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     Volume 7 Issue 2 | January 11, 2008 |

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The Bitter and Sweet Voice of the People

(depending on which side you are on)


Now most of you above twenty (that's in years and not centimetres) have heard about the pastor's donkey. I mention a number just to make it sound scientific. But those of you who have not heard the story, and children below 13 need not, the story goes like this:

The pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won. The pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered in another race and it won again. The local paper read:

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the pastor not to enter the donkey in any more races.
The next day the local paper headline read:

This was too much for the Bishop, so he ordered the pastor to get rid of the donkey.

The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a nearby convent. The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline:

The Bishop fainted.

He informed the nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10. The next day the headlines read:

This was too much for the Bishop, so he ordered the nun to buy back the donkey and lead it to the high plains where it could run free.

The next day the headlines read:
Alas! The Bishop was buried the next day.

Being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery and even shorten your life. So, be yourself and enjoy life!!! Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and you'll live longer!

The old story above has been narrated to highlight our age-old plight. We give too much importance to what others say or write. On the contrary, had we given value to what others thought, we would have been better administrators. By and large we cannot absorb any sort of negative stance.

For instance, if there is some criticism from any quarter that the price of rice has increased for this and or that reason, which is quite natural, the criticism and not the rise, there is immediate reaction from the powers that be, that there is a conspiracy going on or brewing to defame them. Arrey baaps!

Who dares slander them who have taken such bold steps, nay leaps, in arresting people of various walks on charges or suspicion of unbridled corruption? For indeed that was the demand of the people and the politicians.

Who has the courage to malign them who have revamped the partisan election commission? For indeed that was the demand of the agitating people and the politicians.

Who has the nerve to smear them who have brought juganta-kari reforms in the limping administration? For indeed that was the demand of the people and the politicians lathi-charged right and left on the streets.

Who has the cheek to defame them who have become world famous for liberating the judicial system? For indeed that was the demand of the people and politicians rejecting the extension of the judge's retirement age.

And so the elections were not held.
We are a sorry lot. This has been going on for such a long time.

If someone even whispers that there is darkness because there is no electricity, I am talking of the night, there is a posse organised to hunt for the ill-meaning conspirator. Even if no one exists by that definition the law-enforcing agencies will create someone, take him to custody, flash pictures in the media, and get a deserved bahaba from jahapana.

If someone says he was feeling hot because the day was warm, he is immediately surrounded by well-trained people, his hands held up to allow lots of fresh air in his lungs, and then he is grilled for hours to get the conspiracy juice out of his system. He soon enough admits he has not felt so cool in his life even though a 300watt bulb was inches away from his forehead.

We have to get this out of our head; that only conspirators criticize. People, common people in our cities, villages, bazaars and offices, they all have an opinion. It is important for democracy, if that is our combined national aspiration, to let people vent that out.

People will say. They are meant to say. You are also a people. You can also say.

It is not necessary that people will only say what we like. No! They are not singing melodious songs. They are concerned about the outcome of this sangram. They would like to get what they have wanted for so long, that heavenly bliss for which they have sacrificed so much, that for which they have quietened down. It is necessary that people say what they truly feel. For in it lies the potion of making the future work.

And so the elections must be held.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2008