Talcum and Taxidermy

When deployed as democracy’s new tools, shrinking attention spans and short public memories often lead to results posting themselves partly on corporate balance sheets and partly on numbered accounts in the Land of Many Lakes and Even More Conventions, the proportion usually governed by what has been put in black and white. As for democracy’s associations to the common ‘people’ – the of, for and by part – incidental to the process, some bloke called Mir had ably predicted what a big waste of money highly-paid analysts would turn out to be.  With brevity bordering on the soul of wit, one that could substitute a massive nationwide conservation effort to save breath, ink, and TV time, he had prophesied that the role of the aam aadmi, democracy’s abjects in plural, would never go beyond this:  yaan ke sapaid-o-siyah mein hum ko, dakhl jo hai so itna hai /raat ko ro ro subha kiya, or subha ko jiun-tiun shaam kiya

Technology’s role as handmaiden in this transnational enterprise of assisted suicide may never be fully felt, much less acknowledged, except for rogue glimpses of ghostly headlines appearing and disappearing from cyberworld versions like apparitions from the netherworld, as protective armour for authors otherwise liable to piercing jibes that trail Look Who Is Talking jeers in their wake. Political thick skins have been known to have impenetrability characteristics rivalling Barack Obama’s Beast, but high-risk subjects have a genetic predisposition to obey a primordial urge to duck before oncoming projectiles – a stone-age variant of the Doctrine of Pre-Emption – as an approximate index of their mental density. The latest revelation in the democratic context to fleetingly grace netscapes tonight about “threats not working in a democracy” was apparently subjected to an enforced disappearance evidently to allay misunderstandings in regions like Kashmir that the honour was exclusively their preserve. Otherwise, the observation was as harmless as it is true: threats never work in a democracy, unless they are carried out.