Redemption

He was on the run. But he had no place to hide. As is normally the case when one is running from oneself.

He was the butt of crude innuendos and cruel jokes; in fact, had been throughout his adult life. Everywhere he went people would laugh at him; on his face.

His ability to assume higher responsibilities, when the time came, had been questioned. He had lived a life on the margins.

Would he be responsible for destroying the legacy his illustrious father had assiduously built through so many years of persistence and hard work? In the face of adversity. In the face of questioning and investigation by law enforcement agencies of the country.

He had borne it all with great fortitude, devoting himself selflessly to the cause.

But matters had now come to a head. His, father, on the wrong side of seventy, had been accused of sexual assault by a minor girl.

He could bear it no more. He had bolted.

He had lived a charmed life.

His upbringing, and training, in the ways of the ashram run by his father, had been personally supervised by a doting father. He had been the chosen one. Expected to build on the legacy.

He had been a keen student. And had always tried hard.

Despite his upbringing and training and hard work, results had been singularly remarkable in their absence. No accusation of sexual assault! No case of land-grabbing!! No instance of even petty thievery or rabble-rousing!!!

His father, on the other hand, had gone from strength to strength. This was not the first time such accusations had been made against him. He had periodically been accused of land-grabbing, amassing wealth disproportionate to means, and various other crimes. The difference this time was that he had been arrested and put behind bars. He had even successfully passed a potency test while incarcerated. Was there anything he could not do? The self-styled Godman had a following of millions for good reason.

Dove-cotes of the faithful are aflutter. Faced with the prospect of being led by an unaccomplished son, they are troubled and in a militant mood. They see it as a let-down and have started openly questioning the Godman’s decision of grooming his son to take-on the mantle. Why had the Godman wasted resources in training such an imbecile? They wanted answers to their questions.

Is this the person they will abdicate personal responsibilities for, and rush to in search of the cheap, alluring alternative of ready answers, outcomes of which can be blamed on fate and karma?

Is this the person who will lead and guide them to never take responsibility for their actions, nay, their whole lives?

Is this the person whose drug-laced dancing steps they will witness and cheer in the hope of reaching closer to the state of nirvana through blind faith?

Is this the person who will sprinkle coloured water on them from a garden hose powered by a portable motor riding on a battery-powered golf-cart made to look like a chariot, to deliver them from their sins?

Is this the person who will ask them to surrender logic and reason and embrace superstition and stupidity?

Is this the person who will give them a false sense of security and pander to their desire and craving for being led?

Is this the person who will enrich himself at their cost and make them feel good about it?

All these days, he had no answer. And when matters came to a head, he had bolted.

But you cannot keep a good man down forever.

His honour has been retrieved. Recently, as if by divine intervention, he has been accused of molestation and rape by two inmates of another ashram run by his father.

He can walk tall once more. He can again look his father in the eye. He has not wasted his life in doing moral deeds. The years of training have not been in vain. He has earned the right to lead blind followers.

Even though the matter is with the courts, the accusation is proof that he is on the right track.

Devoted followers can heave a sigh of relief.

Emancipation of women

The brutal gang-rape of a girl, eventually leading to death, in a moving bus late last year, has galvanised politicians like very few events have done in the recent past. More than the debate over big ministerial bungalows being taken away. Even more than the proposal to take away the ministerial privilege of blocking traffic for the common man while their entourage moves on the road.

In his usual forthright and utterly meaningless manner, the Finance Minister has sent out a strong message for the emancipation of women in the country.

“We will launch a ‘women only’ bank on the country”, he declared to an awe-struck Parliament while presenting the annual Union Budget. It has long been felt that the absence of a ‘women only’ bank in the country has led to the spate of violent crimes against women but no government has had the vision and foresight to translate it into action as the current FM had done. Even the Opposition was forced to support this move.

In another bold move, once again seen as a direct response to the brutal event quoted above, the central government has proposed that the age of consensual sex be reduced from the present eighteen to sixteen. This far-sighted move is expected to strike terror into the hearts of potential perpetrators, leading to a rapid decline and eventual stamping out of instances of this heinous crime.

It may be recollected that only a few months back, as a safeguard against abuse of children, the age for consensual sex had been raised from sixteen to eighteen. If the proposals are accepted and the age reduced to sixteen, advocates for child security will once again get to do their bit for children by advocating increase of age from sixteen to eighteen.

Thereafter, advocates for emancipation of women will get to, again, propose reduction from eighteen to sixteen. A virtuous circle of improvement will thus be activated. There is no saying how much good will be done to society by these two interest groups by the time they have finished reducing and increasing the age for consensual sex.

As is to be expected in a sane, mature society, nobody is wasting time on issues like parochial male attitudes and parental differentiation between a girl and a boy during upbringing.

A proposal to ensure equal representation of men and women, if not in numbers at least on voting rights, on all decision-making bodies, has been rejected by law-makers on the grounds that they (women) don’t know what is good for them and that the proposal is not being accepted for their own good.

Now who can argue with that?