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Today?s the Niwasi Bharatiya Diwas. The PIOs may have been given dual citizenship, but we POIs are poised to demand much more.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2003 12:34 IST

Today’s the Niwasi Bharatiya Diwas. The PIOs may have been given dual citizenship, but we POIs are poised to demand much more. The People of India would like not only to fly the tricolour from our terraces or table-tops, but be equally at liberty to drape it over our shoulders, knot it round our waist, or fashion it into bustier.

But whereas Time can get away with a cover picture of the US flag in flames without its offices being burnt down, we have to be very careful not to spark the ire of some patrioter-than-thou zealot unfurling the recent amendments to the National Honour Act in our face.

The powers-that-are can drag national honour by its hair through the streets, but should Citizen Jai carelessly roll an Ashok Chakra or flaunt a tiranga dupatta, he is likely to trigger a degree of pandemonium which would make your average day in Parliament look like the vipassana course in Igatpuri. If we are to go strictly by the letter of the revised law, a Congressman in white khadi flanked by a BJP MP in saffron and a fellow-politico in Muslim green will no longer symbolise national integration. They would be arrested.

Of course, nationalism will find its own level. If we feel entitled to free airtime and an oven-toaster with every mixer-grinder, if we demand the freedom to park wherever we wish or wear only our underwear to a glitzy party, then we are certainly at liberty to adopt, enact and give ourselves a new, taut, toned and perma-tanned Constitution that’s more in line with our times.

The amendments would start in the Preamble itself. ‘Sovereign’ remains since that’s what every individual wants to be regardless of anyone else’s rights. But, ‘Socialistic’ becomes ‘Socialite’, ‘Secular’ becomes ‘Non-pseudo-secular’, and ‘Democratic’ becomes ‘Democrassic’. Republic also remains, simply because history tells us that this idea can be re-engineered at whim, without requiring either a licence or a two-thirds majority.

‘Socialite’ is the key alteration since the most noticeable change in the Indian scenario is not a liberalised economy or AIDS hoarding, but our all-embracing social-ism. This Swarowski-tattooed ideology has become such an opiate of the privileged classes (and the envious masses) that even the political juggernauts have descended from Mount Greater Kailash, and begun prostrating themselves before the Page Three Pantheon of Pali Hill.

As a consequence, the political convention has been replaced by the birthday bash. This is a more liberal gathering since even those from opposing parties are at liberty to stuff laddoos into the mouth of the object of celebration. Without necessarily achieving the goal of effectively shutting her up.

Naturally, therefore, the post- millennial Preamble must take cognisance of this changed reality, and be amended accordingly. When the Preamble re-ambles, so must the Fundamental Rights.

Take the Numero Uno, the Right to Equality. Its first section, Article 15-and-above is hereby amended to allow the State (as well as the disco, restobar and cigar lounge) to discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. In socialite societies, it is mandatory to wear diamond-studded Om pendants. Sex must also be stud-ed. Race refers to the rat variety. As for caste, in an exemplary turnaround of social justice, the backless classes prevail in their creamy-layers, and the wear-nots triumph over the wears. The acceptable place of birth is the swanky southern part of the city, whether Mumbai, Delhi or even Kolkata...

(4) However nothing in this article shall prevent the State (or hostess or management) from making any special provision for the advancement of any politically, economically or socially helpful class or classes of citizen.

Going on to Article Sweet 16, equality of opportunity is guaranteed in the new Socialite Republic. Everybody has the opportunity (if not always the wherewithal) to wangle invitations/dress outrageously/be photographed from every angle.

In Article 17, untouchabilty is reinstated. As long as you have an influential father/uncle/wife’s brother or his co-brother-in-law, or if you are a star with an SUV — no one can touch you.

In the new Article 18, while military titles are unrecognised and academic ones non-existent, other titles are once again permitted: Liquor Tycoon, Catwalk Kitten, Business Baron, Queen Bee, Page Three Princess, PYT...



Alec Smart said, “Logo victory is fine. Now how about a wicketory?”

First Published: Jan 26, 2003 02:01 IST