Left, Right and Centre

picture-1Everyday morning in Africa India, a gazelle wakes up and heads over to a nearby pond, opens up a bottle of Maanpaal Palpodi and washes his teeth. At that very moment, a lion wakes up and heads over to the same pond and after some stretches and mane scratching, gargles. The gazelle, who really should be running for his life at this point, says instead “Wassup Simba?”. The lion then ambles towards the gazelle, at a velocity distinctly lower than the slowest gazelle in the herd and clears his throat. For those of you who have not heard an adult male lion clear its throat, it is, as the expression goes, a “sound to behear”. Imagine 2 tectonic plates sliding over one another, making love, and climaxing.

“Goin’ ok”, Simba said. He wanted to add “My dear”, but did not because he had higher standards for puns.

“Herd there’s going to be an election in India”. The Gazelle, on the other hand, did not have very high standards for humour.


So who do you think is the front runner?

Cant say anything right now. The BJP particularly are leaving no stone unturned. LKA has gone full tilt Web 2.0

You mean he has resorted to Large fonts, Slowly loading pages, Tag clouds, fluff and hot air to spread his message?

No. He now has a blog. As does Murli Manohar Joshi, who apparently “reeks of decency when he speaks his high-brow mind


Isn’t high-brow a slightly negative word?

Yes. So is “reeks”. Perhaps he was going for the double negative there. Their party also tweets now.

Wow, so how many followers do they have?

Right after the first tweet, they had 400 thanks to this lovely trick. LKA also has banner ads that appear everywhere, even on Pirate Bay, right along side the Caucasian looking 23-year old who for some reason, claims that she resides in Chepauk.

So what’s their electoral strategy this year?

Hmm. Nothing new actually. Right wing politics has a pretty standard format world over. Here is the guide to being an Indian rightwinger. The formula is simple

  1. There is a complex reality
  2. Take that and make a dangerous oversimplification
  3. When presented with a potential rebuttal,
  4. Dismiss it using either historical revisionism or bullheaded stubbornness. If you are not good at revising history or do not possess bovine willpower, don’t worry. Dismiss the rebuttal as “pseudo-secularistic minority appeasement”

You can apply this to pretty much anything. Here’s an example

  1. With globalization, the influence of other cultures, both good and bad, is a reality we have to face with maturity
  2. Pub culture is western and against Indian values
  3. But western culture has given us technology and engineering as well
  4. No. India had nuclear power in 2000 BC. Ravana’s son Indrajit launched depleted Uranium shells at Lakshmana who had radiation sickness. The Sanjeevani herbs were actually boosters of the immune system which helped him recover. Then Rama went on to use a thermonuclear Brahmastra against Ravana

Here is another one

  1. India is a melting pot of many religions, cultures and art forms
  2. Ghazals are Islamic and therefore against Indian culture
  3. But muslims have been an integral part of Indian culture. What about Khayal, Qawwali etc?
  4. No. Hindu culture was much superior before it was debased and destroyed by Islamic invasion.

Actually, here is a useful, printable chart for quick reference. I’m surprised that the right wing establishment in India does not circulate this.

So what about the Congress? They are more of a centrist party right?

Um. Not really. The Congress are perceivably centrist thanks to some simple statistics.

How so?

You take the rabid, frothing at the mouth types who will riot, maim and kill innocents (especially those wearing turbans) all in the name of the party leader and add to that, those who still swear by license raj and divide by 2, you get what in statistics is known as a “mean” (and also an adjective that has negative connotations), and that is how the Congress is “centrist”. They have been giving the country “the hand”, literally and figuratively for the better part of India’s existence.

So you are saying that there is really not much of a difference between the BJP and Congress.

Yeah. I would go so much as to suggest that the BJP could be called “The Congress of the Cow”

But what about the Congress track record of economic development?

You mean, the development of Urban Metropolitan Middle Class India?

Um yes. Which then brings us to the Left.

You mean the leftovers.

Ah yes. The CPI (Moshaibabus) and CP (Menons). The ones who believe e.e.cummings was the ultimate communist because he abhorred the capital.

Ah yes, the Third front. With so many leaders who wish to be PM that if they do get to power, we will only have PMs and no cabinet whatsoever.

And then there is the Yadavs’ Fourth front.

Yes. Like a trilogy in 4 parts. A marriage live-in-relationship one-night-stand slam n’scram of convenience.

Indian politics is so paradoxical, is it not?

Of course it is. Is that a problem?

Um. Aren’t paradoxes problematic?

Of course not. Indian politics is not about ideologies, or about political positions. It is about the paradox. In fact, it is the paradox. Clarity is the enemy of the  collective political psyche in India. The Congress is religiously secular. They love the Sikhs while still doing many bad things to them. The BJP hates minorities while still loving them. They love Hindi while still getting into bed with the Hindi-hating Dravidian parties. The Communists embrace Marx while still continuing to stab him repeatedly in the back with the knife of capitalism. The AIADMK and DMK are sworn enemies and yet have absolutely no ideological differences. The Shiv Sena supremo loves everything Marathi, except of course his own anglicized surname “Thackeray”. India is both shining and dimming at the same time. And finally, the fourth front is back.

There is a Zen koan that reads – “Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said that the flag moves. The other said that the wind moves. They argued back and forth and could not agree. Hui-Neng, the sixth patriarch, settled the issue. He declared that it is neither the wind nor the flag that moves. It is the mind that moves”. Now, where do you think Hui-Neng learned his wisdom?

So let’s stop worrying about Varun Gandhi, Vaiko, Lalu and their ilk. Feroze Varun Gandhi loves Muslims, even if he wants to indulge in some hand amputations. Vaiko loves a bloodbath, but only because of the water shortage in Tamil Nadu and Lalu wants to crush Varun with both a roller and a bear hug of paternal love. We love our paradoxes. Elsewhere in the world, a pro-choice, liberal, gay Taliban commander might sound odd, but in India, the real question would be – is he an independent? Can he be bought?

At that very moment, the rising sun came up and a horde of elephants on bicycles waving lotuses and hands came charging towards them, campaigning for votes, and right then, it doesn’t matter whether you were a lion or a gazelle, you’d better be running.