Decline and fall of Buta Singh

Sweet and Sour

It would not be fair to come to any conclusion about the charges levelled by the CBI based on the alleged confession made by Sarabjot Singh about his demanding huge sums of money from contractors to persuade his father Buta Singh to drop cases pending against them.

The CBI is known to prosecute innocent people at the behest of people in power. Buta Singh knows this as he was once home minister. Amongst the charges is Sarabjot having three revolvers without licences for any of them. If Sarabjot is able to produce these licences as his father claims he can, the CBI’s credibility will take another knock. On the other hand if the charges are sustained, both father and son should be prepared to pay heavy fines and time in jail.

It is permissible to conjecture why there are very few takers for Buta Singh’s version when he and his son are in such an unholy mess. The simple answer is that he has forfeited his trust; few people believe in what he says. His entire political career has been marked by party-hoping and charges of loyalties.

When he was first elected MP from a reserved constituency, many people hoped that Mazhabi Sikhs and Dalits had got a new messiah. But Buta Singh showed little concern for the down-trodden outcastes. His sole interest was in promoting himself.

He was the only Sikh who approved of ‘Operation Blue Star’ and, against the wishes of the community, got Santa Singh Nihang to rebuild the Akal Takht. It was demolished and built again by the community. Buta Singh was declared a ‘tankhia’ and ostracised from the Khalsa Panth.

When the political climate changed, Buta Singh also changed. He tendered abject apology to the Panth and asked  to be forgiven. After cleaning Sangat’s shoes he was pardoned and re-admitted to the Panth.

He rang me up and said: “You don’t know how I suffered when I was excommunicated from  my community.” It sounded hollow.

A few days later I happened to be listening to Keertan from Gurdwara Bangla Sahib on Doordarshan. There was a stream of worshippers coming in but the camera focussed on Buta Singh arriving, bowing his head and entering the Gurdwara. It was evident it had been pre-arranged by him. I lost the little respect I had for him.

He was not even loyal to political parties he belonged to or people he served. I met him last a few months after the 1984 holocaust of Sikhs in Delhi. Rajiv Gandhi as prime minister asked me to attend a small meeting to consider steps taken to rehabilitate families which suffered loss of lives and property. He asked Buta Singh who was his home minister to tell what had been done Buta Singh assured us that families of all victims had been rehabilitated and given compensation.

I could not hold back and interrupted him: “That is not true,” I said emphatically and listed names of victims who had suffered heavy losses and the customs holding back money sent by Sikh organisations to me to be distributed among sufferers.
Rajiv Gandhi ordered immediate action. The next day custom authorities and other officials concerned cleared all the goods and money to be given to whomsoever they were meant. Buta Singh had nothing to say. How can anyone be concerned about his fate now?

Stinkingly sterile

The following news item appeared in ‘The Hindustan Times’ on May 13. It escaped my notice but an Englishman Keith Whittan, sitting in London spotted it and sent to ‘Private Eye’ which published it in its column ‘Funny Old World’. It is indeed very funny.
“It is true that I have not brushed my teeth or bathed in water for the past 35 years,” Kailash Singh Kalau told reporters in Chatav, “but I tell you that I am not unclean. Every evening villagers gather to watch me perform ‘Aoni Snan’, which is just like taking a bath, except I use fire instead of water. I light a bonfire, smoke marijuana, then stand on one leg in the smoke for an hour, praying to Lord Shiva. Fire baths help to kill all the germs and infections in the body. It was so long ago that I started doing this that I cannot now remember why I began my nightly fire ablutions, but I continue out of love for my country. I shall only end my vow when all problems confronting my nation end.”

However, his neighbour Madhusudan Singh had a different take on events. “Kalau has seven daughters, who are all grown up now, but he always wanted a son, Thirty-five years ago a seer told him that he would be blessed with a son if he refrained from bathing in water, so he stopped washing and started bathing in fire instead. At that time he owned a grocery shop, but the stench from his unclean habits soon drove all his customers away. He is still hoping for son, but his wife is well over 60 now, so I don’t think his wish is ever going to come true.”

Randy rooster

A highly sexed cock with evil intent was chasing a virgin hen. She ran as fast as she could, but he was closing in on her. In desperation she tried to run across the road and was killed by a speeding car. The rooster crowed triumphantly: “Margayee par izzat bachaa lee — she died but saved her honour.”

(Contributed by Harjeet Kaur, New Delhi)

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