The building I live in has what we fondly like to call a “lobby” on the ground floor. This means it has marble tiles on the floor, yellow lights, the door to the lift, a desk, a chair and a perenially sleepy guard who sits on the chair and uses the aforementioned desk’s surface for a pillow. In the lobby is a wall with all the mailboxes for the building. Each mailbox has a little transparent window through which you can glimpse what mail the neighbours are getting while taking stuff out of your own. I imagine flat no. 602 doesn’t do such stuff because they get cool mail – multicoloured envelopes, mail with stamps from places like Japan and France and takeaway menus from the neighbourhood’s newest Chinese restaurant. The most interesting thing in my mailbox is the New Yorker, and that too if the chap shoved the magazine in so that the cover faces the front of the mailbox. Consequently, I ogle at others’ mailboxes. Yesterday I realised that the mailbox next to me had some sort of flier in it. All I could see was one line that read, “At least 180 persons trained by the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Kerala are waiting t take up the cause of jihad!!”
This was hugely exciting, not just because it read like a war cry from an Islamist group but also because the flier had been dropped into a Muslim neighbour’s mailbox. Considering the fact that mailboxes don’t wear their religion on their doors, this suggested that whoever had put in that flier actually knew the building’s inhabitants reasonably well because there’s no sign telling anyone who lives in which flat. Couriers generally have to ask our guard who has on more than one occasion told messengers and visitors that there is no one by my name living in this building. So it seemed like Big Brother was watching us. I tried to steal it from my neighbour’s box but not having a key and being somewhat untalented at picking a lock (despite all the caper movies I’ve seen), I couldn’t find out what other news there was to be had about the jihadis of Kerala and their brethren.
I still don’t know how the flier-dropper picks the mailboxes but today I found the same flier in my mailbox. Here’s what it says:
DID YOU KNOW!!!!! (It becomes obvious after a bit that the only punctuation working on the typist’s keyboard are commas and exclamation marks. Also, the typists’s computer has a dodgy space bar.)
- More than Rs. 51,000 crore has gone missing from the Govt. Treasury !! (Of course, we don’t need to know how the flier makers have this information. We must believe what we read implicitly. Because we are like that only.)
- India recently gave approx Rs. 3,000 crore to Afghanistan for infrastructure development while our infrastructure is in bad shape !! (If the Afghans had any sense they’d be writing exclamation marks of horror as a reaction to India’s offer to train their bureaucrats. I can’t think of a more unhelpful thing to do to a country than to give them a redux version of our bureaucrats.)
- The day of the Mumbai train blasts, the Government gave Rs. 150 crore for earthquake relief in Pakistan while Indian terror victims have got no AID! (All those working with AIDS awareness, rejoice. The new India seems to have forgotten that ‘aid’ is a word and not an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency.)
- Since 2004, 3850 Indians have died in Terror attacks in over 3,000 incidents.
- Our Government has given 25 lakh scholarships ONLY to minority students. Why can’t economically backward children from all communities gets this benefit !! (Because fliers like this ensure we don’t forget caste and religion boundaries and so prejudices continue and then it falls upon the Government to do something as compensation.)
- Government of India gave nearly Rs. 23 crore to Harvard University and Rs. 26 crore to Cambridge University as gifts while these funds are desperately needed to give a new life to our Indian Universities !! (If this is true, this truly does suck.)
- Is this Government really pro-poor? (Ooh! A new bit of punctuation !!) India had some 270 million people below the poverty line in 2004-2005, now it has gone up by 55 million, an increase of nearly 20% !! (Numbers scare me so never mind their accuracy. The question is how much higher is the percentage increase if you compare it to other governments. That, of course, we don’t have an answer to.)
- Every day around 6,000 illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators cross the border and enter Assam, India. Many of these are Islamic militants with links to Al-Queda !! (And dear flier writer, you know this how? Surely it isn’t listed in resumés and visiting cards? And forgive me if I have a healthy disrespect for your research considering your spelling of Mr. Bin Laden’s organisation.)
- At least 180 persons trained by the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Kerala are waiting to take up the cause of jihad !! (KERALA? That hotbed of Kashmiri militancy? Wow.)
- Govt. is giving Pension & Jobs to 70,000 families members of all the terrorists who have died in the last 15 years, insulting our Jawans and thier families who have died saving our country, saving our lives !! (Er, no, perhaps in this way the Government is trying to ensure that people don’t turn to terrorism because of poverty and a feeling of being abandoned by the state.)
MANY SUCH IRRESPONSIBLE AND HEINOUS ACTIONS ARE BEING COMMITTED AGAINST OUR MONEY, OUR SECURITY, OUR FUTURE
Let’s Question our PRESENT Government. Please vote for change.
A PLEA FROM THE VOLUNTEERS OF INDIA.
The most unsettling part is that just as I’m ready to dismiss this flier as bollocks, without checking whether there’s any truth to any of the numbers quoted, there are enough people who will equally readily accept this as accurate. Sometimes, critical mass can be the easiest thing to get; particularly when you’re in a country of a billion people.