The Independence Day Rhyme: Ecstasy & the Agony

The Independence Day Rhyme: Ecstasy & the Agony

Midway this way of life we’re bound upon,

I woke to find myself in a dark wood,

Where the right road was wholly lost and gone

[The Divine Comedy – Hell]

India – The Gloss & The Dazzle, ah the Ecstasy: An emerging superpower and the world’s largest democracy. One of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world. India’s wealthiest 100 worth nearly $250 billion. 60+ billionaires in $ terms. Beetles, BMWs and Jaguars. Nearly 2 million passenger car units, 13 million two-wheelers, 85 million pairs of jeans, 6 million laptops and netbooks sold per annum. 300 glitzy malls across the country. 10% Internet user penetration, 65% of those being Facebook users. Not to forget the bourses – NSE market cap in the vicinity of $1 trillion. FII net inflows of nearly $23 billion in 2012, taking their total cumulative investment in the nation’s equity market to $125 billion.

Index 18,000. Sensex being the only sex, rest being sodomy. Fast cars and slow gait. Neighborhood gyms and heart attacks at 35. Love handles, one bucket from KFC and 3 digenes. Muffin-tops and tight tees. Please!

India – What Lies Beneath, oh the Agony: Divided and stuffed into a 100 different little boxes, by those who strut around as political “masters”. A 100 different vote-banks, one for every reason, lesion and treason. Poverty. Farmer suicides. Scamrashtra. Dead soldiers, ceasefire violations and euphemisms like maturity, diplomacy, aman and asha to hide the pusillanimity and spinelessness….. Hey soldier, did you just die? Tch tch, martyrdom is your duty, OMG OMG, I am a minister from Bihar, ruling over the living dead, ha ha, ho ho hee hee, look at me and die one more time you wretched, dead soldier. Oh I am sorry – please don’t fire me Mister Chief Minister.

Murdered whistle-blowers and a deceived civil society.

Proxyocracy reigning supreme, as the Queen surveys the empire while issuing no instructions to anyone.

And how can we forget the Jamai-raja? There, is that him? Cruising on the autobahn, wind in the Schwarzkopffed hair, cheeks fluttering comically as they often do at high speeds when one achieves Zen on a Harley, oversized shades [Versace?] lending a certain darkly tainted hubris to the apparition, as he flirts with vivid thoughts, some involving sucking on mangoes, sweet and soaked in the blood of dead farmers from places he has never been to, and places which, I suspect, won’t even dignify his presence. No banana peels en route. Cruising like cruisers cruise. Thumbing his nose at the aam aadmis who inhabit his family-run banana republic.

A Prime-Minister who chokes by the time he reaches the third letter of the word “Accountability”. A cabinet minister or two, with a clean chit in hand and two in the back pocket. Hear them roar even before the first letter of the words/names like Poodle, Ashok Khemka or Solar Power rolls off the tongue. And others – Squealers straight out of Animal Farm – who pass off for a breed called spokespersons roar with them.

Some, admittedly, are born to roar.

Others, seemingly, are born to be wild.

One must fall at their feet and hold their hands, invoking linkages filial and spirituality trivial. Rape me not brother; are you not your sister’s keeper? Asaram concurs, and many score followers nod in vehement agreement. The godlessness of the god-fearing. Savages. Rapes. Scams. Kleptocracy. Thuggocracy.

FB status update and arrests. 124(a) and cartoonists. Twitter and jail – leave Karti Chidambaram alone, don’t you know who his father is? Who is Durai Dayanidhi’s father then, I ask! And Kanimozhi’s? Who are S.P.S. Rathore’s godfathers? Who is Rajendra Shekhawat’s mother? And who is Robert’s mother-in-law? Who is Pranab’s son? Questions questions questions. On integrity and ethics that are six feet under. On vulgar attitudes that tread with an affected grace all around – a most revolting sight that.

Decapitated soldiers on the border and a spineless set of rulers admiring tapestries in Lutyen’s Delhi. A sliver of gelatin where the spinal cord ought to be. Clean chits and an enslaved CBI. A toothless EC? Blame it on the Representation of People’s Act, dahling! CVC, CIC, CAG & RTI facing existential threats. A judiciary that is,,,,,read my lips.

And the 4th estate?

Oh dahling, we are the 5th column…..vulture journalists now, devil’s strumpets the next moment. Hail intellectual auto-eroticism, shall we now! Did you not love us all screaming banshees as we swerved between Rambo hither and Scambo thither, while 6000 people died in Uttarakhand? Were you not impressed by our reportage and root cause analysis even as school children died in Bihar? 

Impact journalism? What’s that baby?

[Said with a pinch of gumption and more than a dash of unction]

Wrapping up: Oh, the grotesque dichotomy and the horrendous absurdity. Visions of malbowges [see the opening lines of the piece again] on my mind. Rose-tinted glasses and the monstrosity that the blind don’t see, the shrieks the deaf don’t hear and the stifled cries the dumb don’t utter. A colossal tragedy or a farcical comedy? Laugh till you cry or cry till you laugh?

Democracy, liberty, integrity, humanity and good governance. Elections, loot, plunder, rape and repression. A durga robbed of shakti by a slippery eel wrapped in a banana peel that is lodged in the dark underbelly of a temple of democracy.

So soft, so mulayam. Such a dreg.

India. Shining? Superpower in the making? The greatest democracy? Rights? Liberty? Education? National pride?

Nah. A democracy hemmed in by the narrow limits of crony capitalism and vested interests of the unholy troika of politics-crime-business, offering the true benefits of democracy and freedom only to a minority. A large majority of the populace lacking the energy and will to bother about splendidly meaningless concepts like freedom and democracy; for 400 million, the next meal is the only question of immediate as well as near-permanent importance. If they don’t get too busy dying, that is. While food grains worth $14.5 billion are allegedly looted by you-know-who in UP alone over the past decade.

Seen a starving man of late, good Sir? Tell him to eat less. How less? Errr,,,,12 bucks sir? Nah, make it 5. Shut up you dunderheads, 1 buck will do. O dear starving man, do vote for FSB. We have ample reserves of rotting grains preserved safely in warehouses all over this blessed land. Do vote before you die good Sir – and if you die before you cast that precious vote, I will kill you. Burrppp!

India. A commodity. To be sold to the highest bidder.Because Politics is family dhanda. Cut it this way, slice it that way, wrap it in a cellophane and walk away with your portion Sir. 15% commission, 100% omission, the electorate gave us permission. You don’t like my rhyme much, do you Sir? I don’t like your reason either.

So for no rhyme or reason, let us continue calling it the world’s largest democracy, shall we? Well done oh feudal overlords, well done.

It is said, if pain had a singing voice, Janis Joplin epitomized it….. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose……”

Happy Independence Day.

[email protected]. [Twittering tittle-tattle: @ShiningPath1].

To read his other posts on criminalization of politics, politics as a means to generate obscene amounts of personal wealth [nation be damned], electoral reforms, criminal justice system, police reforms, judicial reforms, the great Indian silence factory [Mainstream Media] and other such useless, frivolous, irrelevant and burning issues, click here….  & hereOxford India Policy Series [Decriminalization of Indian Politics]