Lessons for the judiciary and those who wish to run India

What would make this new year better than the old one just gone by? Here are some idle thoughts to which you are welcome to add your own.

The first thought has to be of the new political formation in Delhi. After all, AAP has brought the mango season forward into winter and its fragrance is now everywhere. Imagine, Arvind Kejriwal and company have managed to displace Narendra Modi from the front pages! And if that isn’t a good deed, I don’t know what is.

Having said that, we have to face the fact that AAP is riding purely on a hope and a prayer: its success so far is an expression of everyone’s disgust at politics as usual. The nation is desperate for a government that’s honest and transparent; so desperate, that it’s willing to overlook a whole lot of things. Like AAP’s economic policies that are a strange throwback to Indira Gandhi’s failed socialism.

So, our first hope for 2014 is that Kejriwal gets away from the public glare for weekends, sits at the feet of real economists, and learns the facts of life. While he is at it, he should also learn from defence and foreign policy experts, especially since AAP now seems to be gathering national momentum. Oh yes, Kejriwal also needs to ask Prashant Bhushan to shut up.

Since Narendra Modi is the face of the BJP, he should learn from an eminent historian by sitting at his lotus feet. His habitual historical gaffes might then reduce in number. Since some of these have also involved geography (‘foreign invaders were defeated in Bihar’), it might be useful if he took lessons in that subject too.

After all, if he does become prime minister, we don’t want him to go around like some American politicians of the past praising Switzerland for its navy, and apologising in South America for not being able to speak Latin.

At whose feet should judges sit? The Supreme Court judges who thought gay relationships as being ‘against the order of nature’, need very many feet in a manner of speaking, so they should be sent on a study tour around the world.

The chief justice of India who was upset with Kapil Sibal and company for criticising the Supreme Court judgement, should learn to take criticism; after all, the court makes it its business to criticise all and sundry. And there has to be a give and take, isn’t that so? Or is the Supreme Court omniscient and omnipresent ? I thought that was the prerogative of the Almighty.

And while we are talking about the judiciary, add to this list the judge who recently said pre-marital sex is against all religious beliefs. Do judges live in hermetically sealed boxes where the outside world is not permitted in? Another study tour is called for.

Rahul Gandhi needs to sit at the feet of someone with a stop-watch. So far, he has been studying with people with long-term calendars so that for him his recent flurry of activity does not seem late for

2014 elections, but early for the 2019 one.

Let’s end these idle thoughts with one person who doesn’t have to sit at the feet of anyone. Unfortunately, he is neither a politician nor a judge, but a mere cricketer. I am speaking of course of Jacques Kallis.

What will make 2014 infinitely better for us is to coax him out of his premature retirement (he is only 38, and people go on till 40) and get him to play for India. We are a tolerant country, and we can make our domicile rules that much easier for him to play for us.

With a real fast bowler and a great batsmen, we will topple South Africa and become the world’s number one Test team. To compensate, we can give them a full tour in 2016, with the fifth Test at Wankhede, where Kallis will be given a farewell fit for a king. zz

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