ulta pulta

Faith accompli 
Jaspal Bhatti

MY cousin Neetu was getting ready in front of the mirror, adjusting the last layer of his turban carefully. I asked him where he was off to. He said he was going to attend a religious mela near Bathinda. I was all curious, “Since when have you become so religious?” He clarified he was going there as a political supporter of the Akalis.

I asked him, “Is it right to politicise religious fairs?” He replied, “All parties do it. Even the Congress does it. This is one way of getting a huge gathering at no cost.” He also asked me to accompany him. But I told him that my conscience doesn’t allow me to impose my views on a public, which has come to pay obeisance to the Guru.

He was irritated, “Why do you get your conscience into this! Tell me where else can we find such massive crowds at no expense whatsoever?” I said in India we are never short of crowds — be it railway stations, airports, passport offices, registration or licensing offices.

My cousin set aside my suggestion. “Bhaji, stop giving foolish suggestions. We have to arouse public sentiments and religious venues are the best place for that!” he said, leaving me behind to ponder on this.