~By Dilip Bobb
The peacocks may be shedding tears at their sudden enforced celibacy, joining the ranks of “others” who have become like Anjum, the protagonist of Arundhati Roy’s Ministry of Utmost Happiness. It’s a timely title, since government spokesmen and ministries are falling over each other to paint a portrait of the New India, teeming with shiny, happy people and cow’s milk and Patanjali honey flowing like rivers. Here are the ministries (with apologies to Roy) that lead the way in creating utmost happiness.
Animal Husbandry: With the cow becoming the dominant factor in Indian society and politics, we are now being informed of its miraculous powers. Modern research, ancient texts and learned judicial minds have combined to remind us that the cow represents 33 crore Gods and Goddesses (somebody actually counted them); it inhales and exhales oxygen so hospitals can get rid of those ugly oxygen cylinders, in fact, the cow is like a hospital in itself; drinking cow urine washes off sins of our past lives; it keeps the liver, brain and heart healthy; cow dung keeps away radiation; and when a cow moos, it destroys harmful bacteria and viruses. Scientists may scoff but India’s animal spirits are alive and well, and cattle class, or cattle classes, is the way to go.
Ministry of Finance: The economy is booming, India is the envy of the world, investment is pouring in faster than proposals can be cleared, the latest drop in GDP figures is a temporary blip owing to global factors and nothing to do with demonetisation, black money has been cleaned up and is back in the financial system, the slump in industrial output will be offset by the boom in agriculture and no farmer has committed suicide. The Modi wave will wipe out any anomalies and statistics that suggest the contrary. Any questions, no? Thank you.
Home Ministry: The best news of all: the government has found a permanent solution to the Kashmir problem, only problem is that it can’t be revealed. The home minister also tells us that after India’s surgical strikes, cross-border terrorism and infiltration is down, and it is only a few misguided youth who are creating trouble in very few areas of the Valley. Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers. In other good news, the Maoists are on the run and the free run that criminals and scamsters had during the ten years of UPA rule has come to an end. The Modi wave has scared them off.
Ministry of Employment: All these so-called economists and columnists writing about unemployment and job shrinkages are missing the jungle for the trees. Amit Shah, wearing his hat as the Utmost Minister, informs us that unemployment is not a problem: Modi’s vision of Skill India is to create an environment where every jobless Indian becomes self-employed and Makes in India. No details necessary, it’s all in the vision document that can be downloaded, thanks to Digital India and is also an essential component of the Smart Cities project. Since we have stopped talking to journalists, there will be no questions.
Minister with the Utmost Happiness: There is no happier minister than Venkaiah Naidu. Part of the reason could be his effusive praise of BJP prime ministers which he possibly considers part of his duties at Information & Broadcasting. He referred to Atal Behari Vajpayee as “The Tallest Leader’’ when the BJP stalwart was prime minister, and took an upgrade when Modi became PM, referring to him as “God’s gift to India’’. He recently watched Baahubali 2 and when he emerged, he declared that the PM was Bahubali for him. Of course, Naidu’s love for acronyms, like his revered leader, has given him the utmost happiness. MODI, he declared, stands for Modifier Of Developing India which was hastily amended to Making Of Developed India in case he had fallen short in his effusiveness. Naidu, of course, is at his utmost happiest when running down the Congress for….wait for it…, sycophancy!