The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India’s dazzling, and how
- Ten instances that show off the shine

All this talk about India not shining is getting tiresome. India is not only shining, it’s dazzling so it hurts the eye. Here are 10 reasons why:

Virender Sehwag got married. There were 5,069 flashbulbs and the leading lights from cricket, politics and films. A cricket fan from Lajpatnagar who stood outside Arun Jaitley’s bungalow all day long was blinded. As soon as the batsman (in picture) recovers from the wedding, he will hop across to the BJP office to campaign for Sahib Singh Verma. The ruling party is shining: Damn the exit polls, it still hopes Veeru’s 309 will rub off on their own tally.

The betting market has boomed to Rs 35,000-Rs 40,000 crore for the elections. Lal Krishna Advani and Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are doing brilliantly: at 7 paise, 14 paise and 16 paise, respectively. The satta bazaar is shining: though with the advent of Govinda (in picture), veteran Ram (Naik) is flickering — he is at 38 paise!

Minority leaders are joining the BJP in droves. They have not forgotten Gujarat, but are forgiving and taking the larger view, saying riots happened during all regimes. Secularism is shining: the day may not be far when Narendra Modi (in picture) will be hailed as its new messiah. Atal Bihari Vajpayee has already changed from the dhoti to the pyjama.

Murli Manohar Joshi wants to cut the fees of IIMs because all that BPL Indians are waiting for is a management degree to take them above the poverty line. And, guess what, Joshi (in picture) is not getting his way as higher fees are what people seem to want — the reduction has been challenged in court. The economy is shining: We are a country of rich parents.

Hema Malini is campaigning and tangas are finally getting their due. “Basanti” has arrived driving her tanga (metaphorically, though) into the heart of Gujarat for Modi and has asked villagers if they have enough tangas. Not satisfied with the supply, Hema (in picture) has promised them more on her party’s behalf. But she did not speak of any new-design bullock cart and the bullock still bears the burden of the maximum pain in the neck. Modi’s eyes are glittering.

BJP may no longer swear by swadeshi, Sonia Gandhi does. Rahul takes up family mantle ahead of Priyanka, apparently because that’s how Indians — not Italians — do it. Elder before younger, boy before girl. Tradition is alive and kicking.

Beggars are earning in thousands, raising the GDP by 3.2 per cent annually. At Mumbai’s Churchgate station, which records footfalls in lakhs, any of the 50-odd beggars who occupy spots fixed by their syndicates earns about Rs 400-500 per day. (This is a modest estimate: the lowest denomination of coins having become Re 1, even if a few hundred of the passing lakhs drop in a coin each into at least one bowl, it amounts to a mind-boggling sum.) Policemen are shining — they get a daily hafta of 10 per cent from each beggar.

Britney Spears is coming. (Well, she may not, but Enrique Iglesias already has.) India’s music market is coming of age: “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.”

After exporting ferociously, Art of Living is diversifying into beauty products. The spiritual market is thriving!

Rape has become rap. Bilkis Yakub Rasool, gangraped during the Gujarat riots, has lent herself to lyrics by rapper Blaaze, a 28-year-old Mumbaikar. Here’s the song that just may take the world by storm:


“Thinkin’ about Bilkis, damn what a tragedy, Gujarat riots, man, why did it have to be, Livin her life, goin’ about her own thing, Till the ***** wanna rape and end her game, It ain’t right, it ain’t fair, nobody ever dares, So we write a song about it, rhyme about it, To make you aware…yeah.”

Man, India is flying.

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