Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Ritual to Undo the Done

The other day, my alert friend Bray was telling me about a really weird tribe in America. I did not use the word weird because they are vegetarians — a word not usually associated with tribes. I used the word weird because these strictly vegetarian tribesmen eat meat if they happen to kill an animal. But not before an elaborate puja, an abracadabra ceremony to converts the meat into sort of vegetables. According to the exclusive details provided to only your truly, at least 17 tribal men and women dance while they go around the dead animal kept on a high platform. The wonder is that they also chant a secret mantra I am proud to translate for you: “If it doesn’t move it’s not animal. Vegetables don’t move so they’re vegetables. Dead animals are vegetables.”
N today’s modern times, this ancient practice is practised only in two places in the world: Bray didn’t tell me about the place those tribals live in. I live in the other place this is practised. It’s in the heart of New Delhi, which in turn is the heart of Delhi, which in turn is the heart of India. Anyway, heart failure and other such ailments are strictly banned from discussion in this column so I would restrict to the tribal practises, to be precise vegetarians sanctifying meat into a vegetable to make it eatable. Doing strange things to make bedfellows in politics. The popular rituals of the political tribes of India.
NDA’s George Fernandes was something the Opposition couldn’t touch for nearly two years. He was killed by tehelka. On Monday and Tuesday, a two-day ritual (popularly known as no-confidence motion) was conducted to turn him into something acceptable to the tribe. Where Sonia tried to fry him in the cauldron of corruption charges and scalded her hand.
Sonia Gandhi was totally unacceptable to the rest of the Opposition. Samajwadi Mulayam Singh was never soft on her. Nobody seemed to have a problem with her party, the Congress, leading the pack against the BJP, provided she, the Italian, wasn’t the leader. Now the two-day Purify George ritual had a side-effect like all rituals. But this side-effect was effective in Sonia’s advantage. Most have begun accepting she will lead them.
BJP is heating the communal cauldron in Ayodhya and chanting “Mandir Wahin Banayenge” which is ancient Sanskrit for “Religion is the best politics”. Sonia is creating a concoction of strange roots and leaves from Indian political jungle. Laloo booti is a sure cure against some bacteria called Bacillus Togadiatus. Mulayam masala may work for all caught in the evil Tandon’s Mayajaal. BJP has one big mantra to defeat all: L'India deve temere Sonia, lei รจ italiana. That’s mdoern Italian for Italian is still an issue.

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