The Investigator

Shovon Chowdhury | Updated on November 06, 2020

We dig for the truth. So you don't have to


Credit   -  ISTOCK.COM

In a move described as “yet another display of flexibility that is very impressive for a man his age” by the Olympic Gymnastics Weekly, a tall leader of Bihar, who has steered the ship of governance with a steady hand for many years, has announced that if he is re-elected, he will be secular on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. “This has the potential to be a game changer,” said Dr Paltu Kishan Parekh, an eminent former editor who now heads a think tank occupying premises on Pusa Road in New Delhi. “For several decades now, this was a dilemma faced by many politicians. By constantly playing Hindu-Muslim kabaddi, they were able to consolidate the support of 35 to 40 per cent of the potential voters throughout the year, with a slight increase on festive occasions. But during elections, there is a need to reach out to others also. The gentlemen in question had earlier solved this problem by spending a year or two as secular, and then, subsequently, a year or two as non-secular, and so on and so forth, thus appealing to both segments during the same electoral cycle.” “It worked very well with me,” said Deen Dayal Chaurasia, a secular voter from Begusarai. “When election time came, it was hard for me to remember whether he was secular or not. Usually, I assumed he was on my side and voted for him anyway. In any case, I knew that even if he was not on my side at that particular point in time, at some point he would switch sides and then he would be. So, everything would work out for the best.” Why then, is this radical new approach being adopted by the veteran leader? “It was inevitable,” said Dr Paltu. “Firstly, the example you have cited is not common. Deen Dayal is an example of what we in the psephological profession refer to as the Slightly Confused Optimist. Over time, as voters have become smarter, this segment has diminished in size, and may no longer be relevant. In addition, voter attention spans have become shorter. It is no longer possible to appeal to secular voters in 2020 just because someone was secular in 2017. People simply cannot remember that far back. Instead, being a rabid fundamentalist on Monday and mildly secular on Tuesday is a much more coherent strategy.” Assuming that he will be rabid on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, what type of person will he be on Sundays? And will this not upset the balance in one direction or the other? “Not at all,” said Dr Paltu. “Such a lot of gymnastics is naturally very strenuous, and he is not getting any younger. Sunday will therefore be a rest day. On this day, he will have no ideology at all.”


Credit   -  ISTOCK.COM


Pawan Kumar Tripathi, a paan shop owner from Karkardooma, has been found weeping copiously in front of the Delhi High Court. “I wrote to Reliance three times,” he said, “urging them to ‘take me over’, but they rejected me, despite my pointing out that I was a running business. Why this type of partiality? If they are buying everything, then what wrong have I done? I come from a good family.” His dealings, he said, were transparent. “I have paid no taxes for years, except to the local police, where rates are fixed and there is no confusion. The only reason I want to take this step is because my son is no longer interested in the business. He wants to become a hero in Bollywood. He says making paan is permanently staining his fingers, and later on, when he touches the heroine’s face, it will create a poor impression on screen. My daughters are willing to support me, but society will not allow them. Most of my regular customers are unable to digest the idea of a female paan wallah. Here also, I blame Bollywood. In the old days, Meena Kumari or Rekha would make and feed paans to the hero, sometimes while performing a mujra. These younger heroines are no longer respecting such traditions. Had that been the case, I would not be in this position,” he said, before proceeding to the court room.


The statue of Nehru, stored in the godown at Badarpur, is looking slightly sheepish. The ravages of time have robbed it of one arm, but the other continues to raise a finger optimistically. “Destroying the nation is not an easy job,” he says, regretfully. “It requires a lot of effort and planning. In a moment of weakness, I tied up with Rhea.” How did they collaborate, I ask, for he does not appear to possess a cell phone. “Rhea, her father and her brother used to meet me in this godown on a regular basis. I was already conversant in Bengali, thanks to Sarojini. I did not reveal my knowledge earlier, so that Subhas would never realise that I could understood everything he said to his Bengali cronies. The Chakrabortys and I discussed ways of corrupting the youth of India. As a heavy smoker, I suggested cigarettes, but they said, why stop there, let’s push marijuana. Apparently, very few youths in India have been exposed to it, especially those supporting the BJP, whose only vice appears to be excessive fondness for desi ghee. Meanwhile, the Chakrabortys went ahead with their national marijuana scheme. Initially I was enthusiastic, but later on I had misgivings. I was not really in favour. My subconscious actions reveal this. If you track the direction in which my finger is pointing, you will find that it is pointing towards Bombay Central Jail.”

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


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

Published on November 06, 2020

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like