Spot the Narakasura

Lord Brahma has this bad habit. Often, he tends to lose his head, all four heads rather, when tapped for boons by a devious demon dazzling him with die-hard devotion. Armed thus, the demon then goes about tormenting the devas, sages, commonfolk and finally L. Brahma Himself. And when tipping point arrives, there appears Lord Vishnu or Lord Shiva, depending on who is appealed to, for deliverance.

Of course, Lords V & S themselves have delivered such boomerang boons, but Lord Brahma beats them all by a big margin in godly naivete: He never learns. Anyway, to cut a long purana short, the evil demon is eventually vanquished through divine valour and also courtesy some embedded loopholes in the boon itself and then good reigns till Brahma’s next goof-up surfaces to haunt the inhabitants of Earth, heavens, nether and whatever other worlds that exist. This eternal roulette has rolled on for eons, giving this ancient land its cultural flavour as well as a huge cache of festivals.

Lord Brahma’s familiar folly is in full flow in Bharath today. Only that, instead of obliging one demon at a time, he seems to have given away boons in bulk, thus unleashing an army of asuras in our midst. The Narakasuras, primarily politicos, who have dotted our landscape and blotted our daily life for long, cannot be felled in just one day, to give us a convenient neo-Deepavali. The Constitution, in all innocence like the Creator, is clueless about who it has empowered. Its three pillars, plus the unofficial fourth, namely media (which now includes liberal intellectuals and jacks of all trades), like Brahma’s faces, are often party to the plunder of this otherwise prosperous land.

Good and evil are not an easy black or white binary option. They are mere corners of a tapestry of human characters of several grey shades in between. Also, while true evil does exist, true good is a mirage. So, even in those vintage times when God supposedly straddled the earth in person, we are only talking of the seemingly good triumphing over the proven bad. The righteous faltered frequently and the good ones had their flip sides too. But God drew the divide and things fell in line.

But in the current era whence the bleak grey is pervasive, even the politically savvy Lord with all his discriminatory wisdom would be stumped while sifting the good from bad. Reason probably why he is held up in the heavens for so long. But let’s forget the divine lag and scan the scenario ourselves. In these scam-ridden times, the political choices of the day pose a veritable challenge: It often takes an evil to fell another and one has to willy nilly wink at the lesser evil to get rid of the immediate bigger one. There are imported evils and resident evils. There are dynastic demons in full potency and democratic duds tilting at them. There are extended evils in the form of sons, sons-in-law, daughters, nephews etc hunting in family packs. And there are foster families and friends too, come jail or bail. There are past devils awaiting resurrection and current devils warranting annihilation. There are the clinically efficient corrupt and the squeaky clean inept.

The spectrum of Narakasuras gets even more confounding if we tread beyond politics into the ideological and social arenas. The current Modi regime is not just a change of Government caused by a democratic Deepavali called polls but a radical and momentous shift in the very ethos of the nation. A civilisation, suppressed for a millennia, is seeking to discover its core, even though it attained freedom almost seven decades back. India should have gone back to its roots then as all newly Independent nations did and do even today. But the colonial umbilical cord remained intact. In this period, an unholy partnership of patrons and pets had evolved and this group is now understandably disconcerted, manifesting in puerile publicity stunts passing off as liberal exhibitionism. But then the modes of expression of the over-enthusiastic, impatient and impractical culture champions are over the top too. The ink-wielding Sainik and the award-returning liberal, both exemplify the demonic fringes.

There are ills galore each personified by identifiable Narakasuras. In my mind, in the present and in this State, there is one clear winner for the Narakasura title: TASMAC, nothing divine, but raw wine; no innocent boon but a bane from the start; and not from Brahma but from A … well, forget it, rhyme and reason are seditious here! The battle against the bottle has to be waged with an unprecedented and unremitting collective will because ranged opposite is a powerful cocktail consisting of the topguns in the Secretariat to the tippler on the street. With liquor fast turning into a poll issue, the inevitable D-day in 2016 summer could be an early Deepavali day … and a deliverance day for lakhs of TN families.

Cheers for that. Happy Deepavali.

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Jawahar T R