I am………. Chodo yaar…Naam mein kya hai!
As I am nearing 100 years, I cannot help being nostalgic.
Early 1900s…Those were the golden years.
Gandhiji introduced me to the world, like a new heroine. Till then people were using me in private. I was media shy.
When the Natal Government introduced immigration restrictions for Indians in South Africa, Gandhiji shook the shy out of me and used me in public. My first public exposure!
I was young. I was new. I was dashing. I caught everyone’s attention. Also my launch was from the hands of such an exalted personality as Gandhiji…Today’s Maniratnams and Madur Bhandarkars are no more than miniatures compared to him.
Ganhiji used me again and again; you will not believe, for 17 times- for the untouchables issue, Ramsay MacDonald’s Communal Award, Hindu Muslim riots…Some of these ventures were successful while others were not.
But I felt safe in his hands.
Over a period others started romancing me. But you know a heroine, generally does not glitter as much under others as with her launcher- be it Madhoo under Maniratnam or Mahima Choudhry under Subhash Ghai or Sarita under Balachandar.
Jatindra Nath Das embraced me first in 1925 for 20 days when he protested against ill treatment of political prisoners in Mymensingh prison; fortunately for him the Jail Superintendent apologized and he left me. However when he again courted me for a long 69 days in 1929 while protesting against the pitiable conditions of prisoners in Lahore jail, he was not lucky enough- a very genuine person, a just cause and a noble romance. But poor soul, he died.
This was not just an isolated instance of my betrayal. There is a long list of others who I betrayed over the years:
- Potti Sreeramulu, who fiercely hugged me for over two months while demanding a separate Andhra Pradesh, died.
- Master Tara Singh, whose 48 day romance with me while protesting for a separate Sikh, Punjabi speaking state ended in failure.
- Darshan Singh Pheruman who used me for 74 days while fighting for the inclusion of Chandigarh in Punjab, died.
- Swami Nigamanand whose spiritual association with me for 73 days proved fatal. Poor soul, he was praying for saving Ganges from illegal mining.
But it was not that I was always a panoti for my lovers.
- Morarji Desai deployed me successfully in 1974 when ensured dissolution of Gujarat Assembly and fresh elections.
- Mamta Banerjee was successful in 2008 when she courted me for 26 days while fighting the Tata Nano Project. (though I feel shy to talk about this relationship!)
Some of my relationships are hanging in suspense.
- Irom Sharmila’s poetic love for me for the past 11 years has not yet yielded any results.
- I feel quite shy to talk about my brief, passing affair with Baba Ramdev. The less said about it, the better.
- Anna Hazare used me briefly for 12 days last month. I do not yet know whether he succeeded or the Government, whether he left me or whether the media forced him to leave me, whether the Government will keep up its promise. I sincerely pray that he succeeds. I am not sounding negative because Kiran Bedi tried to usurp the heroine role from me through her self-proclaimed “Game changer” ghoongat act. Nevertheless I felt trivialized.
After 9 decades of experience, I have come to the conclusion that I do not determine the success or failure of our love. It is my lover, his stature, his charisma, his sincerity, nobility of his purpose and how well the purpose connects with the people, which result in the fruition of our love.
By now you would have guessed who I am.
Yes, I am ‘Political Fasting’!
Before I conclude, I should tell you about the insult I faced from Tamil Politicians and film personalities. They reduced me to a mere Item Girl; yes they invented “Token Fast”! Token for Srilankan Tamils, Token for Cauvery water and so on. Still worse was Karunanidhi, who went a step further and concluded his fast in 3 hours! That was perhaps a Mini Item Girl! (For those who know Tamil, “Eppadi irundha naan ippadi aayitten!”)
I am 90+ now. I am a yesteryear heroine- a Zeenat Aman, an Asha Parekh or a Wahida Rehman. I am ill suited for any more romance.
My last request to you all.
Mujh par daya karo!
Bhagwan ke liye mujhe chod do!