Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'CHANGE' IS COMING TO THE SUB-CONTINENT TOO!

If America can do it, can the Indian sub-continent be far behind? "Change is coming"; "change you can believe in"; "be the change you want to see". These were the slogans of Barack Obama right through the long and hard-fought US Presidential campaign. And, when he finally stormed to power with an above 50% popular vote, he could justifiably say: "Change has come to America". The change that has come to America is in many ways path-breaking and fundamental, a change that has caught the imagination of the whole world and raised the hopes and expectations of not just Americans but of people belonging to many other nations.

If the Hindustan Times of December 30, 2008 is to be believed, "change is coming to J&K" too. No, no, there is no Kashmiri Obama who has erupted on the scene there from nowhere to displace established players. There is also no new politician there promising a break from a state "led by politicians born into privilege and coached into automatons", as Obama did.

The Great Change that is coming in the state is the stepping back of a father to let his son occupy the throne of the Chief Minister. Dr Farooq Abdullah, whose National Conference party has emerged as the single largest party after the recent elections, is all set to form the government. The party had gone in for elections with the him as its candidate for the top job. But now that the people have given their mandate, he is unilaterally ushering in 'change' by pushing his son, 38 year old Omar Abdullah, into the chair! The throne that once belonged to his father, Sheikh Abdullah, and him is now his son's. This 'sacrifice' of the father is the touching change that many in India are raving about.

All this is being accomplished with the with the help of the Congress which itself has the same agenda for change. Ironically, both these parties have got less votes than they did the last time but find themselves in power. "Yes we can" is what they are saying in unison, thanks to the infirmities in our model of democracy which permits parties to get power without getting popular vote. That is why the PDP and the BJP find themselves in the open on the frozen Dal Lake, even though they have both put in a better performance than ever before.

"Change is coming to J&K". If India can do something, can anything stop Pakistan from replicating it? After all, Indians and Pakistanis have the same Y-chromosome haplogroup, the same genetic sequence, the same genetic marker (namely: M124), the DNA molecule and the same DNA sequence! They have to, therefore, think, act and react similarly under most circumstances.

According to a report in The Times of India of December 30, 2008, President Asif Ali Zardari is all set to usher in 'change' too. Since Pakistan cannot afford to be seen as 'second-best' in any field or to be imitating India blindly, Zardari is going to do exactly the opposite of what is happening in J&K. He is planning to become the PM after transferring all Presidential powers to the PM and, hold your breath, appoint his father, Hakim Ali Zardari as President! Change is coming to Pakistan too. Let us not forget Bangladesh where democracy has similarly morphed into a dynastic 'war of the widows'. You can be sure that it is not going to be left behind in this race for long!

'Change is coming to democracy'. In the Indian sub-continent, democracy is getting redefined and re-invented in a manner that the West would have never even conceived. There, democracy was a historical and fundamental move away from royalty. But in the sub-continent, considering the fact that this dynastic passing of the baton is becoming an established and accepted practice, no matter what people say or want, it is morphing back into royalty.

This equally historic change should be formalised once and for all. There is really no need to hold elections every five years to pretend that we are the ones choosing our leaders. Only one more election should be held. That defining election should be to choose new royal families in all states and at the Centre. After that, it should be automatic dynastic succession. India should become a kingdom comprising of a number of princely states. Elections should thereafter be limited to panchayats and civic bodies only. That will save thousands of crores of rupees and many lives of ordinary citizens who keep getting killed due to fake ideological battles designed to fool them. Also, the nation will be spared the spectacle of meaningless TV studio debates between the same two and a half politicians pathetically trying to score the same petty political points every second day.

There is no doubt that most politicians will heartily welcome the change. The only two who will oppose it with their "chhappan chhatis" (56 inch chests) will be Modi and Mayawati because they are single and have no offspring to continue the royal lineage. There is a solution, if they are willing to consider it, before Mayawati hits the menopause button(has she already?). They should get married. If they do get together in holy wedlock, there is little chance of any other royal family beating them in the race to capture the throne of Delhi!

Aren't you already looking forward to the return of the royal era? Wouldn't it be great to see our new royals dressed in the finest of clothes and jewels, rather than the drab khadi that they have to wear now, despite their Swiss-bank millions, simply to con the 'aam admi' into believing that they are one with him? Wouldn't it be great to see them flaunt their wealth, cars, palaces and women openly, to the envy of the whole world again? And after all countries of the sub-continent have brought about this great change, wouldn't it be great to see marriages between the royal families of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives take place as diplomatic coups to usher in peace and prosperity in the whole region?

Obama may have ushered in a tectonic, forward-looking change in the US. Unknowingly, he has given India's politicians just the slogan they needed to usher in the regressive 'change' that they have been wanting to for a long time. The only commonality between the Obama change and the Indian one is 'youth', no prizes for guessing why. With great difficulty, America has produced only one Obama after a couple of centuries of democracy. Given a chance, India's royals believe they can easily produce 'thousands of Obamas running around this country' for them. A tiny whiff of a post-poll opportunity is all they need.

Change is coming indeed.