|Courtesy The Hindu|
I happened to stop by a wayside dhaba in the fringes of Delhi this evening. While waiting for someone there, I watched the cooks prepare tandoori rotis and other tandoori items including chicken tikka and paneer puran. If you actually watch how these dishes are prepared, especially in the summer heat of Delhi, you won’t ever eat it. Human sweat mingles with the dusty dough and sliced paneer liberally.
One of the tandoor operators approached the cashier and asked for drinking water. “Order a bottle of mineral water,” he demanded. Obviously there was no good drinking water in the restaurant – at least not good enough for the insider! The cashier fumed, “How can I buy water?” He was not the proprietor, after all. He was just another employee earning a pittance from the boss who would be riding the bullet train promised by the Prime Minister’s new rail budget.
The tandoor operator went back to work mumbling something like a child chided by a dictatorial schoolteacher.
The dictator’s new budget is announced. Even two days before it was announced the prices of most things had gone up. Every trader knew that prices would go up or that they could raise the prices up in justifiable anticipation. Justifiable, because their King was on the throne.
Poverty line has been redrawn. Poverty, hereafter, will be defined by the King. The King will decide how many millions of people in the country are actually poor simply by drawing a line.
There’s a story in the puranas of our country in which a prince asks his father-king the meaning of kabandhaḥ. The king, according to the story, asked one of his soldiers to bring a poor man and cut his head off. Showing the headless body to the prince, the king said, “That’s a kabandhaḥ. Do you understand?”
In the land of a metaphorical King, there will be metaphorical kabandhaḥs. Metaphors are the burgers of the rich. Poverty in India will become the largest burger in the international market in the King’s reign. Poverty will be eliminated just like prince’s kabandhahs. Ironically, the prince has become the Emperor. It’s a mutual process: a king making an emperor and an emperor making a prince. Indian history is replete with such instances. Now, particularly, it’s about Kings and Emperors in a democracy, you see, in the world’s largest democracy.
Happy days are here again. Provided you are rich enough to survive kahandhahdom.