Illustration By Hasan Zaidi
Height of sycophancy
Sycophants have scripted many sagas in the history of human civilization which entail blunders that have ruined hundreds of rulers across the world. Once the president of the Indian National Congress DK Barooah said, “Indira is India, India is Indira. Who lives, if Indira dies?” That was the height of flattery which ultimately scripted the fall of Indira Gandhi. Similar thing is happening in India now. When many politicians of the ruling party adulated their leader as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a few media houses also joined the chorus. Toadyism is the oxygen on which many politicians survive, and a Trinamool Congress legislator from Uluberia north in West Bengal, Nirmal Maji, is one of them. At a public meeting, he has said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is the incarnation of Maa Sarada, the spiritual consort of great saint Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Maji did not stop there and adored her as an incarnation of Mother Teresa and that of Florence Nightingale. He also said a few days before the passing away of Swami Vivekanand, Maa Sarada had told some of the team members of Swamiji that, when she would be reborn, she would cross the canal, reach Kalighat through Harish Chatterji Road where Didi lives now. The statements of Maji have irked many people including the saints at Belur Math. Swami Subiranand said, “No publication either from Ramakrishna Math or from Ramakrishna Mission mention such statements.” A senior bureaucrat says Maji’s statements are nothing but a pack of blarney.
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The Central Government has imposed a total ban on single use of plastic to protect forests and water bodies across the country from July 1 this year. The plastic items, especially the polythene bags, have wreaked havoc on the environment, choked drains and destroyed many waterbodies. Nonetheless, many cities have implemented the ban only in letter, and Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, is one of them. Lucknow Municipal Corporation has launched many events to make people aware about the disastrous impact of polythene bags, but those drives have barely had any effect on the residents of the city where most of the drains are choked with polythene bags. Many people defied the ban on polythene bags on July 1. A trader in Lalbagh area in the city has said that he can hardly do anything about it, because most of the customers do not carry bags. Ergo, a total ban on single-use polythene has failed to impress the traders as well as the customers. A professor, at a government degree college in Lucknow, says that since residents of this city are very fond of defying any kind of ban, the government should have asked them to use polythene bags instead of advising them to cast it off, and that would have worked wonders. This is Lucknow where nothing can be forced upon its residents, he said.
Human life and money seem to have no value any longer. The way people kill one another for making comments on the religion indicates that the country is heading towards destruction. Whether it is the murder of Akhlak or many others like him or Kanhaiya Lal or Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe the blood, which spills on the road, has no religion. Similarly, the rupee has also lost its value because of the high rate of inflation. A huge amount of money is being spent to topple state governments, but nothing has been done to deal with the rising prices of essential commodities, which have broken the back of the common man. The communal clashes show that people are fighting in a foreign land and against an external enemy. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen recently said, “The biggest crisis facing India at this juncture is the collapse of the nation.”
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A man enters a liquor outlet in Lucknow and says, “Please give me 15 litres of whiskey.”
The manager of the shop says, “Where’s the container?”
The buyer replies, “You’re talking to it.”