To tell anyone that he has many fathers is quite an abuse and an abominable aspersion cast on the virtuousness of his mother. But our Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, certainly did not mean anything of the sort when she declared that everyone including Muslims and Christians are sons of Ram.
“Which Ram?” asked my cousin when he heard it.
“Of course not our vegetable vendor,” I said and asked him whether he was a fool not to understand which Ram could afford to have so many sons.
“Oh,” he said dismissively. “That Ram.”
He explained to me that he had no problem in considering the Sadhvi’s Ram as his father if she had no problem in taking the colourless and formless Allah or the grey-haired, misty-eyed Christian God as her father. “It has to be a give and take, isn’t it? After all, we live a liberal economy.”
“Why not start with some indigenous options?” I asked. “Like Krishna and Shiva and any of the other thousands of Indian fathers before importing fathers from abroad?”
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “Charity should always begin at home. When we have so many around here open for adoption, why should she stick to Ram alone?”
“Pluralism of paternity, quite a novel concept,” I was amused. We import and export all sorts of things across various borders. We travel, mingle with all kinds of people, work with them, marry them, have children of all possible racial / religious / linguistic / cultural permutations and combinations... But why do our leaders insist on keeping the paternal outpourings of our gods within the confines of our national borders?