Wednesday, December 10, 2008

VP Singh dies, no one cares

In an unsurprising yet long awaited event, former prime minister VP Singh died two weeks back of renal failure, cancer and intense dislike of a large section of people across the country. He was 163. Singh, who rose to national infamy in the '90s with his controversial implementation of the Mandal Commission's recommendations, successfully overshadowed his own achievements of the previous decade by changing social structures and caste equations across the nation forever and permanently alienating all those who tried to get through life by dint of effort and had a firm belief in good sense.

However, Singh's death, coming as it did on the 27th of November, 2008, was vastly ignored by national media in the wake of larger events. Curiously, most news channels seemed to think that a human tragedy on a massive scale that saw the nation attacked and subsequently united like very rarely before was more important than the death of a former prime minister who had managed to divide the country like possibly no other. Prominent 'political editors' and 'defense correspondents' seemed more preoccupied in revealing key commando moves and asking the relatives of hostages questions like 'So how do you feel?' than barging into Singh's house with cameras and asking his family the same question, much as they did in the case of slain engineer K Suryanarayana.

Even regular Singh-lovers like Mahesh Bhatt seemed to have become oblivious to his demise. "This is a slap on the face of the nation, and we have brought it upon ourselves." said Bhatt in a hastily organised press conference, in response to questions about Singh's death. When the baffled, and lone, reporter asked how, Bhatt clarified he was referring to the Mumbai attacks, adding "Who died?" when reminded about Singh.

Mood across the nation was sombre on the day of Singh's departure for his otherwordly abode, though, and even during the subsequent week. Parties and gatherings were cancelled and festival celebrations, if any, were low-key (with one notable exception). However, closer investigation revealed that none of this sobriety and sadness was due to Singh's death.

Singh was also an avid painter and painted many weird things (some of his paintings are here). We note his passing.


Joe said...

dude, we need to talk (via mail)

what's your email id? or shoot me one to:

got somethin up my sleeve that you might froth at ;)

Harish said...

V P Singh, quite characteristic of his Prime Ministerial tenure, died amidst chaos and violence. And as you have noted the nation stood united, albeit for an entirely different reason, on the day of his death. Truly the end of an era anbahudeno.

Spunky Monkey said...

Alla, en viparyaasa anteera nodi.

Parisarapremi said...

ತೊಟ್ಟಿಲುಗಳೆಷ್ಟೋ ಮಸಣಗಳಷ್ಟು ಧರೆಯೊಳಗೆ
ತೊಟ್ಟಿಲಿಗೆ ಹಬ್ಬ ಮಸಣವು ತೇಗುತಿರಲು
ಹುಟ್ಟಿದವರೆಲ್ಲ ಸಾಯದೇ ನಿಲ್ಲೆ, ಹೊಸತಾಗಿ
ಹುಟ್ಟುವರ್ಗೆಡೆಯೆಲ್ಲೊ - ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ

a million different people said...

Those paintings are worthy I say.

And RIP V P Singh. RIP as in RIP you know. Like RIP.


Arjun said...

[Joe] We've spoken.

[Harish] Houdu, thankfully, the end of an era.

Kind of sad that not many felt sad when he died. The Mr. Heckles of Indian politics, perhaps.

[Spunky Monkey] En viparyasa? Avnu iddaga eshtondu galate aaytu, hodaga aaglilla anta-na?

[Parisarapremi] Idanna note maadkondu inmele ella kade heltirtini. Just to creep people out.

[a million different people] Yes, RIP, got it.

Those paintings are weird, I say. I'm not very into abstract art. I like my art well-defined.

Thanatos said...

Did anyone throw shoes at Mahesh Bhatt?

Arjun Sharma said...

Heh, I don't think so, although I saw Javed Jaffrey itching to do something to Bhatt.

Vikram said...

What do you have to say about this Mr. Upper Caste Right wing Brahmin with a good sense of humour.

Arjun Sharma said...

[Vikram] Nothing. I had read that article before I put this post up. VP Singh wasn't a social revolutionary, he was a vote-hungry politician like most others. Periyar was a social reformer. He did more to shatter caste barriers in one month than Singh did in his lifetime. The NYT post was a rather typical "outsider's perspective" one, though it was written by an Indian. Like "The white tiger."

And I have acknowledged that he was a good politician before his tryst with infamy, albeit through a very short phrase:- "...successfully overshadowed his own achievements of the previous decade."

I sense that you used "Mr. Upper Caste Right wing Brahmin" as an invective and tempered it with "...with a good sense of humour" just to make it sound less angry. I am not hurt or anything. My being a Brahmin has nothing to do with my view of Singh. If I were as abominably right wing as you think, I would not admire what Periyar wrought.

This is an unnecesarily long response to a terse comment. Makes me seem touchy about caste. Jai BeeChi!