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National integration: One nation, one laxative

Image: Getty Images/ iStock

Image: Getty Images/ iStock

Regular readers of this column would know that, even by the high standards of the average Indian voter, I am an extremely patient man. Whether it’s the corruption of the ruling class or the oppression of the working classes, the sinking economy or the rising unemployment, lynching of minorities or routine caste atrocities, I am prepared to cut our rulers some slack. Why shouldn’t I, when they are toiling day and night to make life easier for every wealthy Indian living in a First World country?

In fact, no government in any country on any planet in any solar system works as hard as the one we elected in May. Since then, Parliament’s productivity has gone up by 500%, terrorism has dropped by 800%, and the country’s PCP (per capita patriotism) has risen by 900%. But all this is nothing compared to what, in my opinion, will be this government’s lasting legacy: its focus on One Nation, One Blah Blah. The phrase ‘blah blah’ is a variable, like ‘x’ or ‘y’ in your school algebra. It can be whatever you want it to be. The genius of ‘One Nation, One Blah Blah’ is that it strengthens national unity no matter what ‘Blah Blah’ is.

Try it out. Let’s start with the original formulation: One Nation, One Election. Of course! India is one country, so why shouldn’t all the EVMs in all the States (and ex-States) elect their MLAs and MPs on the same day every five years? According to a government estimate, One Nation, One Election would save us enough money to comfortably pay off the combined debt of India’s top 12 crony capitalists and still have change left over to buy two Rafales and a packet of Vimal Pan Masala.

This brings us to the next logical step of national integration: One Nation, One Party. There is now enough scientific evidence that the chances of finding an Opposition party in India are less than the chances of finding water on Mars. So if every Indian is anyway going to vote for the BJP in election after election, why not update our Constitution and make India a single-party kleptocracy?

One bank account

I read somewhere that the government is also thinking of One Nation, One Bank Account — a super idea. My only humble request is that we should go with Mukesh’s bank account — it would overnight wipe out the debt of every single farmer in India and solve the entire middle class’s EMI problem. I am also in favour of One Nation, One Card — provided it is Mukesh’s credit card. I also don’t mind One Nation, One Car — but again, it has to be Mukesh’s car. To differentiate it from Uber and Ola, we can call it Moolah.

While these public unifications are necessary, one mustn’t underestimate the importance of extending One Nation, One Blah Blah into all realms of private life, including the most intimate. For starters, I want the government to amend the Constitution to mandate One Nation, One Shampoo.

Right now the national shampoo scene is a mess. Take my own family. There is no unity in the bathroom. My wife uses a random Korean brand of organic shampoo — I think it’s called Ta Lai Wa Lee. Kattabomman uses a baby shampoo.

And my father-in-law washes his hair with Dettol soap instead of a shampoo. As for me, being a true sanatana dharmist , I simply wash my head in plain Ganga water, which is superior to the world’s most advanced shampoo. My question is: why can’t every Indian — Hindus and Muslims, men and women, politicians and lap dogs — use the same shampoo? Why not One Nation, One Shampoo for all hair-bearing denizens of India?

Bowel policy

The biggest pay-off from implementing One Nation, One Blah Blah in the personal sphere will come from a domain that, if you aren’t already a victim, you will have guessed by now: One Nation, One Laxative. Yes, I know this is a private matter, and I don’t mean to butt in. However, when personal constipation begins to affect public discourse, it is no longer a personal issue but a matter for public policy.

According to the WHO, most Indians are constipated. Look at our TV anchors. Don’t you think their facial expression and general temperament would be considerably improved by a bowel movement?

Why do you think there is so much vitriol in our public debates, be it on TV or social media? Endemic and long-term constipation. That’s why. No other reason.

Bring the whole country under one laxative that works — and see how the nation’s collective mood improves. 130 crore Indians will be exchanging smileys for no reason.

There has been enough publicity around One Nation, One Election, and even One Nation, One Language. But it is One Nation, One Laxative that the nation needs to swallow, and swallow now.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 5:49:39 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/national-integration-one-nation-one-laxative/article29531393.ece