A matter of numbers

One-day Revolution:

A cheque deposited on Monday gets cleared by Wednesday, or worse, Thursday. However, cheques issued on Monday promptly land in your debit on Tuesday itself. That is why most of us treading on thin liquidity ice keep a buffer of two days for issue of cheques against cheques received. Also post dated cheques that outlive the mortals issuing them pack the cheque calendar tighter.

So, in a situation where cheques still dominate over electronic transfers, a bank holiday or serial holidays upset the financial rhythm. But at least they are known much in advance. Strikes as the one on Tuesday, on the other hand, cause utter chaos to an individual or unit’s business routine as well as in the entire system. Spontaneous strikers ironically always make claims of sufficient notice, but uncertainty over operations remain till and even during the strike day. So what are our options if Monday’s money remains beyond bounds till the weekend or Sec 138 notices get served owing to our loyal cheques coming back to us sans honour? Maybe we must seek out the union leader in the nearest bank branch for support, succour and even as witness! After all, Revolutions should come with responsibilities too.

It is a moot question if strikes, which are really an alibi to shirk work, advance any Revolution, the ultimate Marxist fantasy. Strikes by bank, insurance and government staff are even more incongruous because this chosen minority is on a more secure footing in life than the rest of India that pays by sweat to get served by the former. It becomes a tragic-comedy when the captains of this ‘well-heeled’ labour quote issues like price rise and economic policies as provocation for a strike! (Wonder why they forgot Kudankulam!) Thanks to strike-fatigue, the nation’s economy that the strikers are so concerned abuot, got away with hits in only a few sectors like banking though that itself caused havoc. Ideally, the Unions would have loved to paralyse the whole country and worse, parade it as success.

Now, what gave them the idea that strikes are the only form of protest? Particularly when the courts have consistently held strikes and bandhs as illegal? What have the strikers achieved in that one day beyond scratching their own itch to keep off work? Could not that same (zero) impact on ‘inflation and economic policy’ be secured through a lunch-hour demo, a press release or a simple letter to the PM? Also, national problems like price rise do not strike or take weekly offs! So why not protest on a Sunday or a national holiday? Would that still not serve national interest and incidentally their customer interest, also, better?

Hundred-year humbug:

The Dravidanadu drama made a brief comeback on stage last week. The occasion was the centenary celebs of the Dravidian movement. The highlight was the assertion by scriptwriter K, who stumbled along pot-holed memory lanes taking feeble potshots at familiar soft targets, that Dravidanadu is still on agenda, actually imminent!

His rationale behind that pet rational myth stretches our rational minds. The founding fathers, rather older brothers, consisted of a liberal sprinkling of Malayalees, Kannadigas, Telugus and Tamils, all truly Dravidians, but the current crop on parade is Tamil-only. This truncated state of affairs has prevailed for more than 80 of the 100 years, with Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka never really in the geographical or political scheme. Still, the ‘Dravidian’ label was retained to accomodate Periyar who reportedly had Kannadiga origins. In fact, questions were regularly raised about the infiltration of the movement by non-Tamils or pseudo-Tamils like him. Indeed, the use and usurping of a common nomenclature by leaders of one linguistic group is a semantic fraud.

No Tamil leader including K talks of Dravidanadu in terms of all the four southern States. Nor is there a clamour for Dravidanadu in those States, and for that matter, even here. Instead, a deep, divisive language animosity is always smouldering across ‘Dravidanadu’. This is often ignited by politicos in every State to derive mileage whenever inter-State disputes or identity issues crop up. So, D’nadu will be voted out, four-zero! In any case, if by Dravidanadu K means Tamilnadu then it is already around. Probably it slipped from his memory after he slipped from power. Or, if a separate nation is what he wants, then sedition laws are what he should get. Now, that leaves me as confused as all of you. That’s what 100 years of relentless rhetorical rationalism does to your sanity!

Borderless billions on backfoot:

Suddenly foreign money is on the run. Its frequent flight in and out of India has invited the attention and action of Cong, Centre and CBI, in that order. Hounds are on the scent of the money trail beyond borders in the Maxis-Aircel deal, a 2G scam sub-plot, that allegedly fetched the Marans a fat Rs 600 cr or so of foreign funds as kickback. Jagan, Sonia’s bete noir in AP, too is having his reported foreign treasure under scrutiny. The overseas receipts of a few NGOs at the vanguard of the anti-Kudangulam stir is also being put under the microscope. All these are quite uncharacteristic of a regime and its ruling royalty that have always looked at Dollars, Euros and Swiss accounts, not to speak of compatriots like Q, with sympathy. How we wish the same zeal is stretched to secure the billions stashed abroad, the fact and figures having been certified by none less their own closely-held CBI itself! All it takes is to read the greased, well-lined palms of the party’s own Hand! Or will it be Palm-mystery for ever?

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Jawahar T R