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My official statement

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It is after much thought and extensive consultations with all my stakeholders that I’ve come to this decision, which is mine alone and not connected to your or anyone else’s grandfather. This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I embarked on this journey of a lifetime. I mean, I never wanted to be the centre of attraction, or even a distraction. But I have for long wanted to take a decision like this, and issue a statement like this.

You may wonder why. Am I Joseph K, about whom someone must have been telling lies? Not really, though I do live in Kafkaland. Am I an ultra-rich person getting a divorce, like Bill G or Jeff B? Not really, though it would be good to know how my conduct might change if someone transfers a few dozen crores to my bank account. By the way, I encourage those of you who can afford this intriguing experiment to go ahead and give it a try. Those not wealthy enough can always go for crowd-funding. Thanks to Aadhaar and Digital India, my bank details are readily available on the darknet.

Anyway, all I can say is that my statement is not motivated by a desire to cause offence to any community, caste, nationality, religion, brand, individual, animal or vegetable (body parts of plants as well as primates in voluntary coma). Nonetheless, in case anyone is offended before having read my statement or knowing what my decision is — which is totally understandable — I offer them my unconditional anticipatory apology.

With the mandatory apology out of the way, let me come to the bit you’ve been waiting for: my mental health. It’s true that the ‘official statement’ has some way to go before it attains the literary stature of a novel, sonnet or narrative nonfiction. But it has, in the last eight months, evolved rapidly in the choppy waters of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and several other social media you don’t give a Koo about. A characteristic of the most memorable specimens of the modern and even the post-modern official statement is an inspiring paragraph or two on the statement-giver’s mental health challenges.

Constellation of symptoms

So, am I depressed? My stakeholders tell me I should avoid any reference to depression. Their logic: By referring to mental health in my official statement, I could be opening myself to accusations of trivialising mental health concerns. After all, would it not be construed as offensive if I were to state in this statement that the likelihood of people taking offence at anything I may say (about depression or anything else) could be causing me depression or a depression-like variant with a constellation of symptoms that mimic depression without actually qualifying for the title, as it were, purely on clinical merit?

Be that as it may, for all these reasons, and with deep regret, I would like to announce that I am stepping back, with immediate effect, from all my responsibilities as a rights-bearing citizen of a constitutional democracy. This is a completely personal decision and has nothing whatsoever to do with the erosion of the rule of law in my country or with the climate of fear and self-censorship or with the pervasive loss of faith in the capacity of the country’s institutions to protect the democratic rights of ordinary Indians and the even more ordinary media.

Oh by jingo!

Notwithstanding the above, I shall continue to fulfill my duties as a proud nationalist and avid jingoist. That is to say, whether or not I love my fellow Indians — especially those that don’t belong to my own religion, caste or class — I shall continue to love my country’s territorial boundaries. This follows naturally from my longstanding belief that there is nothing in the universe more worthy of adoration than the Government of India and the moral giants that run it.

I wish to take this opportunity to also express my gratitude to the Government of India for providing national security to every single citizen of India. This is all the more creditable given that millions of Indians still do not enjoy job security, food security, healthcare security, education security or survival security. Some people might be thinking: it’s all very well to focus on protecting our borders, but what about the people living within those borders? Don’t they deserve protection from hunger, malnutrition, disease, police atrocities, and vigilante violence just as they deserve protection from terrorist violence and Pakistan? My advice to these misguided souls: kindly volunteer yourself to be investigated by the ED for money-laundering, NCB for drug-possession, and NIA for waging constitution jihad.

In conclusion, I just want to say that understanding whatever and one’s relationship with whatever is a very important thing, and in this difficult time, I request all of you to respect my privacy and give me the space I need. The space I need is located in Australia and costs a lot of money. So don’t forget what I said about crowd-funding.

G. Sampath, author of this satire, is Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 5:26:48 AM |

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