Big Joke Parties
India That Is Bharat
After a lifetime of timidly hiding behind a pen-name, Satiricus has decided to make a name for himself. He has decided to become a celebrity. He has determined to be always in the news, even if for all the wrong reasons. At the same time, he is aware that he is neither filmi hero material nor in a position to command crores at crooket sorry, cricket. So these two celebrated highways to celebrity status are not open to him. But there is a third way where he can be easily newsworthy, even if notoriously, and that is politics. So Satiricus has decided to become a politician, not only a politician, a political leader. And of course the easiest way to become a political leader is to form a political party and become its leader. But all his life Satiricus has not touched politics with a pair of tongs, then does he have any expertise in the area? Well, that should not pose much of a problem, for what he reads in the papers every morning provides ample know-how on how to go about it.
For starters, if Satiricus wants to make a name for himself, he will have to come up with a name for the party he must form to lead. But here, luckily for him, he found a readymade answer to the problem. For only the other day he read in a foreign journal an article on Indian politics titled “Big Joke Party”. Satiricus instantly saw that that was the very right name for his party. The next question for him would be if he wants to be a leader, won’t he need followers? Normally, he would, but not in his Big Joke Party. In his party there would be so many leaders that there would be neither room for followers, nor the need. The name thus settled, what about the ideology? Actually, putting politics and ideology together is an exercise in oxymoron, but then, is not all politics peopled by morons on the one hand and oxymorons on the other? How can this illiterate journo help it if the dons of the dictionary tell him that a ‘moron’ means a foolish person and ‘oxymoron’ literally means pointedly foolish? Still taking the ideological high ground Satiricus will show the guts to declare that he does not mind his party being called a communal party but secularism being the better part of political valour he will go to Pakistan and praise Jinnah for his secularism. And if, on his return, he finds there is a furore over this praise among his followers, he would be surprised, and even sorry to see that they had remained so backwardly communal when he had progressed to progressive secularism.
Next, Satiricus will declare that his Big Joke Party will be a party with a difference. The difference will be that between small jokers of the other major party as against the big jokers of his own. These jokers will be welcome to build their own little empires without the silly shackles of party discipline to such an excellent extent that they feel free to thumb their nose at the central leadership, namely, Satiricus, quite brazenly, culminating in a spectacular situation where the Big Joke Party becomes a magnificent medley of Big Joke Parties. The biggest joke of these parties of big jokers could be the leader ruling one of the roosts preventing a built-in opposition leader from travelling by train through his terrain. Without apologies to king Canute of English poetry he might say “I am the monarch of all I survey, my right there is none to dispute not even the railways.”
In the midst of this splendidly splintered situation what will party president Satiricus do? Why, the most natural thing for a politician who is the party president is to prevent that “is” from becoming a “was”. For that, Satiricus will do whatever it takes. For that, will Satiricus be expected to bend? That he won’t do. He will not bend. He will crawl.
The other day Satiricus read in the papers that the municipality in the Polish town of Lodz had asked a padre to bless manhole covers to prevent their being stolen by scrap metal thieves, and the ceremony was duly performed in a church in the name of one Saint Faustina, the city’s patron saint who, it is said, used to walk the streets blessing manhole covers. Satiricus is impressed to see a saint working as a municipal employee, but not surprised; for he has seen in an encyclopaedia a long list of Christian saints appointed for specific duties, including a saint for typists. But now that typewriters are gone, will there be a saint for computers? And a saint for telephones? Or will there be a separate saint for landline phones and another for mobiles?