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Jail or outside, we Chautalas stand together. Hours after the judgement was delivered, my family and friends procured three excellent high-breed buffaloes and two cows to accompany me to Tihar jail. You see, this is a Chautala family tradition. When patriarch Devi Lal left native Haryana to settle down in Delhi as deputy PM, he took with him a bunch of cows and buffaloes. We will have to organise sheds and enough fodder for the animals this time. Hopefully, the Tihar jail authorities will not raise any objections or the Haryanvi kisans will be on the streets of Delhi.
For me myself, it is a time to reflect. What is 10 years in the life of a politician? And anyway, have you ever seen an Indian political leader spend long years behind bars? There are appeals and things like that and we are certain the higher courts will set me free. In the meantime, my faithful sons have booked a few deluxe suites in Delhi’s hospitals because people like us always fall ill when we are arrested. Mind you, I am 78 and age is respected in this country. What I am puzzled by is why CBI judge Vinod Kumar found me guilty. After all, I was only doing something for the good of Haryana, adding 3,206 ‘talented’ state primary school teachers to the roster. You won’t believe it, but me, my son Ajay and some handpicked IAS officers worked round the clock, going through the syllabus, setting question papers for the recruitment exam, correcting the answer books, tabulating the marks and so on. It was one massive job, never before undertaken by any state CM. I expected at least a Padma Vibhushan but instead got 10 years in the clinker.
I ask you, unless we have talented teachers, how will Haryana produce talented students? To keep the Haryana flag flying, we need young men and women to join our famous khap panchayats and administer traditional justice. ‘Catch them young’ is my slogan and that was why we had to start with primary schools and their teachers. Despite great leaders like us, Haryana always felt left out of mainstream intellectual life in India. That fellow, V.S. Naipaul, I am told, wrote a book called, India: An Area of Darkness. We will not rest until another Nobel prize winner produces a book, ‘Haryana: An Area of Darkness’. This will be possible only if we have the right kind of primary teachers.
My secret diary, which will now be completed in Tihar jail, will pay handsome tributes to the other 54 convicted people in the case. And what wonderful variety we have among us! IAS officers, senior babus, MLAs and so on convicted for cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy. Once we are comfortably ensconced in our cells, we shall hold special classes for other Tihar inmates and impart our own specialised knowledge to them.
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com