Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Food From The Head

Our prime minister visited The Golden Temple last year for prayer and thanksgiving. This year while laying assorted foundation stones, he also visited the  golden vimana enshrined deity of the Tirupathi Temple. Lends a very nice touch this, the head of a modern nation, recognising the diverse traditions that make up our motley democracy, not being overwhelmed by them  and standing amidst temple officials looking as unruffled and  calm as he always does while attending to the onerous duties of the state.

Of late though, he seems to have  been deeply influenced by  two persons, the chap in a suit with a cigar, who first said "there is no such thing as a free lunch" and his savvy long fingered  nephew Baxbaum who coined the expression "if you think you have someone eating out of your hands, it would be a good idea to count your fingers!" I can attribute no other reason to the prime minister's recent pronouncement except the overwhelming pressure exerted by the aforementioned fellows. I wonder if this could be the much reviled foreign hand after all.   Why else would our Prime Minister chide the Supreme Court for its order that the food which is rotting in the government godowns  be distributed free to the poor? Our dispensers of fair justice must have felt like overambitious schoolboys who had mistakenly turned in completed assignments without being asked for them.

When  the serene sevadar of the Har Mandir  finishes distributing karah prasad (that fragrant, delicious and warm concoction of semolina  brown-roasted in ghee and sugar) into numberless stretched out hands, he has never needed to check if he has lost any fingers at the end of the day. This would be endorsed by all the  karsevaks  at the langar who voluntarily cook for  2000 people every day. The act of providing free food is an every day happening at the countless places of prayer and worship in our country, at innumerable temples and ashrams, where visitors get not only  free lunch, but even have free breakfast and dinner thrown in. In fact, one of the good things about most  religions is that poor feeding is listed as mandatory activity for all practitioners.

So, Manmohanji, dont listen to these two newly arrived economic advisors who  seek to dim your free thinking by  loudly humming the right notes  on policy formulations. They dont even know that in India  we do not own  social security cards with which we can claim our due as citizens.  This is especially true for that 37 percent population which  our new statistics have demarcated as poor.  Should n't be so difficult to identify them.  By now they should all have their own BPL cards ready.
 Please give them the food that will otherwise only decompose in our granaries Manmohanji..
 As a gesture from the state it is not even incumbent upon us to ensure that the food is cooked.
It only needs to be edible.

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