Saturday, March 06, 2004

Hell decision to strengthen democracy

In a significant development up above the sky, the authorities in Hell-Heaven Welfare Committee (HHWC) announced that people need not go to hell for lying, an offence recently degraded to the Simple Offences category.

This offence was earlier placed under serious offences category and punished with 10 years in hell and then another few years back on the earth as a crow. The punishment was misreported down on the planet as Jhooth Bole Kauva Kaate (One who lies is bitten by a crow).

HHWC director Mr Chitragupta said God, the ruler of all, was of the view that some of the laws were outdated and must change with time. “Lying is so common. Down there everyone’s lying. In fact some people lie for other’s good,” Chitragupta quoted God as saying.

“It is difficult to make a distinction every time one lies and our database is out of space even before the accounting begins in the evening,” Mr Chitragupta said adding “Taking lying off the serious offences category is not only ethical but also practical.

But our sources said Mr Chitragupta was just reading out the official version while the real reasons was simple: overcrowding.

“God was furious when he read about hell’s comparison with Tihar Jail down there on earth even though living conditions in hell are definitely better. Though we admit that sometimes two-to-three people have to share a cell. That does not mean it’s become Tihar,” an under-secretary in the Hell Management & Resources Division said.

“Besides, for lack of space hell-deserving candidates like rapists and murderers have to be put up in luxury guesthouses because there’s no space in hell. The recycling machines are working overtime to turn people into other species and send them back to earth. But it takes time to make space for folks. And of late we have seen an increase in number of murderers, terrorists and rapists. Is everything okay down there?” she said, on condition of anonymity. (The guesthouses are supposed to house undertrials, and not those with confirmed ticket to heaven or hell, he explained.)

Her counterpart in heaven, who also requested anonymity, said too many politicians from India have flouted the rules in the past so the hell-for-lying rule was more an exception. Also, it had a wrong impression on inmates on both sides.

“The other day we had this pot-bellied politician who lied even here. At the registration counter he claimed he’s Laloo Prasad Yadav and enjoyed the hospitality at the guesthouse. We later found out that Mr Yadav is hale and hearty and addressing rallies on earth. But we could not shift him to hell because a) there was no space and b) he turned out to be a relative of a politician who had earlier managed his own transfer from hell to heaven on health grounds,” he narrated a story.

Meanwhile, this decision has evoked joy among inmates in hell. On planet earth, politicians have heaved a sigh of relief, especially in two of the world’s largest democracies: India and United States of America. Both countries are going for elections this year. “Thank God. Now we can campaign without any guilt and fear. This decision will certainly benefit the election process and strengthen democracy,” Jhoothalal B. Sharma, a prominent Indian politician said.

A White House press release said that President Bush had always believed God would side with America. “President is pleased to hear the developments upstairs. He and his good friend Tony Blair, who are accused of lying about weapons of mass destruction, stand vindicated. He has always believed lying was no crime.” There were, however, no comments from 10, Downing Street.

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