(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
Members of constant anti-democracy infomercial, the Indian parliament, were going through an existential crisis recently. They were searching hard for their place in the world. They looked around and wondered: are they just another degenerating life form in the senior citizen play pen that they belong to? Are they simply disposable pawns in the hands of their party high command? Serving at the high command’s pleasure, not having a voice of their own, doing the same thing day in and day out, burying their aspirations, their needs, and their principles for the larger good of the party. Are they just biding their time until they go back into the abyss thanks to the sweet release of death? Will they ever matter? Will they ever be able to look themselves in the mirror and not feel repulsed at what they have become? Will they be able to go back one day to the people – who keep electing them in the hope that maybe, maybe, this time things will be different – with their heads held high? Our elected representatives were having a morbid crisis of morality. The air inside Sansad Bhavan was full of melancholy. Lawmakers were searching for answers to which they did not even know the questions. And then, as the fellow once said, seek and ye shall receive, they finally found something that would not only unite them with purpose, but also redeem them in the eyes of the cynical electorate. No more tarring all of them with the same brush because of a few bad apples; they would get back the respect they deserve. The clouds of dread were replaced by the unseasonal spring as the honourable members finally found the source of all that ails this country: cartoons.
Yes, cartoons. You better believe it! Apparently, those terrorists at NCERT, a government department whose original mission was to develop a cure for insomnia, dared to print in one of their textbooks about politics, cartoons depicting our esteemed politicians in a non-positive light. Outrageous! Our great leaders are nothing but beacons of justice and propriety. Those self-proclaimed ‘esteemed educationists’ at NCERT are misusing their government-given positions to damage Indian democracy. As Pranab Mukerjee – the nearest thing the UPA government has to an adult – said the other day, cartoons are not for children. Yes, exactly. They might be old enough to learn about hoohas & peepees (I would have known the actual scientific terms for them if they had bothered to teach my class the chapter on reproduction and not deemed it ‘out of syllabus’), learn about how history was full of monsters who killed millions of people on a whim, and might even be expected to comprehend how until six short decades ago they were second class citizens in their own country, however, showing them mildly amusing cartoons about politicians will ruin their innocence and mentally scar them for life. And that is just not cricket, old chum.
This is not the first time the hard working parliamentarians have had to defend the very roots of our democracy from egregious outside attacks. Recently, they have been metaphorically pulverized by powerful forces like 80’s hindi movie villain ‘Baba’ Ramdev (He’s got his own private island, thousands of followers who subscribe to his every diktat and lots of financial backers in foreign countries. ZOMG! HE’S MOGAMBO!), famous actor & king of the pox people, Om Puri and former policewoman and current fake teevee judge who prevents irritating people from divorcing each other, Kiran Bedi. These three dared to insult and question the very dignity of our parliament by making somewhat truthful assertions about our MPs in a public forum. So our fair and balanced lawmakers took the only recourse available to them. (No, they did get any of the goons they have on a retainer to beat up these people! Those are for people without ‘friends’ in the media, silly!) They passed a censure motion against them. You may think this is not appropriate use of our lawmaker’s time, but who cares what you think anyway? You’re an elitist having access to basic necessities like education, clean water and electricity. The only opinion that counts is of the caricatures of poor people that live in our politician's heads.
Now some say that our MPs sully the very institution they pretend to revere by pulling various idiotic stunts like tearing bills they do not agree with. That is nonsense! The sanctity of parliament is not disturbed when the MPs frequently stage a walkout. They are just setting an example for the rest of the country to follow. Walking is good for your health. Keep walking! Neither was the dignity of the parliament affected when our MPs rushed to the well of the Lok Sabha with large amounts of currency. This was proof that India has finally arrived. We’re not that socialist country whose MPs can be bought for trifle amounts of money anymore. Now our MPs have ‘fuck you money,’ and only actual dollar billionaires can afford to temporary lease their integrity. If that doesn’t say progress, I don’t know what does. The parliament also maintains its status as a temple of democracy when the speaker of the house flouts the very rules she has been sworn-in to uphold by giving special consideration to a prominent leader of her party. Even real temples give preference to important people! It’s the rule of nature. If god wanted poor people to get any importance, he would have given them money.
If only there was a medium which we could use to illustrate the absurdity of this whole event.