Monday, July 30, 2007

Isn't it iron-ic?

Ram Gopal Varma's Aag is threatening to burn the silverscreen. There's no final word on whether Ramu has retained the dialogue Loha lohe ko kaatata hai (It takes iron to cut iron). Thakur Baldev Singh says that line as he sets a couple of thieves to catch Gabbar Singh son of Hari Singh son of Dashrath Singh. Singh vs Singh. In general political discourse, this wisdom is not just uttered but also used to perfection. It's called level-playing field.

We often hear it in the reservation debate. We see it when a bahubali (muscleman) is pitted against another in elections. When in doubt, level it out.

What else explains this coincidence that all three candidates for the post of Vice-president are Muslims? We have just installed our first woman President. Apart from the bitterness and mud-slinging, the contest between Pratibha Patil and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat would also be remembered for another fact: both were Shekhawat Rajputs. The UPA chose a Shekhawat to beat a Shekhawat. They offered various reasons, and there indeed were various reasons. The least spoken was that BJP's Bhairon Singh Shekhawat could demand caste loyalty from Rajput MPs and MLAs from all parties. Caste cuts across political lines. Pratibha Patil Shekhawat neutralised that possibility.

That bitter battle is over. We have a new vice-president to choose. The third front or UNPA put up Rashid Masood, a man of clean credentials, as its candidate. Both the ruling front (UPA) and the main Opposition (NDA) put up similarly accomplished candidates — Hamid Ansari and Najma Heptullah. No matter who wins the race, we will have a competent vice-president. Thank God for these mercies. It's also a heartening certainty that our next vice-president will be from India's biggest minority community. So far, so good.

What should trouble us is the crooked political judgment being delivered in hushed tones, "if we put up a candidate from another community, choosing one over the other would become a problem and it will lead to controversies." Some have to stay decidedly pro-Muslim and some others cannot afford to be. When the fight is among Muslims, the political class doesn't have to deal with a self-inflicted dilemma.

As I write this, BJP's Sushma Swaraj is calling for efforts from party men to dispel the "myth" that hers was an anti-minority party. The BJP, after all, has put up a minority candidate. In the same breath, she adds, Heptullah's candidature had nothing to do with her religion. It better not be so. Making her religion her USP is an insult to a person who, as its vice-chairperson has run Rajya Sabha for 17 years, and is now contesting for the chair.

There are few takers for either of Ms Swaraj's statements: that the BJP is not anti-minority and that Heptullah's nomination has nothing to do with her religion. So far, so bad.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rubber vibrating with anger at Vijayavargiya

India’s most controversial condom, Crezendo the Vibrator is furious after being labelled a sex toy by the Madhya Pradesh government. It said that the government is confusing business with pleasure and that it is anti-climax.

“Our politicians say sex is only for procreation and not for recreation. At the rate Indians copulate, imagine the country’s population. Every Indian will want to beat Lalu Yadav, though only Lalu Yadav would be the railway minister,” the scorned vibrating rubber told a press conference.Crezendo also chastised newspapers for publishing Madhya Pradesh minister Kailash Vijayavargia’s statement in which he had lambasted the vibrating condom for diverting the society from the pious path.

Talking to this reporter, Vijayavargiya had said the sale of vibrating condoms in the state violated certain principles.” Vijayavargiya said, “Vibrating condom is no condom. The company which has launched the product is promoting it as a sex toy. And no government should allow sale of sex toys.”

Crezendo ridiculed his “Vibrating condom is no condom” statement saying it’s like saying Kailash Vijayavargiya is no Vijayvargiya.Taking Vijayavargiya head on, Crezendo said people like him are still living in the Stone Age, when wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am-and-now-I-go-off-to-my- own-cave was the norm.

“If people don’t need a vibrating condom, Hindustan Latex will take me off the shelves. It’s not the men who seek me. They would rather do without any condom, they are so stupid. It’s the ladies who seek me. I am just meeting their needs. I am not here to be a toy and I object to such classification by the honourable minister. Dildo is a toy and it has been here for long and illegally so. I can’t replace it.”

He pointed out that the minister was ignorant of the state’s rich heritage. “This is the land of Khajuraho. The images in Khajuraho are kinkier than the tiny vibrations in my ring. A little vibration is better than no vibration any day.” He however did not comment on whether any minister has ever used one. “I would rather not get into controversial things,” Crezendo said.

Sautela will be the next President of India

New Delhi, June 20, 2062: A humble farmer from Pratappur Gangadhar Sautela is on his way to become the President of the republic. Last night, he received a telephone call from Ms Ramnik Gandhi, president of the party leading the ruling coalition at the Centre.In Indian democratic tradition over the last fifty years, the highest officer of the country is elected on the basis of a phone call. For the last three days, many politicians, governors, former governors were not taking any calls other than the high command, which never came to them.

“Two senior politicians — Saratkumar Ganda and Lalaram Sauda — suffered cardiac arrest when they received a call from a Delhi number. Just the STD code 011 gave them the hope that it was the call to become President,” a government spokesperson said. However, the real call went to Sautela. He denied reports that one politician did not go to the bathroom for three days and died because of gastro complications.

“These days even the rickshaw-puller has a mobile phone, which can be taken anywhere. These stories are baseless,” he said.Sautela’s name came up after the coalition could not find a person all the partners agreed upon.

The 23-party coalition has varied parties from both Leftist and Rightist ideologies. Every name that was suggested was rejected by one party or the other. Since India has had Muslim, women, Sikh and other token Presidents, Kisan Dal President suggested that it was time a farmer became President. But most politicians claimed they were of farmer origins since Amitabh Bachchan declared himself a farmer. The political crisis however ended when Prime Minister Sadhan Singh suggested Gangadhar Sautela’s name. The Prime Minister however did not disclose how he came up with the name. Later in the evening, Congress Party President Ramanik Gandhi called up Sautela, who was relieving himself in the fields not far from his home in Pratappur. Sautela’s son rushed to him with the phone. “I immediately accepted the high command’s command. I am a loyal soldier of the party,” Sautela told us over the phone from Pratappur.

“I will fight for the right of farmers and also the left of the farmers, because I believe in taking everybody along.”Sautela used to be an active member of the party till 2048, when he decided to concentrate on his two-bigha plot in Pratappur. He is said to be dejected by the way the party had treated him, forcing early retirement on him. But now his struggle has paid off, when he’d given up hope.