Vol. 5 Num 675 Sun. April 23, 2006  

Sense & Insensibility
Punching to promotion, Sonia, and more

Dear Minister for Household Affairs, the critics are saying that your boys are doing all sorts of "hair-raising" things in the country. How dare they say so? If their hair rises so easily for simple reasons like killing two dozen people or beating the hell out of some photo-journalists then someone from your ministry better tell them to shave off their hair or put some gel in it. These ungrateful people are trying their best to deny your boys the "Heroism Medals" for keeping people's mouths shut, permanently that is. They never look at the achievements of your boys.

But we are keeping track of the deeds of your golden boys. After a fantastic bout of target practice shooting in Kanshot, your brave boys in khaki and blue practiced punching on the talkative photojournalists at Chhotagong. Oh, what a spectacle it was! Look at the expression on the face of the police officer as he is punching on the face of that old photojournalist. The anger and hatred mixed together to create an expression on his face so terrifying that the ungrateful people of the port city ran to hide under chokirtola (under the bed). I heard, sir, that even the Australian players got so scared that they were looking for some chokis to hide under.

We have come to learn that before beating up the journalists at Chhotagong the brave police officer had beaten up scores of people in the capital and elsewhere and that's why he got his meteoric "punching to promotion" as a reward. He is a great son of the soil. We are proud of him. Since he is such a good wrestler and boxer why don't we send him to the "WWF" competition?

Then the lathis came into the play. The traditional, seasoned and oiled bamboo lathis (sticks) of Bengal. The lathis broke the backs, legs, and heads of some photojournalists that day in Chhitagong. Good for the nosy newsmen. Now the media will think twice before talking to your boys in uniform. Those bamboo sticks are so useful on such occasions! You can crush a skull with such precision! Amazing!

We share the pride of your ministry, sir, when the men in uniform jostled with women picketers and grabbed them by the waist in broad daylight on the roads. How courageous your boys were! They endangered their dear life by coming so close to the enemy in the battlefield! We must appreciate their strong determination: "Let dangerous criminals slip away, we must get hold of the women picketers. These women picketers are greater threat to the nation than the hired killers, armed snatchers, rapists, acid throwers, and killer bus drivers." Yes, we also agree. Let the criminals and murderers roam the streets with total impunity; they do not throw bricks at the police. But, women picketers? No. Hats off to our uniformed brothers!

That's all about the glorious performances of the uniformed boys in the Land of Hope. The other news item that profoundly amused the cynics in this country is on and about Sonia Gandhi of India. It says that she does not own a personal car and that she only has Rs. 20,000 in cash and property worth few lakhs only. Ridiculous, isn't it? Many lady politicians of the world, including some in the Land of Hope, were horrified reading about her condition. It is said that many of them felt to have been let down, in fact embarrassed, by Sonia. "How could Sonia remain so poor being so close to power when we have become billionaires within a decade? We have money in foreign banks. We have property abroad. We have money invested in foreign projects. We travel abroad with thirty family members and thirty-five suitcases four times a year. But look at her!" they thought.

One report said that Imelda Barcos had laughed for one hour after reading the news. She tried to contact Sonia over telephone to tell her what a fool she was. Finally, she decided to send Sonia twenty pairs of her shoes and one hundred party gowns as a token of friendship. And Benazir Ditto offered her a room in her London house for free.

The cynics are of the opinion that Sonia Gandhi needs to come to the Land of Hope and stay here for some months to learn all the tricks under the sun to amass crores of rupees within a couple of years. It is guaranteed that no one, no intelligence agency of her country, will be able to track the source of the money she will accumulate. She will also learn how to evade the income tax inspectors and get away by paying only two thousand rupees every year as income tax. Then she will be able to invest millions of black, brown, and yellow money in business or take them out of the country. This way she will ensure the financial well-being of her next fourteen generations.

The Asian Lady Politicians Association is all poised to invite her to the capital of the Land of Hope to present her the "Guidebook on How to Amass Money." You see, they cannot let one of their own kind humiliate them by being so close to power and yet be so poor. They do not want other women leaders to emulate her. They have their pride to defend!

Shahnoor Wahid is a Senior Assistant Editor of The Daily Star.
Photo: Star