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PM gets an early geography lesson

The prime minister of India went to Bhutan on his first trip to phoren as prime minister of India, and called it Nepal. Then he called it Ladakh. It is very unfair of me or anyone else to mention this, because the prime minister is new at being prime minister of India and mistakes happen.

As someone pointed out, his mistakes only prove that he is human. This might come as a shock to those who thought he was superhuman or even, gasp, divine, when they voted for him. Human. Bah! What a comedown.

Anyway, next, after visiting Nepal or Bhutan or maybe Ladakh (which is in India I think, am I wrong or am I right?), the prime minister will visit other places like Japan or is that Mongolia? The important thing to remember is that Barack Obama also makes mistakes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first foreign trip to Bhutan, confused Nepal with Bhutan while addressing the Bhutan Parliament. Later, he also referred to it as Ladakh. Pic/PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first foreign trip to Bhutan, confused Nepal with Bhutan while addressing the Bhutan Parliament. Later, he also referred to it as Ladakh. Pic/PTI

And if Barack Obama makes mistakes, then anyone can make a mistake even a divine being. Or so experts on social media inform us. One could quite easily make a comparison with George W Bush, but that means remembering that far back. And who can be bothered to do that?

Meanwhile, as if I wasn’t bad enough by putting geography above divinity, other people are looking at rising inflation and blaming this new government. Even though this new government is trying to blame everyone else from the old government, to rising food prices (this is not the same as inflation, don’t you know that?) to the situation in Iraq to the probably bad monsoon to hoarding.

Everyone knows that the new government cannot blame anyone for hoarding because no one may vote for them again. But, someone tell them that there’s no use blaming the last government because there’s no general election for the next five years, especially when you have a majority.

In fact, it’s because you have a majority that you can mix up Bhutan, Nepal and Ladakh because, you know, who cares? We just won an election. Anyway, one foreign trip over, one rape and murder case ignored, one death of a man killed because he was a Muslim ignored, and we are well on our way to being a lot like the last prime minister... or not?

One can never be sure, because there is always some philosophical remark to be made about a glass of water being half full or Alexander wandering all over the Gangetic plains or failing that, sending Bhagat Singh to the Andaman Islands.

One must apologise, I suppose, to those who wanted miracles from Day One. Like all of you who laughed at the Aam Aadmi Party’s month and half in power in Delhi? Now, Delhi is struggling with power problems and all the instant solutions for immediate electricity haven’t worked, and is anyone showing intent by sleeping next to a WagonR in the freezing cold?

No, everyone is behaving just like that same old government thing. One knows that it’s still early days, but this is around the time in the comics of yore, if anyone can remember, that Mandrake would gesture hypnotically... not confuse Nepal and Bhutan while you’re in Bhutan talking to the Bhutan Parliament.

We all know that the last government was useless. Couldn’t deal with inflation, the prime minister would not speak to the nation on matters which bothered the nation and some remote control high command was humming in the background.

And now there are rumours that the names of the Indians with black money in Swiss bank accounts will not be revealed because of some banking rules or some such bogus excuse. That last government also gave us the same bogus excuses. And we yelled blue murder then. Or black murder.

But, now, you know, rules are rules. Meanwhile, we have set up a committee and a team and everything else. Like all those other committees... So, what have we learnt so far? Geography is a notion. Inflation is in perpetuity. Promises are lies. And politicians are eternal. I write this sitting on some hill or the other. Probably the other.

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on twitter @ranjona

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