Where Does Satire Stop?

The list of items that receive state protection from satire in the world’s largest democracy is getting longer every day.

Perhaps, we did not take Mr. Amit Shah’s calling Mahatma Gandhi, “chatur baniya” in the right sense.

We have over 33,000 deities (plus the one “true” god and the prophet who must never be drawn), a variety of cultural paraphernalia and a battalion of saints and shamans, we have now added dead political personalities to the “exempt from satire” roster.

However, there are also some Bapu apologists who, argue that his failings on the personal front do not undermine his political achievements… and his unparalleled contribution to the Indian freedom struggle.  Hence, we must not judge him by it…

Whatever said, as long as the history books would describe the “father of the nation,” and as the epitome of righteousness, a beacon of morality to generation after generation of Indians, everybody is happy, and there seems to be no point in discussing it.

And, with the judiciary bestowing an inviolable pseudo-sanctity to one of the most misunderstood figures of Indian history, by granting him full immunity from satire… it is a closed case.

That settled, let us proceed further…

I came across this piece while surfing the net, and thought that it had not been given sufficient justice. Although written sometime back, I edited it so that it fits in with the current scheme of things.

Bapu’s (Not Babu, Pappu, Appu, or even Vaappu, as some of my Muslim friends in Kerala would call him) ardent follower, Rajat Sharma was seriously searching the internet to check whether Bapu (a.k.a Babu) had quoted whether killing mosquitoes (kodhu in local parlance) is a non-violent act.

Rajat Sharma surrounded by mosquitoes

“I am searching on the internet whether Bapu wrote or said something on killing of mosquitoes. I am his ardent follower and obviously cannot slap or kill a mosquito without his permission,” said Rajat Sharma who is working for a reputed TV Channel.

Rajat Sharma complains of severe irritation and annoyance caused by a single mosquito, which has got into the habit of consistently sitting on his face and stinging him.

“I face a lot of pain. But as it would be a violent act, I avoid myself to take any kind of revenge. Otherwise, I am sure that I have a small amount of power to kill just one mosquito,” said Rajat Sharma.

Rajat Sharma’s doctor Vishnu Venugopal said, “The reason is because that Rajat applies a huge amount of coconut oil on his head and face. As a result, the mosquitoes come and sit on his face out of the sheer light reflection. The oil is even more on his head to keep it black and shining, which attracts a number of mosquitoes to arrive in his closed studio. Despite this, Rajat has passed strict orders to his staff to not harm or kill any mosquitoes as he believes in non-violence.”

Venugopal said, “It is because Rajat’s promise to Bapu’s teachings, that he is not able to slap and kill that that mosquito once and for all.”

Rajat Sharma’s successful adoption of Ahimsawad (non-violence) prevents him from being involved in mosquito-killing debates on news channels… At times, this makes him think twice, whether he should adopt everything that Bapu said or even partially cited.

Nonetheless, Rajat is even more confused with Godrej’s (not to be confused with Godse) Goodnight mosquito repellant… that he has decided using it even at night while sleeping.

Recently, many News Channels have questioned the INC (Congress Party) leaders where they stand with regard to Ahimsawad.

Are they standing on the same foundations of non-violence that led by Bapu’s (a.k.a Pappu’s) principles, or do they kill or support killing of mosquitoes?

Beni Prasad Verma, the prominent Kurmi leader from Gonda said, “Till the time I was with Samajwadi Party (SP), I used to kill between 40 and 50 mosquitoes per day. However, after joining the Congress Party I never ever killed a mosquito despite the fact that its sting hurts a lot. That is the reason why I told Afzal Guru should not be hanged.”

Since then fortunes have changed and Mr. Beni has gone to his old ways of killing mosquitoes.

It was also satisfying to hear from a few more Congress leaders, who confirmed that they don’t kill mosquitoes because they follow Ahimsawad (non-violence).

It was even more interesting to hear the views of the Senior Congress Leader, Digvijay Singh, who said, “I think we should make friends with mosquitoes. If we make them our friends, then the chances are that they wouldn’t hurt us. For example, we made Pakistan a friend, so that they wouldn’t repeatedly send terrorists to our country.”

Digvijay Singh also confirmed that he has never killed any mosquito until date, since his birth. He added, “I was a born Congress leader, and there is no doubt about that. Regardless to say, even my blood has the foundation of non-violence. I feel it is like the mosquito is kissing me rather than stinging.”

Pappu (a.k.a Bapu) must have thought that was commendable!

BJP leaders, however, denied that they never slapped any mosquito.

“No I usually do that. However, I would not like to make any comments,” said BJP President Nitin Gadakari, I mean Nitin Gadkari.

The topic was also discussed in the mainstream media whether we can ever find an ardent follower of Bapu (a.k.a Babu) like Rajat Sharma on earth.

However, Rajdeep Sardesai, Consulting Editor at the India Today Group said, “I think Rajat should put a helmet on his head which also covers face while taking interviews which would “suppress” the sting to a large extent.

He also added, “I think people should follow Rajat’s footsteps so that we may see a great revolution in our country.”

Rajdeep also questioned the authenticity of the present Congress Party, which always use to preach that it is the only party that follows Bapu’s principles.

Rajdeep questions, “Do Congress leaders still follow all the principles of Bapu? Do they stop themselves from killing an innocent mosquito? All I want to ask them is that if a common man and chillar Hindi News Channel Editor like Rajat Sharma can adopt principles of Babu, why not we? Why not Congress Party leaders?”

He further added, “Our channel is the first channel that made a survey on whether Congress and BJP leaders kill mosquitoes or not. ALL leaders said in public that they let the mosquitoes sit on any part of their body that is exposed to air and light. They also permitted the mosquitoes to sting and let the blood ooze out. However, in private, all of them confirmed that they tightly slap and kill the mosquito. Now my question is whether the public should elect such hypocrite leaders.”

This is a work of pure satire, and in no way reflects the sentiments of the personalities and individuals mentioned.

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