Sep 24, 2023
Sep 24, 2023
Good old George, when asked who chopped down the cherry tree replied, 'I cannot tell a lie'. Martha on the other hand, while never sweating in the kitchen to bake cakes, cookies or brownies, at least stuck to one good habit of not telling lies. How the times have changed and how we miss the old days! Our current fondling fathers and exploiting mothers have serious vocabulary and semantic problems and find it difficult to define the meaning of 'is' and 'sex'. This is because Bill can't read and is lethally allergic to truth.
From Chappaquidick, Checkers to Watergate, truth and justice are the casualties, while convicted felons like Rostenkowski and Trafficante enjoy munificent pensions. These dregs of humanity are hired as consultants and shamelessly haunt our media. Some write bestsellers and receive the undying idiotic adulation of a moronic public. No wonder MarkTwain is said to have remarked that the good thing about America is the lack of a native criminal class, with the single exception of the Congress. His statement was incomplete. He should have included the executive and judiciary branches as well.
A habitual shoplifter or pickpocket in California can get life imprisonment but Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, UBS, NASD, Merrill Lynch etc can plead 'nolo contendre' and without admitting guilt escape by paying billions of dollars in fines. They don't mind it as it is only a small portion of their loot and they get to keep the rest. A present Martha gets away with five months in prison and five months in a mansion for lying and another habitual liar, the modern George gets four to eight years confinement in the White House and Camp David with unbelievable perks. Clearly, his insider sale of Harken Energy stock after knowing that the company would report disastrous financial results is a worse travesty of ethics than Martha's. If your father is the President and a family friend the SEC chairman, you needn't worry. It is not what you know and what you do that matters, but whom you know and what they can do for you is what matters. You can lie about how you evaded going to Vietnam, got into the Texas Air National Guard, Yale or Harvard despite having the IQ and test results of a pickled vegetable, and still aspire to be the Chief Executive of a state or the nation. Is it a great country or what? You can continue lying about the reasons for the illegal and immoral wars you wage, the collateral damage of innocent civilian adults and children, the tax cuts for the rich, the decimation of our environment and label corrupt crony capitalism as compassionate conservatism and the de-cerebrate flock will chant in unison, 'Hallelujah! I believe, Ah believe!' Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
Another George holding a diplomatic passport and on an official visit has to tolerate the humiliation of being strip searched twice. Why he didn't refuse and return to India or create a ruckus, I cannot comprehend. When Hussein Haqqani, a Pakistani Journalist and ex-diplomat was handcuffed and locked up for not registering he called the State Department and Brookings Institute and was released and apologized to. No wonder the writer and journalist Fonseca in her book about the gypsies, our fellow Indian compatriots of a millennium ago, quotes a gypsy leader, 'Bury me standing, for I have lived my life on my knees'. Compare that with the Anglo-Saxon adage 'It is better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees'. Indians through much of history have lived on their knees unlike their similarly named natives of America who chose decimation to slavery.
Such was not the case in pre-historic India. The ancient Indian philosophers and myth writers though lacking meaningful scientific knowledge about cosmology, physics, chemistry or biology had a wonderful insight into human behavior and psychology. The story of the young boy Dhruva, born of the queen for whom the king's love was in eclipse, tries to sit on his father's lap opposite the prince born of the favorite queen. The favored queen chides the child and tells him to get off. The hurt and puzzled child says, 'He is my father too, why can't I sit in his lap'? The queen replies, ' Life is not fair, if you want your desire fulfilled you should have been born from my womb. Perhaps you can remedy that in your next birth if you get the boon from god by ceaseless prayer'. The hurt child, with enough confidence in his abilities, retired to the forest to appease god. Time, wisdom and thought made him realize the futility of mundane desires and he obtained the boon of the eternal position on top of the universe, as the North Star.
Of course the sages knew nothing of evolution and propounded a theodicy that helped to maintain the status quo of the hierarchical caste system with a privileged position for Brahmins. The road of life is profusely studded with potholes large and small. These cause many stumbles, falls and injuries to the travelers. The sentient creatures with hopes, aspirations and the ability to think and reason, blinded by ego, self-importance and the desire for immortality and ultimate justice, then create and invent a god out of ignorance and a need to rationalize the miseries of their lives. Laws and civilization are necessary constructs of the haves and powerful to abolish the law of the jungle, after they have exploited weaker individuals or nations. They do not want to lose their ill-gotten gains in a Hobbesian world. This is the saga of Khodorovsky and Yukos in Russia. The amoral smart know how to exploit the gullible ignorant and dumb and secretly sing,
'Khud diwaane ne apni janzir banai hai,
Ro ro ke apni taqdeer banai hai'.
More by : Gaurang Bhatt, MD