SAARC Old Boys Vs. Present Boys
We bumped into a Special Branch contact whom
we had seen off at Kanatte around 15 years
ago. He looked ghostly and ethereal and
beckoned me to his side. He gave a card with
the venue and time written on it. 'It will
be a world scoop. Cover it at your risk. If
you're caught you will disappear in a white
van for ever,' he said and disappeared into
We don't believe in ghosts, gods or anything
like that. But a world scoop was too much to
resist. And there we were at the secret
address, six floors under the BMICH,
Committee Room No. 007, at the given time.
The room was chilly and dark. Air
conditioners were humming. We moved towards
the only window and took a seat. Sharp at
the given time a video appeared on a screen
in a darkened room beyond the window.
All the past 'South Asian Greats' were
squatting on the floor - Mahatma Gandhi,
Jawarhalal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, DS
and Dudley Senanayake, Solomon and Sirima
Bandaranaike, King Birendra, former King of
Bhutan , Mujibur Rahman and all the past hot
From the dark a voice sounding that of a
court crier was heard calling: M.M. Singh
and a turbaned Sikh came in. 'Acha Bole' as
the Indians say - it was Manmohan Singh the
Indian Prime Minister, himself.
Gandhi spoke out. Come in Singh, and squat
on the floor in true Gandhian style. Good to
see an ex-World Bank vice president
squatting on the floor.
Nehru: Do you fellows still follow the
Gandhian way of life, Nehruvian economics,
non aligned foreign policy etc.?
Singh: Of course Nehruji. Photographs of
both of you still adorn every government
office and home. We recall your wisdom and
superior advice always.
Nehru: Why then are your fat cats, the
Ambanis, Birlas, Mitalls, Tatas and the like
in three piece suits in the sweltering 40
degree heat of a Delhi summer, looking like
tailors' dummies of London's Saville Row?
You know even my father Motilal set fire in
public to his
tailored suits and took on the shalwar.
Gandhiji went to Buckingham Palace wrapped
up in a kaddhar cloth and bare bodied which
made imperialist Churchill call him a half
Singh: Times change. This is the age of
globalisation. These fat cats are super
rich. Mercedes with A/Cs, A/Cs in homes and
offices.. They don't feel the heat.
Gandhi: What about your foreign and defence
and energy policies? If non-violence is your
creed how come you are now a nuclear power,
having exploded nuclear bombs? Now you want
to generate nuclear power for energy. What's
wrong with bullock and cow dung power?
Singh: These bloody Paks and Chinese too are
now nuclear powers. What else to do?
Gandhi: Paks took to nukes because you did.
Clearly you are not following the Gandhian
way. Please leave.
On MM's exit Nehru told Gandhi: He is not
Gandhian. Shall we recommend hell?
Gandhi: No, No. There's a better place.
Let's recommend America. He can enjoy the
Gandhian way eating hamburgers and drinking
Next to be called was President Pervez
Musharraf. Mohammed Ali Jinnah the lawyer
pitched into him. Why did you arrest Nawaz
Shariff, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zaradari?
Quaid-I-Azam (Supreme Head of State), they
were rogues, stole billions of the country's
money and sent them abroad. The Bhuttos were
charged and convicted for money laundering.
Swiss banks had to buy washing machines to
launder the money they deposited in their
banks, Musharraf replied.
Jinnah: Why then did you pardon them on
their return after years?
The Americans, Sir. They wanted them
pardoned. Besides, they were threatening to
into the Stone Age, if I didn't cooperate. I
did it in the interest of Pakistan.
Jinnah: Not to save your own skin? Tell me
something more important. Why didn't you
tell the Americans where bin Laden was
To Musharraf's reply that he truly didn't
know, Jinnah pointed out that those
departed, now high above in the skies knew
everything and nothing could be hidden. Why
did he not tell the Yanks where bin Laden
Musharraf confessed. 'If I told them, where
would I be? I would be useless to them; I
would have been like Gen. Zia, blown sky
high inside a plane.'
Zia from the panel of squatting leaders,
giggled: Hi, Hi! 'And they would have
imposed sanctions against us for our nuclear
policy'! Musharraf added.
Musharraf was dismissed and on his exit,
Jinnah and Gen. Ayub Khan conferred. The
clever fellow was telling half truths and
half lies. Ayub suggested recommending him
or America. No let him stay in Pakistan, in
the President's House at Islamabad, the most
dangerous place on Earth, Jinnah suggested.
Enter Mahinda Percy
Mahinda Percy Rajapakse, the crier shouted
from the dark and the now bulging Mahinda
Percy in wawul suit and red satakaya looking
like a wrestler, strode in. DS, Dudley and
Solomon said they did not know him at all
and did not want to question. Sirima
declined participation saying he had been
ungrateful to the Bandaranaikes. JR was
asked to be the interrogator.
JR: Hallo, Hallo young Rajapakse, long time
no see. Of course I remember you entering
parliament in 1970.You were a young lad with
virginal hairs sprouting from your upper
lip. Now you have a big black moustache
spreading from ear to ear. It's glistening.
What's the dye: Godridge? All that's by the
way. Tell me how's Mother Lanka?
Mahinda: We are winning the war which
you started 25 years ago.
JR: Many have said so before. Even I
said we were winning it. Anyway, all the
best. How's the economy? Central Bank
reports say the economy is growing. But
don't trust these Central Bank fellows. Ask
Dudley. Any way I hear there is galloping inflation. What
are you doing?
Mahinda: It's the war.
JR: No solution to the ethnic
Mahinda: Not yet Sir, it's the war.
JR. What's gone wrong with your
foreign policy? I hear the Yanks want to
have a UN Peace Keeping Force on the ground.
You know I too had this war on my hands but
they gave me the highest American aid per
capita at that time.
Mahinda: This war is different to
JR: Trying to reform my constitution,
I hear. What's happening?
Mahinda: Can't get the parties
together. It's the war.
Solomon Bandaranaike: Has the
language problem been resolved?
Mahinda: No. Can't do it with the war
Bandaranaike: What's this bally rot?
If you can't win the bloody war soon why
don't you stop it?
At this stage a white man in full suit
materialised. 'I say old chaps, sorry for
barging in and all that. I am Lord Malloch
Brown, Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs. Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, was our
crown colony, you know. And we do still have
our responsibilities. White Man's Burden and
all that. Besides, your fellows from the
north and east are causing big problems to
Her Majesty's government. Knifing people all
An angry Gandhi hobbled on to his feet with
his walking stick. 'Who is this
This is an exclusive South Asian Club. I
thought we got rid of these colonial fellows
60 years ago. Can't get rid of them? Keeps
turning up like a bad coin. Call this
meeting off,' he cried out, and then the
video went out. Unfortunately the heads of
Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives could not