M.F. Hussain, India's greatest modern painter died in London late last year, a citizen of Qatar (!), unable to return to India as he was hounded out by extremist Hindus. And now Salman Rushdie, India's pre-eminent writer in the English language, has been stopped from attending the Jaipur literary festival due to fears of a 'law and order' situation.
What law and order situation could be caused by Mr Rushdie's visit that the country hasn't already seen in some shape or form?
Why is the political class so hell bent on exerting influence on issues that are best left alone and why is it so intent on ignoring issues that require their attention?
For years in the run up to the commonwealth games Suresh Kalmadi and his cronies made a hash of things, siphoning off money to the UK, among others, all of which went unnoticed. But within weeks of Jeremy Clarkson’s ritualistic insult of his latest host country in Top Gear, the Indian high commission feels the need to further humor Mr Clarkson by protesting the tone of his broadcast. Were they expecting any-thing less than a full throated guffaw from the Top Gear host in reply? Are we expecting him back anytime soon, wearing a turban perhaps?
290 million Indians are under nourished and 4 million Indian children die annually due to malnourishment, but there's no fear of agitation against that.
The perpetrators of terrorist attacks await trial and conviction for years, if not decades, and yet the High Courts have time to issue notices to Google, Facebook and twitter. Can you visualize it, Mark Zuckerberg showing up for a court date in Delhi? Not happening.
The irony of the Indian state is that the only law and order it seems able to enforce is on those people and entities who had no intentions of disrupting it in the first place. Shame on us.
Btw, the banner photo was taken from our holiday home outside of San Gimignano at 6.20 am. What light! It lasted all of five minutes.