Politics 2020, Telegraph Calcutta

A ‘prayog’ against polarisation

Twice in successive Lok Sabha and Assembly rounds, Delhi has voted with instructive schizophrenia, endorsing Narendra Modi unreservedly at the Centre, effusively rejecting him in favour of Arvind Kejriwal for the state.

The number of those who vote bigamously depending on the election must remain astoundingly high.

Tuesday’s resounding verdict for the AAP suggests that while Modi remains unchallenged by party or person nationally, a credible regional dare to him can hold ground. And handsomely, as Kejriwal’s second sweep of Delhi demonstrates.

It probably also suggests, not for the first time, that an established governance record, tempered with the right political strategy, can defeat the most blatant and belligerent attempts to polarise the electorate and extract majoritarian victories.

This is how the first electoral shock was delivered to Modi post his 2014 steamroll — working to strategies worked out by strategist Prashant Kishor, Nitish Kumar deftly joined hands with arch rival Lalu Prasad and punched Modi down in the 2015 Assembly elections.

Just as in Bihar in 2015, the BJP appeared desperate enough to grab Delhi to resort to the ugliest tricks in the book; its campaign was littered with personal slander against opponents, unembarrassed attempts to communalise the campaign, bellicose intimidation of the minorities who were, through the canvassing, also the lead act of the anti-CAA protests in various parts of this city.

Okhla’s Shaheen Bagh, where ladies have led a defiant picket for close to two months now, became the central metaphor of the BJP’s campaign, an omnibus code-word for pinioning the minorities as troublemakers, anti-nationals and card-carriers of Pakistan.

Amit Shah exhorted Delhi to vote with a vehemence that would send electric currents to Shaheen Bagh. Modi warned ominously that Shaheen Bagh was an “experiment, not a coincidence” — “sanyog nahin, prayog hai”.

The shrill “goli maaro saalon ko” cry resounded from many a BJP stage. Kejriwal was labelled a terrorist and the battle for Delhi itself was projected by some BJP leaders as a battle between India and Pakistan.

Delhi spurned that. The biggest victory the AAP recorded was on the Shaheen Bagh seat. But that only tells part of the story of how the BJP’s bid to polarise the vote has failed. Handier proof is probably this: the Muslim population of Delhi is shy of 13 per cent; the AAP’s total vote share was nearly 54 per cent, the BJP scored 38 and a few decimal per cent.

But there is another way of looking at this. The Congress has lost more than half of its 2015 vote share; the BJP has gained, most likely at the Congress’s expense.

The exhilaration in the AAP camp, and the fervid felicitation of Kejriwal from the likes of Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Hemant Soren, M.K. Stalin, Akhilesh Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav might suggest that the non-BJP, non-Congress parties are probably drawing a fresh breath of hope from how Delhi has voted. But there is very little to suggest that the AAP’s victory can be interpreted as a sign of a larger political shift.

The Congress, drastically reduced but yet the only Opposition party with a national footprint, is leaderless and directionless. It lacks a narrative, it makes no pretence of working on one. Today, it was left trying to derive solace from the defeat of the BJP’s divisive campaign, but it is not the party that was even able to play a minimal role in that. Strong regional groups are unable to agree on an umbrella under which they can gather with common purposes; each is busy trying to survive in its bastion.

Bihar, which is the next big stage for electoral duelling, itself offers reasons why the opposition to Modi and his BJP should remain wary of over-reading the meaning of its victories.

The Nitish-led Mahagathbandhan’s victory in Bihar had held out hope for a wider formation that could credibly take on Modi. But it was short-lived; the BJP was able to lure Nitish away from Lalu Prasad and now dominates the course of the coalition in the state.

Modi has suffered reverses in many states since he came to the helm in 2014, most famously at the hands of the Congress in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan just months ahead of the 2019 election. But when Modi himself came onto the poll ticket as prime ministerial candidate, he faced no competition.

As one Congress leader said privately as he watched his party washed out a second time and the AAP cadres exhort Kejriwal to higher ambitions with cries of “PM! PM!” at his victory appearance: “Kejriwal himself would do well to remember what happened when he tried to expand his footprint the last time. He quickly became wise to the idea that he better stick to Delhi.”

But who’s to prevent a renewal of wider ambitions on the anvil of such a spectacular victory? Especially with the likes of Prashant Kishor juggling away with the poll Rubik in the backrooms.

His recent ouster from Nitish’s JDU notwithstanding, Kishor remains a strategist at play with envious cross-connections and influences. He began to work for Kejriwal a few months ahead of the elections. He has been micro-managing strategy for Mamata Banerjee. He plotted Jagan Reddy’s march to power in Andhra and remains in close touch. He has active links with the ruling family of Maharashtra, the Thackerays. He remains fired by the imagination of fashioning a political alternative to the Modi-Shah project.

As the AAP celebrates, Kishor would most likely have moved to mulling what next.

Politics 2020, Telegraph Calcutta

Prashant Kishor and his improbable power map

Politics is the art of the possible”, said

— Otto von Bismarck

And then there are those who make it their business to attempt the art, or risk it.

What’s the bet Prashant Kishor will pop up in Bihar next, having posed his happy hug with Arvind Kejriwal and left the celebrations of Delhi? But whatever for? He’s just been rudely cut cold by Nitish Kumar. He doesn’t have a backroom in Patna. Nor a client. He doesn’t have a party in Patna. Nor a post. What might he be headed to Bihar for?

We shall come to that presently. Ponder a little, meantime. A tip, if that helps: never underestimate the impulses of personal temperament and what they can make people do. You’d never have seen him with pen and paper but Prashant Kishor keeps notes, copious notes, and squirrels them like a moneylender squirrels IOUs.

The other thing he may have been squirrelling all this while is criticism, of which he has a richness. Could it be that he has divined in all the reproach his rewards? Could it be that he has come to inspire himself by how he is routinely damned?

Of the many reasons Kishor has been ridiculed for during his irrepressible zigzag as power strategist, three stand out, if only because they have proved the most popularly used of darts thrown at him.

Prashant Kishor is a gun for hire.

Prashant Kishor is politically polygamous.

Prashant Kishor is ideology-averse and, therefore, a freelance carpetbagger.

He has walked a trail wantonly littered with ammunition for critics to pick up and pinion him. Few have dared — often taunted — with nonchalant promiscuity to the public glare as Kishor. The first polevault from Narendra Modi to the battlements of his then sharpest critic, Nitish Kumar. From Nitish Kumar to the Congress. From the Congress back to Nitish Kumar. And from a firm perch in Nitish Kumar’s precincts, the opening of multiple dalliances — with Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, with Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra, with M.K. Stalin in Tamil Nadu, with Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi and, most wholesomely, with Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal.

His career and course have given incontrovertible truth to the rattle of his critics — gun for hire, political polygamy, ideological permissiveness.

But try reading that as Kishor himself might on occasion read his critics.

So I am an acknowledged gun; and I keep getting hired.

I am polygamous. But nobody’s complaining among those that court me.

I am permissive. Ideology? It’s what I tear to ribbons and make splendoured frills of. And look at the political cast that has allowed me to seduce around myself. Four chief ministers and an aspiring one. A geographic expanse that comprises in excess of 160 Lok Sabha seats.

Part of the attention, and often envy, Kishor generates must come from the uniqueness of where he has arrived doing his jagged journeys these past years. He is probably the most cross-linked political polymer in play at the moment, bewilderingly so. Forget not the investments and linkages he would have made during his years with Modi. Discount not the connect he made, and most likely retains, with the Gandhi scions. Believe not that all is done and dusted between him and Nitish Kumar. Never say never in politics, and Kishor is a politician to the core, if ever there was one. The IOUs are to be squirrelled and only tacitly employed; they are not for display.

There are, in fact, clues to suggest that Kishor is uneasy merely playing backroom strategist and seeks to move front of the table as political entity of his own. Such a shift requires, first of all, overt political positioning on extant issues, and Kishor has just assumed one — outright and outspoken opposition to the CAA-NPR-NRC project, which has the whole nation in a roil. He hectored Nitish Kumar publicly on the issue as vice-president of the Janata Dal (United), and probably even forced his early ouster from his ranks. That had two immediate and very public consequences, both of Kishor’s wanting: he was seen as clearly opposed to the pet Modi-Shah scheme, and, he was politically free. To do what perhaps he himself may not be clear on yet. But here’s the other patently political thing Kishor is doing: defining a line from those that he has chosen to work with. He has tied himself to a line and is taking sides as a politician, no longer a strategist able to pass this way and that through the ideological swing door. He has allied himself to varying degrees of opposition to the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah ambition.

That said, where Kishor is at the moment is a nebulous, unformed space rather distant even from the suggestion of turning into a prospect. But the man’s record suggests he isn’t daunted by the absence of prospects, or playing with several at the same time.

When he arrived in Bihar in late 2014, frustrated and squeezed out of the Modi scheme, Nitish Kumar looked like a political basket case. He had been pounded by Modi at home. He had given up chief ministership, handed the job to Jitan Ram Manjhi, and turned a recluse. Kishor it was who pushed him to reclaiming the chief minister’s chair. Kishor it was who, after deep initial reluctance, brokered a deal with Lalu Prasad. Kishor it was who crafted the winner Mahagathbandhan.

When the Congress was drubbed in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in 2017, Kishor was back to where he was in mid-2014 — suddenly without visible prospect. He slid under a deep and extended cloud of introspection and reassessment. He briefly flirted with the idea of shutting shop. Then, slowly, he began to open windows anew. He joined the JDU. But clearly, he wasn’t to be contained and kept as creature of the party. The impulses of temperament wouldn’t let him be.

He’s out of the JDU now. Where does Kishor go from here? What does he do with the contrary cast he daily juggles around? Can something be done with it at all? Is there a plan? Is there a string to be found that can be run through all and make something of significance out of what are only disparate pieces at the moment?

Well, for a start, in the Kishor scheme of things, there are pieces. They can be moved. They can be manipulated. Square pegs and round holes, they can be chiselled to fit. Like Nitish and Lalu were made to fit in 2015. Who’d ever have thought that could be done? Least of all the two men central to the Mahagathbandhan plot. But they were nudged into a consequential clasp, if only for a trice, if only to demonstrate that the unlikeliest things are possible.

Just like in Bihar in 2015, a common spectre haunts the disparate pieces that Kishor has accumulated on his board. The spectre of an expanding Modi-Shah hegemony. There might now also be the additional CAA-NPR-NRC glue to work with. You need a glue when you work with scattered geographies and disconnected, if not also contrary, political egos and ambitions. Besides, and more pertinently, what pieces there are to move do not add up to anything sizeable enough. This is where what’s theoretically possible begins to get stared at by what’s improbable. This is the corridor that’s Kishor’s office.

It’s probably about to re-open in Bihar. Why, though? For a start, birds home; and ousted birds home with a vengeance. Bihar is the stage Kishor has long wanted to play on with an enactment all his own, a prodigal’s payback, if you will. Bihar is also a good place to attempt a conjuring from almost nothing. There is very little to build on. But there lies the challenge of possibilities, and its perils and charms; those are key impulses of the Kishor temperament.

Bihar is good place to begin experimenting with the impossible and get a measure of what that would take.

POSTSCRIPT: Bismarck did not stop at defining politics as the art of the possible; he went on. Here is the fullness of what he said : “Politics is the art of the possible; the attainable, the art of the next best.”

Kishor would likely agree.

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

A few rather dangerous folks

There is no cause for worry now. There was. It was such a near thing. But we have it all under control now. Worry you not. You are in good hands. Sturdy hands. Hands that can turn unsparing when need arises, when you and your well-being is put to risk. Raise your hands, you who feel at risk, there must be millions, we know. Such are the times we live in. Raise your hands, let us have a look. Feeling threatened? Good thing. The better thing is we are here. We shall take care of you. The more you feel threatened, the more we shall rise to protect. Now look around you, see for yourself. The threat looms everywhere. Can’t see it? In that case let us help you. With a little assistance you will begin to see the threat and feel scared. And that is when we shall come to protect you.

So raise your hands again, those that are afraid, and those that would like to be, so that they may begin to feel more protected and safe. When it is the coldest is when it is possible to feel the most warmly cosy and snuggled. Think of snuggling in the heat. Bah! And likewise, when the peril is at its peak is when you can really sense the worth and value of being protected.

So here. Here is what you should be afraid of. And here is how we are protecting you.

Consider this most alarming specimen. He has charm. He has popularity. He has a following. People listen to him. Can you tell what a deep danger that constitutes? People listen to him. They actually do. They even take risks, personal risks, to turn out to vote for him. And most often their votes make him win. In an election!! Tauba! He can lure people, this man has macabre powers, he is actually, watchamacallit? A Democrat. Drat! My, my. Maiyya re maiyyya! Can’t have such people floating about.

What if he is able to make friends and influence people again? What if he has read Dale Carnegie and absorbed it? What if he… No no, let’s not even get there. Let’s not contemplate what dangers he might bring to bear upon us. Let’s just put an end to it, naa rahega baans, naa bajega besuraa! We mean to say, you know, we cannot afford to have a pied piper kind of bloke floating about free, playing his charming tunes of democracy. Off to the gaol! And to make things doubly sure, we have put his father in too. This man is a chancy charmer himself, imagine his pop. Woh to isska baap hoga! We bundled him in too. Just so. You know. We should be sure. No more of this.

We take prisoners. We are good and fair people. We do not believe in taking no prisoners. We take them. We take as many as we feel the need to. You have to be, and feel, protected, you see.

There is that other one, for instance. Her father’s daughter. How do they say it in this language? Daiddi’sGurrl or some such thing, pardon my English. She is her father’s daughter, her real father’s real daughter. And she fancies herself. She prefers radical colours, colours like you know how greenery looks like, what’s that colour called, I forget. But that colour, the colour that greenery is. Greenery! It would remind you of jungles and all that lurks about in jungles. She was such. A jungle creature in radical jungle colours. We tried and tested her out, we tried reforming her, remember we must be gentle and patient with ladies. We gave her time and opportunity. But eventually, we had to command her to the dungeons. We got her too. It has been said that they have their constituency. Well. But we have our own constituency.

The wolf cried sheep
And promptly turned to weep
But then it bared its teeth
And revealed what lay beneath.

Politics 2020, Telegraph Calcutta

Modi an Indian colonising India: Aishe

A university student has articulated probably the most stinging critique of Prime Minister Narendra Modi yet, saying a “new internal colonialism” is being unleashed on India under him.

“We are being colonised by our own and are being hurled back to the era when we enjoyed no independence,” Aishe Ghosh, president of the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU), told The Telegraph. “We are at a critical juncture, India is being colonised by its own leadership.”

Asked how she could be calling Modi, who fashions himself as an ultra-nationalist, a “colonialist”, Aishe argued that the similarities between the strategies and intents of British imperialists and the Modi government are strikingly similar.

“You could perhaps call it a modern sort of colonialism, or an internal colonialism, but Modi is doing exactly what colonial powers did. Divide the people to entrench yourself in power. Discriminate against sets of people to shore up support. Unleash harsh laws and the brute power of the state to demoralise and control people. Impoverish large sections for the benefit of a few. Revise and rewrite history. Encourage loot of public resources. It is all the same thing, except Modi is an Indian doing it to Indians, which is much more alarming.”

Aishe, who became the worst victim of mob violence on the JNU campus on the night of January 5 — she suffered a forehead gash from repeated rod blows and a broken arm — spoke to us shortly after doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had clipped open the sutures on her temple. She arrived at our rendezvous with a couple of mates looking just how the nation has come to recognise her this past fortnight — a chit of a girl, her crown marked out by a strip of gauze, her left arm in a cast and a sling, hair in dishevelled rebellion against her pony-tail, a shawl she couldn’t be less careless about draping, a wounded waif, you’d think. Until she begins to speak.

Aishe speaks in the same breath of the agitation against the fee hike she has led on the JNU campus and the turmoil spreading across datelines; to her, they are part of the same malaise, triggered by the same overarching motive — “Drastically alter and reduce India and what it means.” She is deeply invested in the JNU agitation, but she sees it as seamlessly linked to larger issues; she can join the dots.

“You might think our fight is only for a few rupees students are having to pay as fees. Yes, it very much is. But it is about much more. It is about the arbitrariness and violence with which decisions are being taken and imposed, it is about an undemocratic unilateralism that is being thrust upon us everywhere, in JNU and across the country, it is all linked. They are openly raising ‘goli maaro’ slogans. Today they have come on the campus with rods and sticks, tomorrow they could come with guns and kill us too. But the fight is not only on the JNU campus, the threat is everywhere, terrible things can happen, we are seeing them happen.”

It seems of little relevance to Aishe to be asked if she’s in pain. “I’m fine, it’s healing. This is not about me, this has to be about why this happened. Everyone should know why this happened. Why this happened in JNU, and why this is happening across the country. That is where the challenge is and the battle is.”

So, why?

“Because our most fundamental values, our most fundamental rights have been brought under grave threat, we are today in danger of

losing our citizenship, our Constitution, actually everything we gained after becoming an independent country. The design of the CAA-NPR-NRC is a design to pit Indian against Indian and imperil India itself.

“Yes, our current battlefield is JNU, but clearly our current battlefield is also this whole nation. The JNU struggle is very important to us, but so is the wider threat. People should be able to see what is being done to them, how they are throttled and undermined. And they are seeing it, that is why there are protests all around. The challenge is to save the nature of JNU and equally to save the nature of India. Their effort is to make JNU a thing of the past, some sort of fairytale, their effort is to make India as we know it a thing of the past too. That battle will have to be fought in every campus, on every street.”

The frail bundle next to me has morphed into Ms Spitfire; her plastered arm is itching to mimic the animation of the arm that survived the assault.

“We have been taking slow blows a long time, but the blows have come harder. Please understand that January 5 (the night of the masked mob mayhem) was not the first blow on us, it was the final hammer, and it was encouraged and ordered by the power at JNU, it happened with the collusion of the vice-chancellor (VC). He is part of the same mindset that is now the Establishment, that is why we are demanding his removal.”

But clearly, what Aishe calls the Establishment is having none of her arguments or demands; VC Jagadesh Kumar has been endorsed by the powers and appears well entrenched.

“Well, of course, he is, but that does not mean we will drop our demand. They all belong to the same project that is ruining JNU and ruining this country. Somebody has to speak up and protest, and we are not alone in this. Why do you think we have received support from campuses across the country, including IITs and such institutions? We have become part of the discourse, and the wider struggle, everywhere. We are not alone, and our battle is valid, it is a battle with good reason.”

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

Knight Kursi and his curled tail

We have tails. Did you not know? Okay. We aren’t meant to know everything. That’s perfectly understandable. The mad or the deranged will never agree they are mad or deranged. Paagal ho kya? Bigots may not know they are bigots. Or illiterates that they are being illiterate. And whenever did a villain see a villain in their own self? Adolf was only enriching the human race, giving it the purest form. What happened as a collateral to that process was, achchha, chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat purani. But naye daur mein, the story that is being scripted is also the same old story but the writers of that story will not agree that they are writing or rewriting that same old story and that it is a horrific one. They never will. They never do.

You may not know, but there are more wisdoms than you would like to admit around you. An old saying goes in some languishing tongue from some forsaken part of this neighbourhood: Appan maath ke tetar kekro sujhaai chhai? Does anyone see the bump on their own forehead? Tough. Unless you put a mirror to yourself. And we know just how forbidding and unwelcome a task we find that one. Take pretenders. Do pretenders realise they are pretending? Everybody can see they are pretending, but they may not know. Or scheming folks who think nobody realises how scheming they are. They have so many schemes there is eventually no place to store them and they have to throw those schemes out. Everybody can see. Those discarded schemes. Or the discarded schemes that may be recalled for use again. All of that is understandable. All of that happens. But people know. And some folks think that others do not know, that they can go on being scheming and nobody will think it is but a scheme.

Everybody, for instance, has a tail as I said right at the beginning, but very few understand that. We came from those that had tails: the baanars, look them up. They preceded us. We came from them. Their essence hasn’t entirely died in us, their essence remains embedded in our bones and our blood and sometimes that makes us behave in the ways of the tailed ones. They had tails. In time, we lost those tails but not entirely. We have tail ends. We have tail bones. We cannot see them, but we do have them. Sometimes when those tail ends hurt we know they are within us, tail ends. Tail bones, they are called. They are what support us when we are ensconced on the throne. They also make the ends of that thing which some have and some do not. That thing is called the spine. The spine is a, well, good thing and a bad thing. When you can keep it upright, you can point to it and say, look, I have a spine and an upright one. When you cannot keep it upright, well, it may turn out to be a more useful thing than you think: a spine that is not a spine but a user-friendly thing. Just look at me, the successful one. I have a spine, and I use it well. I bend it when it suits me and I in fact do not even keep it with myself most of the time. My spine I have embedded at the back of my chair and that is what makes my chair a throne. What the keeping of the throne requires my spine does; it can bend this way, it can bend that way, it can swing backwards, it can stoop forwards, whatever’s required. A tail hangs by it, of course, but it is not a tail I tell. Most folks do not tell their tails. But remember we do have tails; try feeling the end of it someday. Especially if you sit on a throne, because you know everybody can see you and you know the tail’s there and it must be kept from being told.

Those that sit here 

Should know and fear

My spine like a sword 

Embedded in my throne I wear.

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

Bijli Lagi toh main kya karoon

Some things are pre-ordained. Like bad things. Horrible things. Things you wouldn’t expect would happen to you, or around you. Hobei. I mean Cupid was Cupid but was given the shape of a cherub that could engage in no Cupid-like things. You know what I mean? And Godi was meant to have a lap but all that happened in that lap was lapdogs. Can you imagine! Pity the OtherOnes of the canine species. But never mind. Never pity the

OtherOnes. They don’t take kindly to any of that. They seek the pity but provided it, they will snarl and snap. I speak from experience, don’t even try going there. Never mind. And sorry. But to return to where we were before the OtherOnes of the canines distracted us: Things happen. They are meant to be. Hoy. I have said this before. Hoy. Relax. You cannot prevent what is to happen from happening. It’s written. Written in.

In fact most things are. In fact of fact it is tough to think of things that are not pre-ordained. They come written, in the secret language of lines on the palm. Not sure anyone can read them right, but the inability to read them right cannot mean the prophecies do not lie scripted there in all their detail, day, date, time etcetera etcetera. Look at the lines on this palm. Try and read. Such a labyrinth of myriad things, happened, happening and about to happen. Seems like a forbidding circuit almost, touch a line, or a wire so imagined, and the whole thing will short-circuit somewhere and set itself aflame. No wonder what was said was said. As a matter of fact, it was not said, it was commanded: Press the extensions of your palm so hard, it will send out currents. What’s that finger for? That crooked one? Jab it in, make sure you jab it in. And once you’ve jabbed it in, the current will flow, and it will electrocute. That is what the extensions of the palm are for. To kill. Press. Throttle. Kill. That’s what the circuitry of the palm tells you. That is its destiny. That is what is written in. Make a choice, people, kill! You’d have merely made a choice on a button, the killing as a result would merely be collateral consequence. Go ahead.

But why? There are many reasons not to endorse, I have always felt this. The prime reason not to endorse is who does one endorse? This dunce or that dunce? And what does one endorse? What this dunce says? Or what that dunce says? Eventually it all comes down to that, choosing between this dunce and that dunce. So why choose at all? Why make a dunce of yourself, which you are anyhow? Every dunce brays a promise; every dunce seeks a vote. We endorse this dunce, then we endorse another and in the process we go on being dunces. Agree?

Well, I don’t much care. That’s what I have learnt too — don’t care. Do what you have to, say what you have to, the consequences will be what they have to be. Don’t bother what others say.

If you bother what the others say and be guided by that, you will not be yourself. You might as well become the other. Why bother being yourself if you have to bother about the other? Or being the other?

But what is this all about? This public introspection in print? Why? What has triggered this? If this is introspection why is it not silent and private? Why is it being played out in public, distributed about from home to home this Sunday? Why this exhibitionism? Thinking? Do it by yourself, quietly. Don’t pour it out in the open, like raita. But raita is what this is all about, this poison we want to serve out as a delectable dish. Have a taste of it. And while you do so,

Listen ye folks on the park

If you insist on keeping it blocked

Let me not keep you in the dark

You will soon come to be shocked.

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

You, the people, are anti-national

Kyon? Hai naa sahi? But if you disagree tell me how so. Please explain to me. I am interested. I wish to know. How so? How so are you not anti-national? You lot? You infidels. But now, that is heresy, a heretic word to use: Infidels. But what do we do? We need to have a word for Infidels that we do not yet have. Please. Do you not understand where I am coming from? Okay. One day you will. And one day I shall have a word for it. A pure sanskari word, worry you not.

Meantime. Meantime. Meantime, this:

Which nation? Which people? Who do you think we are? Where do you think we live? Where have we come from? May we ask? And who are you to question? Who are you to ask? Where did you come from? Where do you belong? Which nation? Which people? Which agreement? What are you agreed upon that you seek our agreement? And licence? Who authorised you? So are you now questioning those that authorised you to question in the first place? That authority you may not possess, you know. We are the People; you are the elected. We are not changeable. You are changeable. You are dumpable. Every five years or so. Every fewer years or so. What do you think? What would you know? About who we are? About who you are?

Do you know who you are? Tell us. No, first tell us. Do please. Because you are asking who we are. Let us know who you are. To even ask who we are. What gives you the right? What deprives us of the right? Are these good questions? Tell us. Because we need to know. Who are you? Who are you to ask? Do you even know my mother? Were you even born when she was? Do you have the right? What gave you that right? Who gave you that right? The vote? That vote? That vote which is changeable every five years or less? So you get our vote and you get to question who we are? Hah!

But it does not seem to matter to you, does it? You will still question the unquestionable. Hai naa? You have the majority. Majority? Really? But you do not. Look across the street. Get a sense of where you are and with how many. There are folks here. They are not sheep. People. You know. People? You know what people are? You know what people can do? You should know. You are a consequence of what the People can do. You can become a consequence of what the People can undo.

Where we are today, there was no land, or place to be, do you know? But how would you? Know of the Tethys? It was a sea. Where we are was a sea. It was called the Tethys. Then things moved. The sea, the earth underneath it. Spaces receded and spaces were created. And there came to be stretches of land and streaks of water, which we came to know as rivers. And the rivers flowed and the rivers fed and that is how some of us came to be. But wherefrom? Would you know? Tell us. Give us a Postcode. Provide us an address we can post you a letter where you came from. Provide. Dikhaao Kagaz.

You are not who we are. We read the Preamble. We wave the Tricolour. We sing the song that we have forever sung under the Tricolour. We have rejoiced in all of the above. We will rejoice even more. We will meet. We will gather. We will congregate. We will sing. We will shout. We will cry.

This is our soil.
This is our air and our sky.
This is our land.
This is the land of we came from.
In truth, we all came from Africa. We are all Lucy’s children. Would you even know?
Whatever comes we shall see

Let’s just be and we shall say

Whatever is will of course be

But issue is tum kaun ho bey?