Ulta pulta

Sense and census
Jaspal Bhatti

I asked a peon in the Census Department, "What do you think of the population explosion in India?" He said earlier it used to be in the hands of God, but now it is certainly being manipulated by his department.

I cautioned by informing him about Congress President Sonia Gandhiís statement that the government would inquire into the confusion over the Muslim growth rate in the recently released census report.

He was visibly scared on hearing this. He was certain that if any kind of inquiry got way, the blame would certainly fall on his head. Puzzled I asked him, "Was it you who included the data of Jammu and Kashmir in the census that shot up the figures of the Muslim population?"

He explained, "Sir you know in a sarkari office if anything goes wrong, the blame ultimately falls on the lowest ranking employee". I reassured him, telling him not to worry, after all how could a simple peon be implicated in the census goof up.

He said, "There are hundreds of ways to shift the blame to the juniormost employees. They could always say it was the peon who handed out the press release to the journalists.

Continuing with our conversation, I asked this peon what had been his individual contribution in controlling the population. "I did not marry!" was his answer. Impressed, I thumped his back and said, "Thatís great. You were so concerned with the bursting population that you decided to remain single?" Nonchalantly he answered, "Thatís not the reason. I have 11 brothers and sisters. My turn to get married hasnít come as of now".