Nov 13, 2008

The story behind Children's Day

Warning: Slightly long. Especially with all the links included.
Once upon a time, long long ago, there lived a man who had a famous tryst with destiny. He was supposed to have been very fond of kids, and was affectionately called ‘Chacha’.

Unfortunately, his fondness for kids was so overwhelming that he started treating grown up adults of this country as little children who did not know how to take care of themselves. Thus, he took it upon himself to tell little children who called themselves industrialists as to how much they can produce; and to tell little children who called themselves consumers as to how much they can consume. Why, it is rumoured that he even took it upon himself to tell us to fast for one day in a week, for our benefit. After all, every parent knows what is best for his/her children.

And to ensure that the innocent children of this country do not suffer when he is gone, he inducted his daughter and taught her to carry on his good work. He had brought her up well, and she exceeded even the Great Man in her determination to take care of the little children of this country.

Like the Queen of Hearts (or was it the King?), who used to yell, “Off with their heads”, she decided to kill poverty by ordering, “Garibi hatao”. When the poor people did not obey her command by becoming rich, she decided to take over banks and hand over money to the poor people. When they still stubbornly refused to become rich, she gave a tight slap to the children. After all, every parent knows that little innocent children need to be disciplined once in a while.

She also followed her father’s example and brought her two sons to act for the benefit of the little children of this country. But one of her sons was tired of caring for so many little children that he decided to limit the number of children. Unfortunately, before he could implement his well thought out solution to the problem of scarce resources, he was called by his Heavenly Father (or his grandfather in heaven?).

The Queen of Hearts continued to serve the best interests of the little children by taking over more banks and giving them more money. When some of the little children thought they had grown up and asked to move out of the house, she got furious and beat them black and Blue, so much that Stars floated around their heads.

Some of the little children got angry with her, and decided to send her to her Heavenly Father. Her second son reluctantly took over the show, and decided to teach the naughty little children a lesson in physics, which is known as Newton's Third Law of Motion across the world. Except that the 'reaction' in this case was the same violence and highly unequal. But he explained it away with another lesson in physics. After all, he had to show that he was highly educated.

But he had not been a good student of his mom’s teachings and decided to let the little children have their way, albeit in a limited way. However, he decided that a neighbour in the South was a little child who needed some lessons, and went about providing some training for some unruly students. But those ungrateful students decided to test their learning against their own teacher, and he also had to leave to meet his Heavenly Father (and grandfather, mother and brother). And the young dream became a nightmare.

He had not taught his children about their responsibilities towards the little children of this country. So, his children did not come forward to lead, and they found The Insider instead. The Insider, by stroke of genius or luck (we wouldn’t know) decided to bring an Outsider to head the finance ministry. And, the Insider and the Outsider decided that the little children of this country had enough of mollycoddling and asked them to grow up fast. Some say they were arm-twisted into doing this by a rich uncle from abroad, but we will give some credit to the insider. After all, he had taken the trouble to learn thirteen languages.

Once the Insider left, a succession of pretenders came and left. Only one of them (who was also accused of being a pretender with a mukhota by some people) could manage to last for a decent period of time. He made the little children grow up even faster. However, just when he thought there was some shine after all these years, the little children decided that they had enough of him.

So, the little children who had grown up somewhat, decided to go back to the Great Widow of the Grandson. She surprised the little children by handing the job back to the Outsider. However, the Outsider was Left handed who tied his right hand behind his back, and he could not do much. At least not as much as was expected of him.

So, the little children of this country now look to the Great Grandson. To his credit, he has made the right noises of how the little children need to grow up and take care of themselves.

So, dear children, in honour of the Grand Old man who treated all of us as children, his child the Queen of Hearts who took over banks to give us money, her children, and their children, the old man’s birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day. Here you go, have a chocolate for the occasion. Remember, eating too many will harm your teeth!
PS: This post should not be taken to construe that the author opposes the Hand or supports the Lotus. The author is a notorious fence sitter in most areas, and more so in politics.


  1. Good summarization of the economic policy development of India since 1947. Just one point though, during that period, entire world including US leaned heavily towards state control of the commanding heights of the economy. It was not until Thatcher and Reagan that free-markets and less-governance gained currency. So Nehru was just following the majority opinion of the world.

    By the way, slogan to 'fast a day every week' - isnt it attributed to Lal Bahadur Shashtri during 1965?

  2. Did the US have five year plans, which decided how much would be invested where?
    Did the US have production quotas?

    If so, then I need to brush up my economic history...

    And, the fast a day a week is LBS? ok, will correct the post then...

  3. sale.. chacha ke bhateeje.. IDFC main kaamkar le

  4. Kamal7:07 AM

    amazing blog that... you are suddenly on fire.... go bro...!!!

  5. @ rohan:
    24 ghanta kaam nahi hota... blogging happens on personal time...

    fir bhi, aap jaise mahaan IIT-ian ne bol diya, toh main thoda aur mehnat karoonga :)

    @ kamal:
    yeah, Diwali @ home kinda fired me up :)
    but, as my friend pointed out, this post does have some factual errors... but then, who cares for facts in attempted satire? :)

  6. kamal4:54 AM

    believe me it enlightened me on the gandhi family. or shud i say nehru family... coz bapu is nowhere related to the current gandhi family. so i dnt care about the factual errors... :)

  7. srk...India did not follow the path taken by US... but, just to clarify, US is as protectionist as it gets as the fight in WTO proves that... 5 year planning was adaptation of Russia's central planning system...

  8. @ shilpi:
    protectionism is an evil, but it atleast discriminates against foreign producers. What we had was restrictions on Indian producers, with numerous licenses, production quotas, permits et al.

    btw, I never imagined a satirical post on Chacha-ji would evoke factual arguments :))