Political gimmickry

No one resorts to this trick more than Bal Thackeray of the Shiv Sena and his nephew Raj Thackeray of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. The elder Thackeray clad in saffron with a ‘rudraksh mala’ round his neck should have taken Sannyas many years ago. But his ego stood in his way and wanted to see his name and photographs appear in papers other than his own ‘Samna’, which not many people bother to read.
He was also smarting under the slap his ungrateful nephew Raj gave him by winning 13 seats to Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. So the old Bala Saheb hit on the bright idea which would both steal the thunder from his upstart and get everyone in the country talking about him.

He chose his target well. The cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has become hero number one of the entire country including those who take little interest in cricket. He also happens to be a Mumbaikar and a ‘Marathi manoos’. What he said is what anyone in his position would have said — that he is, above all other things, an Indian, plays for India and is proud of being an Indian.

Only the now senile Bala Saheb found an opportunity to go for him and at the same time score over his nephew. And he did. Right across the country, leaders of all parties condemned him. That is all he wanted — and got.

Now it is for Raj Thackeray to chalk out a plan to get even with his uncle and get back into the front pages. I don’t know what he has in mind but can suggest another national icon he can go for because Sachin described her “like my mother”. It is Lata Mangeshkar; she is Maharashtrian, India’s most loved singer and a Bharat Ratna.
How dare she allow Sachin to touch her feet and greet her as if she was his real mother! It sounds silly but the Thackerays are a silly trio. Don’t take them seriously. Have a hearty laugh at their antics. One thing silly people can’t take is being laughed at.

Eunice De Souza
I was aware of the existence of Eunice De Souza as quite a few of my friends like the poets Nissim Ezekiel, Adil Jussawalla and my son-in-law Ravi Dayal, then head of the Oxford University Press in Bombay, spoke well of her poetry. She was professor of English at St Xavier’s College during my years in Bombay.

I had not read any of her poems till the publication of ‘A Necklace of Skulls’ (Penguin). I read all she has chosen of her compilations. There is a freshness and irreverent candour which makes her eminently readable. I had some difficulty in selecting one as a sample to whet the appetite of my readers. Ultimately I chose ‘Poem For A Poet’ because it makes a tasty appetiser:

It pays to be a poet
You don’t have to pay
prostitutes.
Marie has spiritual
thingummies.
Write her a poem about the
Holy Ghost. Say:
Marie, my frequent sexual
encounters
represent more than an
attempt
to find more physical
fulfilment.
They are a poet’s struggle to
transcend the self
and enter into
communion
with the world.
Marie’s eyes will glow
Pentecostal flames will
descend
The Holy Ghost will tremble inside her.
She will bable in strange tongues:
O Universal Lover
in a state of perpetual erection!
Let me too enter into
communion with the world
through thee.
The eternal question
Sona: Which came first? the chicken or the egg?
Mona: It was obviously the egg.
Sona: Then who laid the egg?
Mona: Some hen must have laid it. Chickens don’t lay eggs.
a a a
Sohan: Which came first? the chicken or the egg?
Mohan: Give me the dates on which that particular chicken was hatched, and the date on which the concerned egg was laid, and I will give you the answer.
(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi)

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