There are many problems in India, including drought. Ajit Pawar’s crass pee remark to fill up empty dams in Maharashtra is unacceptable.

The state faces large scale farmer suicides due to crop failure brought about by drought and lack of irrigation facilities. Pawar probably thought he did a Jaspal Bhatti or a Navjot Singh Sidhu that would make everybody laugh.

Bhatti was good at what he did. There are varied opinions about Sidhu. But, politicians in India, apart from doing a bad job with the country, generally have a bad sense of humor. As a matter of fact, so seeped are they in making illegal money and playing narrow electoral politics, that they don’t know a bad joke from a very bad joke.

We are assuming here that politicians in India cannot crack a joke, so it’s the choice between a bad and a very bad one. Some politicians, of course, don’t even crack those – can anybody recall a bad gag by Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalitha, Mulayam Singh. Do they even smile at others jokes?

There seems to be something about power that makes many devoid of wit and humor, at least in India.  Politicians, of course are the biggest butt of gibes after Sir Ravindra Jadeja on social networking sites. Presently, Pawar jokes seem to have overtaken the perennial favorites, Rahul Gandhi’s intelligence levels, Manmohan Singh’s unspoken lines and the unassailable Rajnikant. Musharraf’s antics in Pakistan have also caught attention. It is not often that a former Pakistani general, the self-confessed architect of the Kargil war, is on the run from civilian authorities within his country.

Pawar’s gibe was a very very bad one. You don’t gag about an issue that is so serious and cost so many lives, like you don’t say that a girl was raped as she was asking for the horrible crime to happen as she was wearing jeans and lipstick and was out in the evening, as many politicians have insinuated.

And, this is when Pawar, himself, as minister in Maharashtra is responsible for irrigation projects to ensure water supply to farmers. Worse, the water is unavailable as it is pilfered to industry, construction, hospitality, farm houses with swimming pools that are venues of lavish parties hosted by the rich.

Such large scale organized diversion of water is not possible without the blessing of people at the top such as Pawar, who then try and sidetrack their failures by cracking cruel jokes that makes nobody laugh, except their own silly selves and cronies that guffaw at anecdotes that most normal humans would consider shitty.  

Pawar has since regretted his remark and went on a one day fast as penance. This is nothing for such a well fed man. I suggest he should not pee for one day, while eating and drinking as much as he wants.

No cheating. That would be some atonement. This way he will probably feel some of the pain and pressure that the poor farmer has to endure. Still, it will not repair the inner, deeper self-serving Indian political class today.

Or maybe, Pawar should use his large family wealth to feed impoverished farmers ensuring there is no suicide this summer. That too could be an acceptable apology.

Or maybe, he should be fired from his current job and designated as Minister for Pee with independent charge. His job would be to study why Indians like to pee in the open, even when there is a toilet in the vicinity? Where does this habit originate? Is it historical or ancestral? Its a whodunit.

Given political ingenuity, there will probably be ways to make money here too. Maybe, a BPL biometric card pee card will be instituted that will entitle the poor to continue to do susu anywhere they wish, given their tough lavatory less living conditions. The card will, of course, never be made, while the huge budgetary allocation will fatten more political pockets via some bogus contractor.

Pawar, in a way, is symptomatic of the low standards of large sections of India’s opportunistic politicians that think nothing of turning power into a thriving personal business, whether by controlling the education sector, real estate, natural resources such as land, water, coal or telecom spectrum.

Large government contracts are handed to crony capitalists and benami companies that are secretly owned by political dynasties. In India today, no business is bigger than running the government as a self-owned enterprise involving the nefarious art of transferring of taxpayers’ money into ones’ own pocket, by hook or crook.

The solution ultimately lies with the voter who needs to exorcise those leaders who mean nothing to him or her. They should be peed out.