The best job in the world
I was on the verandah lounging in my haansi-putuwa enjoying my enforced but blissful retirement when my newest friend, the only person who appears......
> Indian involvement in Nepal's April revolution (World
> The sin is in the doing (Thelma)
The best job in the world
Sanath and Susanthika
I was on the verandah lounging in my haansi-putuwa enjoying my enforced but blissful retirement when my newest friend, the only person who appears to have time for me, seven-year-old Dennis, my neighbour dropped in. I call him Dennis because he is very much Dennis the Menace, in that comic cartoon. "Ade uncle, I know why you are in the haansi-putuwa and moping. Aunty has hidden the car keys so that you can't go
to the club," the cheeky brat guessed.
I thought of giving him a pol tokka like my master with the same name used to deliver on my head for this brazen impertinence but in these days of human rights, animal rights and children's rights etc. you risk going to jail.
Our lingo proceeded like this:
Uncle, I want to be a cricketer. I want to be admired by all like Sanath; go round the world playing in the best grounds; thrashing world famous bowlers; making a lot of money.
I told Dennis to perish the thought.
Dennis: Why uncle, are you jealous?
I read to Dennis the front page news item about his hero Sanath. "Look what they did to Sanath. They first said he was overage for Test cricket; then someone said he had been forced to retire and sent him to England to play in the ongoing tour. And now they are saying once again he is too old and he is
being kept in the dressing room while the young fellows are going to bat and returning to the pavilion like in a procession." Would any country treat a national hero like this?
Dennis: Sin no uncle? I like to kick them. Why did they do that to Sanath? Were they jealous of his achievements?
Uncle: This is a land without heroes. Even if we had one we would destroy and disgrace him. Look what they did to Susanthika?
Dennis: Ah! That fast girl no?
Uncle: No, no, not a fast girl, she could run the fastest in Sri Lanka and she could run the third fastest in the world. She won a bronze medal at the last Olympics. Look what they tried to do to her. The poor girl's parents were poor workers in an estate. There was not even a road to her humble home.
It was a long way for her from her home in remote Kegalle to the Olympic podium in Greece. They did everything possible to stop her and disgrace her. Some of those things I cannot tell you.
Her husband had to go to jail. They tried to stop her running at international meets but she overcame them all and won an Olympic medal. She is still running.
Dennis: She is a great girl. I hope Sanath too can be like her and hit centuries but that is only possible if they let him do so.
Uncle: Don't you worry. Whatever happens, Sanath will remain one of the greatest cricketing heroes of this country. No pygmy can erase that memory.
He was named the cricketer of the year by Wisden, which is considered to be the world Bible on cricket. So Dennis, you still want to be a cricketer?
Dennis: No. I don't want to be used and thrown away like a pol-lella. Can I be a journalist like you? I want to write anything what I like. Roam the world; expose crooks; see that justice is done.
Uncle: Journalists can write what they want? Who is the fool who told you that? They can write what their bosses want. They are absolutely free to do that.
Dennis: But they write many nasty things?
Uncle: Yes, but that's when the bosses agree. You have to think like the bosses; walk and talk like them. And of course laugh loudly at their dry jokes for all to hear. Do you still want to be a journalist?
Dennis: No, I can't laugh at dry jokes. I think I will be a politician.
Uncle: Now you are thinking and talking Dennis. That's the best job going. First of all you don't need to be educated at all.
You need not even go to school. When you are 18 years of age you contest and with a world full of suckers you are bound to be elected as some kind of representative - a manthree.
Life couldn't be better. Free housing; duty free luxury Land Rovers and the like, free fuel, body guards for you and the family, free foreign travels, free food at restaurants and no age of retirement.
You can tell whatever you want about anyone and when you want a salary hike get together with your cronies and pass a resolution demanding higher salaries. There are many other things available that you may need as you get older, which I cannot tell you now.
As a son of a manthree you can get bodyguards of your father to take you to night clubs and if any one acts funny you can ask your guards to give them the works.
Dennis took off immediately towards home.
"Bye, uncle I am rushing to ask my father to become a politician before I become one. I like going to night clubs with bodyguards to show me the way."
Indian involvement in Nepal's April revolution
After the successful April Revolution, Nepal often identified as the mythical Shangrila, is reported to be returning to normalcy. King Gyanendra whose autocratic rule against which almost every segment of Nepali society revolted has summoned parliament and agreed to the election of a constituent assembly which would write a new constitution of Nepal.
It could result in the king's powers being reduced to that of a constitutional monarch or in the extreme, the abolition of the monarchy. The Communist Party of Nepal identified as Maoists whose decade long insurrection had resulted in 12,000 deaths, has agreed to a ceasefire and sequester its cadres provided the Royal Nepal Army is also subjected to certain restrictions
during this period. The leader of the seven-party-alliance (SPA), G. P. Koirala has been named the prime minister. All are agreed on elections to a constituent assembly and the Maoists have given indication that they are willing to join the political mainstream.
The euphoria is such that an Indian commentator, Kanak Mani Dixit, writing to the Frontline says: "If Nepal can manage it, it will be a strong signal to all South Asia that conflicts need not fester for decades on end as they do in Kashmir, the Indian north-east, the Sri Lankan north-east or Telungana." At least where Sri Lanka is concerned this is an over-simplification because the Maoist movement is one that calls for a class struggle and establishment of a Marxist state whereas the Sri Lankan
north-east problem is a sectarian problem having its origins many centuries ago and the objective is the establishment of a racist state.
The two insurrections of the JVP which were very much similar to that of the Maoist movement were based on eradication of poverty, caste and class deprivation with the objective of creating a Marxist state. It proved to be much easier to end the JVP revolts.
As much as we hope that the Nepali people are rid of the reign of terror they were subjected to for the past decade, there are many obstacles ahead to move to be a democratic constitutional monarchy or republic.
Obstacles to democracy
The first obstacle to be cleared is the sequestering of the Maoists who have agreed to a three-month ceasefire. This ceasefire will be subject to a code of conduct which the new government and the Maoists will draw and the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) and the Maoists cadres will have to scrupulously abide by that code.
To supervise that both sides abide by this code, it has been suggested that an international body should be called upon to supervise the observance of this code and it has been suggested that a United Nations Peace Keeping Force be requested to do so. But neighbouring India has so far shown marked reluctance to bring in a foreign force to neighbouring Nepal and resolution of this problem will be the first of many
There are many arguments for and against calling in a UN Peace Keeping Force. One of the most cogent arguments against Indian objection is that India should not object, having already gained confidence as a strategic player by the newly conferred status of a global power by the United States itself.
Constitutional amendments by parliament itself will have to face many legal hurdles because the Nepal 1990 constitution protects the sovereignty of the king. Legal devises such as those based on the sovereignty of the people being supreme, will have to be recognised by the Nepal supreme court which so far has indicated its subservience to the king.
The role of the army, selection of representatives to the constituent assembly, considering the myriad communities and religious factions involved, the modalities for elections, are some of the mind -boggling issues that have to be faced.
The role of India in the April revolution as it was gathering momentum is most intriguing.
Initially, it appeared that the Indian Foreign Ministry was playing a role of strict neutrality. As the tempo of protests against King Gyanendra kept mounting, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on board a plane to Germany told journalists that India would still support the 'two pillars' of democracy in Nepal: multi-party democracy and monarchy which was widely interpreted that India was backing King Gyanendra.
Soon came the damage controlling exercise of Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran who said that it was up to the people of Nepal to decide on the process of democratisation and recalled that India had condemned Gyanendra's dismissal of the civilian government in 2005.
How the Indian authorities could have misread the situation in Nepal with its vast array of resources of information in Nepal is inexplicable. It also appears that the Indian government's policy towards the Nepali Maoists have been chameleon like.
Firstly, the Nepali Maoists are still a proscribed organisation in India, the Maoists having its origins in the Indian Naxalite Movement which is also a proscribed terrorist organisation. Some leading Nepal Maoists are still being held in Indian prisons and one of the demands of the Maoists to the recently appointed Prime Minister G. P. Koirala has been the release of
their leaders held in India, of course in addition to those held in Nepal jails.
The Maoists, for long, have been vehemently anti-Indian in their calls for recruitment and propaganda. During the last decade they have been concentrating on Indian expansionism (Bharatiya bistaarabad) and US imperialism but it stopped about a year and a half ago. Despite this official ban on the Maoists, it has been reported that Nepali Maoists have recently been freely crossing the Indo-Nepal border and conferences
are being held in New Delhi itself between Maoist leaders and representatives of the democratic parties of Nepal. Indian authorities had denied knowledge of any such meetings.
Backed by India
This has led to speculation by some commentators whether the Nepal Maoist movement was being backed by India itself.
Now it is being revealed that the leader of the Communist Party of India ( Marxist) Sitaram Yechury was the man behind the moves that resulted in this Maoist party that had killed as many as 12,000 people deciding to join the mainstream of Nepal politics. The movement towards peace by the Maoists had commenced in 2005 when the Central Committee of the Communist Party of
Nepal (Maoist) decided against their people's war and went into multi-party politics.
During the past six months Yechury was in Nepal thrice and it was during these visits that plans for pro-democracy demonstrations and strikes had been made in consultation with the SPA (Seven Party Alliance). It is also reported that back channel contacts between the Indian government and Maoists were opened largely by his efforts.
Commentator Mani Dixit says that "New Delhi had a hand in ensuring that a dangerous tear within the topmost rebel leadership was sutured, uniting it as the dialogue began and allowing them to deal with the upcoming peace process as one."
India's alleged involvement in Nepali terrorism will no doubtresult in Sri Lankans comparing Indian reluctance today to curb terrorism here - terrorism which India nurtured, fostered, armed and financed. Indian involvement in Afghanistan too is being resented by the Taliban who recently ordered all Indian nationals out of Afghanistan and killed an Indian national after their orders were ignored. Shouldn't India
explain its policy on terrorism both in the north and south of the sub- continent?
The sin is in the doing
I froze as if I had been stuffed by some good taxidermist darling when I read about the ban. And I hope you can detect my long and level stare at your loathsome map in which my intent is to nicely blend an element of surprise and sophisticated hauteur.
What a foul chap you are dear. Galloping along like a rhinoceros trampling on this and stamping on that just because some chaps who would better serve the faith if they got about their duties taking over the infant bible class, tell you that the Da Vinci Code written by a heathen called Dan Brown is an abomination unto the Lord. M'dear, I will tell you what is an abomination to Him and take it from Thellie, she was
once a pillar of the church in spirit. Now having gormandised her way out of the Daily News cookery book, she is also a pillar in the flesh.
Darling, the sin is not in writing but in doing and I would say that rather than ban a work of fiction that in any case any one who knows the Queen's language has read, the cassock types not being quick enough to get the book banned on time, you would do better to ban violence and corruption and that sort of thing.
I should have thought the Catholics were more Catholic in their tastes darling and rather busy with the zealous performance of their parish duties. Preaching on a Sunday morning about the Amalakites who smote the Hitites and how Abraham beget Isaiah and Isaiah beget Jacob. Little was I to know that these cassock types stepped down from the confessional only to curl up in a corner and read the Da Vinci Code.
Wait a minute, here's a thought. If they read it in order to make an educated decision to ban it, have they sinned too? Will the confessionals be teeming with cassocks as priests from far and wide confess to reading the evil code?
Anyway what is it with you and these bans darling? Can't you leave well enough alone? I mean to say, if tomorrow the three-wheeler drivers watchamacallit were to prevail upon you to ban iced tea on the grounds it tickles their throats, there you will be banning the beverage like a two-year-old. I may as well tell you now that nothing that you have done so far has succeeded in tickling my fancy.
The Vatican may be in a Brown study over the Da Vinci Code but if you ever get around to going to Sarath Sir's English 'tyushen' classes in Bentara of an evening, in between your walks around the dining room and your talks around the dining table, you should attempt to read the bally book just for kicks. Take it from me my dear chap, the book is what one would call containing a cliff hanger on every bally page. In
other words, you could read the book while hanging on a cliff. Ask Sarath Sir or may be even Sarath Silva, he will explain it all.
But my dear, I'm curious. Why ban the film when the book has been on the Paradisian book shelf for years? Unless dear ole Shiro whispered a word or two in your ear. Remember darling how Shiro is a Catholic but turned into a Sai Baba fanatic during a trip to Kerala and then turned into a Buddhist in Paradise soon after? Good thing the Anti Conversion Bill is not yet in force.
Meanwhile Paradise has had its share of wanting to ban this and that across the faiths. The Laughing Buddha, the Satanic Verses, etcetera, etcetera. In fact the Christians have been rather silent and taking it all, the burning of churches, the killing of members in their congregation, perhaps uttering a 'father forgive them for they know not know what they do' under their breath, but that is all.
You, my dear chap, are not a man to know too much about Da Vinci, Mona Lisa, the Illuminati or for that matter the Last Supper -and no m'dear, I assure you it is not the English term for the bowl of hot soup Shiro lovingly brings you before you finally lay your tired and oily head on the pillow.
M'dear, a modicum of caution when you deal with the enlightened in spirit, don't interfere with religion and religion won't bite you in the fleshy part of your thigh. The bally problem with you is you are so accustomed to the umbilical cord of the temple attached to the state you have never heard of this weaning business. There must be separation mensa et thoro darling, a bally divorce is in order and it must be now.
You see darling, the very Christ you curiously want to protect, as if you are a man born again at one of those evangelical thingamajigs you fellows have been burning down ever and anon, in fact came out with rather a spiffy and wise turn of phrase. A characteristic with the man from Galilee if you ask me. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and render unto God the things that are God's," He was
To translate into your own simple idiom darling, He was trying to tell you chaps to keep your nose out of his business. Well that's what I think anyway. At least he propagated the concept of separation of church and state.
A word in parting darling. I doubt the chap who created all things would feel insecure about a minuscule work of fiction, and if one's personal faith cannot withstand the slings and arrows of a few words, what use is it? But then it's only the vote that counts in politics and a film may just be a film but seven percent of the population is a helluva lot of bally votes, eh?