Saturday, May 28th, 2022 02:59:28

Indian Gift To English Language

Updated: December 22, 2012 12:24 pm

India That Is Bharat


Dear Mr. Editor, received your note about delays and deadlines for this column. Why are you such a pogger? Do you think Satiricus is a nowter? Why, this column is just darrack for him. It was just that he was somewhat quaazy. But he is whick, okay? He won’t twag. Nor would hemarlock. Your letter demanding that Satiricus keep the deadine was a meemaw. Actually it made Satiricus gawster.

NB Did you understand what Satiricus has written? Satiricus bets you did not.Why? Because you are as ignorant of English as Satiricus is. At least as forgetful. For the words you did not understand are forgotten English words that are now sought to be brought back into use. Satiricus hopes you are not a pogger, a compulsive worrier. And surely you do not consider Satiricus a nowter, a nobody, someone who does not count. Satiricus assures you this column for him is just darrack, a day’s work. It was a little late because Satiricus was a little quaazy, unwell. Of course he is whick, alive, not dead. He won’t wag, play truant, nor would he marlock, play a joke on you. Anyway, your letter was a meemaw, a grotesque action, and it made Satiricus gawster, laugh helplessly.

So, you see, Mr Editor, you don’t have to worry about what Satiricus writes, but you do have to worry about the omnishambles in the country on which you have to write. That is the word the Oxford Dictionary has declared the word of the year. The dons of Oxford have defined omnishambles as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders”. In that case Satiricus wonders…. Is this word an Indian gift to the English language?



Illiterate Profession

What is Satiricus’s intellectual level? Nobody knows, including Satiricus. For nobody checked on it when he was admitted into the pen-pushing profession. And rightly so. Why bother about something so irrelevant? Consequently, even with what passes for his intellect Satiricus could not understand why the executive committee of the Indian Newspaper Society accepted the regret expressed by Press Council of India chairman Justice Katju over his remark that “majority of media people are of poor intellectual level”. Rather, in Satiricus’s considered opinion Justice Katju could be charged with maliciously making the insidious insinuation that minority of media people are actually of a non-poor intellectual level. How can that be, if journalism is acknowledged to be an illiterate profession? Would a journalist worth his professional salt remain illiterate if he had the intellect to become literate? And if he had the intellect to become literate, would he remain a journalist? He sure wouldn’t. Anyone who isn’t sure can ask Satiricus. Why? Because Satiricus knows for sure. Why? Because Satiricus has remained a journalist.

Sublime Dynasty

Satiricus is familiar with family relationships. But these political relationships are getting too complex for his simple soul. Take, for starters, this business of Father of the Nation. His political progeny makes it a point to invoke him at the drop of a Gandhi cap. Now, being a communal cuss Satiricus used to wonder how somebody who lived ten decades ago could be the father of a nation that was there ten millenniums ago. Then it dawned upon him that he was stupidly confusing two quite different nations—one was India that was Bharat 10,000 years ago, the other was Bharat that is India of 60 years ago.

Once this became clear even to his infantile intelligence, Satiricus thought it was natural enough that there should be the nation’s son-in-law, a desh ka daamaad. But here again things are getting complicated. For if there is a son-in-law there has to be a mom-in-law, and for the nation’s son-in-law there has to be a nation’s mom, rashtra maa, to make him her son-in-law. Then how could the lady who is our Minister for Women and Child Welfare come up with Indira Gandhi’s description as “rashtra maa”, something that no Congress leader has so far thought of?

Oh well, Satiricus submits this confusion could be cleared up with a constitutional amendment—Sonia Gandhi can be called rashtra-maa and Indira Gandhi can be called rashtra dadi maa. But of course if even the earlier Gandhi is declared an unconstitutional Mother of the Nation, the maternal relationship between the two Mrs. Gandhis needs to be carefully constitutionally worked out. Not that this would be much of a problem. The past Mrs. Gandhi changed the constitution to suit her convenience. The present Mrs. Gandhi could do the same. After all, what’s a constitution for, if it cannot be changed at a Gandhi’s whim?


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