Me: The newspapers are saying the passage of the GST Bill is a historic day for the country, a game changer for all of us. But you are all local political workers. What are your views?
Political worker: GST is a Great and Scintillating Tax.
Local boss: It’s truly a Gloriously Spectacular Thingy.
Fringe element: GST is a Gorgeously Sublime Tax.
Me: Sublime? Would you go so far?
Political henchman: Why, you have a problem with calling it sublime?
Me: Who, me? No no, obviously it’s terribly sublime.
Political worker: See, it’s truly historic because they took several millennia to pass such a pious bill.
Me: Pious? Hahaha. Yes, it certainly looked as if the damn thing had been going on and on for ages.
Henchman: What damn thing?
Me: The pious sublime thing, of course.
Local boss: I’m certain that in ancient times we had GST. If we had plastic surgery and rocket science surely we could have thought up a simple thing like GST.
Fringe element: Chanakya must have thought of it first. Such a tax was far more important then because there were so many cows.
Grassroots leader: He means cows were a much more important part of the economy then.
Me: Oh I see. So GST would ensure you could transport cattle from province to province without hindrance, thus leading to a more efficient trade in cattle and boosting the economy?
Henchman: So you transport cattle?
Me: Oh no, no, certainly not. It’s just an academic interest.
Political worker: I have no idea what you’re talking about. But you’re right that having one central tax is better than states having their own GSTs.
Local boss: Gau Raksha Dal volunteers in some states like Gujarat and Haryana would have forced them to go in for GST but would the north-eastern states have done it? Far better to have a central GST so that everybody pays up this important tax.
Me: Why Gau Raksha Dal? But yes, the country does become one unified market.
Grassroots leader: This reform goes far beyond just markets. For the first time, politicians from different castes, creeds and regions have put aside their differences and blessed the holy GST.
Political worker: This is especially commendable in view of the reports about killing cattle in several states.
Fringe element: I could hardly contain my joy when even the communists voted for GST.
Fringe element: Because it shows even they, atheists though they may be, believe in the spiritual values of this country.
Me: GST is spiritual?
Local boss: GST is a devout way to fund a most hallowed part of our way of life, our sacred values and it is wonderful that everybody agrees about it.
Me: Eh? Hold on, just a minute, are you by any chance under the impression that the G in GST stands for God?
Fringe element: Don’t be silly. Everyone knows GST is short for Gau Suraksha Tax.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed are personal