I was having tea with my favourite anti-social and he was totalling up the daily take of protection money, interest from loans, and monies earned from various nefarious activities. His muscled goons trooped in happily, waited for their share of the profits and went off happily to home and hearth. “How do you know they haven’t pocketed any for themselves,” I asked.
“They want to live long and healthy lives,” he said simply.
“You are so organized,” I said, “Why don’t you run a legitimate business?”
“I am a poor uneducated man,” he said, “How can I run a business?”
“You are already running one, just choose a legal one,” I said.
“You are educated,” he said, “why don’t you do something with your life instead of this silly writing?”
“It’s not silly, I like to think I am making a difference,” I said.
“If you want to make a difference you should stand for elections,” he said.
“Who would vote for me?” I asked.
“That you don’t worry about, I will make sure you win,” he said.
“You will pull strings to pull my strings,” I said.
“I would help you,” he said. “You sit down and write your manifesto.”
So I sat down and wrote a manifesto:
“Friends, Goans and countrymen, I come to bury Goa, not to save it. I will take the land of our ancestors and sell it to outsiders. I promise industrialization of Goa because let’s face it, no one is interested in agriculture any more, and land which grows built-up area has more yield than land which grows crops. I will tell corporates straight off that they don’t have to employ Goans or even pretend to do so. I will raise the unemployment rate sky high while convincing Goa she never had it so good. I will erect huge buildings and invite everyone to buy a piece of Goa, so your children will have to live in slums. I will increase catchment areas for supplying water to all these people by allowing mining all over the hinterland. The exhausted mines will be used for storing water.
Education: we will do away with examinations because our children must not be unduly stressed. We will raise the salaries of teachers and increase school holidays to 200 days in the year and have only three hours of school every day.
Health: We will have state of the art hospitals with expensive equipment which will have to be replaced every month and I will use the kickbacks to build up a fortune for my descendants. A little of it will also be used to pay for the education of my children abroad.
Minorities: I will pamper the minorities and give them many more sops. They will be allowed to travel first class to places of pilgrimage any number of times. I will invite more and more to come and set up house in Goa, I will give them land and build houses for them.
Reservations: There will be reservations for everyone everywhere. Of course, each applicant has to go through my office.
I will be the CEO of the state and wind up this panchayti raj nonsense that has no merit at all. The unorganized sector will have no rights whatsoever and no legal recourse will be available to them.
Infrastructure: I will put in lots of buildings, roads and water pipelines. The work will be continuous and shoddy because more tenders will be floated to ensure a continuous flow of kickbacks.
Judiciary: The police and courts will be answerable to me and no one else. All transfers will be handled by me.
District development: I will turn the North against the South and as long as they fight each other, I will be free to do whatever the hell I want.
Fiscal Policy: I will increase local taxes, collect toll, excise and widen the tax net to levy taxes all sorts of things, dogs, cats, children, husband and wives. I plan a radical new ‘Air Tax’ where it will be calculated how many cubic feet of air a person inhales and fix a suitable tax for it. Overweight people will be taxed, because they use up more space and space is at a premium. Goans will be unemployed, but they can rob the rich outsiders to their hearts’ content because I will control the judiciary.”
I read it aloud to my anti-social friend who said, “Take out the “Air Tax” it might make you unpopular.”