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October 15, 2006
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October 15, 2006




Page: 23/34

Home > 2006 Issues > October 15, 2006

India that is Bharat

Vocabulary as secular asset

It calls for still greater intelligence when you want to hide a hard truth behind a soft word, which is the core of secular journalism.

What exactly is the difference between a criminal and a gangster, and between a gangster and a don? Or is it only a difference of degree? Maybe just a territorial difference?in the sense that dons are underground, gangsters are overground.

Although the English and the Americans are divided by the same language, would an English cat and an American mouse be able to understand each other?s mewing accent. Or will they require an Indian mouse as an interpreter?

Enough is enough. So long?for a long, long time?Satiricus had dejectedly deemed himself dull, dense and dumb. No more. On the contrary, he now thinks he is qualified enough to apply for membership of an elite, international club of highly intelligent people, called ?mensa?. The other day he read in the papers that this club?s Indian chapter is looking for members from assorted fields ?not traditionally associated with a high IQ?, because it wants to change the popular perception that ?intelligence means being extremely good in mathematics or possessing a great vocabulary?. But of course Satiricus is not an assorted intellectual, he is a journalist. So he automatically possesses a great vocabulary, which automatically makes him a great intellectual.

?Vocabulary?, after all, means a collection of words, and does it not require great intelligence to say nothing in so many words, which is the core of modern journalism. And it calls for still greater intelligence when you want to hide a hard truth behind a soft word, which is the core of secular journalism.

In fact Satiricus would say a great vocabulary is a great asset of secularism. Right from the green-letter day secularism descended upon India like manna from heaven, words have been the precious pillars of the fourth estate of our realm?especially secular words that could cover up communal reality. For instance, Satiricus recalls that, decades ago, whenever there was a communal riot, it was always a clash between two communities?what communities was discreetly left unsaid. For secularism required that there should be no Hindus in Hindusthan nor Muslims in India. Later Hindus began to be named, especially when something was to be said against them, but Muslims? Oh, no. There were no Muslims, only minorities. Still later, when Kashmir became a killing field, there were extremists and then there were militants, but no terrorists.

Finally, now, our great vocabulary has shown the greatness of mind to acknowledge that there are indeed terrorists. See? It is only thanks to his great intelligence that Satiricus has been able to appreciate this great game of secular verbosity. And of course it would be very unintelligent to expect that secular words should have communal meanings.

*???*???*

Satiricus swears he is not a criminal. Neither is he a politician. So it would be hard for him to say if Indian politics is being criminalised or Indian criminals are being politicised. Maybe there are masterminds on both sides who can carry on both processes forward at one and the same time. But then, doctors differ, and so do dons. So Satiricus should not be unduly surprised to read in the papers that gangsters Babloo Srivastava was so ?hurt? by Apna Dal?s offer of tickets to underworld dons Dawood Ibrahim and Abu Salem for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections coming up next year that he has resigned from the party. He has declared he would now form a non-political party to fight terrorists and criminals. ?Our party will include students and people from all sections of society,? Shri Srivastava has said.

Well, now, that certainly is a refreshing bit of news, but no less confusing for a retard like Satiricus. For what exactly is the difference between a criminal and a gangster, and between a gangster and a don? Frankly, Satiricus has not a clue. Or is it only a difference of degree? Maybe just a territorial difference?in the sense that dons are underground, gangsters are overground. Significantly enough, a Muslim minister wants a part of Uttar Pradesh to be called Muslim Pradesh.

So is there a possibility that MLA Dawood Ibrahim might want to see this Muslim Pradesh become Apna Dal?s Apna Desh?

*???*???*

Only the other day Satiricus wrote about a professor of English in Pune teaching people how to speak English the way the English speak English. That is all very fine, but the problem for Satiricus is, can this Indian masquerade as an Englishman when the accent is on accent? For to his consternation he has recently found that not only Englishmen but even English cows have different regional accents. At least this is what a group of British farmers claim. They say their cows moo with regional accents, and phonetic experts say the idea is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Holy cow! Satiricus had no idea that one day men in India would have to take lessons from cows in England on what the right accent would be for which part of England. And if it does come to that, which accent would this professor prefer to teach? Or will that depend upon which cow he consults?

And the problem may not end there. For if English cows moo with different accents, why should English dogs bark with the same accent? Or cats mew with the same accent? To finish with a final phonetic fantasy, although the English and the Americans are divided by the same language, would an English cat and an American mouse be able to understand each other?s mewing accent. Or will they require an Indian mouse as an interpreter?




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