It was after successful conclusion of Indo-US Nuclear Treaty that the two major democracies started looking for areas of further co-operation in strategic areas. Next to energy, it is freedom that fuels the lives of common man in India and USA. So it was not surprising when there was general consensus on establishing a training institute for politicians, who are the real ‘movers and shakers’ of democracy. And the natural choice for its location was Kerala, where the impossible had happened viz. the world’s first democratically elected Communist government came into power in 1957 under the leadership of EMS. Given the socio-economic and political realities of present-day Kerala, what followed was not unexpected but very interesting. Let us a take a close look at the events that followed and the initial shape of this pioneering institute.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the incumbent government was left oriented and an open co-operation with US government was simply out of question. As expected there were several objections and the politburo met several times every day to sort out issues followed by the state committee, liaison committee, subject committee, all party joint committee, cabinet sub-committee, cabinet and finally the marathon session of the State Assembly. The joint unanimous declaration categorically ruled out an institute under government sector. Also ruled out was a normal college and anything to do with normal politics. But the pudding on top of the cake at stake was too tempting for all parties and it was decided to go in for a Self Financing version of the same in the parallel sector. The institute was thus born under the lengthy name of Indo-US Self Financing Parallel College for Parapolitics (ISFPCP), ‘para’College for short. The Americans were naturally intrigued by the two terms ‘parallel college’ and ‘parapolitics’. But the NRIs and NRKs, who knows their job well, could convince them in no time. An international institution for normal politics will be out of place in a place like Kerala and so it was decided to go in for parapolitics. And someone in US had rightly defined ‘parapolitics as system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished’.
Since it was an all-party affair, there was not much of a problem in setting up a 151 member Senate for the institute, comprising of 50 from USA, 50 from UDF (United Democratic Front) and 50 from LDF (Left Democratic Front) with a lone seat set aside for the yet-to-be-born TDF (Third Democratic Front). But finalization of departmental structure and curriculum was not as easy. There were several ideas, suggestions, requests and demands put forth by the various parties and groups within parties. Ideologies and personalities from India and USA clashed, and finally it was decided to start the ‘para’College with just four schools. The real surprise came when it was time for finding the right Directors for these schools. Keralites could snatch all the four was a testimony of their expertise in the various sections of parapolitics.
School of Corruption
Quite contrary to the expectations of general public, there was little contest when the question of directorship for the all important School of Corruption came up. Mr. Bandicoot was the undisputed claimant and choice from Indian side. His record in partiality while holding an impartial post, duty evasion when in charge of enforcing the same and bar licensing when implementing a liquor ban were legendary feats in the political circles. Many of the elders considered him as a guru of corruption. And the Americans too were impressed when they heard about his impressive credentials. The alleged connections between their own Dick and Halliburton in Iraq were nothing in front of Bandicoot’s achievements. School of Corruption in the ‘para’College could not have asked for anything better. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the nomination and hoped that the director would train more and more young politicians from India and US in the difficult and dying art of corruption.
School of Doublespeak
The art (or science) of doublespeak was an important element of parapolitics and it can be ignored only at their own peril by any ambitious politicians. It is like being empathetic with the hunted and hunting for the hunter. All those with vote should feel that he is with them and yet he should work his own agenda when elected. The mantle of Doublespeak directorship was just made for one of the longest serving members of the State Assembly. Mr. Encroacher could not only deceive all the members of his constituency for all the time but could successfully allocate land for his own men while steadfastly swearing to protect government land and forest land. Americans who grew up seeing movies like ‘How the West Was Won’ were flabbergasted by the achievements of Encroacher in winning the Malabar region by silent and manipulated migration of his own townsmen. He could deny anything in the Assembly under oath and do exactly the opposite while distributing government land. The entire senate stood up in grand ovation when the living Saint of Doublespeak came on stage.
School of Minoritism
Americans had heard of ‘majoritism’ but were quite taken aback by the importance given to ‘minoritism’ in an international school for democracy. It was quite enlightening for them to know that ‘minoritism’ not only wins elections but can hijack power in a democracy. There was no scope for another claimant for the directorship than Mr. Secular from Kerala. He is a second generation theoretician in this dying art and had even authored a book on what is secularism. In simple terms it is redefining the Western concept of Secularism so as to suppress all attempts of the majority to come together for any purpose whatsoever. Those in minority should be treated as equal and at the same time protected by means of special privileges. Thus all citizens are equal and those in minority will become more than equal.
School of Abuse
Abuse of power is an art in itself and there was stiff competition from US nominees for the directorship. One can abuse power for money, sex or some other satisfaction. It is an open secret that even American Presidents are victims of this privilege attached to powerful posts. The American team could easily put on the table half a dozen famous names for the director’s post. But the lone nominee from the Indian side was that of Mr. Scratcher, who could demonstrate enviable satisfaction by mere scratching of fairer sex when suspended at unimaginable positions even in a flight. There was no way this could be challenged by the documented expertise of the American contestants. Mr. Scratcher won the day hands down.
The inaugural function of ‘para’College was a grand affair. Almost the entire democratic world was represented on the dais. Being in Kerala, the highlight of the function was symbolic lighting of a traditional lamp with 50 odd threads, representing all the countries that were interested in the future of democracy. Many of the senate members chose to protest against lamp lighting by walking out of the function shouting slogans and many of the dignitaries representing democratic nations had never won an election in their life bode well for the future of parapolitics as a political ideology on world stage.