TODAY -

Take it with a pinch of salt and enjoy the humour

Free Thinker *



One Minister was questioned by the party boss, whether he has more than one wife. He replied, " Sir, I have only one at a time". The Party boss was happy with the reply and blessed him, "term term jio."

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. I repeat myself", mark the words from Mark Twain. A call from a funding agent to a Candidate, "don't buy a single vote more than necessary, I will become a pauper if you are trying for a landslide victory".

To refrain from libel suits, threats and intimidations, it is high time to tell the public and politicians that whatever is written is utter nonsense and never take it seriously. The expressions used in the column have neither relevance nor equivalence; these are mostly bull and cock stories.

But, the respect for those who love to see the pants and petticoats of the corrupt and criminals down in public can't be undemiined. An episode of the unending battle of wits between Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw was circulated recently (might be a concocted one, but enjoyable).

Once Winston Churchill said, "If you say a word more I will swallow you." Bernard Shaw simply smiled and replied, "In that case Mr Churchill, you will have more brains in your stomach than in your head." They were entering a building with a narrow passage enough for only one at a time.

Churchill said, "I will go first, I don't follow idiots." Again, Shaw smiled and said, "but I do." I read somewhere that Churchill's mother introduced him to GB Shaw, who was some 20 years older than Churchill.

In 1983 long before Khushwant Singh died, his obituary was written by one Dhiren Bhagat in "The Sunday Observer". In the name of freedom of expression, he was encouraged to do so by Vinod Mehta the then Editor of the publication. Dhiren jotted down many ungrateful and objectionable things about Khushwant. The journalist fraternity then was also not happy about the obnoxious content of the mock obit.

Khushwant Singh himself was very annoyed but took it in his own stride. But he remained quiet; perhaps he didn't even file a defamation suit against the Publication or the Editor or the Writ. Later on, he himself wrote his obit before he died. Humour has become enemy number one these days. We can't joke about community or religion or the eating habits of the people etc.

Politics remain the only subject we can joke about. That too is under threat. This is something to worry about. Our politicians are also becoming harsh towards humours and witty criticisms. Earlier we had stalwarts like Jawaharlal Nehru, Ram Manohar Lohia, Pilot Mody, Vajpayee and others; they were able to handle flays and sharp criticism with humour and sapient responses.

Parliament sessions were not washed out because Lohia called Nehru a 'bald man'. By the way, Nehru was indeed bald. Once, Lohia announced in the House that "Nehru is not an aristocrat, I can prove that the Prime Minister's grandfather was a chaprasi in the Mughal Court." Nehru smiled and responded, "I am glad the Hon. Member has at last accepted what I have been trying to te11 him for so many years, that I am a man of the people."

Of course, Parliamentary language should be elegant. We have elected a good number of crooks, so how can you expect decent sophisticated expressions from them ?

A civilised debate and discussion are expected in the Assemblies and in Parliament, but it is difficult to have these days perhaps because of the composition. Witty remarks, humorous expressions, and camouflaged criticisms should not be made part of unparliamentary expressions.

Only 'tu tu, mein mein and actual fight' should be banned. People in power and authority ought to have the strength and calibre to bear with any humour or criticism. Sarcasm and wit should be part of their daily life. In such a stressful profession how can they distance themselves from jokes, humour and laughter ? Today we really lack witty and jolly politicians.

Vajpayee ji once said, "today I am happy that Aaj Sonia ji thik boli thi , without reading". Sonia ji herself had a hearty laugh.

Nagaland Minister Imna Along (who looks like a Sumo wrestler), in his inevitable style, said, "people say, Nagas eat humans, when they see me, their suspicion is further re-affirmed."

A humorous and witty remark can make the whole world laugh and at the same time, the right message can also be conveyed. Once Rishang Keishing was asked, "why did you accept the post of Dy CM ? (He was a former CM then)". He replied with a smile, "I don't want to be left out."

Politics is considered to be the second oldest profession in human history. Now I have realized something else, which I better desist from spelling out. That is why I am reluctant to join though I am offered the top post. Any doubt ?


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on August 02 2022 .



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