but Satiricus cannot help wondering. … Which aam aadmi gave bribes of hundreds of crores in the 2G and Games scams to pocket contracts worth thousands of crores in profit? Or is it that all bribe-givers are equal but some are more equal in the eyes of the proposed law?
Then again, will making bribe-giving legal make bribe-giving moral? Satiricus does not know. But apparently UP CM Mayawati does. For according to a body called India Against Corruption, in the “Maya Raj” bribery rates are fixed for any government work to be done. Actually, there are also some other people who are equally knowledgeable in the fine art of bribery. For example, the Bofors people. For another example, Russia’s KGB.