Two Thousand Fifteen And All That

In 1930, a book called 1066 And All That, authored by Walter Carruthers Sellar and Robert Julian Yeatman with illustrations by John Reynolds, was published in Britain. Subtitled A Memorable History of England, it was a parodic take on history teaching in English schools. The Brits laughed then and have continued to laugh since. For us of course, history is no laughing matter. It is an emergent field for serious construction and reconstruction. However, we must concede, that the simple binary categories that Sellar and Yeatman invented to assess past events, viz. "a Good Thing" and "a Bad Thing", might, with equal effect, be applied to present happenings. This is how the categories worked in the original:

1) "The Norman Conquest was a Good Thing, as from this time onwards England stopped being conquered and thus was able to become Top Nation."

2) "King Henry I tried to console himself for the loss of his son by eating a surfeit of palfreys. This was a Bad Thing since he died of it and never smiled again."

3) "Since Religious Fervour was at its height in the Age Of Piety, people were (1) burnt alive with faggots (The Steak), (2) bricked up in the walls of Convents (Religious Foundations), and (3) tortured in dungeons (The Confessional). All this was not only pious but a Good Thing, as many of the people who were burnt, bricked, tortured, etc., became quite otherworldly."

So to our own times.

1) The Heritage Committee has deheritaged Hindu Colony. This is a Good Thing. Hindu Colony residents can now look forward to redevelopment and lots of lolly. Builders can look forward to redevelopment and lots of lolly. Our Great State can go down in history as having changed the face of the city to make it look like every other city. That too is a Good Thing. So deheritaging a neighbourhood that was first heritaged for apparently no rhyme or reason, is a Good Thing all round.

2) One thousand and nine hectares of land in Aarey have been earmarked for development. This means axing trees. Builders are again doing a wild jig. That is a Good Thing. Our Great State can go down in history as having systematically squeezed the green lungs of the city. That too is a Good Thing. Finally pesky environmentalists will have to pipe down because they will have to prove that a city without its green lungs dies an asphyxiated death, and death can't be proved until death occurs and when it does it can always be attributed to other reasons. Pulling five-star, anti-national environmentalists down to zero-star nonentity status is thus a positively Good Thing.

3) Mr Dilip Kumar Gandhi, chief of the parliamentary committee has asserted that there is no Indian proof linking Indian cigarette smoking to Indian cancer. The tobacco lobby has been heard singing "For he's a jolly good fellow/And so say all of us". Singing is an age-old cultural activity. Anything that makes people sing is without doubt a Good Thing.

4) Mr Giriraj Singh quipped that if Rajiv Gandhi had married a Nigerian woman instead of a white-skinned woman, the Congress would not have made her the president of the party. This was a three-in-one Good Thing. The journalists to whom he made the remark laughed boisterously. Laughter is good for health. Ergo the quip was a Good Thing. News channel anchors grazed on the patch of scrub he provided them with for days afterwards. Ergo it was a Good Thing. Couch potatoes were lulled to sleep with the anchors' continuous chomp-chomping. Sleep is good for health. Ergo that too was a Good Thing.

5) The Chief  Minister of Goa allegedly told nurses protesting for their rights, not to stand too long in the sun because it would make them black and nobody would marry them. This was a Good Thing. Nurses needed to be reminded that they were, after all, women, and their ultimate destination was the marriage market where black didn't sell.

6) The VHP has declared that having children is not a personal choice. This is a Good Thing. It relieves us of the pressure of choice. We have already been told what we can and cannot eat. The day we are told how often we may relieve ourselves will mark the zenith of all Good Things.

It is abundantly clear from the foregoing that not a single Bad Thing has happened to us. That's why we call these times acchhe din.

Published On : 08-04-2015