Lindsay Pereira: The edge of innocence

Only our rich, powerful, not-so-law-abiding countrymen are always misunderstood; the law-abiding common man is never misunderstood

Vijay Mallya is innocent. He is misunderstood, the poor man, and is now being reviled simply for doing what businessmen and big brands have always done - try and con the world at large in order to make a profit, by any means necessary. Unfortunately for him, this minor issue of not paying employees their salaries has cropped up. If it weren't for that, he would still be on Page 3 or at the Rajya Sabha, where people accused of far worse things still manage to get their lunch and dinner at massive taxpayer-subsidised discounts. People attacking him are simply jealous of his success and his many selfies with beautiful women at parties.

A policeman feeds the horse injured when BJP legislator Ganesh Joshi attacked it. Pic/PTI
A policeman feeds the horse injured when BJP legislator Ganesh Joshi attacked it. Pic/PTI

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is innocent. He is misunderstood too, the poor godman, and is now being attacked simply for doing what so-called spiritual leaders have always done - attract a lot of attention for events that mean nothing, by any means necessary. Yes, there may be damage to the Yamuna floodplains, but what do environmentalists know about the healing power of prayer? It's their fault for doubting his pure motives. Prayer and medication alone can heal the environment. After all, if it weren't for the Art of Living, the Yamuna would have vanished by now. People attacking him are simply jealous of his success as a guru and his ability to travel the world without seeming to do anything of importance.

Raj Thackeray is innocent. He is misunderstood by everyone except the six loyal followers he presumably has left, simply for doing what politicians have always done - try and rake up non-existent issues just before an election, in order to divide people by any means necessary. It does seem weird that he assumes all Marathi people want is to drive rickshaws, but he probably knows something the rest of us don't. People attacking him are simply jealous of the fact that he has managed to become a successful real estate developer out of nowhere.

Chhagan Bhujbal is innocent. He is misunderstood by the media and the courts and is being accused of corruption simply for doing what people in positions of power in any state government have always done - take advantage of the system knowing that it protects the powerful and rarely makes them pay for any misdeeds. The money he has amassed over the years has obviously come from his official salary and decades of saving every paisa. The crores he has been accused of receiving as kickbacks are a figment of someone's imagination. Politicians in India never receive kickbacks. They are here only to serve the people, not for monetary gain. Anyone who doesn't believe this is obviously an anti-national. People attacking Bhujbal are only jealous of the fact that he managed to save more money than they did.

BJP legislator Ganesh Joshi is misunderstood. Video footage of him attacking a police horse with a lathi, leaving the animal with a broken leg, is obviously doctored. There was no horse, obviously, and no legislator at the scene either. This is just a fabricated video created by someone with an enormous amount of time on his or her hands, to make us think that BJP legislators are cruel, heartless people. Everyone knows the BJP loves animals, or at least bovine animals. In fact, many of us know that the BJP has more respect for bovine animals than it does for some human beings. People attacking Ganesh Joshi are just jealous of the smooth way he wields a lathi.

Everyone in our country is being misunderstood these days, but some of us are just more misunderstood than others. As for the rest of us, we are just unlucky. If we default on our EMIs, the banks will eventually take our homes. If we cut down a tree in our building compounds, we will be arrested under something called the Environment Protection Act, which supposedly exists despite the rampant destruction of mangroves in our city. If we ask our friends and neighbours to burn a bus or rickshaw, we will be arrested for threatening the peace. If we ask for a bribe, our offices may sack us instantly. And if we assault a poor, defenceless animal, we will be jailed, because that is the right thing to do to people who do such heinous things.

Unfortunately, we, the common law-abiding people, are never misunderstood; it is only our rich and powerful countrymen who always are. And this is something a lot of us now understand only too well.

When he isn’t ranting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost sweet. He tweets @lindsaypereira. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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