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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014
All our many selves
Manas Chakravarty
June 09, 2012
First Published: 21:34 IST(9/6/2012)
Last Updated: 21:53 IST(9/6/2012)

Cong tells govt to pull up socks on economic policy - Business Standard, Delhi, June 5:

First minister: It's terrible, simply awful. I am amazed at the sheer incompetence of this government.

Second minister: Absolutely ridiculous. They should all be sacked.

Reporter: Hold on, gentlemen. Aren't you government ministers?

First minister: So?

Second minister: Right now we're speaking as party MPs.

Reporter: Eh?

Third minister: We all have multiple personalities, you know. All the best people do.

First minister: Look at Dr Jekyll.

Reporter: Ah. You're saying the Congress is Dr Jekyll. And the government is Mr Hyde. Let's get this clear. Are you the government or are you not?

Second minister: Well, we are….sort of… and we are not. It's a bit like Schrodinger's cat.

Reporter: How can you divide yourself into a minister and a Congress MP? You're yourself, right?

First minister: Am I? What is self and how many selves do we have? In his book The Divided Self, the psychologist RD Laing said we are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves.

Second minister: And Heidegger said to live authentically is to live in the full awareness of the nothingness of one's self.

Reporter: You've completely lost me.

Second minister: Let me explain. Sartre said nothingness lies coiled in the heart of Being - like a worm.

Reporter: Is it a tapeworm? And does it give Being a tummy-ache?

Third minister: Much depends on whether you follow David Hume or Immanuel Kant. Hume denied the notion of a unitary self, while Kant, as you know, held there was a transcendental unity of apperception. We in the Congress are big Hume fans.

Reporter: What was that again?

Third minister: I was merely talking to my other selves.

Second minister: It's terribly frustrating. Our selves rarely agree.

Third minister: Haven't you sometimes thought, 'Who is this idiot who did this thing?' before realising it was you?

Reporter: You bet. Like this conversation.

Third minister: There you are. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

Reporter: No need for insults. But how can the party blame its own government?

First minister: It's tough at first, but you improve with practice. After much hard work, the Congress high command has no difficulty in blaming its grassroots workers, who denounce its MPs, who criticise its state leaders, who upbraid its state governments, who reprimand the central government and everyone then blames everyone else.

Second minister: I personally have now come to a situation where my left hand has half a mind to blame my right foot, while the other half plays mahjong.

Third minister: I am often surprised to see me beside myself with rage at my liver.

Reporter: Oh, forget all that. Look, the Trinamool Congress blames the government, the DMK threatens to agitate against the government, the NCP says the government must check rising prices, the Congress says the government must pull up its socks. Who exactly is the government?

Ministers: Nobody knows - it's gone missing for a long time now.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint

Views expressed by the author are personal


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