The Investigator

Shovon Chowdhury | Updated on June 22, 2018 Published on June 22, 2018

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The officer is pouring himself a drink as I enter. He cordially invites me to join him. “Come, come. You also have,” he says, “the more we drink, the more the cows will benefit. From today, even the alcoholics are serving society. When their wives abuse them, they can hold their heads high and say, ‘I am doing it for my country’.”

I regretfully decline. The Hindu Business Line has very strict policies about drinking. Only sambar and coffee are allowed while on duty. “So what is this new tax, then?” I ask, trying not to look at the decanter. The officer sips his Scotch meditatively.


 “First of all, it’s not a tax, it’s a cess. Please try not to be so ignorant. So far, we have achieved massive success. Initially, we applied it on stamp duty, to see whether anyone would complain. But they accepted it quite happily. Today, everyone who buys a 2BHK in Rajasthan, or signs a contract on stamp paper, is contributing to the well-being of cows. Now we are applying it on the sale of alcohol. Here, too, proceeds will go to the Gau Palan Department. Such action was long overdue. Cows require funding. They provide many benefits. For example, they can help fight air pollution, because they breathe in oxygen, and breathe it out also. Think of the advantages. People are unnecessarily spending on Western technology such as air conditioning, when all they have to do is feed a cow some ice cubes and stand her in the corner of the room, where she will produce chilled cow urine as a refreshing by-product. Our efforts are already bearing fruit. The death rate has dropped from 15 to 6.9 per cent.” “Of children?” I ask. “No, of cows,” he says, beaming. “It’s a notable success for the administration. We are also very pleased with the way the scheme has been structured. Looking at the example set by GST, we realised that it would be wrong to unnecessarily oversimplify. Hence we have created slabs. Depending on the type of alcohol consumed, application will vary. Revenue earned from Old Monk will support elderly cows. Aristocrat revenue will go to cows owned by the ruling classes. Heineken and London Pilsner will support cows of foreign origin currently domiciled in India. Studious cows will be supported by Teacher’s. Revenue from Hayward’s will be used to buy hay. In the process, we have established a simple principle of governance. Like the revenue secretary, cows can earn from everything. There is much work to be done. The possibilities are endless. For example, for cows with effervescent personalities, we are considering a tax on soda.”


In news that has been largely ignored, Facebook has announced a major revamp in its approach to selling customer data. “Recent developments have led to soul searching within the company,” said a spokesperson for the social media behemoth.



 “The mood was sombre. We were no longer feeling the love. Very often, from the executive bathrooms, we could hear the sound of loud, hacking sobs. Something needed to be done. We are happy to announce that we are no longer evil. We are simplifying our algorithm so that it ruthlessly exploits a far smaller circle of people. Only the data of your near and dear ones, such as immediate relatives and close friends, will be sold. There may be some exceptions, depending on your behaviour. For example, if you’ve been stalking that girl you loved in college, we’re probably selling her data too. We are also relooking at internal processes, to ensure that your data is treated with the utmost respect. For each customer, we will ensure that no more than 15-20 of our employees read your text messages. Others will be permitted access only in case of urgency, such as when you share a hot picture of your girlfriend, or when the texts you send when you’re drunk are simply too funny. As an additional service, we will be proof-checking your text messages, and correcting them when necessary. This means that you can continue to use Facebook without fear. You know you can trust us. Our track record speaks for itself.”


As part of a more muscular approach to Kashmir, the government has announced that it will set up subsidised gyms at the block and tehsil levels throughout the State. “A new approach was required,” said Professor Sudarshan Pant, a noted Kashmir expert. “The Kashmiris were not cooperating. We have put in three times the number of troops that the US used to win the Gulf War. We regularly switch off the internet. We use them as human shields. Even after all this, we are unable to win hearts and minds. Their ingratitude is sad, but we are used to it.”




Apart from gyms, a wide variety of other techniques are also being deployed. While on duty, troops will be encouraged to use smaller Kashmiris for weightlifting. In order to raise average fitness levels, overweight personnel will be transferred to Delhi, where they will guard overweight ministers. “The bodyguards are expected to shield the ministers with their bodies, and they have larger bodies,” said Pant. “All of us will be able to sleep easier at night, knowing that when they throw their bodies in front of the ministers, there will be little chance of a bullet getting through. In this way, Central ministers will be better protected, local forces will become more muscular, and Kashmir will be peaceful.”

In related news, a party spokesperson has denied that the government was toppled to leave them free to focus on Muslims. “This is completely untrue,” he said. “We are always focused on Muslims.”

The Investigator is a monthly round-up of all things droll and newsy. All views are personal. Really personal. @shovonc

Shovon Chowdhury is chief Truthdigger and author of Murder with Bengali Characteristics

Published on June 22, 2018
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