When BJP president Nitin Gadkari called to say I was part of his team, it was like getting an express bouncer from a spinner. For a moment, I was dazed. Confused like a child in a topless bar. “Thank you, sir,” I muttered even as I heard the click of the receiver coming down at the other end. “I am part of the team! I’m in the team!” I shouted with joy. The wife (incidentally, her name’s also Navjot, and the chairman of the selection committee once told her over the phone that she had been selected for a New Zealand tour!) was naturally perplexed: “Kyaaji, at 47 have they recalled you to the Indian team? Are they so desperate?” Well, what can one say to something as incredulous as that? I for one did what I used to do on all those comedy shows I judged—laughed like a jackass. But then I stopped myself in double-quick time. This was serious business. Being part of Mr Gadkari’s team was not like playing expert on TV. In fact, when I thought of the import of my new job I felt, to use a Sidhuism, as uncomfortable as a bum on a porcupine.
Anyway, that apart, I decided it was best to go back to the cricket basics to impress the boss. “Surprise him, Navjot,” an inner voice told me, “surprise him like Murali foxes batsmen with his doosra.” I pondered for a while and then saw the (100 watt) light. “Learn some Marathi, good fella, that will astonish him,” I told myself. So, pronto I rung up Raj Thackeray. “Maharaj, you have to help me with this one. If not, I will be like a drowning man who left his straw behind in the dressing room,” I pleaded. Good old Raj in his trademark Marathi (translated into angrezi by one of his aides) suggested I cut the hyperbole and get to the point. “Boss, teach me some Marathi,” I implored him, “without your help I’ll be like a man making omelettes without breaking the eggs.”
Of course, Raj was most helpful although at first he thought I was keen to learn the swear words. I was quick to point out that I needed to learn the decent Marathi words. Thankfully, he understood. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we kept the phone lines busy as he put me through the paces. So, the next time I met Mr Gadkari I launched into “Tumhi kase aahat? Tumchya team madhe sahbhagi honnyacha mala samman vatato. (How are you? I am honoured to be part of your team).” And was he impressed! Well, to use another Sidhuism, he smiled like a child who’s finally got a candy he was denied. “Oh you speak Marathi. That’s very good,” he said even as the other secretaries present (Varun Gandhi included) smarted. After all, Sidhu had scored another six! Anyway, on the way out I spoke briefly to Varun. “You can’t sing if you haven’t learnt to talk,” I said rather cryptically. Hopefully, the message will not be lost on him....
(As imagined by Ajith Pillai)
Apropos the Secret Diary of of Navjot Sidhu (Mar 29), I must say that our man should realise it takes more than ‘pun’-ditry to be a good politician. When will he mature?
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT