Thursday, January 06, 2005

Statesman or politician

A blog to start the day and I shall get back to work - I stay in a place called Ambattur which is in the fringes of chennai metro. The one and the only landmark in Ambattur is the Ambattur OT (old terminus - Ideally, it should actually be EOT or VOT - extremely old T or at least Very old T).Now, OT serves as the heart of the place - it's our bus terminus, auto-stand, shopping mall, hang-out corner (for bored, unemployed youth who by the way are a sizeable chunk) and most importantly, a political battle ground. Whenever, the third cousin of the fifth aunt of Karunidhi's third wife's second brother or for that matter, the second step-son of jayalalitha's first foster-son celebrate their quarterly anniversary our old terminus takes on a festive look. All the buses are moved to arbid corners, the entire place is cleared and in its place is set a stage with all shaminas, loud speakers and these petty shops to deliver "color" (which in local dialect refers to cheap soft drinks). 3 hours before the event starts, they start playing these AWFUL AWFUL songs right into your ears (they are damn good at placing it strategically) and just when you think things are coming to an end - the leaders (they have these funny titles in tamil like "mavatta podhu thurai dheerga dharisi" which is roughly, "district public works visionary" - no clue what it means!) take their positions on the stage and have an ugly version of high-school-debate (it's called patti mandram in tamil). Each of these leaders really want to make good impression and start their speeches with classic 13th century tamil and as the speeches get fiery and emotional, you see such a marked deterioration in the language and by the time it ends, he sounds like a rickshaw wallah in the roads (for those who have felt the bliss of chennai tamil, here's a teaser - "namma thalaivanuku kosam, oru dhaba enna, pathu dhaba en thalaya seevepen! inna nenechukunukranga edhir katchi karanuva!" - translated as, I can chop my head off for our leader, not once but ten times! what do the opposition members think of themselves. it's actually their "flair" that's captivating!).
My most recent encounter with such an episode was this time when I went to chennai. Sunday night when I was on my way to catch my bus to bangalore, the whole thing was set up and a distinguished gentleman was doing our local-ceaser version of "let the games begin!". The topic of the debate was - "Is M.K.Stalin (the son of MK Karunanidhi) a politician or a statesman?". What!!!! Let me be politicially correct and tell you that Stalin is a bad bad man! (I don't have a clue how someone can name his son after a failed, murderous dictator. anyways!). Stalin is a lot of things. He is slimy, fake, spine-less, roguish (many still remember how he chased a news reader in the middle of the road) and has no identity or appeal whatsoever! He's all these things but what he's not is a statesman or even for that matter a real politician! I actually wanted to stop and listen to the arguments for, but that would be at a risk of missing my bus and he definitely wasn't worth it! But, so much disruption of public life, so many police troops, traffic diversions and effort on such a mindless, good-for-nothing topic! It really pains!
You never know - 4-5 years later, stalin might actually be our chief minister. for many, that's a certainity. We, in tamil nadu, are like gold fish (gold fish when in a fish tank has such a poor memory that once it moves past a section of the bowl it forgets it. So, it actually has a feeling of being in a boundless sea). We work very similarly - four years DMK is in power we know they are a piece of shit and we bring AIADMK to power. Of course, they had't done anything last time they were in power and have no plans this time too. Four years later, we realize that and bring DMK to power. It's an irremediably pathetic situation - can't blame us either. They are all the choices we have (don't even get me started on the congress wing in TN! BJP? BJP what?).
Probably not very relevant, but thought of this quote from a poem, I think by Alexander Pope.
Blessed are the forgetful
For they get better
even of their blunders
Let me get to work now :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey rathish...
"They are all the choices we have..."
dont worry buddy....i just bumped into a youthful, talented, straight-forward (and willing???)prospective ward-counsellor....ppl call him RATHISH BALAKRISHNAN...
how do u find the idea??
well..."why dont educated indian youth pursue political aims" cud be ur next blog!!

8:44 PM  
Blogger Woodworm said...

Stalin is just another symbol for the well-oiled hypocrisy machinery that run the Dravidian parties.

Common - you cant even spell "Stalin" in Tamil (at least the version the DMK would love to champion). The closest equivalent of his name in pure Tamil would read "Chudalin". And he from a family who wanted us to forget Hindi and Sanskrit. And how about "Karunanidhi" and "Dayanidhi" for Tamil roots in names?

These blighters!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Rathish said...

@Anonymous: Point taken :) shall soon write a blog on the same - actually have quite a few conversations to quote :)

@woodworm: Totally agree with you!

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

annoying loud MGR songs playing outside my office rite now :X:X.

2:19 PM  

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