Before starting off my latest rant, I must warn readers landing on this page as a result of any unlikely smart tagging done by me that they should leave immediately in case they’re still looking for a review of Hrithik Roshan’s latest movie or what it meant to me. For, I’ve already closed that chapter some days back and in case there is someone out there wanting to watch Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ode to euthanasia, feel free to read my review here.
In case you managed to get past that paragraph, let me get to the point of writing this piece. For starters, I loved the movie because I realized that it was a historic occasion simply because Bollywood has for, for the third time in two years, included a new word into their limited lexicon. Euthanasia is now part of our cinema folklore and everyone is talking about it. And I’m not even talking about its legal status in India. As an aside, one must point out that watching Bollywood movies enhanced my limited lexicography by adding words like “dyslexia”, “autism”, “asperger syndrome” “anterograde amnesia” and “progeria” to it. C’mon! I am sure many of us were unaware of these ailments before Messrs Aamir, Hrithik, Shahrukh and Amitabh showed us how.
Anyway, the blog is not meant to discuss what ails Bollywood actors or how they’ve acted out their ailments. I stumped myself early this morning by wondering what would be the impact if ever euthanasia was deemed legal in India. For one, the government of the day may have a big problem, given that several political parties may voice their strong support for any such move.
How else can they ever hope to hand out buckets for their geriatric leaders to kick ? Many of our great leaders are well past their sell-by-date and surviving possibly because of the lethal TINA factor – not we’re not referring to Anil Ambani’s wife but the “there-is-no-alternative” nonsense that we get to hear all the time.
Ask our Home Minister and he’ll immediately vouch for euthanasia, for how else can one see the back (or the front) of his boss the Prime Minister and another likely rival to premiership Pranab Mukherjee. And what about out-of-favor leaders in the Congress like Digvijay Singh and his ilk who are waiting patiently for some of the geriatric Governors to switch off? They too deserve a regal life style while still being politically affiliated, don’t they?
It is not as if only the ruling party will love legal patronage for mercy killing. Ask Advani and he would have prescribed euthanasia for his erstwhile colleague Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Of course, in today’s dispensation within the party, Advani himself could be facing the same threat from some of his colleagues in Parliament – a certain Sushma Swaraj for example!
The left parties are no exception. Poor Prakash Karat had to wait forever before his predecessor Harkishan Singh Surjeet was finally called for higher duties by his maker. Party leaders in West Bengal too had an inordinately long time before comrade Basu finally decided to vacate the chief minister’s chamber. Things were no different for Achuthanandan as his predecessor E K Nayanar refused to let go despite ill-health.
Ask M K Stalin in private and he’s sure to support the move to legalize mercy killing despite being aware of the vicious power struggle that could accompany the moment when the incumbent monarch in Tamil Nadu is given a bucket to kick. Stalin probably considers that his chances to emerge victorious from this struggle is greater than that of succeeding his papa to the throne.
Mind you, it is not as if only the parties in power have their problems. H D Kumaraswamy in Karnataka has surely had enough of his home grown sleeping beauty whose only saving grace might well be his ability to needle the “Bosudi Maga” chief minister once in a while. He knows for sure that from an organizational perspective, the party is his safe hands.
So much for the obvious supporters. Now, if we look at likely opponents for a Bill to legalize euthanasia, the first name that comes to mind is Omar Abdullah, whose proud papa handed over the reigns of a messy state early on. The same goes with the likes of two Yadavs of Indian politics, their reasons being that an heir apparent still seems some way off.
Of course, the three power women of Indian politics – Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalithaa and Mayawati – may actually not bother too much about the Bill, given that they manage political parties that has psychophancy enshrined in their respective party constitution. For, why would you want to knock off the ladder that got you to the top, especially when you’re still standing on it!
While one is not really keen to look at Indian corporate houses, there is no doubt that such a Bill will find acceptance from quite a few honchos who continue to remain in the shadows of their illustrious old men. Poor Siddharth Malya is trying all tricks in the book and a few outside it to upstage his dad’s image. The same holds good for the Bajaj family where the only voice still heard is that of a certain Rahul.
Of course, the biggest such travesty exists in a country that ruled over us for the best of 300 years. If you have any doubts, just ask Prince Charles, the eternal Prince of Wales! I am sure he’d have watched Guzaarish more than a few times. Of course, if he had shown it to his mom, the results could have been different.
Given these mindsets, I am actually surprised that Guzaarish wasn’t banned by the government and Bhansali wasn’t booked for sedition.[?]