Reality Bites: When ‘Hard Work-wallahs' land at Harvard

Someone must’ve warned Nirmala tai to put her mask on before the event or else the audience, not accustomed to her signature scowls & glares, would think she was performing a one-woman Halloween skit

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Kennedy School, Boston
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Kennedy School, Boston

Rupa Gulab

A few years ago, Emperor Lie-a-lot wagged his finger and lectured the nation on how ‘Hard Work’ is better than ‘Harvard’, and my, how his media buddies and supporters cheered! They immediately added that to their long list of “My Dearly Beloved Leader’s Cutesy Quotable Quotes” and marvelled at the fruits of a degree in ‘Entire Political Science’. Many wanted to enrol their children in that course but sadly it does not exist for mere mortals. They didn’t complain though, and accepted the fact that God had ordained that only one man on earth was eligible for that supreme honour.

It’s such a shame that Emperor Lie-a-lot’s ministers keep trying to prove him wrong, though. “Harvard Sharvard mein ghus ghus ke propaganda maarenge” is their mantra when visiting the USA. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman wormed her way in too while attending the G-20 meetings.

When Lawrence Summers, economist and former president of Harvard University, asked her about the rise in intolerance and persecution of minorities in Emperor Lie-a-lot’s regime, my hands involuntarily shot up to cover my ears. Surprise, surprise—the loud volcanic explosion did not happen. Sitharaman pretended to be a civilised human being (who said only Emperor Lie-a-lot can do good acting), and spoke without snarling even once—so different from how she behaves when brown Indians ask her questions.

Her reply, however, was the usual barefaced lie. Not a word about the almost daily violence in BJP states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam etc. Instead, she painted Emperor Lie-a-lot as an innocent lamb who was blamed by wicked scholars and Nobel Prize winners like Amartya Sen for everything.

She then waffled on about violence in non-BJP states without once mentioning that it was usually instigated by members of her party/paramilitary organisation. Why, take the latest communal incident in Chhattisgarh—a BJP MP and former Chhattisgarh BJP chief minister Raman Singh’s son were booked for rioting and damage.

It was such a relief that Sitharaman’s mask concealed her signature grimaces and glares. Some kind soul must have warned her to put it on before the event or else the audience would think she was performing a one-woman Halloween skit. By the way, I checked the mask out carefully—while it was Great Indian Wedding blingy, it was not monogrammed, whew. Perhaps her seamstress aunty doesn’t do embroidery?

What made me laugh like a hyena that had consumed all the 3,000 kgs of drugs found at Adani’s port in Gujarat was Sitharaman’s response to a question on the recent violence at Lakhimpur Kheri, instigated by yet another BJP leader’s son (Geez, what is it with BJP leaders’ sons?). He allegedly ran over farmers who were allegedly protesting peacefully and allegedly shot a few.

I reiterate the word allegedly even though video footage exists, because his daddy is in the all-powerful Union Home Ministry, and such men are dangerous. Sitharaman sanctimoniously said the incident was “absolutely condemnable”. She was asked why there was no word on this from Emperor Lie-a-lot and his senior ministers, and why there is a ‘defensive reaction’ when somebody asks questions about such things, and she uttered some meaningless rubbish again. Incidentally, did you see a tweet condemning the incident from Sitharaman herself? I didn’t.

Unfortunately for the nation, Emperor Lie-a-lot has inspired (or perhaps, ordered) his ministers to lie as brazenly as he does. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is now pretending that Gandhiji was a dear old buddy of the fascist, bigoted Sangh Parivar. It’s quite possible that the Sangh Parivar held a “high level” meeting to discuss Savarkar’s whingeing mercy petitions. They like to be seen as strong people, not the pitiful, insecure, small-minded, intolerant chaps they really are.

Singh kicked off a storm when he said that Gandhiji had advised Savarkar to file those mercy petitions. Social media was littered with chunks of historical facts and documents refuting his ridiculous claim. It’s just as well that Singh belongs to the Sangh Parivar—any normal human being would have crawled under the dining table with shame and stayed there till the outrage dried up.

Oh well, I hope you had a brilliant Dusshera. May the hydra-headed monster that is currently running riot over India be defeated. May good triumph over evil.

(Any resemblance to real people or events is a coincidence)

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