We are having a discussion, I and Das, a friend of mine . We are sitting on the circular platform which is built around a big tree. We call it Racha Banda, in Telugu. We are resting there after a brief morning constitutional and reviewing the recent events.
“Dara Singh is no more.”, Das reading from the paper. We stay silent for a while absorbed in our reminiscences of the great man. He is known across several generations for his performances in the wresting ring, his loves and fights, (Mumtaz attained much fame after having been his female lead in a. number of movies in which he bashes a series of villains and ruffians for her sake), on the bollywood screen, and his charming portrayal of Hanuman which in susequent years a seat in the parliament.
He was indeed india’s very own suoerman. a gentle gaint both on and off the screen, except when righting a wrong, In our childhood in the fifties of the past cenrury, names, like Gama, King Kong and Flash Gordonts. and DaraSingh who conquered them all, over and ever over again, constantly flitted on the toungues of children like us. I vaugely remember to have seen him in a fight with King Kong when I was seven or eight. I sigh and rue, “Hic Jacet, is the finishing part. “, echoing Daniel Defoe.
“For most of us in India, it is not. In stead it is, ‘ He was formed of the five primodial elements and he returned amorphouly into them all, once again as vapour.” it is more apt here.”, Das says. ” Matter canot be created nor can it be destroyed.”, I say
“it is said of the soul too.”, Das
We move on to the next item.
Das reads from the news paper,” Professor Peter Higgs says, it is nice to be right sometimes.”
I agree. For Prof Higgs it had certainly been a long wait to be proved right on his obscure but important premise.
The endearing man is sensible enough to say enough was enough when he was still young enough, since he felt he was not enoughly enough to continue with the tedious enough work.
Not like us senile blokes, poking our old noses, into every lofty or lowly, subject in the weit welt.
Murthy, too has by now, joined the group. . He has a sheaf of recent papers with him.
” Great scientists like Stephen Hawking, have felt that Prof. Higgs should get the Nobel Prize for his achievement.”, he says and continues,”Apparently, he doesn’t have friends on the Nobel committee.”
” Don’t you worry, Murthy. He is sure to get it. He is vindicated only just now. And it is a momentous discovery. .”, I pitch in.
“I hope and wish that, he does. But my only regret is that Satyendranath Bose couldn’t get it, too. It is not enough that any committee to be impartial, it ought to look so too.”, Murthy says.
” Can’t they give a Nobel posthumously? “, Das says. We do not know I have to check on the web after I go home. I don’t have mobile wifi or 3G data card yet and even if I have one, I have to find a way to hitch it with the iPad.
“Prof.Higgs says, it was frustrating for them to lay their hands on the elusive fella,so they began calling it ‘that God-damn. Particle’, when some one felt it was more appropriate to name it, ‘ the god particle’, because it imparted mass to illusory things.” “Have you noticed? The Prof. looks so very like ANR.”
“Content old men are all alike. Discontened t old men are each discontent in his own way.” “That is plagiarism. From AnnaKarenina.”
“No. You run it through a plagiarismitool and check, if you want.”
“ANR is generally pleased with his life as it is but is sorry that as he gets older, the number of people with whom he could converse about their common old times is dwindling.” “Let him talk to young people.”
“You sound like Mary Antoinette.”
” Hopefully I don’t suffer a similar fate.”
“Enough. Let us move to the next item on the agenda. “, I sound the bell.
“Before we return, he is another item about Nobel prizes. It says, israel gets the highest number of Nobel prizes, of all the nations.”, Murthy informs us.
” It is indicative of the importance and encouragement the country seems to give to the field of research.”,i observe. ” And it is a pointer to other countries across the world.”, Murthy.
” it is necessary that all that research, goes to help alleviste the sufferings of tge commom man.”, Das says.
Das declares, ” It is not enough for Caesar’s wife to appear chaste, she ought to be chaste too.”
I tell him ” Let us stick to the agenda. It does not seem very appropriate to the next item under the agenda, that is, ‘Corruption in High Places’. And, Das, my friend, you have got it all wrong.. The saying goes the other way round..”
“Appropriate it is, I maintain. As regards the saying you refer to, I feel, it is passe. .It is time we rephrase it. No, I am not talking of what you have in mind.I am referring to corruption in high places, plumb on our agenda. It is easy enough these days to appear honest, though one may not actually be so.”, retorts Das, sounding pleased with himself for having propounded a profound dictum,
I say, ” It is also easy enough too, these days to stay scrupulously honest, but charged not so and get dragged on red hot coals, because you refused to toe the discrete line I have seen it in any number of movies in which it happened to the protagonist.. But, I agree, such hapless people are few and far between in the real world, especially with in mighty politicians and big bureaucrats. Yes, you’re right. .”
I supplement,” You better rephrase it. Replace the word ‘Caesar’ with the words, ‘Caesar and/or Caesar’s wife’ “, I tell him so that it will be neuter rather, neutral in gender.
” Yeah. I better restate my dictum as, ‘ It is not enough for a Caesar-person and/or his/her or her/his spouse to appear chaste/uncorrupt but he/she/they. should be chaste/.uncorrupt too.”, Das declares after some contemplation.There have been lady ministers and lady bureaucrats too who have been facing serious charges of corruption.
I agree, not in a mood to prolong our foray deeper into the ethicket or rather ethiquette. There have been any number of cases of cousins and brothers-in-law and other even distantier relatives and friends bringing poor guys for example, like John Tierney into disrepute. I wish to keep our drafting simpler to comprehend. We may arrive at our own and completely fool proof version of the elusive god-particle, the Lok Pal Bill.
Murthy, who has been silent for a while, says, ” We ought to define too, the term Caesar/Caesar’s spouse . I feel it should include besides bureaucrats and politicians, the Judiciary as well, in the definition. For, example, some of them are alleged to have condescended to grant bail in return for large volumes of money to allegedly big economic offenders. Besides politicians in power possessing disproportionately large assets, as also those of the same ilk, who allot vast swathes of public land in return for investments at staggeringly high premia in mega industrial ventures of their kith and kin. We need also not to leave behind, senior bureaucrats that Issue government orders, bad in law, granting valuable mining and other contracts and concessions, irregularly, admittedly, because they found it difficult to say no to their political bosses. ”
I nod my assent. Das also agrees and adds, ” Judiciary the weit welt over has been fickle or rather appears fickle. Now they take up a case, or order a public investigating agency to take up an investigation on some matter or other, just based on a complaint scribbled on a scrap of paper by some hapless bloke that they got in the ordinary post, treating it as public interest litigation. Then in another case they turn a blind eye over the findings that the investigators had found large scale wrong-doing in the course of an investigation, Some times they even chide or warn the investigators that they had exceeded their brief and trampled on the privacy of some public big-wig.
“Can’t they, in such cases, limit the hearings just to that portion of the investigation pertaining to the specific case in point, but still take cognizance of the rest of the findings separately under a broader PIL? “, Murthy enquires.
I keep mum. A prime minister some where in the weit welt, had lost his job and another seems to be on the way for having held a court in contempt, The court appeared right in that specific case. We oughtn’t to belittle constitutional institutions.But doesn’t the Executive normally has sufficient sovereign power to bring in a new legislation to rein in the courts? Well, yes and no. Truly I don’t know.
I make bold and say, ” Why does an investigating agency need the sanction of any body, be it, the Judiciary or for that matter the government, to proceed with their investigations once they find something prima-facie, or to file an FIR or whatever it is termed, when they are expected to do just that.?”
Das says, ” We need to include the media too. Some of them undertake spectacular sting operations on some ignorant bloke but turn a blind eye to scandals happening right under their insensitive noses. Some of them are known to take up cudgels against investigative agencies or the judiciary or blackmail them,for launching proceedings against the media-owners’ public malfeasances. Or for that matter, in some cases the investigative agencies that take up the hatchet at the behest of the political bosses, .”
” I have work to do. Let us leave it at that for now. “, Das hurriedly proposes the vote of thanks. Murthy seconds it promptly, I third it and say, ” Let us not just content ourselves to be Gudupudi Jagalu.”. The term Gudupudi Janagalu in Telugu means people like itinerent monks from various distant places coming together at an in, have an earnest discussion on things of importance to mankind, late into the night, rest for awhile and then go their respective ways.
I’m home, my respective way, a little while later.
” You must be tired. It is almost two hours since you left for your morning walk. Let me get you a hot cup of Horlicks.” the missus says gracefully. “Please do, don’t make it too sweet, however. I’m dog tired.” “In a jiffy.”