spit take Opinion

Giving the index finger

Dear Don-bhai Trump,

You do know we adore you. Kamala Mamis will come and go but our loyalties are with you. After all, when you attended our do in Houston, did we not ask our NRI brothers to vote for you? And when you came here and spoke so eloquently about Swami Vivekamunnund and Veerat Kooli, did we not cheer you loudly? There was much hugging and hand-pumping, remember? It was all good. Then you had to spoil it all by saying India’s air is filthy.

I think you’ve come to this hasty conclusion based on our ranking, 179 out of 180, according to some dubious air quality study. That kind of short-sighted evaluation by western ‘scholars’ completely ignores our pre-eminent culture and its inherent wisdom.

That our air is thick with unbreathable particulate matter is deliberate. What your tiny western eyes perceive as air pollution is our 12,000-year-old tradition of making our air suitable for the smooth take-off, comfortable flight and glitch-free landing of our pushpaka vimanams. Anyone who has read Sage Vijayananda Mallyodri’s treatise on ancient air travel (Majama Ka Raja) knows thick air is imperative for sky travel. That, and nubile akasha kanyas who give you two-minute upma in handy little cups.

Now that we are clearing misconceptions, let’s deal with some of the others as well – results of sub-standard studies – that show our incomparable land in a poor Nehruvian light.

Another recent lie I came across is that we are 94th out of 107 countries on the Global Hunger Index. How uninformed you westerners are, I tell you. While all of you gobble Big Macs and cheesecake with impunity, become morbidly obese and get all manner of health issues, we Indians fast. I can assure you that the ranking in question was done on an ekadashi day when most Indians skip their meals in order to develop ancient six-packs like our gods. What you say is akin to dubbing a spacecraft’s moon landing on amavasya day a failure. Where will it land when there is no moon, for god’s sake?

Also, apparently we are ranked 147th out of 157 countries on the Inequality Index. As if. In our ancient land, we have several levels of equality. How can everyone have the same equal? It just so happens that some of us are more equal than others. But more equal and less equal is still equal, no? Please study our culture before you make such sweeping statements.

You really think we could be 120th out of 122 countries on the Water Quality Index? What a laugh. We have Ganga Maiyya with us, fools. One drop of it is all we need to purify ourselves. Plus, which country produces more rain songs than us? You think that would be possible if we didn’t have high-grade bottled mineral water for our lead actors to cavort in?

Then there is our 144th rank among 156 countries on the UN World Happiness Index. What an utter lie. We Indians are so deliriously happy we need to voluntarily depress ourselves on a regular basis. We just pretend to be unhappy so as not to attract drishti. Plus, we have also trained ourselves to look cross to prevent neighbours, friends and random uncles from asking us for hand loans.

As for being 142nd out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index, are you serious? Haven’t you seen the istri vandis on every street corner of our country? You think that would be possible if we didn’t have freedom to press?

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 1:15:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/giving-the-index-finger/article32980830.ece

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