Of the Governor’s ‘Calendar’ Wishes

The governor has a calendar
The governor has a sleek calendar
The governor has the most beautiful calendar
In front he would sit, lost in thought
Pixel-perfect images of rowing by the Loktak
And fresh and misty mountains and tribal art
The fluorescent highlighter in his hand screams:
‘Hail the fests! Revel in the best of this hinterland!’

Bewildered by the holler of the highlighter he colours
August 10 brightly
He wishes:
‘August 10 is the Independence Day
This sovereign, socialist, secular
And democratic republic
It has made strides
It has made progress
My wishes go to all the people
Old, young, brainwashable and unbrainwashable
Men, women, children, pimps, robbers and morons
On this auspicious day
Let the nation be free forever.’

A suited and booted attendant politely turns down
It’s five days to the World General Strike Day, aka
The Indian Independence Day.

Innocently the governor admits his forgetfulness and stares
Into the lines and boxes separating the days and weeks
And two days later it is the Varalakshmi Vratam
So one day earlier it was published
On this sacred day of VV the governor wishes
On newspapers’ brief news columns:
Happiness for the people
Prosperity of the land
Peace out, everybody!

The suited and booted attendant runs in
Swearing by the books on general knowledge he read
In this land the people celebrate no such fest
It’s only held in southern part of the kingdom
That’s like step-father Gandhi preaching about jihad;
Twice bitten and twice shy
The governor calls up the king of the land
He has convinced the latter a new calendar is urgently needed.


What a coincidence! Two days after posting this poem, noted filmmaker Aribam Syam had written an open letter to V Shanmuganathan, the governor of Manipur on 14 August. According to The Wire, it was written ‘in the aftermath of a public event in Imphal, described by the author, where Shanmuganathan asked an audience that consisted of Manipur’s top cultural personalities to write about the “meaning of culture” in 100 words in exchange for the promise of tea at the governor’s residence.’ (Source: One Hundred Words: How Manipur’s Governor Insulted the Culture of the Manipuris)

Mr V Shanmuganathan had made the foolish challenge at the inauguration ceremony of the University of Culture and Manipur State Film and Television Institute on 12 August. It is one of the ceaseless cases of India’s ignorance fueled with arrogance—just this time it happens to be one including a moronic governor who held a paradoxically respectable post. If we go by the views of journalists and professors in Manipur, besides being an RSS ideologue, he is also notorious for his moronic behaviour. He has as well reminded that he is living in the Government House, a heritage site from where he needs to be vacated elsewhere. Twelve years ago, the Assam Rifles had been kicked out from the Kangla Fort, which is situated just opposite to this residence. Meanwhile, the air of neocolonialism is blowing breezily.



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