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Afzal Guru

Constitutional confusions

In the coming days, as a new government is set to be in place, you are bound to be swamped by words and descriptions that are sure to leave you confused as you have so far followed only the IPL with any amount of seriousness.

So when you turn up for the election verdict you will be as clueless as the anchors, who think they are explaining things to you detail. So rather than let them take over, here we offer a careful primer on all things political and constitutional, which we hope will be equally befuddling.

When you feel thoroughly confused and confounded after watching all the election discussions on the telly, remember you got the first flavour of it here.

The Constitution: It is a multi-page tome that apparently is the user-manual of the country and is believed to contain all its warranty certificates. But there is no way to tell, as there is perhaps none in this world who has read such a book in toto and still retains his or her sanity. However, there are many who manage to give off the impression that they have pored over the entire text of the book. The Constitution of India itself mandates that you stay at least 10 kms away from these ‘experts’, who have become experts by virtue of wearing thick glasses and talking in sentences in which the minimum distance between two successive full stops is 2 kms or 4 kms (whichever is more). These experts will come out of the woodwork in time to confuse the public further during election verdicts.
The founding fathers have thoughtfully prepared the Constitution to be bulky so that it can double up as a handy pillow when feeling sleepy, an eventuality that is inevitable to any of its readers by the second word of the third paragraph on the first page.

The Constitution also contains all the inviolable laws and sacrosanct rules that cannot be changed or tampered with in any manner except by inviolable laws and sacrosanct rules sanctioned by the Constitution itself. The Constitution, it should be said, is full of such definitions and explanations.

The founding fathers had a legitimate reason for framing the Constitution in the manner they did: They knew for sure that nobody would want to read the Constitution. If the founding fathers had actually wanted people to read the book they would have put a nubile girl’s catchy photo on the cover, a strategy that ensured James Hadley Chase books became cult classics for teenagers across generations.

The first right that the Constitution has enshrined in its hallowed pages is the inalienable freedom to use uppercase while writing ‘Constitution’ even in the middle of a sentence.

The second guarantee, as can be guessed, could be about freedom of expression to allow for, say, ‘Article 19’ to be written as ‘Art 19’ so as to cover up the lacunae of no artistic merit anywhere in the book.

President: He or she is the person who occupies a royal, rambling building, which has been built and maintained using several crores of rupees to underscore the most vital aspect of democracy, which is public money can be wasted in any number of ways as long as people can be kept bored by the television channels.

The Constitution with so many clauses and edicts that have been thoughtfully numbered in detail sets the basis for the President to perform the onerous duty of solving Sudoku puzzles. For, it beats the hell out of our imagination to figure out as to how the President can manage to spend the entirety of the six-year tenure without the Sudoku puzzles.

The other important Constitutional duty the President is obliged to perform is to bravely travel alone in stretch limousines large enough to be a constituency in itself. The President is also solemnly bound to attend the most boring of functions that are apparently thought up just to remind the rest of the nation that it (nation) has a President too.

Vice-President: This post comes in two flavours: Vice President and Vice-President.

The country’s luckiest person gets to occupy this post. And occupation of seat is the prime and only duty of the Vice-President. Apparently, the post of Vice-President was thought up back in the times when the economy was booming. But since then it has been floundering, and the Vice-President has stayed ‘benched’ till now.

It is not to be churlishly thought that the Vice-President serves no actual human purpose. The Vice-President keeps the linguist and other drifters of society busy by making them wonder whether Vice-President or Vice President is the right way to describe his unmistakable role in the hierarchy of the government.
The flipside of this post is to remain serious without yawning even once right through the Rajya Sabha session. As they say, no pain, no gain.

Hung Parliament: It is a term that comes into play whenever no single party gets the mandate to spoil on its own the affairs of the nation. On such occasions, the largest party takes the help of likeminded parties, which usually is every other party in the fray.

Hung Parliament, it should be said, is only an euphemism and Parliament has no power to help hang (to dry) even a wet cloth leave alone a hardened terrorist like Afzal Guru. Some constitutional experts labour to point out the fallacy in some quarters to equate the post of Vice President (or Vice-President) with the status of Afzal Guru as both seem to be esteemed guests of government. Constitutional experts, adjusting their heavy glass frames (they are deemed experts just because they wear thick spectacles), say something that beats the heck out of our comprehension. But suffice to say, the situation must be grave so we take back any reference linking Afzal Guru to posts of sinecural value.
The days of hung parliament are certainly numbered as all parties work themselves into the majority that forms the government.

Alliances: The dictionary shows ‘bonds’ as a possible synonym for alliances. Since bonds are about money, alliances are only about money, except the fact we wouldn’t say that in print and incur the wrath of politicians. Both the UPA and the NDA have the word ‘alliance’ in their nomenclature. And since ‘alliance’ is common to both, the parties that comprise the alliance can also be common to both.

Psephologists: The version of the word processor that I use knows no psephologist as it underlines in dark red and throws up the alternative ‘psychologist’. This clearly suggests that psephologists are still to get elected into even layman dictionaries. And these are the high priests who sit on judgement over election patterns and trends of an entire nation.

Psephologists are those people who pass off for being intelligent and important just because their job is described by a word that is difficult to spell and pronounce.

Democracy: Nothing to do with people, but is helpful for politicians and TV anchors to use in their talks. You can’t find actual people using it.  The redeeming feature of democracy is: Anything goes. And that includes this article.

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