From coal to gold: Nightmares, dreams on Raisina Hill
How is it, you must have wondered, that the government can stumble so unerringly from crisis to crisis? Well, the secret is out and we now know exactly how the government makes its decisions. Manas Chakravarty writes.columns Updated: Oct 20, 2013 01:09 IST
(Oct 18, PTI: ASI begins excavation at old UP fort after sadhu dreams of buried gold)
How is it, you must have wondered, that the government can stumble so unerringly from crisis to crisis? Well, the secret is now out. Thanks to the Archaeological Society of India, we now know exactly how the government makes its decisions. They take them on the basis of dreams.
“This digging for gold at Unnao is not an isolated incident, dreams form the bedrock of all government policies”, said a guy who claimed to be a member of the UPA’s select committee of dreamers. He said the allocation of coal blocks, iron ore mines, telecom spectrum had all been done because they dreamt about it. “Take the coal block allocation,” he explained, “Hindalco didn’t figure in the first dream. But after the initial allocation, one of our chief dreamers started having nightmares in which he was pursued by a vampire who looked a bit like Kumar Mangalam Birla. The first thing he did when he woke up was reverse the Hindalco decision.”
Another shady chap claimed the prime minister was the head of the dream committee. “We even thought of changing his designation from PM to PD or prime dreamer,” he said. “Why do you think he has such a wooden expression?” he asked, adding it was because he was daydreaming most of the time. “Daydreaming,” he said, “is a difficult art form, because of the danger of falling asleep”.
A historian told me the origins of policy-by-dreaming were formed when Soniaji first heard John Lennon singing, “You may say I’m a dreamer/ but I’m not the only one/ I hope someday you’ll join us.” A smug chap said his dreams were often taken up for implementation. “That’s because, for some unaccountable reason, I dream in Italian,” he explained. But a poor Congressman sobbed, “I try so hard, even smoking pot, but I’m unable to have any dreams. That’s why I can’t become a minister.”
Another committee member joined us. “Remember the tsunami?” he said, “that happened because one of us had a wet dream.” “One day,” he continued, “the finance minister fell asleep and dreamt of the Vodafone ad featuring the pug. Naturally, when he got up, he taxed Vodafone.” “On another occasion, he dreamt he was getting fat and had to go in for liposuction. He immediately cut the fiscal deficit,” he said.
But some talk of dreams going wrong. “After a nightmare brought about by a bout of indigestion in which she saw heads rolling, Soniaji decided it was time for a Cabinet reshuffle,” complained an ex-minister. A dreamer spoke of a time when she dreamt of thunder. “But it was only my husband snoring,” she said sadly. Another said the government’s indecision on foreign policy is because the foreign minister dreamt of eating biryani in Islamabad and chow mein in Beijing. “We’re unable to decide whether that means we should go there for meetings or invade,” he said.
What dreams are they currently working on? A dreamer revealed, “We’ve recently been having dreams about blue elephants rampaging through Lucknow saying ‘Pehle aap’ to each other, which some interpret as a tie-up with Mayawati. Another dream is of Botox injections, on the basis of which a massive UPA image lifting drive will be started.” He then excused himself, saying it was time for him “to sleep, perchance to dream”.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint.
Views expressed by the author are personal.