What’s the beef?



In keeping with the stature of his office, the Prime Minister has ensured that the above two words cannot be used as adjectives for the message he has sent out.

The message he sent out was to senior ministers in his government, who were seen to be making unequivocal, unambiguous statements, to keep the communal pot boiling, as is the responsibility of senior ministers. If they don’t, who will?

These senior ministers had been forced to take the responsible, mature stand they took, owing to a man being lynched just outside Delhi, the national capital. Apparently because the man was eating beef. Or planning to. In 2015.

The PM sent out the message, not directly, but through a trusted aide, who went and whispered into the ears of these senior leaders. The message whispered, as he informed the media later, was that those leaders should not make a fool of themselves and embarrass the party. This, as is clear to everyone, means that they should encourage communal harmony, peaceful co-existence and sensitivity for each other’s faith, beliefs and way of life and come out strongly against the perpetrators of violence.

The message was so un-unequivocal and so un-unambiguous, that most of the leaders whispered to, had come out with clarifications within twenty-four hours, that no such message had been whispered to them.

The trusted aide also clarified that the PM did not need to make a statement on the issue, as law and order was a state subject, and that the state government, where the lynching happened, run by a different political party, had to deal with it. He further clarified that only senior ministers in the central government, and senior leaders from other states, where the government was formed by the party in power at the Centre, were bound to make statements, as per the moral code binding all politicians, as they had nothing to do with the issue.

But we are losing the thread of the story. Of the incident.

“What were we supposed to do?” An existentialist question had been asked. By the group claiming to be responsible for the lynching. The gathered luminaries, among them representatives of the police, the judiciary and the media, were speechless. Feverish cross-talk broke out among them.

What is a group of people, claiming to represent the sentiments of a billion Hindus, like millions of other such groups, all claiming representative rights for the same billion, supposed to do in the face of a perceived slight to what they consider to be “their belief system”?

Of course, as is the case with all intellectual debates between a large mob and a smaller one, even as small as one, the debate ends in a consensus with the smaller mob getting its member/s killed mercilessly. As is the case in civil societies, in countries proclaiming to be secular, with a Constitution guaranteeing, among others, the right to freedom of religion and speech, and where the rule of law prevails, for the most part.

In this case, the “belief system” that got violated was veneration of the cow as sacred. Many Hindus believe in this.

And, of course, if you are a Hindu who does not believe in upholding the cow as sacred, you do not count, because you cannot be considered to be a Hindu if that is what your belief system is. Further, if you are a beef-eating Hindu you run the risk of being cast out of the religion. By one of the millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion. A beef-eater cannot be a Hindu. Period. They know. They know because an intolerant, bigoted, hate-filled group always knows. Knows what others should do. Knows how others should behave.

And, being a Hindu no longer, your beliefs will not count. How can it be possible for anyone who is not a Hindu to have a belief system?

A senior politician, of a different political party, has waded into the dispute by calling out this elephant in the room. He has said that many Hindus also eat beef. As all reasonable statements, which could be true, and militate against the illogical beliefs of some, must, he has been forced to retract his words and clarify that what the words meant is not what he meant by those words. Clear?

The Chief Minister of Delhi, which is contiguous to the state where the lynching happened, displaying his pure, apolitical intentions, blamed all other politicians for weighing in on the issue for the purpose of getting political mileage whereas he was weighing-in selflessly.

Unseemly and unfortunate though the lynching incident is, it has led to a lot of dirty linen being washed in public, bringing clarity to a host of issues.

Non-believers have been asking if it is only Indian cows that are sacred or is it all cows.

One of the millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion has clarified that the status of cows will be determined on a case-to-case basis. It has already been determined that cows in a few other countries, particularly the US and Japan, are in the “veneration-exempt” category because these nations supply us with important religious implements, such as iPhones and flat-screen TVs, which are important tools for propagation of the Hindu faith. For a continued supply of these goods, it is necessary that people in these countries continue to consume beef as it is a part of their diet. Leaders in these countries have expressed a sigh of relief and thanked the one of millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion issuing this clarification.

People in other countries, which do not produce any tools that are useful in the propagation of the Hindu faith, have no need to consume beef, as they don’t do anything that is of value to the human race. As such, cows in these countries are equally sacred and should be protected. If these countries, with whom we have no material trade ties, don’t agree to veneration of cows, we will stop trading relationships with them, was the hard stand taken, rooted in faith and ideology.

Moreover, with clean water and air in some places, as well as wholesome, abundant nutrition, available to bovines, many countries are not able to produce cows of the same religious intensity and fervour as in India. With their diet of plastic and trash, frequent run-ins with street dogs and urchins when let loose by the owner, cows in India are on an altogether different plane. Hence, in order that the quality of the stock is not diluted, it is best cows in some nations stay off the venerable list.

Meanwhile, cows in the US have gone on strike. They want better working conditions and a more meaningful life. They have appealed to the President to arrange for H-1B visas for them to work in India where they can live in misery and be used by one of the millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion, for justifying their actions. They want their whole existence to be useful to someone. Not merely their body.

Many of the millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion are hurt by the accusations of intolerance levelled against them. In all fairness, they say, they have always been flexible.

After all, did they prevent recent occupiers from the West from consuming beef? Did they prevent earlier occupiers from West and North Asia from consuming beef? Even though they had no power to stop them, they did not. How can they be called intolerant? Even today, do they prevent tourists from eating beef? Tourists bring money. Money is useful in pursuit of religion.

Another group, smaller than the group against consumption of beef, and hence more representative of the entire religion, has decried the consumption of any meat, be it fish, chicken, or anything else, and have proceeded to hack down dissenters.

Yet another group, smaller than the second, and hence the most representative of the religion, has decried the consumption of sense-aggravating items like onions. In keeping with the peaceful philosophy of their faith, they have proceeded to hack down dissenters.

As per laws of the land, the only way to settle an intellectual debate is by hacking down of the weaker by the more populous.

Large corporations, as always, have been quick to react. Life insurance companies have revised their application process and, just after the question “Do you have any existing medical condition” and before “Are you a smoker”, have added ““Are you fond of eating food that could get you killed by people who find it objectionable?”. Premia for people responding with a “Yes” have been revised accordingly. Many airlines, as a preventive safety measure, just after “Has your check-in baggage been packed by you?” and before “Are you carrying anything on behalf of someone else?” have added a question “Are you fond of eating any food that could get you killed by people who find it objectionable?”

Lest this article convey the impression that the millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion, seek to create inter-faith disharmony, I apologise. These millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion are impartial dispensers of justice, the kangaroo court way. In the last couple of years, several “rationalists”, Hindu by birth, advocating objective beliefs over myths in pursuit of faith, have been killed by one or the other of the millions of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion.

As a result, the state apparatus has asked the common man to be sensitive to the belief systems of others. To the belief systems of small groups claiming representation rights over the same billion. Naturally, this has been done for the benefit of the common man.

The bravery of these groups is infectious. They never identify themselves. They never square up for a debate. Their bravery in the face of odds when faced with an enemy, much fewer in number, unarmed, without any history of being aggressive, is inspiring a whole generation.

What should we call them? Cow-ards?

Horse Before The Car

An earlier post, on 17th September, titled Thank God It’s Tuesday, has stirred the hornet’s nest. The nest, that we also call home. Battle lines have been drawn. Predictably, as my readers would have come to guess by now, only me on one side.

Matters came to such a pass that the entire duration of a drive to a restaurant, about a week back, lasting about forty-five minutes, one of the longest forty-five minutes I have encountered, was devoted to a discussion on the subject of car-free Tuesdays, as has been proposed, and implemented in parts of Gurgaon, and, on which subject, my earlier post was based. Despite knowing who I was up against, there being no place to hide inside a car on a forty-five minute drive, the debate was joined.

Just as well, because what was understood to be a one-day adventure, is now expected to become a weekly affair. Come Tuesday, come car-free day in Gurgaon. The next Tuesday is never far away.

Reproduced below, to the best of my memory, is a summary of what transpired in the confines of a car travelling forty-five minutes to a restaurant in Delhi, with four people inside, about a week back, as night was falling. In order that you do not go scrolling down to the bottom of this post, I will only reveal here that all four occupants came out alive, without signs of any bodily harm or physical injury.


Cannot understand the criticism of car-free Tuesdays. It is a good idea. You have to start somewhere, isn’t it? Maybe it cannot be done on other days of the week for some reason. Going car-free on one day of the week is a step in the right direction and we should encourage it. And it is OK if a cost-benefit analysis has not been done. It is not possible to have a cost-benefit for everything. This is for raising awareness amongst people, of the benefits of not using cars. Even raising awareness is a benefit, is it not?


I have nothing against it. But, if it is such a good idea, why are we doing it only on one day of the week? Every day should be a car-free day. Hastily declaring a day as a car-free day sounds fishy to me. It reeks of tokenism; doing something because you are under pressure to take some action, irrespective of eventual results. The Gurgaon administration will perhaps claim that pollution levels on Tuesday have come down thanks to this drive, without certifying if the levels on other days go up.

And what about impact on output, or GDP? Is there nobody missing a meeting? Is there nobody rescheduling planned work? Are there no workers unable to make it to work? Are they going to do that missed work on another day? Will that not increase the pollution level on that other day?

Where do the bicycles and shuttle buses being used on Tuesdays come from? Is there an alternate use which they are being forced to cancel, for their availability for car-free Tuesdays? What about the GDP loss on account of withdrawal from those services? If not, then do we have an excess of this equipment? Who is responsible for spending people’s money on buying needless equipment which will only be used on Tuesdays?

If the administration is saying that private companies are providing these resources at no cost to the exchequer, we will obviously believe them. Because private companies in India are set-up for the purpose of charity and public good. To chip-in as and when a government official gives a call for a car-free Tuesday. Making money is not part of their DNA. They will neither look for compensation nor contracts in lieu, for the services so provided.

Before the government implements a plan, there needs to be an assessment. The assessment needs to say that the plan will add value, or, be good for the world, or the part of the world they are responsible for. If assessed to be good, it should become a law, and implemented forever. If not good, what is the point of doing it even one day of the week? One does need to have a view. It may not be an exact mathematical assessment, but a view needs to be taken, based on available information, whether a proposed action will be of benefit or not.

If the population being addressed is that of adults, where is the need for “show and tell”? Are we saying out adult population is not smart enough to know what is good for them and what is not? There are education and awareness mechanisms available, like advertising. Why not use them? And, if people, based on their assessment of the world around them, have come to the conclusion that driving is the most effective means of transport for them, are they not going to continue driving on other days of the week once these special shuttle-buses and cycles stop being available on those days?

If raising awareness were to be enough, why don’t we switch off all traffic lights and make them work only on, say, Wednesdays, to raise awareness among people that it is good for them to follow traffic rules. The rest of the days should, arguably, be smooth because we would have told those foolish adults what they would never have otherwise known. Or hang people for murders committed only on Thursdays. Murders on other days will automatically stop. Of course we have a foolish adult population and we need our wise administrators to tell them what is good for them.

Though I have clearly expressed my views in the earlier post as well, having heard strong contrary opinions from my family members, I wanted to open up the debate to a larger audience. I have been known to be a fair person, especially when under pressure to be fair. Would welcome your views on the subject. Of course, any views different from mine could be subject to summary deletion.

I have also attempted to use the polling option to seek specific feedback, if you can spare a minute.


Dilbert’s one liners

These quips came to me as “Dilbert’s one liners” on a WhatApp message. Some of these don’t sound Dilbertian. I am a fairly avid follower of Dilbert and could not imagine a context in which some of them might have been voiced. But then, you never can say. Dilbert also has off days!

Nos. 3 and 30 are the ones I liked best. Hope you will be able to laugh at least at some of them.

1. I say no to alcohol, it just doesn’t listen.

2. A friend in need is a pest indeed.

3. Marriage is one of the chief causes of divorce.

4. Work is fine if it doesn’t take too much of your time.

5. When everything comes in your way you’re in the wrong lane.

6. The light at the end of the tunnel may be an incoming train..

7. Born free, taxed to death.

8. Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don’t have film.

9. Life is unsure; always eat your dessert first.

10. Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.

11. If you keep your feet firmly on the ground, you’ll have trouble putting on your pants.

12. It’s not hard to meet expenses, they are everywhere.

13. I love being a writer… what I can’t stand is the paperwork..

14. A printer consists of 3 main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light.

15. The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was the genius.

16. The trouble with being punctual is that no one is there to appreciate it.

17. In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?

18. If you cannot change your mind, are you sure you have one?

19. Beat the 5 O’clock rush, leave work at noon!

20. If you can’t convince them, confuse them.

21. It’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the sudden stop at the end.

22. I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

23. Hot glass looks same as cold glass. – Cunino’s Law of Burnt Fingers

24. The cigarette does the smoking you are just the sucker.

25. Someday is not a day of the week

26. Whenever I find the key to success, someone changes the lock.

27. To Err is human, to forgive is not a Company policy.

28. The road to success…. Is always under construction.

29. Alcohol doesn’t solve any problems, but if you think again, neither does Milk.

30. In order to get a Loan, you first need to prove that you don’t need it.

Thank God It’s Tuesday

Once upon a time, not so long ago, people who could afford to travel far, would tend to do so. And people who could not, would not. People who could, and would, would come back with scarcely believable stories of how they would sit alone in big, powerful, hired cars, on the smooth tarmac of wide open roads, and barely crawl, while watching cars with two and three passengers whiz by in reserved lanes. These people came back not only with these fantastic stories, but also with valid questions about our government’s commitment to development, and if ever a time would come when, after years of pushing people to buy cars, for the good of the nation, what else?, the government would ask them to not drive them. The cars we mean. How long could they keep going to these faraway lands for these experiences? And, were the many, who could not, to be forever deprived of the fruits of development?

Thankfully, those dark days can be safely consigned to the dust-bin of history as a bad memory. Youngsters do not need to grow up with the burden of being born in an under-developed nation any longer. Gone are the days when one would need to travel to developed countries in the West in order to experience development. It is happening here. It is happening now.

It has been announced that Tuesdays will be observed as Car Free Days in Gurgaon, that Mecca of modern development.

You heard it right. We are there. After years of pushing people to buy cars, for the good of the nation, the government is now asking people to not drive them.

The salutary effect of this announcement is already being felt all around, even though the first car-free Tuesday has not yet come around.

It has immediately ushered in a private shuttle-service provider being contracted to offer transportation services to people. A shuttle-service provider who would have had no business from the government if cars had not been prohibited for a day. A shuttle-service provider, who, being a commercial enterprise, will offer these services by losing money.

HUDA, our Urban Development Authority, has promised to repair all roads in Gurgaon. Their impeccable reasoning, it appears, is that since roads will not be used any more, at least for driving, it would be safe to repair them.

Showing solidarity with the decision, the chief of the traffic unit of Gurgaon police has committed to walk to her office that day. In the emotional aftermath of this momentous announcement, it was unclear whether she will walk to her office from across the road, or from the entrance to her office building. In any case, her able team has promised to keep her entire possible walking route clear of all pedestrian traffic on the car-free day so that she is able to effectively enable the common man to walk freely on the roads.

In addition, the traffic police has assured people that since there will be no vehicles on the road, they will ensure that not only are traffic signals not violated, but people also park only in designated places.

It is promising to be an exciting day.

“It would not have been possible without your support. This is really a celebration of your tireless efforts. You have continued to buy cars, each bigger than the last, mindlessly, while we have continued to mindfully neglect public transportation and the environment,” the Minister, just arrived in a posse of SUVs trailing dust in post-monsoon September, said, as he stepped onto the stage to speak at an event to announce the occasion.

“Did you know that this decision will save an average of 2.6 kg of greenhouse gas emissions per person per day?” he said as soon as the applause had died down. “And it does not end here. Since it is so important to save on greenhouse gas emissions, instead of a mere 2.6 kg of greenhouse gas emissions per person per day this Tuesday, we will ensure that the savings can double to 5.2 kg per person, within a year. To enable us to meet this objective, two new car-making plants, to be set-up in Gurgaon, exclusively for producing gas-guzzling SUVs, have been sanctioned today. Now it is in your hands to ensure that Gurgaon delivers, yet again.” The rest of his words were drowned out in the thunderous applause that greeted this announcement.

To commemorate the occasion, a major South Korean car company has announced a special Car-Free Day edition of their most popular model. These cars will be collector’s item and will have only one useful function; of making the car maker rich without any logical reason.

A European car maker has announced the sacking of their CEO on account of poor performance in India and the government’s unhappiness about the same. It has been reported that if he had delivered on his targets, the Car Free Day would have been scheduled much earlier, as the desired saving target of 2.6 kg of greenhouse gases per person would have become possible earlier.

Claiming that most of the work that made this day possible had been done during their tenure of ten years, the Opposition called a Press Conference on the sidelines of the main event.

“Nothing is impossible,” the leader of the Opposition said, “when one is armed with a complete lack of ideas and knowledge about what one is doing. This concrete and glass city, is a case-study in the complete absence of policies that lead to rapid development. In a city that has come up in less than thirty years, and was meticulously planned from scratch, we have successfully failed to plan for people to cross roads, how one road will connect to another, and even for parking. If that had not been done in such a thorough manner, how would we be building this spanking new underpass where we are holding this meeting, as we speak, or the parking structure over there? Not only that, the many twists and turns you have to go through under the brand new highway to locate your turn, made more challenging by the traffic police frequently changing the direction of turns without any announcement or signage, is a shining example of the complete absence of planning. I challenge you to reach Moulsari Avenue, a mere 500 metres away, in less than 30 minutes. If this is not development, show me what is.”

Meanwhile, at the main event, the Minister revealed that delegations sent to other global cities to study their interventions have yielded many ideas that will soon be implemented. For instance, in one place, only even and odd car numbers are permitted on specific days. “Isn’t that wonderful? Now each person can buy twice the number of cars without the need to drive an inch more. I assure you that by the time my term finishes, from one car-free day per week, we will ensure that each car can be driven only on one day in the week.”

Yet another box has been checked off in our relentless drive (no pun intended) towards development.

Let us, this day, solemenly pledge to contribute to development by buying more cars, especially ones that we cannot afford, as it will help us in walking more and using public transport more.

Making India proud

“What a great day for India!”

Having just glanced through the front page of the printed newspaper, with its usual dose of an Opposition walkout in Parliament, a Central Minister being questioned for undue favours to a tainted businessperson, rapes, stampede deaths at a religious congregation, and not having a clue to what he was talking about, I pretended I did not hear.

I racked my brains. Wild thoughts were coursing through my mind; Did India move up to the 132nd place in world football rankings, by some stroke of luck? Or did we finally, irrevocably nail some senior politicians for stashing away illegally collected billions in secret Swiss bank accounts? Or was it religious tolerance; did the nation finally find a solution to its internecine religious squabbles?

“Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?” In his excitement he had failed to notice my response, or the lack of it.

Affected by his excitement, even wilder thoughts started occurring to me; Did we finally manage to get people to start arriving on time for an appointment? Or did we get people to start respecting the vulnerable sections of society? Or, even more difficult, did we manage to get people to understand the purpose of traffic lights?

It still did not come to me. Not one to flinch in the face of adversity, I held my nerve. I did not give him the satisfaction of knowing that I did not know.

“Apna (Our) Sundar is the new CEO of Google”, he burst out excitedly, not caring whether I was participating in the conversation or not.


The question was, perhaps, visible on my face, because he said, “Yes, don’t you know Sundar?”

I racked my brains yet again. ‘Twas the day for the brains to be racked.

Like in any engaging and meaningful discussion between close friends, he continued without waiting for my response, “Sundar Pichai has been appointed as the new CEO of Google.”

As if on cue, my phone beeped. In one of the WhatsApp groups where I am a member, a college friend had posted, “do you know Sundar’s wife is from my state?”

“Wow!”, “You lucky dog”, “Did not know you were capable of this” and many other congratulatory messages immediately filled the screen of my phone, in recognition of the remarkable achievement of this friend being from the same state as Sundar’s wife; a state with a population of only 73 million. In such a sparsely populated state, obviously everyone would be on first-name terms with everyone else.

“His wife is from my city.” This message, on the same group, came like a thunderclap. Silence enveloped the WhatsApp group. Messages suddenly stopped. There was no way of topping that. Members, perhaps, realised they had been hasty in congratulating the guy who was from the same state as Sundar’s wife.

Now, I am not one to shy away from admitting when I have been bested. Truth be told, in the newspaper I was reading at the start, I had noticed a headline about Sundar’s elevation, but had neither paid any heed to it, nor connected it to being a great day for India. I was ashamed. Yet again.

To make amends, I asked, softly, “Why is it a great day for India?”

“Don’t you get it?”, he started, exasperated with my thickness. He halted, looked around, as if searching for the right phrase, and stammered out, “It is a…great day for India….because…because…it is a… great day…for India”. He got up and walked off, to avoid having to answer other silly questions.

It was a lucid explanation. I fell silent, as I usually do when faced with logic and reason, especially in addition to lucidity.

Between the excitement of the friend who was (or had been) with me, and the messages on this WhatsApp group, I was getting the drift. The enormity of the event was dawning on me. Now all by myself, I slipped into a haze of rose-tinted possibilities, imagining all the reasons why it must be a great day for India.

It must be a great day for India because a person, born and brought up in India, now heads an American corporation. It must also be a great day for India because this corporation, as all corporations do, is trying to become an even bigger and more profitable corporation.

It must be a great day for India because it must mean that shareholders of Google will now sell their shares in Google and donate their wealth to India, paving the way for everlasting success and happiness of all Indians.

It must be a great day for India because Sundar, instead of working for the interest of his employer, who pays his salary, will suddenly start working for India, without pay.

It must be a great day for India because the elevation of Sundar is a validation of our time-tested policy of unwillingness and inability to engage bright minds that require an orderly environment to thrive, leading them to look for, and thrive in, greener pastures overseas.

And let us also spare a thought for America, the country to which the corporation in question belongs?

It must surely be a dark day for them. They continue to provide an environment that makes it a magnet for people from around the world. Not only that, they provide them equal opportunity for success. When will they learn?

It was beginning to make sense.

We deserve credit for Sundar’s success because we have been a party to creating hurdles in his way at each step. That he was able to overcome them and pursue his life, is a credit to us, not to him.

The timing is propitious. The sixty ninth Independence Day looms.

The PM, in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, is expected to ask the rhetorical question, “Did any Indian become CEO of Google before we came to power?”

To counter the impact of this revelation, it is also learnt that the Opposition is preparing a campaign, the highlight of which will be the statement “Sundar was born when we were in power.”

I am now a prouder Indian.

I made a mental note to check if Sundar, or his wife, or any other close or distant relatives, had ever passed through my town, or state, or intend to. Or if I, or any of my close relatives, had ever travelled to the city, or the state, where Sundar grew up.


PSA-150706-Useless Info

Originally posted on Grumpa Joe's Place:

These are very interesting…Don’t see how anyone could go a day longer, without this enlightment….

I have to try the one with the champaign and the raisin.

A rat can last longer without water than a camel.

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it will digest itself.

The dot over the letter “i” is called a tittle.

A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and
down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.

A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate.

Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.

A 2 X 4 is really 1-1/2″ by 3-1/2″.

During the chariot scene in “Ben Hur,” a small red car can be seen
in the distance (and Heston’s wearing a watch).

On average, 12 newborns will…

View original 755 more words

In a Soup

Madhuri Dixit, a leading Bollywood actress of the nineties, is in a thick soup. Not an ordinary soup. A thick Maggi soup. 

It appears that a packet of Maggi, of which she is a brand ambassador, has been found to contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a taste-enhancer, which is a restricted substance, without a declaration on the packing of the product. To add salt to Maggi, or insult to injury, the discovery has been made simultaneously in Barabanki and Muzaffarpur, remote towns deep in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, as well known across the nation for their rule of law and morally upright administration, as they are for the ethical, uncompromising stand on testing of food taken by the common man.

Such amateurish behaviour was not expected from an actress of her stature. It is learnt from reliable sources that she did not even rush to her private lab to check the ingredients under a microscope before signing on the dotted line. All she is reported to have done is seek confirmation from company officials regarding the quality of the product.

Such negligence deserves punishment.

The government, poor souls, have been forced to take this action against the brand ambassador, since they have no way of knowing that the product was manufactured by Nestle, one of the world’s leading packaged food manufacturers.

How can they?

Are they children who consume the product?

Or are they expected to read the printed matter on packets of the product?

Or are they expected to maintain records and governance information that could lead people to believe that they have some idea of what is going on in their jurisdiction?

Even if they did, how are they expected to know how to contact Nestle or how to serve a notice to them? So, as smart, reasonable government officials, they sent a notice to Madhuri Dixit.

The government is sending out a clear signal to the younger generation. It is just not enough to be a good, popular actor. You also need to have a private product testing lab.

Salman Khan, a popular Bollywood actor, who endorses a brand of cotton vests, is running scared. As is Aishwarya Rai, former Miss World, who is endorsing a commercial real estate development in Mumbai. With a fair and transparent government at work, there is no knowing which product MSG might surface in next.

Shopkeepers around the country who have stocked it are already under the scanner. Why did they not check the packets in their own labs before selling them, is a question baffling experts?

Sooner or later, it is bound to come back to the parents. What were they thinking? Don’t they even have labs at home where they can test the products they are feeding their children? Do they expect the government to do even that? When will they start taking responsibility?

The Information and Broadcasting Minister, having failed to detect the presence of MSG in the product, and allowed product ads to be aired on TV, in a principled stand, has resigned his position as Minister and become the governor of a state.

Realising that Madhuri Dixit started endorsing Maggi only recently, the government machinery is leaving no stone unturned to uncover the names of celebrities who have endorsed Maggi in the past so that blame can be placed where it belongs.

Following the lead given by the government, the courts are creating a precedent whereby responsibility for future indiscretions regarding a product can be clearly assigned.

If it is found that Fair and Handsome does not really make you any fairer or more handsome, who will the blame lie with? Of course Shahrukh Khan, another leading Bollywood actor, who endorses the product.

We don’t need to tell you whose responsibility it would be in case it is discovered, in Barabanki or Muzaffarpur, that Boost, the chocolate energy drink for children, does not really give any additional natural energy to children. Of course it will be Sachin Tendulkar’s responsibility. Everyone knows Sachin. And everyone should know why it is his responsibility.

The government and courts have also given a resounding endorsement of the decision-making capability of the common man. They possess such sound judgment, the government believes, that they are forced to buy all products endorsed by a celebrity, even though they have no use for them.

The product will be banned with retrospective effect, as has been so successfully done by some of our leaders.

But wait! Why should the product be banned? Is it the fault of the product? No way. It is the fault of Madhuri Dixit.