Welcome to India, Where We Divide By Zero

The Congress Working Committee accepted the demand for separate statehood for Telangana this week, thus introducing the possibility of one more IPL team that no one will care about. This move has changed the fundamental nature of discourse in Andhra Pradesh, with people finally talking about something other than the soul-fondling awesomeness of Hyderabadi biryani.

Hyderabad will be the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for the next ten years, making it the state’s most awkward love triangle since the time Shoaib Malik allegedly married the appetisers before the main course. After that, the capital will shift to wherever Saina Nehwal goes.

This news led to a renewed demand for other states. One of the first people to react was Shrimati Lord of The Andals Mother of Statues Behen Mayawatiji, who reiterated her demand for Mulayam U.P to be split into four. This is redundant, since U.P has already been split into different parts, all of which have moved to Mumbai. (They are Taxi Pradesh, Chaat Ki Dukaan, Jogeshwari and Amitabh Bachchan.)

The pro-Gorkhaland voices also got stronger, to which Didi responded by calling everyone’s mom a Maoist. Besides, the Gorkhas have already carved out a nice, separate place for themselves. It’s called the Indian Army.

The issue of statehood is complicated because with every new entity comes the burden of adding new regional stereotypes to our current list, which already runs longer than a riot hearing. But we’re up to it. Our previous achievements include branding everyone south of the Vindhyas as math teachers, which is ridiculous, because they’re nurses. Unless they’re men, in which case they’re moustache-farmers. In return, everyone north of the Lungi Dance Line is considered illiterate, a kidnapper, a thief or a buffalo-seducer. And if you combine all that, you get the average government.

Then there’s the half-joke that maybe India would work better as a collection of separate nations, like Europe. (Of course, if you want to feel European in Bombay, just buy drinks at a bar and you’ll automatically start using fancy European phrases like, “I am le sucker.”)

For the record, I’m not in favour of any splitting, because that’s the kind of opinion that draws thinly veiled sexual assault threats from politicians, and I much prefer threats that are fully veiled in accordance with Indian culture. But it is an interesting thought. South Bombay would work as England, because townie guys already look like Manchester United threw up on them. Himachal Pradesh is already Amsterdam, minus all that tulip nonsense. And you just know which state would be Germany. You can even hear the famous WWII slogan: Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Feku.

I don’t get the concept of regional pride. Sure, it makes sense that you would, by default, like the place that you were born in – even cockroaches must think that drains are amazing – but it’s weird to see people act superior based on nothing more than the fact that their ancestors hooked up within certain geo-political borders, their power and glory dependent on how much elaichi they sold to white people.

This is usually accompanied by a declaration of how proud they are to be from the same culture that gave birth to <INSERT NAME OF FAVOURITE WARRIOR/SAINT/JEDI MASTER> That’s just taking credit for someone else’s work. I was born in U.P, as was the legendary wordsmith, Premchand Baba Sehgal. This is true. But you don’t see me using that connection to cuss out other greats like Devang Patel, even though Patel Scope withers in comparison to the cosmic secrets nestled in the hymn, Baja Bana Ke Ban Gaya Raja Manjula.

Also, no one ever wants to acknowledge the mistakes from their community. You never see a Punju guy go, “PROUD TO BE SHERA! But sorry about Honey Singh. He fell into a vat of Rad Label as a baby and had to drink his way out.” If your veins are bursting with Mumbaikar pride, how about you also apologise for Riteish Deshmukh in Grand Masti? And if you’re from Gurgaon, just apologise for existing.

See, that’s the problem with regionalism. You’d spend most of your time just trying to sweep idiots under the carpet. It’d be easier if we just accepted that we’re all messed up, and focussed our energies on a common goal: Thanda Thanda Pani for President.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 4th Aug 2013.)


26 responses to “Welcome to India, Where We Divide By Zero

  1. There was a time when I wanted to pen something like this (read Racism: We Started It Long Before They Realised We Were Brown), but thought against it. Thank you. You just spoke my mind 😀

  2. This humour piece is honestly quite poorly researched and barely funny. Just putting it out there : next time you decide to recklessly air views on state bifurcation, it would probably do you some good to read up a bit. While regional altruism is one part of it (and yes, not a small part) the demand for it assumes legitimacy when the region in question has been suffering from neglect and deprivation at the hands of the mother state. Perhaps before frivolously commenting on Telangana and Gorkhaland, you should look at the development Indices for these areas or simply even read the newspaper that publishes your columns. Please don’t mistake my criticism as support for Telangana because I don’t support state bifurcation.
    I used to however, support your column, and I read it regularly. Now it’s sadly just increasingly stupid.

  3. Maybe you missed the wood for the trees. No country wants to divide and subdivide based on regional pride – that’s bunkum. When a group of people feel left out and no jobs, then they want a separate entity to get those government jobs denied them!

  4. Ok so I can’t honestly say that I follow all the political/media references but that doesn’t matter… I know enough.

    And more importantly, your writing and style is just that good that it doesn’t matter. Very entertaining stuff man.

  5. You are simply fabulous!

  6. Good political satire but I feel it could be shorter

  7. “And you just know which state would be Germany. You can even hear the famous WWII slogan: Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Feku.” Ahahaha.
    “This is redundant, since U.P has already been split into different parts, all of which have moved to Mumbai. (They are Taxi Pradesh, Chaat Ki Dukaan, Jogeshwari and Amitabh Bachchan.)” Noooooo.

  8. “legendary wordsmith, Baba Sehgal” totally cracked me up… Big fan of you writing! Keep up the great work! 😀

  9. Liked it ! You may bring in more sharp wit 😉

  10. “legendary wordsmith, Baba Sehgal” totally cracked me up… Big fan of your writing! Keep up the great work! 😀

  11. Absolutely fantastic article, Ashish. You have put into words, what I have always wanted to say. Keep up the good work dude…

  12. Agreed… Proud to be is like saying you are proud that your body is 70% water… I think mine is 70% beer though.. Sorry..digressed mind..nothing to see here…

  13. Where is the humour? Or was this your attempt at serious writing?

  14. You’re divided by zero? You’re now “undefined”. 😉

  15. I am a regular reader of your column/blog but this time many of your jokes are straight out of “The Week That Wasn’t” show on CNN-IBN. It would have been good if you had mentioned the fact in the blog.

  16. This is exactly the kind of thinking I call pseudo-intellectualism. You have displayed a very poor understanding of topical issues. A supreme court decision cannot be belittled like this. What is really scary is that there is a complete generation of young people who have learnt world history from stand-up comics – they say almost anything to come off funny. This is the product of corroded education and not knowing how to think, thinking is an art! You are treading the groove laid down by your Western counterparts, there is no originality in thinking and approach. What works for them does not work here. My suggestion to you would be to stick to your strengths: Bollywood and Baba Sehgal jokes.

  17. Very very poor article. A really sad attempt at humor to discuss an important topic.

  18. Shrimati Lord of The Andals Mother of Statues Behen Mayawatiji. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Hats off, my friend, to the totally random GOT reference.

  19. Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Feku……Simply superb!

  20. Write a comedy movie; starving for something like Khosla ka Ghosla !!

  21. amazingly funny.excellent write up.

  22. Very witty!!! Great work!!

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