INDIA THAT IS BHARAT
SATIRICUS is sad to see that despite determined efforts of the oh-so-secular powers that be in India that was Bharat to stamp out Hinduism-cum-communalism, it is not only spreading abroad but also raising its hated head in totally unexpected corners of the world. Take this god Ganesh. In the bad old days of heinous Hindu influence all over the world, Ganesh was worshipped all around India, from Nepal to Afghanistan, was present and popular all over South-East Asia from Java and Sumatra to Japan. He was found in Italy in Europe with a quill and an inkpot in his hands, and had even reached the Mayans of South America and the Red Indians of North America. So far, so bad. What was worse, that, in modern times, Muslim Indonesia issued a high-denomination currency note with a Ganesh picture on it. And, now the worst-case scenario : dangerously described as the first currency coin on Ganesh, a limited edition of this Hindu and therefore anti-secular deity, minted in Germany, has been issued in a country in Africa by name Ivory Coast. The coin is made of pure silver, and is even inscribed with the Sanskrit Shloka : Vakratunda Mahakaya.
Well, now, will somebody kindly explain to Satiricus, curious cuss and Indian idiot, this fell phenomenon of a Ganesh coin in Ivory Coast but no Ganesh coin in India? Fortunately there are secular some bodies who can explain it away, including a numismatist by name Alok Goyal. He says: “There is a lot of demand for Ganesh coins in India. But since the Indian mint generally doesn’t make coins on religious figures, we do not have any currency coin on Ganesh.”
How completely, conclusively convincing! Ganesh is not current, then how can there be a currency coin on Ganesh? Unfortunately it takes all sorts (of doubting Thomas’s) to make the world, and Satiricus’s friend MV Kamath is one of them. He had a slightly different explanation. Once he referred to the Indonesian currency note with the picture of Ganesh on it and asked, what will happen if India issued such a note? He himself answered—”There will be hell to pay!” Of course there will be. For who wants to go to Hindu hell? We want to go to secular Swarga.
IN THE good old days the purpose of all technology was to make a better mouse-trap. Alas, those days are past. Now the purpose of all technology seems to be to trap us journalists making spelling errors. For news comes that two German inventors have developed a new pen that vibrates every time the writer using it makes a spelling mistake. This is surely the end of the road for us pen-pushers practising the illiterate profession of journalism. How can we be true to our profession if we do not make spelling mistakes? If, between a journalist and the pen he writes with, the pen is better at spelling than the writer, will that not mean a literate pen is not the right instrument for an illiterate profession?
There is also a more fundamental question—actually more than one. For starters, who says the pen will know the right spelling? If this pernicious pen is invented by Germans, will it know English spellings? Even if it knows English spellings, will they be English-English spellings or American-English spellings? Then again, if it knows American English spellings, will it know that in America English spellings differ from state to state? On the other hand even if it knows English-English spellings, will it vibrate because a right old English spelling is a wrong new English spelling? For instance, in historical England quite a few books were written appreciating the invention of numbers 1 to 10 by ancient Indians. One of them, a tract written in c. 1300 and titled The Crafts of Nombrynge, writes; “…. we use teen figures of Inde…. Why zen figurys of Inde? For…. thei were found frist in Inde.” Will these frightful spellings make this pen not only vibrate but shake in panic?
As for Bharat that is Bollywooden India, what about ‘nite’ for a night of music? Will this pen protest with a vibe, or will it ‘groove’ with the music? And finally, it was reported just the other day that in the wake of Snowden’s revelation of secrets stored in American computers the Russians are switching over to typewriters. Then how long before this vibrating pen of German make is joined by a trembling typewriter of Russian make? All in all, it seems if Satiricus wants to avoid a continuous flow of vibrations while writing this column, he may have to compete in a ‘Spelling Bee’ competition organised by his pen. On the other hand, if this leads to his spelling improving to the dangerous level of correctness, will that not mean Satiricus is being disloyal to his illiterate profession?