Thursday, August 13, 2020
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Saving the idea of India

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He switched on the Television and realized, “Oh, it is that serial again.” His mind went back to 1987 when it all started.

He was one of the few privileged ones to own a television in 1987 India. He remembered how every Sunday morning sharply at 9:30, that TV serial would start, and how it would go on to damage the secular fabric of India episode by episode.

He remembered one particular incident. A large number of his relatives had come over to his huge house in New Delhi for vacation. Minutes before 9:30, the guests, old, young and kids started getting restless and demanded that the television be switched on. He hated this serial and ensured that the television stayed shut during this serial. However, due to pressure from relatives, he had to give in and switch on the television.

An elderly relative asked him, “So what will happen in the serial today?”

“I don’t know.” He answered irritated “That communal Ramanand Sagar gives me the recordings just one or two hours prior to telecasting. I don’t even get time to sanitize the episode.”

Thankfully, this particular day, he had one intellectual visiting him and talking to him gave him some respite.


He complained to the intellectual “I asked him to change the names of some characters like Hanuman to Rehman and Agastya to Agatha to make the serial more inclusive. But he just said ‘I cannot change names what Mickey has decided.’ That communal bandicoot.”

An elderly relative corrected him “You mean Valmiki.”

A small kid asked him incredulously “Uncle! You don’t know the difference between Mickey and Valmiki?”


His daughter walked in and bent down to touch his feet.

“No!” he shouted worried whether the television serial had also morally corrupted his daughter, despite his best efforts.

His daughter laughed and said “Daddy, Relax. I was just trying to pull your leg.”

“Not literally but literarily.” She added.

He looked relaxed again as he realized that he had brought up his daughter so well that she would never be corrupted by such external influences.

Another relative told him. “You have created a very good serial. Thanks.”

He felt uneasy. Though he headed Doordarshan and got compliments for the Television Serials, most compliments were for this serial which he had tried to scuttle.

One more elderly relative told him “The serial is about Suryavansh. You name also means the Sun. No wonder fate destined you to lead Doordarshan during this time.”

“One more compliment I can do without.” He thought.

Him mind came back to present and he switched off the television with a scowl on his face. Presently, his daughter and son in law walked in.

“What happened daddy?” asked his daughter.

He replied “Nothing. Seeing the rerun of the serial with all those monkeys on the screen really irritated me.”

He became relaxed again. Looking at his daughter and monkey balancer son in law always gave him reassurance that the Idea of India could still be saved.

An elderly maid was sweeping the floor.
His son in law who loved talking to cooks, drivers and maids and pass it as news asked the elderly maid:
“So what do you think of the Ram Janmabhoomi verdict?”

“It means Shri Ram is truly Maryada Purushottam”

“Why?” asked the son in law.

“Because he gave up his birthplace and stayed in exile so long just because some dubious historians said it was not his birth place.”

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