OLD habits die hard. Especially old, Hindu-hating habits. So Satiricus was not surprised to see that Tavleen Singh is back to normal?her normal secular scurrility. Take this article on Vajpayee, where in the very title she issues a big, bold certificate that he deserves her respect. How magnanimous, no? But is this piece a paean of praise for Vajpayee, or an exercise in abuse of Hindus in general and the RSS in particular? Oh well, any peg is good enough to hang your Hindu-hate on, and if a compliment for Vajpayee can double as a Left-handed compliment for the wretched RSS, so much the better.
So opening her ´obituary´, as she calls it, on the Vajpayee government, she writes, ?Politically, his biggest achievement was that he took the BJP out of the hands of those tired old men in their old-fashioned khaki knickers and turned it into a modern, political party…?
Well, now, what do you know? Forgive Satiricus for being a little ungentlemanly towards a lady, madam, but have you by any chance noticed the difference between your picture that used to appear with your first foray into the fifth column and the picture that now appears after you resumed your fifth-column activities after a gap of years? Have you noticed (or pretended not to notice) the puffed up eyes and the sagging cheeks in the present picture? Anyone looking at this picture would sadly say you look ´tired´ and ´old´. Or is that just an optical illusion? As for ´those tired old men´ of the RSS, do you know, madam, that their leader is so much younger than Vajpayee that he touched Vajpayee´s feet when he became Sarsanghchalak? As for the others, Satiricus happens to know many RSS men in their eighties (and some nearly ninety) who are indecently energetic. Isn´t it a shame, madam?a shame that when you look so old and tired, they neither look old nor feel tired? At the same time Swayamsevak Satiricus must admit that the Sangh Shakha is no place for sartorial secularism. For nearly eighty years the RSS has clung to the belief that wearing khaki knickers need not prevent you from being a nationalist and a patriot.
And being secular, the paper has printed the Archbishop´s assertions as gospel truth (without dismissing them as ´claims´, as it invariably does in the case of authentic facts whenever the RSS mentions them). Which, of course, is as it should be.
But then, Tavleen Singh obviously knows better. She knows that those wearing old-fashioned knickers cannot run a modern party?for that you need to wear jeans. So Madam Hack praises Shri Vajpayee for managing to ´shake off´ the organisation in which he spent an entire life-time, and warns the party not to return to its roots.
She sagely says, ?Those who seek a return to Hindutva are mostly fools who must be ignored.? Ah, me! Satiricus being one such fool, he felt actually gratified to see that madam has promoted us from being RSS lunatics to being RSS fools. And he thought returning to Hindutva just meant taking pride in the achievements of our forefathers and learning from their glorious past how to bring about a glorious future. But the learned lady thinks otherwise. She thinks Hindutva means return of fools of the present to their fathers and forefathers, who were fools of the past. Well, now, who can challenge the wise Tavleen Singh? Foolish Satiricus cannot?but he recalls a quaint couplet that could tell Tavleen something: ?We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow, our wiser sons no doubt will think us so.?
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Was the CNN or BBC present at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? Satiricus does not know, but it seems Mel Gibson, the famous Hollywood actor-director, was. For his recent film on the last hours of Jesus, ´The Passion of the Christ´, has such a detailed account of that last day that even the Archbishop of Delhi wrote a full-length article about it in the Indian Express, the torch-bearers of Indian secularism. And being secular, the paper has printed the Archbishop´s assertions as gospel truth (without dismissing them as ´claims´, as it invariably does in the case of authentic facts whenever the RSS mentions them). Which, of course, is as it should be.
The article carries a scene in the film showing Jesus carrying the cross, and the caption of the picture says, ?The details of the torture inflicted on Jesus in ´The Passion of the Christ´ are historical facts mentioned in the Bible.? Well, now, could history be made easier? That the Hindus invented the zero or that they knew the earth revolved round the sun may be mentioned in British and American encyclopaedias, and yet they cannot be given greater credence than an incredible RSS claim, because the Bible nowhere says so. But the Bible mentions Jesus Christ´s torture, so it automatically becomes a historical fact.
Strangely enough, Satiricus finds that the history of this history is itself strange enough to cause confusion worse confounded in his communal brain. For starters, when was this eye-witness history written? It was written nearly a hundred years after Jesus died. How was it written? It was written on highly perishable paper called papyrus made from reeds growing on the banks of the Nile. And, most important of all, who wrote this history? No one knows. Historians of Christianity can only testify to the ´historical fact´ that the four saints credited with writing the four gospels did not write them. They plagiarised the gospels from the original authors whose names are not known to anybody to this day?and that ´anybody´ includes both Mel Gibson and the Archbishop of Delhi (not to mention the Indian Express editor).
Oh well, we Indian ignoramuses call history itihasa, which means ´it so happened´. But who says it so happened? If the Puranas say, it did not. If the Bible says, it did. So simple, no? So simple?and so secular!