AS the might of superior American artillery rains on a heroic, yet poor, poverty-stricken billionaire, our battered countryman stands valiantly crying out to the world and fellow countrymen, not to buckle down under the unfair onslaught but rally their numbers and fight back against herculean colonists, bullying him into submission!
Not this, a scene from a Sharukh Khan blockbuster, but one, the very rich man tried to paint to thirteen billion much poorer people as he was allegedly disclosed, exposed and unveiled as a cheat and imposter! How easy to blow the ‘nationalism bugle’ when shown in a poor light by foreign agencies.
And in my vivid imagination, somewhere up in the sky, I hear light banter, between an old man wearing just a khadi robe and another with a rose stuck on his immaculate jacket, “Some of them are feeling a strange nationalism now!”
“Yes panditji, one they did not see when you and I spent months in prison fighting for our country’s freedom. They did not feel when we marched those long marches to the salt pans of our country. They did not taste, in the cruel racial discrimination we faced when a cigar smoking Englishman treated us worse than his dogs!”
And in my imagination I hear, the dignified man with the rose replying, “Ah dear sir, they suddenly see it now, as world reports revealing they have moved many paces back in their hunger status, and corruption data showing them in a poor light have been declared as acts of war!”
Their voices fade as I come back to earth, to a cricket field, and see a concocted image of a lone batsman fighting it out against spiteful bowlers from the Rest of the World. The commentator, a patriot, cries out, “Our national hero stands with a cracked bat against the Hindenburg Team, and boldly defends each ball the strongarm bowlers throw.” “Howzat!” shouts the Hindenburg bowler as wickets go flying. “It’s not fair!” cries the commentator and the country agrees with him, “The batsman in his Saville Row suit is not used to fast bowling!” “They should bowl underarm, that’s what he’s used to!” cries his bearded manager as the Hindenburg team look puzzled. “They should have learnt to play cricket before playing outside the country,” says the khadi robed man to the other, all in my imagination.
“Otherwise, they will always be found OUT!’ whispers the man with the rose. “Though getting OUT is a call for a nationalistic uproar!” says the old man sadly. “It’s sad our people have not learnt that dishonesty brings dishonor to the country!” They both say together, “And every call OUT by the umpire should be taken seriously, not branded as victimization!” “Which is nothing short of misguided nationalism..!” both freedom fighters agree together.