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Quick guide to understanding Tamil politics

I am tempted to say that what I know about Tamil Nadu could be written behind a postage stamp. The saying has become a cliché, meaning I know very little. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: Jul 24, 2011 00:39 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh

I am tempted to say that what I know about Tamil Nadu could be written behind a postage stamp. The saying has become a cliché, meaning I know very little. And that no other state in India is more influenced by film stars and film makers than Tamil Nadu. Besides being a film maker, its recently ousted chief minister Karunanidhi wrote his own script showing people his ancestral property to be disposed as he wished. To further substantiate his image of being a feudal monarch he acquired a mini harem of three wives and sizeable progeny of sons and daughters. He appoints his eldest son as his heir-apparent and put others of his family and friends in the state legislature and in the Parliament.

He makes full use of his deal with the UPA government in the Centre. His nominees, including his attractive daughter Kanimozhi, proceed to misuse their positions by making deals which ensure tidy fortunes for themselves at the cost of their country because they have been brought up to think that ministerial positions are meant to earn a fast buck. Scam follows scam. The image of Manmohan Singh as the able and most honest Prime Minister India ever had, takes a beating and the opposition paints him as a weak and indecisive person. It is a small mercy that in state elections in Tamil Nadu the electorate threw out Karunanidhi (DMK) and opted for Jayalalithaa of AIADMK.

Jayalalithaa is a rare combination of brain and beauty. The UPA should cancel its deal with Karunanidhi and enter into one with Jayalalithaa. She will prove a more reliable ally than Karunanidhi. I wish she would stop believing in astrologers and soothsayers. Can she tell us how adding another 'a' to her name has changed her fortunes?

Mango Mania
The mango season which will soon come to an end has been the most memorable in my life. It started in May with packets full of alfonsos sent by friends, including Tavleen Singh and Saryu Doshi. I was of the opinion that alfonsos which remain on top of our mango exports were vastly over-rated. After sampling this year's crop, I admitted to myself that I was wrong and alfonsos are indeed top class. But my personal preference are mangoes from western Uttar Pradesh. On top of my list are Dussehris. The first lot were sent by Parveen Talha, now living in her home town, Lucknow. I have to repay her by giving Swiss chocolates of which she is passionately fond of. My biggest donor is Abid Saeed Khan who owns a large orchard in village Bugrasi. He is very generous and brings me enough to feed my mohalla. He tells me that his crop this year has smaller mangoes than the usual size because they were not exposed to hot winds (loo) but taste is as good as ever. He loots my library and takes books by the dozen. So far I have no chausa, langra or rataul. I hope by the end of this month I will be able to sample them as well.

The reason why the world has not recognised mango as the king of fruits is that we describe them messy to eat. I have tried different ways to cut them, but still my lips, moustache and beard get smeared and I have to go to the bathroom to wash my face and hands. It does not make a suitable dessert after a meal. The best way to deal with it is to make it meal by itself. It has plenty of nutritional value and is easily digestible. It is mildly laxative which suits a sluggish liver and bowels.

Bright ideas
What do you call a male ladybird?

When they say dog food is new and improved in taste, who tastes it?

If the "black box" flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn't the whole airplane made out of that stuff?

Can you cry under water?

Why doesn't glue stick to its bottle?

Why do you still call it a building when it is already built?

If you aren't supposed to drink and drive, why do bars have parking lots?

(Courtesy Vipin Buckshey, New Delhi)

Happy ever after
Every wife is a Miss for an hour and stress for 23 hours.
(Contributed by Paramjit Kochar, Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: Jul 24, 2011 00:34 IST