‘Gossip dies when it hits a wise person’s ears’, the Buddhist told the journalist who slapped a sneer and shot back, “What about rumour?” The Buddhist shifted to a different asana: “That, my friend, I’m afraid, will move on unless the wise one opens his mouth and scotches it dead right there and then.” Wonderful talking to a Buddhist except that all Buddhists are now communists and some of them in India don’t mind water-boarding to death a Dalit Christian who dared to be Romeo to an upper caste Christian Juliet!
Sad commentary, indeed, and not all of it gossip, because gossip is one part truth and one part ‘bitching’ whereas rumour is a brand of lie that feeds fake news to circulate unchecked. Unless fact-checkers like bloom-bloom-da (cover for a cover) kill rumours and fake news with facts and figures. The fact-checkers are Buddhists in a way that the commies will embrace them so long as the right rules and left overrules. End of Modi-001 and fact-checkers will throw themselves under the bus, willingly, happily!
That being said, one definition of ‘left’ and ‘right’ getting noticed these days is in the difference: The ‘right’ see in the ‘left’ everything wrong; the ‘left’ see in the ‘right’ evil-incarnated. To actor Prakash Raj – to whom the ‘right’ is ‘Kuchbhi evil’ – those going after Rajinikanth’s ‘Kaala’ is not the right alone but fringe of a larger denomination, one which cuts into profit, ‘Sabse Bada Rupaiya! To Kamal Haasan what’s happening to Kaala is quite okay; after all, it’s not his Vishwaroopam! Rumour and gossip abound in the categorizing of the ‘other.’ Ask Gautama Buddha and he will say ‘get over the cycle of birth and rebirth, friend’.
But that is nirvana, philosophy. Not politics. In Tibetan Buddhism the Dalai is reborn even before the Dalai is dead! So it’s with the Panchem. That is politics! Which brings us to the question: Do politicians really care who dies and who lives? Ask the Thoothukudi-dead, killed because they protested too much; or the ‘braves’ taking the bullet on the International Border and the Line of Control because Modi dithered?
All that the braves get is a ‘fitting salute’ and a televised funeral. The politicians, if they fell like the braves on the border, it’ll be so much more celebratory for the masses. But no, politicians, they get to live to tell the tale any which way they want. Witness the Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, who’s dead-sure that Sita was cultured in a test-tube! Is that why Rama had to string a great bow to win her hand and Ravana strung her along – with a mayawi deer to distract Lakshmana – to Lanka, only for Hanuman to find her?
Mind you, it was gossip that Sita two-timed Rama in Ravana’s Ashoka Vatika that lost Rama his Sita. She, with the Sati-Savitri repute, preferring to split the ground to lose herself in racist Edgar Rice Burrough’s ‘Centre of the Earth’ rather than live in humiliation with Lord Rama on Earth. The real loss was to Luva and Kusha, twins born to the test-tube-born.
Point is, there’s no limit to the cycle of birth and rebirth; to rumour and gossip. Mamata Didi’s post-mortem of the BJP in Purulia after leaving to the vultures the carcass of the Left Front; Rahul Gandhi’s consignment of the judiciary to Pakistan’s galli-mohalla after finding the Congress relegated to second spot in Karnataka; Mayawati’s promise to the grand alliance to stand firm with Akhilesh Yadav shoulder-to-shoulder come caste-killings or social reaffirmation; Chandrababu organizing a Safari to carve a third front; Narendra Modi stealing a digital leaf out of the Veda (which one?) to hug Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to internet-India!
All gossip that keep us glued to Batpora Chowk in Srinagar where a grenade attack killed 7 this morning (June 4, 2018), and mired in the ambiguity of whether 82-year-old Citizen Pranab’s going to teach the RSS a lesson or two in ‘nationalism’, his subject of choice, Ramesh Chennitalla and Jairam Ramesh be damned. The two wouldn’t know nationalism from Congress-ism, both are so similar!
India Gandhi, if she were alive, would have told Mehbooba Mufti to button up and put a halt to her ‘talk to Pakistan’ refrain. That is nationalism that Pranab should remember and not fail to remind the RSS. Tell the RSS to its saffron-face and khaki-base that it was Indira who the RSS hailed as Durga! That, after she taught Pakistan a lesson in division and subtraction.
The RSS, like Mehbooba Mufti, needs to be told where the lead is flying from and who are the ones bleeding iron! Television channels are awash with video showing “how Indian forces are giving it back to them and bringing Pakistan on its knees” but that is gossip that doesn’t see eye to eye with the coffins unloaded in places afar from the border.
Ask the Buddhist and he’ll say that, dear friend, is half the story told. As election 2019 closes in, more and more “forces giving it back to Pakistan” video clips will be fare for television news. And ‘nationalism’ will become willy-nilly an election issue to bind the Hindu together. The prospect of a grand alliance tripping Narendra Modi to defeat has become very real, so an effort is on to build a good pitch to bat on against the opposition’s googly!
Pranab Mukherjee, probably, more than any Congressman, understands that “nationalism” is more emotive than any emoticon available on the Internet. To the two Ramesh – Jairam and Chennitalla – who want him to tell the RSS to go take a hike, Pranab’s told them hold their thoughts till they hear what he’s got to tell the RSS on what’s “nationalism” on June 7, a nice Gemini date: Empty talk from the Lal Qila or loaded guns from the border.
Meantime, will somebody get to Gautama Buddha (mission impossible, considering that he’s done with birth and rebirth) and ask him: “How to put a halt to the cycle of birth and rebirth when there’s the test-tube still around? Will a bottle of scotch kill the gossip that come 2019 it will either be Pranab Da or Mamata Di! (IPA Service)