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Uneasy lies the head that will wear...

columns Updated: Oct 09, 2009 13:49 IST

Who will be the next PM? I have not the foggiest idea. But I can guess who will be in the running for the post after election results are announced. A few have tossed their names in the ring for free publicity. For the media it has become
a children’s parlour game to play when it finds itself short of important news.

To me the logic is simple: the party which has the largest number of MPs is likely to be invited to form the government. If it can muster the support of smaller parties and form a majority, it will name its prime minister who, in his turn, will form his cabinet of ministers and ask for a vote of confidence.

At the moment it looks as if the Congress party will have the largest number of MPs. Its choice for PM will again be Manmohan Singh, or failing him, it will be Rahul Gandhi. On the other hand, if the BJP wins more seats than the Congress, its choice of PM, as already announced, will be L.K. Advani with Narendra Modi as his deputy-in-waiting. The names of all other hopefuls will be thrown into the wastepaper basket.

A factor which may have a decisive impact on the relative electoral fortunes of the Congress party and the BJP will be the publication of the long-delayed Liberhan Commission Report on the destruction of the Babri Masjid. It will be like a time bomb: its explosion on the eve of the elections may swing the fortunes of the two main contestants. If it holds L.K. Advani and his colleagues present in Ayodhya on that fateful day responsible, the BJP will forfeit the Muslim and the secular vote. If it gives them a clean chit, it will boost their chances of making it to the winning post.

The write way

It saddens me to see how fundoo linguistic bigots of Urdu and Hindi are strangling our priceless legacy of Urdu to death.

Urdu fundoos insist that the language can only be written in the Arabic script. This is not true as every sound of the language can be reproduced in Devnagri, Gurmukhi and Roman. I read Urdu poetry in four scripts and thoroughly enjoy reading it. On the other side Hindi fundoos refuse to allow selections of Urdu poetry in school and college text-books. As a result the number of people who know Urdu keeps dwindling steadily.

Meanwhile there are a few people who stoutly continue to promote the cause of Urdu. Among the most prominent is Kamna Prasad Sood. She has just published an annotated selection from Mirza Ghalib’s poems Guft-e-Ghalib (Jiya Prakashan) in Hindi. She also continues to organise mushairas, Jashne-e-Bahar, of Urdu poets every year in different cities. This year, the 10th time it’s being held, it will be in Delhi on the lawns of Delhi Public School, Mathura Road on April 10. Besides India, she expects poets from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, China, England and America. She showed me the list of invitees. I am ashamed to confess, I had not read any of them.

I think it is time an organised effort was made to persuade the ministry of education to have selections of Urdu poetry in literature courses in all educational institutions. This is the sort of thing which could be best organised by the Jamia Milia Islamia university in collaboration with the Ghalib Institute, and universities of Aligarh and Osmania of Hyderabad.

Shoe-d out

Now that the Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoe at the then president of the United States has been sentenced to three years in Jail, the Brits are having a great time making anagrams of the letters in the victim’s name: the most amusing re-cast of George Bush is Bugger Shoe.

Woman power

A woman and a man are involved in a car accident on a snowy, cold Monday morning; it’s a bad one. Both their cars are totally demolished, but amazingly neither of them is hurt. God works in mysterious ways. After they crawl out of their cars, the man is yelling at women driver. The woman says, “So, you’re a man. That’s interesting. I’m a woman. Wow, just look at our cars! There’s nothing left, but we’re unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we should be friends and live in peace for the rest of our days.”

Flattered, the man replies, “Oh yes, I agree completely, this must be a sign from God! But you’re still at fault… women should not be allowed to drive.”

The woman continues, “And look at this, here’s another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn’t break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune.” She hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head in agreement, opens it and drinks half the bottle and then hands it back to the woman.

The woman takes the bottle, puts the cap back on and hands it back to the man. The man asks, “Aren’t you having any?” The woman replies, “No, I think I’ll just wait for the police.”

(Courtesy: Vipin Buckshey, New Delhi)