DEMENTIA – IS IT AN INDIAN NATIONAL DISEASE?

For something to assume the status of being ‘National’, it has to be accepted thus by the people of the country and not merely by the authorities. For example, though Hindi speaking people and the central government, sometimes in the sixties, claimed that Hindi is the National language, states and people from the southern and eastern parts of the country (non-Hindi belt) rebelled and rioted. They claimed that Malyalam, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali etc had all the right numbers and qualifications to be declared as ‘National Languages’. And so all these were included in the Indian schedule of languages.

So, other than common National Anthem (Jana Gana Mana..), National Currency (Rupee), National Bird (Peacock), National Animal (Lion), what are the other things that can be bestowed with the ‘National’ status?

I think ‘Dementia’ deserves the ‘National’ status; to be called an Indian National Disease or complication.I shall give my reasons later. But, first lets look at what is Dementia. Wikipedia describes it thus:

Dementia (taken from Latin, originally meaning “madness”, from de- “without” + ment, the root of mens “mind”) is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging; the affected areas of cognition may be memory, attention, language and problem solving.
Now that we have already read the brief description, we can straightway go to Kalmadi and his ilk. Of course they have a general dementia; the moment they are elected they forget all about the people who elected them. All the promises that they gave, the Common Minimum Programme etc are quickly forgotten and they invariably start from a clean slate. What could be the reason? Do they take the Indian electorate for granted? They themselves have coined a phrase called ‘Anti-Incumbency Factor’; which means that because of the excesses of being in power they hardly expect to be re-elected after their term gets over. Hence, dementia about election promises is not such a bad thing after all.
Suresh Kalmadi singing his own version of famous ‘Julie’ song
Smt Indira Gandhi is reputed to be the most efficient Prime Minister the country has produced. But, when her 1971 elections were declared null and void, on 12 Jun 1975, by Hon’ble Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of Allahabad High Court, for “misuse of official machinery” during election campaigns, and she was debarred from fighting elcetions for the next six years, what did she do? She had the President, Shri Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, invoke Article 352 of the Constitution of India, and declare a State of Emergency in the country. Many civil liberties that people enjoyed were revoked and she threw many prominent leaders of the opposition into jail. These included Shri Jai Prakash Narayan, the leader of the people’s revolt against the Emergency, and two others who later became the Prime Ministers of India: Morarji Desai and Atal Behari Vajpayee. The State of Emergency was imposed on people not because we were attacked or at war (we decisively won the 1971 war against Pakistan, liberating one half of Pakistan and calling it Bangladesh); but, because a political leader was being unseated. Such is the reaction of “the most efficient PM of the country” in case she is being unseated by the power of the court of justice. She was not the only one who had scant regard for the judicial process. Most of our Netas even when convicted by the court disdainfully assert that they would rather go to “Janta ki Adalat” (People’s Court). They are absolutely certain that people of India, like they themselves, have contrived severe Dementia; and they actually have, as Indira Gandhi’s case would prove. Read on.

An iconic figure called Jai Prakash Narain channelised opposition against the Emergency and its excesses; she was left with no choice but to call for fresh elections. The result was already known: nearly two years after the declaration of Emergency, an opposition governement came into power on 23 Mar 1977. The people of India had given their verdict? Well, no; two years later, the same people brought down the Janata government and Smt Indira Gandhi, the erstwhile villain, was ushered in with vastly increased majority. She perpetrated the worst on the people of India in two years of Emergency; but, she, because of Indian national disease called Dementia, knew that very soon they would have loss of memory about the excesses of Emergency and re-elect her.

Our political leaders have various serious contrived complications at various stages. The first complication after they get elected is called Megalomania. They behave worse than the erstwhile feudal lords. They don’t ever believe they are ‘Government Servants’ (as the Constitution describes them). They believe they are all powerful and start using the pronoun ‘Hum’ (We), which the kings used to do at one time. For example, if you remind them of a specific election promise, they would inform you, “Hum poori koshish kar rahe hain.” (We Are Trying Our Level Best); and so on. In the meantime they are filling up their own coffers by hook or by crook; mostly the latter. Sooner or later they are exposed. Irrespective of whatever evidence you may have – for example a picture of them attending the Dubai bash of the biggest enemy of nation Dawood Ibrahim – they get to the next stage of Prevarication (“I have to attend so many parties; I don’t even know whose and where”). Then comes Amnesia, and False Daring (“Let the law take its own course”). During the trial, there is complete Denial. But, the law actually takes its own course (especially, if by that time, they are in opposition) and finally they are convicted. Now, starts the ‘Janata ki Adalat‘ routine. In case going to jail becomes inescabale, then chest pain (to start with) comes handy and later they are declared having a Cardiac problem. This ensures them to be treated with kid gloves; so much so that often the courts have to intervene that they are being given better (“Five Star”) treatment in the jail than 99 percent of our countrymen enjoy outside.
Loss of attention span is one of the several complications of Dementia. For this you ought to see our parliamentarians discussing the defence budget of several crores. All this does not interest them. They would, on the other hand, dissipate several days of debate on insignificant issues. A minister in Indian state of Maharashtra, for example, decided that most problems of Maharashtra would be automatically sorted out in case we banned the Bar Girls or Bar Dancers. More hours of debate took place on this earth-shaking issue than the drought in several parts of the state forcing some of the farmers to commit suicide.

Problem solving? You know as much as me how many problems of the people we have sorted out since independence. Forgetting language? Well, you should see our Netasin the Parliament or State Assembly. The only cognitive skill that they retain is that not a single one has forgotten that our ancestors were monkeys.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation members have acute Dementia. Let me give just one example: Year after year the city of Mumbai, during the Monsoons, is reduced to being a rough and tough country-side. Roads often resemble craters on the moon. Every year the courts intervene bringing out the plight of people driving through pot holed roads. (Read Mumbai Rains). Every year they give their firm commitment that roads would become better and road constructors and contractors would be penalised and so on. Every year it is back to the same old story.
I can go on and on and on; making this article so long that readers not suffering from Dementia will vie with those having this disease. So in order to end, let me give you a point-form list of several symptoms in people and authorities that I have noticed:
  • A few years back in a bar in Delhi a bar girl named Jessica was shot dead by a man in front of 350 people. All of them suffered from Dementia as soon as the investigations began.
  • A few years back when CBI raided the residence of our Communications Minister and found suitcases full of currency notes, the Minister did not remember who and why anyone left these in his residence.
  • Indira Gandhi dead was as dangerous as Indira Gandhi alive. On 31 Oct 1984, when she was assassinated by her own security guard, a pogrom of Sikhs took place in the national capital. More than 3000 innocent Sikhs were massacred. Her elder son Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded her as the Prime Minister (dynastic rule is the most enduring policy of the Congress), justified this carnage by saying, “When a big tree falls the earth shakes”. The collective Dementia thereafter not only resulted in no conviction but two incidents described how acute is this disease amongst Indians. First, the Sikhs themselves presented shropas (a scarf of honour) to those accused of directly instigating the mobs to kill the Sikhs. Two, after a number of years when a similar pogrom (this time against Muslims) took place in the state of Gujarat, the Congress completely forgot that they themselves had participated in a similar and more heinous one in the national capital.
  • Many political parties, both at the Centre and at the States levels, routinely have alliance with those against whom they had started various enquiries of corruption and complicity. They forget.
  • Our External Affairs Minister at the UN didn’t know that he was reading the speech of Portugal until well over five minutes of the speech was read out.
  • India’s erstwhile PM, Atal Behari Vajpayee, couldn’t remember what he was saying at the beginning of a sentence even as he came to the end. Even people listening to him often forgot what he had embarked on.
  • Our countrymen have the sharpest intelligence to demand for their rights. But, suddenly, by the end of the financial year, a large percentage of them forget to file Income Tax Returns.
  • Most politicians whilst evaluating their assets, which they are required to do by the law, often forget to add a few hundred crores.
  • One of our airlines pilots, last year, did the country proud by sleeping through and forgot to land at Mumbai and continued undisturbed for another 500 kms to Goa.

Therefore, Indian  Health Ministry and World Health Organisation have probably got it wrong when they bring out facts about India having the larget cases in the world of Malaria and Tuberculosis. These are nothing in comparison to cases of Dementia.

Should we not do something about it, if we care and remember, that is?

© 2011 – 2016, Sunbyanyname. All rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  1. Yet another witty and incisive post from you Sir.We Indians do suffer from amnesia,regardless of our profession.I have come across sailors,who when checked for not saluting or for ignoring the presence of an officer,said “Sir,dekha nahin…or Sir,dimag mein kucch aur chal raha tha”…! When I see the kind of political wheeling dealing in this country it seems we as a people have been afflicted with collective amnesia as to who we are and how hard it was for us to win freedom.Have we forgotton the value of freedom in 60 years?