‘Munnabhai in ‘Circuit’ House’ THE ROT IN THE SYSTEM IS OUR COLLECTIVE SHAME

Munnabhai is not just invincible he seems to have assumed a degree of immortality! Even Kancha Cheena could not erase him from the mindscape of contemporary India. Though Sanjay Dutt according to the projections of Agneepath was cast in a role to create a character worthy of the ‘hall of fame’ boasting Mogambo and Gabbar Singh, Munnabhai has clearly defeated him even as he might have made more money at box office. That is not perhaps entirely because of the difference in plots of the two films Sanjay Dutt acted in but it is the result of the existence of Munnabhai in our real world. He stalks the land all over.

Only last year a Munnabhai doctor was discovered in a reputed Mumbai hospital, just before he was to tie nuptial knots with a genuine lady doctor whom he had been able to hook along with top experts. Till then he had worked for many years in various departments of the hospital, including the cardiac ICU.

Peerzada Sayeed, exploded on the dirty real world of Kashmir politics in a situation that is not of his making. He has been presiding over the education department for half a decade now, but our problems in the sector go beyond that. The rot in the system is our collective shame. In resistance mode societies are expected to come out with their best. Unfortunately, Kashmir showed its worst traits while chasing its goals, genuine, utopian or realistic. I have a young man working for me on call, whenever I need his assistance. Last time he did not turn up to render his services. Reason: He was to appear in matriculation examination in two papers he had not been able to clear despite many efforts. Though I always thought he needed to study rather than strategise writing his exams, he always felt confident of his plans. “Jenab it is a matter of Rs. 2000”, he would always assure me. But the day after he wrote his exam, the boy appeared downcast. I enquired about how he had performed and he exploded, saying that he had been “cheated”. “All these teachers should be hanged. They took Rs. 2000 and gave me the wrong guide to copy from. While they had given me the old guide, the questions in the exam appeared from the new guide. Is it not cheating Jenab” and Jenab for once had no explanation for his woes. Peerzada’s failure is in not having addressed this problem ever as he was more focused on his foster son’s inadequacies than the mess in which the BOSE is.

Munnabhai thrives only when there is a Circuit to organise his adventures. Peerzada Sayeed played Circuit to the boy who grew up as his son but at the crunch moment disowned him. That is his failure. This role he performed because he was free from the anxieties of accountability. He was willing and he was available. No one can fault his desire, effort or ability to look younger with every passing year or his donning the Karakul of any height or shade but he needs to explain more than the alibi that he was only rehabilitating a family of militancy victims.

Peerzada’s fault lies in feeling comfortable under his Karakul while presiding over a stinking educational system and not making any effort at its reform. His crime is ignoring all the good schemes that are available for refurbishing of the educational system in the country. The ‘Sarvashiska Abhiyan’ that has the potential of changing the fundamentals of our society has just not moved beyond generating huge corruption in construction of schools and robbing the poor children of government schools of their mid-day meals. Scores of government schools have registered zero pass percentage in successive examinations. The government schools it seems are bristling with the likes of the boy who would have feared as badly but for the ‘humanitarian help’ that he received from Peerzada as a militancy victim. Madrassas which are at the receiving end of global criticism could have been converted into a success story, in the particular context of Kashmir, where their religious orientation and community base could have been integrated with the secular objectives of modern education, but it too has ended in an unexplained scandal. There are a dozen reasons why Peerzada and his likes must be called to account as it is their failures that create the ecosystem necessary for the creation and growth of Munnabhais and Circuits.

Peerzada never needed to worry for the political fallout of his acts of gross commission and omission because he has like many of his colleagues ‘insured’ his constituency for himself by diverting the entire expansion and upgradation program there. All the new schools that were planned for Kashmir valley have been taken to Kokernag. This ingenious way to electoral immortality through immoral means left Peerzada free to take care of his looks and the needs of the ‘victim family’. And he convinced his leadership that his karakul was actually a clone of the Gandhi cap that needed to flourish just in the more salubrious environs of Kokernag and hand down a resounding humiliation to a chief minister who in the state’s history has been the most trusted by New Delhi.

It seems the ‘militancy victim boy’ is learning his ropes well in the ‘Circuit’ house. He showed tremendous politico legal potential by disowning Peerzada and it is just fortunate he has taken to law as his future career choice and not medicine in his maternal tradition. Otherwise Circuit a la Arshad Warsi might have had to create a dead body for Kashmir’s real time Munnabhai MBBS. A ‘could have been Haji Mohammad Yousuf’ of Congress could heave a sigh of relief and actually celebrate life.

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