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Monday, March 04 2024
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NK Satire – the week that was June 3 to 9

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“Laughter is an instant vacation,” said Milton Berle. Here at NK, we would like to contribute to lightening your mood in preparation for a meaningful and relaxed weekend. So here’s the tongue-in-cheek look at the events of the week gone by that you’ve been waiting for 🙂

The Indian football team led by Sunil Chhetri does not enjoy the popularity of India’s Cricket Team led by Virat Kohli, though it deserves more. They have achieved so much in the last few years.

Both the teams play with balls, albeit of different sizes and firmness but one does so with their legs and the other with their hands. One is more physically intense while the other is mentally more so and if time is of the essence, the former gives you more time to do things beyond watching a ball in play – An Indian can spend hours watching a ball go past another’s face or into his chest or pads, while he finds it difficult to spend 90 minutes watching it go between a pair of legs into the goal net and that is why perhaps he avoids it.

This was evident during the ongoing intercontinental cup in Mumbai. The football was of high quality, India was winning, the matches started and ended on time, the ball went back and forth throughout and it was, therefore, interesting, and the players used their head many a time but, the stands were empty – there were but a handful to watch.

Fans, however, turn out or are persuaded to turn out (with transport and money) in large numbers to watch political football. It doesn’t start and finish on time, there is no back and forth – it’s a monologue, the promises are empty, the blame bucket is full, there is nothing really to cheer about, and despite the players not using their head as much as they need to, the temporary stands are full, and the crowds cheer all the way!

All this prompted our celebrated football star captain, Sunil Chhetri, who has more goals to his credit in his 100 matches for India than anyone else in the world, to issue an emotional appeal to fans to support the team in stadia – Like the advertisers. And, to his great delight, they did so at the remaining matches, and neither he nor the team let them down, except when they played New Zealand – You’ve got to lose some to win some… but, most politicians know that!
Take the case of Karnataka, which after 15 days of listening to an incongruous Government duet by the sole occupants of the concert stage – the CM and his Deputy – got to hear an incomplete and inadequate orchestra as the cabinet expanded on hot air blown inwards. As the symphony commenced inside, there was cacophony outside. Those who wanted to be part of the symphony but were not (because they didn’t have an ear for music), tried to kill the music and belittled the stars of the show. It was a sad day for governance, politics and the art of serving the people through the spoils of the office. The clamour for a car and an office amazes me more than Honda’s new offering ‘Amaze’, and I often console myself by watching a WhatsApp video doing the rounds which shows the Dutch PM mopping up the floor himself after he spilled his coffee on the floor of a public building. The Dutch were in India too, but they didn’t last long – and we can fathom why – while the British Raj has left a mark.

Some TV channels are their own lobbyists – they lobby for controversy – but accuse others of being a lobby – peaceniks (that’s a favourite word of the channels, as though being peaceful or wanting peace is such a bad thing), journalists asking the right questions, and demanding answers (as though asking questions and demanding answers in a democratic republic is not the done thing).

Generally, for them, anybody who is pro-nation but anti-government is a lobby. That’s the new definition of the word. They often blur the line between the nation and the government, the armed forces and the government, and the armed forces and the nation. Basically, it is has become a line of no control for a few. And often when they cross the line, they initiate what is called in modern national security parlance (formerly it was medical parlance!) – a surgical strike – a shoot and scoot strategy, in their case not necessarily in retaliation, but more in offense perhaps – I use the word here as a noun. There have been three such surgical strikes in the past couple of weeks – Two were on local leaders of the Catholic faith in Delhi and Goa and the other on those who questioned the intent of the former President of the Country in accepting an invite to address an RSS convention in Nagpur.

The two senior leaders of the Catholic faith issued letters to their miniscule flock in their provinces (the county’s entire flock is 2% of the whole) to pray for a government at the centre in 2019 that would respect secular constitutional values. It is not clear why the channels decided that those letters deserved a surgical strike – Maybe they were concerned about values – their economic values if such a government, should assume the reins of the nation in 2019 – It is currently wishful thinking – hence the call for prayer perhaps.

The surgical strike involved equating the words ‘Pray’ and ‘Vote’. I’m not sure which dictionary they referred, but I couldn’t find them synonymous on either MS Word as I typed them or any other online dictionary. The only similarity I could find is that they are both commonly used and respected words though they are indeed 4 letter words. There the similarity ends. In contrast, a leader of the majority faith is not only appointed as the executive leader of the state, but he is tasked (willingly) with visiting all other states to ask people to Vote – not Pray mind you – for a government that upholds constitutional values.

As I pondered over why this was not controversial in their eyes, it struck me – the definition of news! The first thing that Journalism school teaches the novice is to recognize news by the event – When an ant bites a man, it’s not news. However, when a man bites an ant (other than in the Far East), it is!

Meanwhile, the former president, a person who has always publically upheld the principles of pluralism, socialist economics, and secular constitutional values – the same ones that the leaders of the Catholic faith invited their flock to pray for – received an invitation from the RSS, currently the sturdy and right curving backbone of the ruling dispensation, to address them. And, that became news– you guessed why. They said it was for an exchange of ideas, a long-standing tradition in the organization. He didn’t say anything until he spoke at the convention, which in hindsight was wise, but then he is a wise man.

Some condemned, some praised, and there were TV debates on “should he or should he not”… all of this in the week before he spoke. And when he spoke, he silenced both the lobbies. He stayed politically correct and reiterated his long-held theory of nationhood – that it is a melting pot of cultures and identities; not one single strand, but many strands woven together… and that fabric must be preserved at all costs. The problem, however, is that the costs of preserving that fabric are mounting. There is a new washing machine in place with many features including ‘fuzzy logic’ that it wants to test on the fabric. Unfortunately, it has no facility for quick rinse but, it is programmed for a clean wash.

Last Word

Finally, Trump will meet Kim on June 12th at 9.30 am in Singapore and both, I believe, are hoping for a shared Nobel Peace Prize – Both need it for different reasons. Trump’s predecessor Obama got it for Middle East peace (it’s in pieces today) before he earned it, and this duo will not have it so easy. So, they are striving hard. All the neighbours of North Korea and the press included are involved in this process, except those whose future depends on it – Japan – and this week Japan’s PM flew to Washington to throw his missiles into the mix.

Kim is broke (from payments for the clandestine development of nuclear weapons and the effect of economic sanctions) and would have pulled out of the summit due to the lack of money (that’s why he wants to meet Trump so desperately) when the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) stepped in and offered to pay for the summit costs – high-class accommodation and security – both the leaders feel insecure… again for different reasons. It’s not clear though where ICAN get their monies from. ICAN is a global civil society coalition working to promote adherence to and full implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Now we have to wait and see if TCAN (they can!)

Given their constitutions – physical and political – an all-embracing hug will not only be difficult, but is unlikely to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries as it does between India and the USA (other than the H1b visa), but they will certainly make efforts to encircle each other in their arms (human, not nuclear). It’s everybody’s fervent hope and as always, hope lies eternal.

On that hopeful note, enjoy your weekend and I wish you a great nuclear-free week ahead.

The author can be contacted on brian@newskarnataka.com

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Brian Fernandes

Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 30 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. Journalism, poetry, and feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Besides, he is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of Toastamasters.org and a designated Distinguished Toast Master.

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