Fathers, who art in heaven

Mohandas, Subhas, Jawaharlal, Bhimrao chat about India at 65

The scene is heaven. India's founding fathers are bored out of their minds by immortality and are longing for the tumult of India. They are all lazing around, all on first-name basis: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhimrao Ambedkar, Rabindranath Tagore, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, C. Rajagopalachari, Ram Manohar Lohia, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, Hansa Mehta, Madan Mohan Malviya, Chittaranjan Das, Zakir Husain, Jayaprakash Narayan.

Suddenly, Narada shows up to needle them.

Narada: So, dudes, how does it feel? India turns sixty-five. Not bad, eh?

Subhas (with sarcasm):

Ask Mohan. He is the Father of the Nation.

Mohandas: Turns out I am not. The government never issued a notification. In any case, Bhimrao is the new god down there, ask him.

Bhimrao: No thanks to you lot! Ask Jawahar. (Turns to Jawaharlal) How's your tryst with destiny? Has India awoken to life and freedom?

Jawaharlal: It has certainly awoken to life, the freedom thing is more complicated.

Rajagopalachari (rudely interrupting): Trust Jawaharlal to make freedom complicated. For him, freedom was freedom for the Congress to rule, not freedom for ordinary people to carry out a trade.

Shyama Prasad: And don't forget the First Amendment.

Namboodiripad: And his conduct on Kerala.

Mohandas (visibly upset at this assault on Jawaharlal): You are being too unkind. Don't blame him for India's faults. It's not my type of democracy, but at least he got us one. Not sure any of you lot would have held India together.

Bhimrao: And Jawaharlal built a constitutional and parliamentary tradition. What did you give us, Mohan? Fasting and blackmail. (Turns to Shyama Prasad) And your lot would have condemned us to obscurantism.

Narada (interrupting): Did you see this, a yogi by the name of Ramdev has been arrested by a Congress government and put in Ambedkar stadium.

... contd.

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