[Note: This is the unedited version of my column published 28 May, 2012 in The Deccan Chronicle & Asian Age newspapers]
Dear politician uncles and aunties,
Today my teacher is asking us to write a letter to someone famous. My classmates are writing to some smart celebrities, but I think I can get extra marks by writing to you.
Here in school, we are discussing politics very often. Sometimes, we think that you are facing the same problems as us. Once, my friend Jiffy (who is a bit naughty) saw some newspaper article about ministers who were punished for using their mobile phone to play games. Actually, in our school, we are not allowed to bring phones or even our DS games. It is very silly, no? Please help us with this if you can. It will be very effective if you talk to our principal because you are always giving talks about morals, values, Indian culture, etc. Big people will easily believe things like that.
Last week, there was a lot of problem in the XI standard class after their textbook was shown on TV news. Jiffy tore off that cartoon from someone’s book and pasted behind the toilet door. We were very shocked. I understood why you are banning the cartoon. The drawing is so bad only, no? Nehru Chacha’s legs are drawn funny and his jacket is too short. And Ambedkarji is a little chubby. You are right, we should not be exposed to such bad drawers. I showed the cartoon to my mother and she said to read below where it said, “”Making of the constitution took three years. Is the cartoonist commenting on this fact?”. My mother said this is to encourage “thinking deeply” and understanding “other’s point of view”. But when I saw you on the news channels, I realised this “thinking deeply” or even “thinking” may be a very bad thing. I am still a kid, but I think I understand what you are saying, that it is better to just by-heart everything. Is that how you all are able to keep talking without stopping?
Actually, I also agree that it is better to ban all the cartoons from class. If we have cartoons in school, we will have to put up with Jiffy drawing moustaches on all the women, and bindis on all the men. And then my class teacher will say, “Is this a school or this a fish-market?” So in class, we should all sit quietly and just mug up all the facts. My father says that if we grow up and get into parliament, we will anyway have ample time to do this fish-market stuff or to become cartoons.
Please do something about our library class also. I really hate reading books, but every month, they choose a book and make us read. Last month, it was Mahabharata and, this time, we have to read My Experiments with Truth by Gandhiji. Yesterday, Jiffy searched for “banned books in India” on Google and we found that you have helped in banning many of them. And my father was saying some university banned one Ramayana book because it had too many stories in it. (This made the book too long for people to understand.) Actually, I think Ramayana is OK for kids, but this Mahabharata book I am reading is even more long and has some violence also. If you read the book by Gandhiji, you will be more shocked. It seems he didn’t always say the truth. Other things are also there in his book, I think you will be offended if I write here.
Like you are saying, all this thinking, understanding others’ point of view, truth stuff etc. are very dangerous for our impressionable minds. Why should we know so much about everything? And the things we are really interested in, no one is teaching us. Like magic. Or mind-reading. Only the other day, I saw that politician aunty do really good mind-reading on a talk show. Some college girls were dressed very normally, and were asking simple questions, but as soon as she saw them, aunty read their minds and discovered they were spies. She knows magic also. There was a cartoon about her and she knew instantly when she saw it that the cartoonists were actually trying to kill her.
I would love to learn how to get these magical powers.
Now that I am thinking about it, I think I will become a politician when I grow up. I think Jiffy wants to become a cartoonist, but by then I hope you would have got rid of that profession.