Lalu - Return Of The Jungle Raj

Lalu - Return Of The Jungle Raj

by Mallika Nawal - Sunday, November 15, 2015 09:47 PM IST
Lalu - Return Of The Jungle Raj

How does an inconsequential Satan beat Lalu Yadav?

Satan, the envious, said with a sigh,

“You make your own hell, and not I.”

Then again, in all fairness, Satan is facing some stiff competition and does not stand a chance. After all, how does an inconsequential Satan beat Lalu Yadav? Lalu would simply grab the devil by his horns and that would be the end of him. (You see, Lalu’s mother taught him early in life that it was a bad idea to handle a buffalo [or the devil for that matter] by its tail; you should catch it by its horns…a principle Lalu has lived by all his life.)

Since the elections were announced, I have been a worried woman. Call it sixth sense, womanly intuition, or just plain-ol’ doomsday prophecy, but I have had a foreboding sense of doom ever since Lalu gave a bandh call in July this year. If you have lived in Bihar, you know that you can gauge the success of a bandh based on “climatic changes”: on 27th July, I had – once again – felt the climate of fear…something I had forgotten in the last decade of Nitish’s SUSHASHAN, which was clearly crumbling under the weight of his super-sized ego.

What was even more terrifying was the clear indication that Nitish Kumar had already made his pact with the devil. A sentiment that also resonated in the Patna High Court, when Justice Rakesh Kumar took suo moto cognisance in the aftermath of the bandh and demanded explanations from the state government. His anger at this illegal bandh call and the conspicuous absence of the state law-&-order machinery was evident, when he asked the chief secretary in open court:

Was this bandh supported by the state government? How a person convicted by a court can give a call for bandh?

Now that – my fellow Indians – is a million-dollar question! “HOW” indeed!!??!! Growing up, I read voluminous volumes of history books and two faint voices from the past have constantly been with me throughout. The first is that of Winston Churchill, who – on the eve of Indian independence – said:

Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, and freebooters. Not a bottle of water or a loaf of bread will escape taxation, only the air will be free. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.

It’s almost as if Winston Churchill was crystal-gazing.  Of course, while many can argue that Winston Churchill was an outsider (a British at that) and was simply lashing against us blinded by white supremacy. To those voices, I present the second voice of reason, which belongs to Rajaji himself.  In his Vellore jail diary (1921), Rajaji scribes:

We all ought to know that Swaraj will not at once, or I think, even for a long time to come, be better government or greater happiness for the people. Elections and their corruptions, injustice, and the power and tyranny of wealth, and inefficiency of administration, will make a hell of life as soon as freedom is given to us. Men will look regretfully back to the old regime of comparative justice, and efficient, peaceful, more or less honest administration…The only thing gained will be that as a race we will be saved from dishonour and subordination. Hope lies only in universal education by which right conduct, fear of god, and love, will be developed among the citizens from childhood. It is only if we succeed in this that Swaraj will mean happiness. Otherwise it will mean the grinding injustices and tyranny of wealth.

These two voices were instrumental as I wrote my September column (‘Lalu Prasad’s Jungle Raj’), which captured my lament in a single sentence:

“…from the few snippets we have seen, there seems to be a promise of a sequel (probably titled Return of the Jungle Raj)”.

Of all the times that I have wished to be right, this surreal successful stint as a satanic soothsayer is not boding well on my state.

The Jungle Raj – it seems – is making a glorious comeback in all its gory. In a short span of two days post the result, here’s a laundry-list of crimes in the state: (1) a lady constable of the Bihar Military Police was molested by two criminals near Alamganj court; (2) a 11-year-old Dalit child was raped in the DM’s office premises; (3) a Scorpio car was carjacked at gun-point from a high-profile neighbourhood (which is heavily police-patrolled); and (4) a builder’s son (who incidentally happens to be a relative of a BJP MLA) was kidnapped from Kishanganj for a Measly Ransom Price (MRP) of 40 lakhs. Truth be told, it’s déjà vu.

And of course, this time around we have no one to blame but ourselves. You see, we Biharis are a particularly tolerant lot (the “intolerance” propaganda be damned). We forgive and forget so fast you’d think we were almost divine (after all, ‘to err is human, to forgive, divine’). So what, if Lalu erred in his ways,we can surely forgive him his minor financial transgressions – namely, the chara ghotala.

There was even a popular saying back in the day – probably to mitigate the seriousness of the charges –

When buffaloes eat chara (silage), they only give us milk. When Lalu eats chara, he gives us ‘Rabri’. [P.S. – Rabri, by the way, is a popular north-Indian sweet dish]

Of course, this has not stopped the state media from heralding the above-mentioned crimes as an omen – the proverbial albatross around our neck. And almost philosophically, I remembered a couplet I found in an old book in my grand-dad’s library, which went something like this-



[Loosely translated, it means: ‘When you yourself chose a robber to be your traveling companion, why lament when the robber robs you along the way…’]   

Of course, for most people around the world, Lalu is not a robber, he’s just a joker. This often makes it difficult for them to comprehend the true evil that is Lalu Prasad Yadav. Not that you can blame them. This is the man, who vowed to make the roads of Bihar as smooth as Hema Malini’s cheeks-yes, those were his exact words. Of course, it is a different matter altogether that the roads never looked anything like Hema Malini’s cherubic cheeks, but more like Om Puri’s cheeky craters.

Of course, if I am sounding politically incorrect,my apologies to Om Puri sahab, this week, I am pleading ‘temporary insanity’ for I still can’t believe that Lalu is back! But before you think jokers are harmless, remember Batman’s archenemy – the super-villian aka the JOKER!

Mallika Nawal is a professor-cum-author, about to complete her doctorate in marketing from IIT Kharagpur. She is the author of three management books which serve as prescribed textbooks in several universities across India. She has taught at premier institutes like IIT Kharagpur, and S. P. Jain Centre of Management, Dubai.
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