India That Is Bharat
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is the prerogative of the politician to put his foot into his mouth. So Satiricus was far from surprised to see Home Minister Shinde exercising that right when he said the coal block scam would soon be forgotten just as the people had forgotten the Bofors scam. “Public memory is short,” he assured his audience in a recent public function; “coal can stain your hands, but hands can always be washed.” See? As long as soap sells in the market, why worry about coal-black hands? Of course, it is another matter that if public memory is short, the Hon’ble Minister’s memory is shorter. For he conveniently and quickly forgot that while the Congress got 400 seats in Parliament after Indira Gandhi’s death, not only did that fabulous figure get halved after Bofors, but since then the Congress has not got a majority on its own. What does that show? It shows that public forgetfulness is not up to the standard of Congress amnesia.
That being so, Satiricus was actually surprised to see Shinde explain (away) his remarkable remark by saying, ‘my coalgate remark was misconstrued’, that it was just a joke, and what he really meant was that such baseless allegations will be forgotten in a matter of days. Of course, of course. And if neither the BJP, nor the JD(U) nor even the CPI has any sense of humour and they cannot appreciate even the big joke that he is, what can the Hon’ble Joker do about it? And in any case why should he bother about them when the joke that is the government of India not only appreciated but rewarded him? Was he not rewarded recently for plunging half of India into darkness? Even the international media took note of this incandescent achievement, and the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Capping a surreal day, Prime Minister gave effective promotion to Power Minister”.
See? The Power Minister’s joke was so powerful that he was rewarded handsomely with Home Ministry. And what happened when he became Home Minister? Appropriately enough, his promotion was celebrated with a bang—rather, with a spate of bangs in the heart of Pune where he was to preside over an award ceremony—and where he was to make that award-winning joke. They have been described as “low-intensity blasts”. That should hopefully soon change. Let’s give him some time, then we can look forward to these lowly low-intensity blasts being replaced with happily high-intensity blasts. Satiricus is sure this joker of a minister will give us fabulous fun time.
Of Cats & Mousers
Satiricus is sad, but he is also puzzled. He was all along under the impression that sleeping on the job was the traditional right of a government servant in India. He must not snore, but by all means he can catnap. Then how can this cat nap out of India, in far away vilayat, while on government duty? Satiricus is talking about Larry the Cat that was officially appointed to the post of mouse-catcher at 10, Downing Street, British Prime Minister Cameron’s residence. Larry, alas, has been dismissed in six short months of joining the PM’s personal staff. Why? Because the cat was caught catnapping on the job. Well, now, in the considered opinion of Satiricus the British Prime Minister should have taken extenuating circumstances into consideration before taking this stern action. For this government employee’s CR (Confidential Report) must surely have noted that it made at least its first “confirmed kill” during the very first six months of its appointment.
On the other hand, Satiricus must admit that in any government office around the world there is an acceptable limit beyond which shirking work is frowned upon. Obviously Larry had not read any official manual specifying this limit. For the other day Prime Minister Cameron saw Larry asleep in his chair while a mouse scampered across the room. As if this was not inappropriate enough, when the PM tried to wake Larry and spur him into action against the enemy, Larry just opened one eye and refused to budge from the chair. This kissa kursi ka ended with Cameron turning terminator and terminating Larry’s services on the spot for inexcusable insubordination.
Actually Satiricus wonders…. insubordination apart, was Larry very wrong in sitting in the PM’s chair? If India can have a mouse sitting in the prime minister’s chair, why can’t Britain have a mouser sitting in the prime minister’s chair? But perhaps that is precisely the problem. England and America are divided by the same language, and while in America cats are mousers, in England cats are cats. Not being learned in Linguistics, Larry thought he was just a cat, not a mouser.