The Pioneer (New Delhi), 03 September 1997

Career in Politics

All the world's a stage, said Bharat of A-One.


My friend Bharat Sheshapadri Iyer runs a career guidance centre in South Delhi. For "info" on the most exotic career option, the A-One Institute is "the" place to visit.

Last week, Bharat of A-One (no relative of the Bard of Avon) sent me a copy of the latest brochure he had prepared. It offered a cradle-to-grave pofile of the most rewarding career of the time -- politics. For parents of the day, who decide a child's career path even before christening, I present here excerpts from the brochure:

All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and more importantly, entrance exams. One man in his time plays many parts. In other words, every man is an imposter. Look up the Indian English section in the latest Oxfraud Dictionary and you can see that imposter = politician.

His acts are divided in seven stages. At first, the informant, fooling the nurse from the minute he is born. If the nurse complains that her gold ring has been stolen, you can be sure that your child will make it big.

A few years later, he will creep like a snail to school. Do not mistake it as a sign of unwillingness. Far from it, he is only on the lookout for victims. After all, he has to do the home-work given in the previous day's pick-pocketing class. When your son celebrates the golden jubilee of class boycotts, he will graduate from the second part of his life.

In the next part, you can cut down on your electricity bill in winter. Your son, now an MLA/MP (hot property), will be sighing like a furnace to become a minister. Woeful ballads of backstabbing can be heard frequently. Buying supporters begins at home. He needs your encouragement at this stage.

Then, a minister, full of strange oaths like "I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill will."

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in transferring officials, your scamster son seeks the bubble reputation by zooming in his terra-plane, accompanied by flashing lights and wailing sirens.

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in transferring officials, your scamster son seeks the bubble reputation by zooming in his terra-plane, accompanied by flashing lights and wailing sirens.

In the fifth stage, he climbs up the pedestal of power and erects or elects himself the leader of the nation. Full of wisecracks (eg. I am not sleeping, I am thinking) and foreign trips, he has reached the heights of name, fame and money.

The penultimate part of his life is spent writing memoirs to remain in the limelight. Thanks to other people's memoirs, your son might be active in judicial circles. During this period of activism, your son though out of power, can live at the expense of the state exchequer -- in Tihar jail.

Then ends this strange eventful history. In the last scene of all, he spends his years in oblivion, sans seats, sans followers, sans everything. But he will be remembered by the nation, when his death at the age of 98 "shocks" the leaders of the day. Acres of land by the Yamuna, a portrait in the Central Hall of Parliament, and annual floral tributes would have ensured your son's place in history and political science textbooks.

Perhaps, you wished to enrol your child in an Economics course. Come to think of it, free market, cut-throat competition, profit motive, privatisation (that is private ownership of public means) -- you get all the ingredients of an Economics course in our all new Politics course. If Economics was touted as the subject of the '90s, politics, we are confident, is the subject of the next millennium.

Do not despair if you have a daughter, and not a son. We hear that the Government is making all attempts to reserve 33 per cent seats for women.

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