Musings, Potshots

Behold! The Banyan in the Lotus

A shady analogy for a shady party?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a curious thing on 20th March 2016, while addressing the BJP National Executive . [click here to read the full report on what Modi said that day].

Modi called on his party members and workers to view the BJP party like a ‘big banyan tree that provides shade to all kinds of people

It’s a curious analogy: the BJP as a banyan tree?

Banyan Lotus TreeNow, before going further, it’s important for me to state right away that as a true Nationalistic and Patriotic Indian I have nothing but love for all banyan trees, irrespective of their class, caste, religion or race. I am aware that the banyan is the National Tree of India. It is a place of honour well deserved, and derived primarily from the banyan’s profusion across the country, its robustness and ability to thrive in rugged soils and survive hard climes, and its sheer awe-inspiring size and capacity to provide shade to huge numbers of people at a time.

This disclaimer re. the National Tree is important in this day and age, when everyone, from professional politicians to professors professing politics, is obsessing at shriek-level on main-scream media over the profound question of what one can, cannot, or need not say to prove that one is Nationalistic and Patriotic.

But still, I think it’s curious to liken the banyan to the BJP, a political party.

For one, it’s common knowledge that the banyan allows nothing else to grow in its shade; not even a blade of grass. The only thing that grows beneath a banyan is the banyan itself; for, as it grows, the banyan puts innumerable aerial roots down, and in time these roots themselves grow thick as trunks…and so a single banyan extends itself laterally, often covering many thousands of square metres in area.   And nothing else grows in that area.

Besides, the banyan bears no fruit – at least, none that we humans can eat. It also has a well-known propensity to attach itself to a host tree and grow around it till it eventually strangles the host – for which reason the banyan is also called the ‘strangler fig’.

And it is precisely because of these characteristics of the banyan that ancient Indian tradition – over which, curiously enough, the BJP claims sole copyright – while venerating the banyan tree or Vata Vriksha,  also associates the banyan tree with unfriendly spirits and ghosts…and with  Yama, the God of Death.

Actually, on reflection, Modi’s analogy might fit the BJP well.

In fact, the analogy might fit not only the BJP but all our political parties – Left, Right and Congress – to a tee.

Or rather, to a banian, if not a banyan.

Jai Hind! Jai Banyan!

General ravings, Potshots

Azadi from JNU-itis!

At last, the terrible media-borne epidemic of JNUitis may be ending

After spending 20 days in jail on charges of ‘criminal conspiracy’ and ‘sedition’, JNU Student’s Union president Kanhaiya Kumar has been freed on six months’ bail by the Delhi High Court, with some vitriolic judicial advice that he (Kumar) should try and behave like a mature and reasonably intelligent adult in the interim.

I am as elated at the news of Kumar’s release as the members of JNU Student’s Union—but for slightly different reasons.

I am elated, and express my fervent thanks to the High Court, for taking a giant step forward to liberate 1600 million Indians (including yours truly) from the inhuman cruelty of being subjected to incessant coverage, by TV news channels and newspapers, on what transpired, or did not transpire, or allegedly transpired, in the campus of JNU on 9th February 2016. Media houses and sundry sun-dried intellectuals have presented us with about 213,511 versions (as of 1100 hours, 2nd March) of what ‘REALLY’ happened in JNU on that fateful, faithful day. And each version has been cycled and recycled 24/7, day after hideous day, backed by countless ‘original’ and ‘authentic’ CDs, reinforced with in-depth analyses, transcripts, interviews, editorials, essays and affiliated ravings.

My already feeble mind has been completely overwhelmed by all this media noise, this information overload on JNU ad nauseum. I have been afflicted with the dreadful media-borne plague of JNUitis. I do not know truth from lie or half-truth; I do not know whether what happened (if anything happened at all) in JNU was or wasn’t worth my notice, leave alone India’s notice; whether it was fateful or faithless, anti-national or antiquated, communal or communist, secular or jocular.  Thanks to this saturation bombardment on the JNU affair by media and intelligentsia, I’ve been reduced to the status of a depressed and slightly deranged amoeba in emotional strength and intellectual abilities (if not in shape as well, having missed so many yoga sessions).

Even the protesting JNU students seem to have been affected by this awful JNUitis, considering the amoebic levels of mature intellectualism evidenced in some of their slogans and poster campaigns. For instance, one brave poster offered hope to the jailed JNU students by drawing inspiration from Harry Potter. It read:

Dark times lie ahead and we have to choose between what is easy and what is right. Even Dumbledore had to go through a lot of problems because of the ministry. We are there with you”.

—‘Dumbledore’s army’.

JNUSU as Dumbledore’s Army? JNU as Hogwart’s Castle?

I strongly suspect there are hundreds of millions of other Indian suckers like me, sharing my worry that if this dreadful media-borne epidemic of JNUitis endures and spreads, India as we know it will be no more.  Might our nation be reduced to no more than a Giant Amoebic Commune? A shapeless agglomeration of 1.6 billion amoeba, of differing religions, castes, classes, cultures and languages, prone to fights over rights, riots over diets, rants over pants?

Maybe… but what the hell, even then there is Hope. The hope that all of us Indian amoeba will remain united in our diverse perversity, bravely sharing in the glorious Dream of our protoplasmic unicellular Forefathers and Foremothers, the Dream to become a multi-cellular organism!

And now that Hope has been kindled into flame! Thanks to the High Court decision giving azadi to Kumar, I and hundreds of millions of my co-Indian amoeba know that what happened in JNU was just plain silliness, compounded by more silliness. To paraphrase the High Court verdict so that other amoeba can understand it:

  • Some asses in JNU yelled something silly.
  • Other asses in the government took the silliness too seriously and jailed the former asses.
  • Now the latter asses have been told to release one of the former asses.
  • The released ass has been told to shed his assiness and behave like a sensible amoeba.

Now that Kumar has been set free to pursue his intellectual pursuits, I hope and pray to all secular and politically correct deities that Kumar’s colleagues Umar Khalid and Anirbhan Bhattacharya too will be set free soon to pursue their respective intellectual pursuits.

This will, I hope, also free our police personnel from having to pursue silly but harmless students, and instead pursue the genuine criminals who are pursuing hapless citizens like me out here on the streets of Delhi.

Above all, it will free our media from spreading JNUitis across the nation.

Upon which, God Willing, Inshallah, with Krishna’s Blessings and Mao’s Benign Wishes, we Indian amoeba may all revert to becoming human! Our intrepid and fervid media folk can then get back to giving us what we all love to watch and hear and read and participate in as peace-loving, patriotic, nationalistic citizens: namely, reportage and serials and soaps and movies filled with stories of religious and caste conflicts, murders, rapes, and affiliated violent crimes.

Jai Hind!

[Disclaimer:  I, R P Subramanian, aka Mani, do hereby declare that I have written the above in customary unsoundness of mind, body and ethylated spirits, of my own free will, and without coercion, subversion or conversion.]