I was sitting in my room looking at the latest rejection slip which I had received for my novel (Hyderabadi Biryani : a saga of urban angst and diastolic dilemmas told at a mind-scorching pace), when Jagat Jwala, my thirty year old neighbour entered and declared, "Do you know Ramen, the elections for the Lucknow university students union have been cancelled.
 
Jwala's real name was Chetan Chhotray. He had adopted the nom de plume Jwala since he felt he had in him a volcano of talent and a lava of passion. He wrote modern poetry but his real passion was politics. He considered himself one of the most savvy and astute politicians of our generation. Any political event - whether it was the election to the PM's post or that of the woman's panchayat of Kuarmunda block - interested in him deeply. He had an opinion on all things political- an opinion I ended up receiving much against my wishes.
 
"Why have the elections been cancelled?"
 
"There is a directive that the candidates having a criminal record be banned from contesting. And since the resume of most of the contestants would make Gabbar Singh proud the Vice-Chancellor cancelled the elections.
 
"But that is a wise decision isn't it?"
 
"What the hell do you mean? It is a high handed step which reeks of an undemocratic, dictatorial attitude."
 
"Come on Jwala talk sense. You mean to say criminals should be encouraged in student politics?" "Ramen, just consider the scenario in Indian politics today. Almost in all the parties a sizeable chunk of the population comprises history sheeters - people who have had trysts with guns and drugs trafficking and have had rich experience in inciting communal violence, organizing riots and booth capturing, et al."
 
"So?"
 
"Well student politics is the stepping stone to the higher platform of state and national level politics. Then is here anything wrong if our young or not so young budding politicians gain valuable experience in the green field college campuses and then move on to higher realms."
 
"I didn't quite understand."
 
"Listen, when in national and state level politics we have a place for criminals does it make any sense in denying them their right in student elections? Rather we should encourage more and more criminals in student politics so that they can hone their skills, gain experience and expertise and develop into full-fledged criminals when they reach the higher echelons of politics."
 
"But then a day might come when criminals will totally infest politics?" I wondered.
 
"So what? You see in the parliament and assembly sessions what happens? Many a time our MLAs and MPs come to blows. And the whole session is hijacked by a few goondas. It becomes a very one sided business. The things have no competition and we hardly have any fun. If we encourage the crooks then soon there will be a level playing field. A thug will fight against a thug and goon will be pitted against a goon. It will be keenly contested and riveting to watch. In fact I have a perfect idea." Jwala looked at me expectantly.
 
"Tell me, I am sure it must be a brilliant one," I said resignedly.
 
"The government should telecast these sessions as Reality Shows. They will draw a huge number of sponsors and rake in loads of moolah. If we export the shows we'll be able to earn valuable foreign exchange too. It will also enhance our pride and we will be able to declare "Garv se kaho ham Indian hain."
 
"How?"
 
"Arrey, all along we have been copying American shows. All our popular T.V. programs such as the Big Boss, Indian Idol, KBC have been imported. Now for the first time we'll have one show which will be mind blowingly original. A show which will make the Yankees sit up and take notice. Soon they will be running after us seeking permission to adopt and adapt it for American T.V."
 
"What will you call the show?"
 
"Obviously THE BIG FIGHT," Jwala said and walked out to sell his idea to the nearest buyer.

 

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