home Arts & Literature, Asia, Essays, Politics When Hope Floats and the Light at the End of the Tunnel is Nuclear Powered

When Hope Floats and the Light at the End of the Tunnel is Nuclear Powered

Governance in my country suffers a tragic death every moment. It is drowned, it is smothered, it is stabbed, it is genetically altered, it is poisoned with sweet candy and it is given the quietest of all burials.

Yamunprasad asked his neighbour as they trudged kilometres from waist deep water to neck deep water leaving behind their flooded huts and fields; why there is no sign of any Government help. The neighbour replied earnestly that government and the Lord cannot exist together and the Almighty is with them. The neighbour is right, in the land of a billion Gods and trillion Godmen, the state has to jostle with divine beings to provide elementary governance. Spiritual salvation and temporal agony lie in perennial coitus.

River Kosi bursts its embankments, adopts a new course and floods thousands of hectares of impoverished villages in the dark Indian state of Bihar. The Indian government with its booming economy, democratic mandate and behemoth standing army, watches. It is an experiment in divine intervention. The experiment fails. People are liberated. The thought that many years down the dusty lanes, the now submerged villages might have bulbs that glow from electricity produced by smashing sub atomic particles must bring solace to the bereaved souls.

How is the great Indian Nuclear Deal related to the floods in Bihar? The only answer I can think of is Global warming. I have learnt that it bridges gaps between seemingly unconnected events.

Yamuna Prasad and his neighbour finally reach a main road which was thankfully intact. And waited as a big truck packed with huddled villagers stopped to pick them up. The Prime Minister announces that this is a National Tragedy and Bihar gets Rs. 1000 crores, crackles the radio in the truck.

With people drowning and constant submergence the Indian Prime Ministers’ (PM) disaster management strategy is to come up with a book transfer of funds. He might have helped Lehman Brothers instead. Is this unintelligent immature analysis? I wish it were, but these are the facts and there are witnesses by the hundreds.

Hundreds of spectators cheer in the massive amphitheatre, millions of people as PM comes in for the final laps of the decathlon event titled the “Nuclear Deal”. A testing athletic event with attacking sickles and threatening super novas, the event is gruelling and demanding. Just a few more laps and there might be a champion in the midst of teeming masses, a Hercules of modern India.

People are at the edge of the seats, pretty ladies are chewing at their ‘Chanel’ varnished nails in anxiety. Will he be able to last? The stamina of the modest athlete is untested. He looks tired, and a nasty proton seems to have entered his eyes. He is slowing, this cannot possibly be happening. There is hushed silence in the stadium, our very own David going under at the crucial point. He seems mildly distracted, it is probably the news of the floods in Bihar, but such is the dedication to this sport that he brushes aside these events and with single minded pursuit races ahead. A paragon of athletic beauty as he tears through the wind.

Yamunaprasad wants to get back home and bring his grandfather from the neighbouring village. His neighbour places a reassuring hand on the shoulder and says to him “don’t worry, God is there, God is everywhere”. Yamunaprasads’ worry is precisely that God might rescue his grandfather. He wants the state to intervene.

His lean body bent forward, he crosses the finish line. The crowd has gone berserk, the sounds of drums and fireworks is deafening. He is exhausted but ecstatic as he goes around the victory lap waving the Indian tricolour. Enriched uranium is showered on him. As he looks up at the sea of people the stadium is lit up with one billion thousand watt bulbs. “This is power, this is nuclear power,” he mutters to himself.

Many days later, the PM tours the flood affected area in an indigenously built nuclear submarine watching the destruction through a periscope. He happens to pass by Yamunaprasads’ grandfathers’ hut. The old mans’ dying face lights up seeing this strange monster and then his frail body wilts, after a short fight, life ebbs away into the muddy flood waters.