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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Khushwant Singh

An impressive collection of new rulers
Khushwant Singh, Hindustan Times
June 12, 2009
First Published: 23:54 IST(12/6/2009)
Last Updated: 00:03 IST(13/6/2009)

Between them Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress Party, have cobbled together a Cabinet of Ministers to rule the country for the next five years. It is an impressive collection of talented men and women representing different regions and religions of the sub-continent. It has many able and experienced politicians as well as a few novices in it. There is every reason to hope they will give India the chance to eradicate ignorance, illiteracy, poverty and civil strife which has been the bane of our lives for centuries.

I have only two reservations in the inclusion of Trinamool Congress of Bengal and the DMK of Tamil Nadu. Mamta Banerjee of Trinamool Congress is known to be head-strong, hot-headed, quick-tempered, impetuous and unpredictable. Moreover, her first priority is to oust the Communist Government in West Bengal rather than run Railways for the country. For this she will have to spend more time in Kolkata than in Delhi where the Railway Ministry is located. She cares little for ministerial perks and is prone to quit when she has one of her tantrums. She does not know how to behave as a member of a team. So I keep my fingers crossed.

Karunanidhi’s bullying Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh to accommodating his progeny through three wives is baffling. It stinks of medieval nepotism and may be exploited for personal profit. The Prime Minister will have to keep a hawk’s eye on their performance and accountability. What I found most heartening about our new government is Rahul Gandhi’s decision to keep out of it. He has a much more important job in hand viz to keep his party on its toes, looking out for fresh blood and see that what the government promises is delivered to the people.

RSS to the rescue

Whenever the BJP is in poor health, as it is now, it turns to its parent body for rejuvenation. It is doing so today. The following news item appeared in The Indian Express some time ago. It escaped my notice. I found it reproduced in London’s Private Eye of May 29 in its column Funny Old World. And I find it very funny: “The acceptance of cow urine as a potent medicine is increasing day by day,” Om Prakash of the RSS (National Volunteers’ Organisation) told a Press conference in Haridwar,” and a revolution is now underway. We refer to it as gau jal, or powerful cow water, and it has immense potential to cure various diseases. We have recently developed a soft drink formula, like Coca Cola, with gau jal as the base, and sent it to our laboratory in Lucknow for testing. Once it becomes available as a cold drink in bottles and cans, demand will definitely increase.”

“Prakash, who is the Head of the RSS’s Cow Protection Department, insisted that powerful cow water cola could soon become a leading player in India’s lucrative soft drinks market. ‘Many colas currently on the market are harmful to the extent that they can be used as pesticides, whereas gau jal is not only natural, but cost-effective too. I have been involved in the promotional of bovine urine for four decades, and am proud to say it is now being used in the manufacture of everything from biscuits and toothpaste to soap and foot powder. And once we find a way to prevent the drink developing an unpleasant odour in the summer heat, gau jal cola will be further justification of the high stature according to the sacred cow in Indian culture.”

Prime Minister-in-waiting

I’m glad Advani will remain the leader of the opposition/Because he has not yet fulfiled his ambition/Which is, to raise Congress tally to three hundred and one/ I have great respect for Advani, the person/Of intelligence, sharp and articulate/A man at eighty-one with such a stamina great/And such a good planner and so little a hypocrite/That from Somnath to Ayodhya, he kindles communal strife/ And calls Babri demolition ‘the saddest day of my life/ He praised Jinnah because he had an open mind/And applauds Modi because he is one of his own kind/ Undoubtedly the tallest man after Atalji/ He would leave behind a feuding BJP/In which one of the contenders for the gaddi/Would be Varun Gandhi.

(Contributed by Kuldip Salil, Delhi)

Koi teesra

Eighty year old Natha went to Dr Banta Singh and said: “My 20-year old wife Natho is pregnant.” Dr. Banta replied: “Natha, I want to tell you an interesting story. Please listen carefully. A hunter went into a forest. Instead of a gun he took his umbrella. He saw a lion and pressed the button of his umbrella and the lion died.” Natha said: “Impossible, kisi aur ne goli mari hogi” (somebody else might have shot the lion). “Exactly,” the doctor remarked.

(Contributed by JP Singh Kaka, Bhopal)


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