Friday, March 24th, 2023 04:46:04

Stupendously Secular

Updated: August 4, 2012 2:41 pm

India That Is Bharat


Satiricus must admiringly admit that for secularism in India there is really no looking back. He had thought that with Messrs Manmohan and Mullah Mulayam it had reached its zenith. He was wrong. For now we have a Gujarat Congress leader, Mian Shankarullah, exhorting—nay, directing—an election meeting of Muslims (incredibly including infants wearing Congress scarves) to come out in large numbers to vote for the party. In ringing tones he declared, it was for you that I, Shankarsinh, became (in-) famous as Shankarullah (in a previous election); “now your low turnout will not do, it must be 90 per cent minimum.” Why? Because “the Congress already bears the accusation of being a party of Muslims, so the onus of ensuring victory lies on Muslims.”

Well, now, what do you know? If the Congress is a secular party and if the Congress is at the same time a Muslim party, does that mean (or not mean) you have to be a Muslim to be a secularist? Then again, in the considered opinion of secular Satiricus, was it not indecently inappropriate for Janab Shankarullah to say that it was an “accusation” to say the Congress is a Muslim party? On the contrary, if, once upon a time long, long ago, the main opposition party had started with calling itself a party with a difference, why should not the Congress, in opposition to the opposition, rightfully claim that it was a party with no difference—no difference between being a secular party and being a Muslim party? Oh, well, this non-Muslim nitwit does not know the answer to such complex questions. In defence of his ignorance he can only plead that he is a journalist. So by definition he is illustriously illiterate, damnably dense, and stupendously stupid.

Astonishing Discovery

Satiricus has not read the Time article on Manmohan Singh, the under-achiever. But now that Standard and Poor has pointed out the poor standard of the Indian economy, Satiricus has come to realise that there must be standards and standards of being poor, and also of being an overwhelming underachiever. India is poor, so India has beggars. But decades ago, during a visit to the US of Affluent A, Satiricus had seen a beggar begging (systematically with a plackard in hand) for food. Then in 2008 he had read about Americans living on footpaths and scrounging for food in garbage heaps. And only the other day he read a newspaper article showing, with facts and figures, that one in every five or six Americans today is “impoverished”. On top of this impressive American impoverishment, monied Americans seem to have made the astonishing discovery that there are matters that matter more than money. Believe it or not, during the 2008 meltdown leading American columnist Thomas Friedman wrote what the US needed was not a financial bailout but an ethical bailout. As if this was not bad enough, the Harvard University officially made its MBA graduates take oath that they would abstain from “Greed”. To cap it all, nearly a dozen CEOs wallowing in wealth were sent to jail for 20 to 25 years for fraud. The moral of the story: The prime minister of poor India may be an underachiever, but can he match the high standard in low achievement of the president of rich America?

Food For Thought

Satiricus is not very particular about what he eats for lunch or dinner. But the other day he came across a press-report saying his politics depends on what he likes to eat. A new study in the US of A (where else?) has found that people who have different political ideologies have different tastes in food. The Liberals, for instance, prefer pizza with a thin crust, while Conservatives enjoy “deep-dish” pizza, McDonald’s French Fries and a Can of Coke. Furthermore, more Liberals eat toast for breakfast while more conservatives skip breakfast altogether.

Well, now, had Satiricus been an American would he have been a Liberal or a Conservative? To decide that he would have to take a close look at his menu and check it against what this study says—and what it does not say. For instance, the study has revealed the political difference between a thin and a thick crust of a pizza, but it is silent on the ideological divide between a veggie pizza and a non-veg one. Then again, if Satiricus eats McDonald’s French fries he will become a Conservative, but will he become a Liberal if he eats McDonald’s burger? Are there Liberal and Conservative compartments in McDonald’s kitchen? And also political subdivisions between hamburgers and cheese burgers? And what about Conservatives who don’t eat breakfast at all? Could and/or should Satiricus starve himself into being a Conservative? He thinks not. Satiricus would rather remain an Indian and enjoy his dal roti.

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