Lots have happened in the last two days. Major Rohit Shukla neutralized terrorist ‘Tiger Sameer’ in the Kashmir Valley. Lalu Prasad Yadav fled an AIIMS ward to his Ranchi cell. Google put a google-doodle to mark international workers day. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s ’15-minute dare’ and told him to bring it on.
‘Tiger’ Sameer made a fatal mistake. Thinking he was tiger-incarnate, he sent a video message to Major Rohit Shukla, challenging the officer to kill him ‘Agar Maa Ka Doodh Piya Hai’. Cut to the quick, Maj. Shukla took a tote of the best in the Army canteen and stalked Tiger Sameer to death in 12 hours flat even as convict Lalu Prasad Yadav put up a stiff fight to stay sick in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The best doctors of AIIMS thought otherwise, they diagnosed Lalu fit to return to his cell in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail. Lalu’s followers went on the rampage and pictures of a hale and healthy Lalu with Congress President Rahul Gandhi in AIIMS went viral. ‘What’s this happening?’ headlines scrolled the bottoms of television screens and made a hasty retreat, leaving in his wake notes of the folk song ‘If you miss the train I am on/You will know that I am gone; You can hear the whistle blow/A hundred miles, a hundred miles’.
The song, which was made famous by such sublime singers as the shimmering-voiced Joan Baez, goes on to speak of ‘nothing but the shirt on my back’ and ‘not a penny in my name’. Lalu Yadav was just then, when he was fleeing Delhi, feeling like kindred spirit, with nothing but the kurta on his back and not a paisa in his ’zeb’, pocket. But if they want, Lalu’s sons can buy Birsa Munda Jail – cell, cellblock and the last mile. The Lalu Family, it is alleged, sits on a hard-earned Rs 2,000 crore-nidhi. That’s cash not in the Bihar treasury and the Yadav-folk have not stopped loving Lalu any less for that.
If that makes you shout Mayday-Mayday! Don’t be shy. It is May 1, international workers day, which traces its origins to the Haymarket locality of the Chicago of the 19th Century, and ‘hay’ is nothing but ‘fodder’. If Lalu is today consigned to a dark cell, that is because he made hay when the sun shone, without a single day’s hard work to uplift Bihar, unlike the hardworking farmer and the worker/labourer who took their consolation from celebrating a day assigned to them with none of the import of Mayday (Save our Souls) lost on them.
May 1, 2018 was also the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on his Karnataka election campaign. And he, too, spoke of the international workers day. Typical politician – latch on to every straw in the wind to catch votes! Talking of the hardworking, backbreaking labourer, Modi appropriated to himself the ‘Kaamdar’ tag leaving for Rahul Gandhi the entitlement-loaded ‘Naamdar’ moniker’.
And because it happened to be the time to take up challenges a la Maj. Rohit Shukla versus Tiger Sameer, PM Modi accepted Rahul Gandhi’s ‘15-minute let’s debate dare’, to see who comes out worse! ‘Bring it to me, bring it on home to me…’ the Prime Minister sang to Rahul at a rally in Chamrajnagar, Karnataka. But if Joan Baez’s ‘500 Miles’ is a folk song, Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring it to me, Bring it on home to me’ is out and out a romantic number. Alas, Modi and Rahul have no love lost between them. Ask the working class, on Mayday of all days, and they’ll say ‘Go for it Rahul, Go for it – it’s not every day that you get the chance to make fodder of a rival A ‘Naamdar vs. Kaamdar’ debate sounds just the panacea that this country needs. Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted better, prescribed right. ‘Naamdar’ is, of course, euphemism for ‘dynasty’ and ‘Kaamdar’ another description of the ‘chaiwala’ who climbed into the unreserved railway bogey to sell the brew that the Queen in Buckingham Palace drinks, the best of Darjeeling with a ‘Wah Taj!’
Pitched against his ‘Namo-brand chai’, Modi believes nothing that Rahul or his mum Sonia Gandhi brews will taste good for the people of Karnataka. Taking on Rahul’s dare, Modi told Rahul to “Bring it on, choose your language, whatever lingo your tongue fancies – even the one which is your mother’s mother tongue (Mama Mia!), and let it ring in Parliament, let’s talk about Karnataka. But no written notes, that’s a must, 15 minutes impromptu, let’s see who sits it out and who flees the people’s hall. Wah! What a scene it will be!”
So, there lies the log, deadweight. The 15-minute dare, a tree-trunk shorn off the bark. It is for Rahul Gandhi to pick up and like the Commonwealth weightlifter in Gold Coast go for gold! (IPA Service)