Thursday, April 7, 2011

The public servant.

Ram babu’s friends, followers and family were ecstatic. And they had every reason to be. The election results were just out, and he had won an election just days after losing one. Ram babu was no novice at politics, and had been elected from this very constituency thrice before, but the competition had been stiffest this time around, with the local just-returned-from-USA-with-a-heavyweight-degree guy garnering huge support from the masses. This fellow, with his accented english and his youthful exuberance had travelled to all corners of the constituency, meeting people, visiting their homes, and solving the local issues. That, however, was not the big issue. Ram babu had had numerous such competitors before, and he had gone through the battles unscathed. But this fellow was different. He had not had the audacity to attack Ram babu directly, so he chose another way. He filed a few RTI petitions and dug up tons of old files. Files related to Ram babu. From the days when he wasn’t a MP yet, when he was still climbing the first steps of politics.
Ram babu was born to a poor village farmer and had seen poverty at the doorstep ever since he first opened his eyes. He remembered his days from when he was chhutku, and not the MP Ram Kumar Singh of today, he remembered his father, working on his land and as a laborer during the off season. Ram babu had seen it all. And then it all changed. There was a severe drought that year, and they couldn’t repay the money lender’s loans despite several warnings and threats. Then one evening just as they had had dinner, or whatever it was they had, Hakim Chand’s henchmen visited their home and took away chhutku’s father. They never heard of him after that, and even complaints to the police bore no fruit. That was the first time, when the teenaged chhutku realized the might of the mighty. He vowed revenge.
Chhutku soon realized that the only way to supreme power in this nation was through the worship of its father’s image…the image that was present on the omnipotent currency note. He had to make money somehow, and he had to make lots of it. And there were only two ways to become a millionaire overnight: stealing and politics. He chose the latter. He started working from the basics, meeting people, and voicing their concerns. This led to a few scuffles with the powers that be, and soon chhutku was hailed as a people’s hero- chhutku became Ram Babu. The next parliamentary election, Ram Babu filed his nomination against the incumbent, a seasoned politician, who had used his muscle power to silence all opposition in his constituency. This was his moment. As he was returning from the Election Commission’s office, he was beaten up by rowdies and suffered a few fractures, and with him, also injured, was a journalist for a national newspaper, who had just happened to pass the spot and got involved in the incident. The attack on a media person suddenly aroused the print and television media from there slumber, and soon the incumbent was being vilified everywhere. Ram babu had become the hero. The people’s mood and the heavy campaigning bore fruit when Ram babu won a landslide victory in the elections. He had never lost since.
Coming to power, Ram babu made sure he didn’t lose his focus. He started working on what he had set out for in the first place. The week after the results, people found an old man’s corpse lying in the gutter. He looked from a well to do family, and upon enquiry he was found to be one Hakim Chand, his son lived in the city and the old man lived alone at his ancestral place, having retired from his personal business a few years ago. First target achieved, Ram Babu set to work on the one thing which would make sure he had to never see those dark days again. He called a meeting of all the prominent businessmen in the city and a new rule was passed under the table, where each of them had to pay him a special maintenance charge, in return for allowing them to conduct work in HIS place. Over the next few years, he amassed huge amounts of wealth. He himself had lost count of how many bank accounts he had, some in his name, but mostly in the name of fictitious persons, people who had never existed. It wasn’t all so smooth going though. A few people, mainly activists and journalists had noted his meteoric rise and tried to get in his way. But he silenced them all. Some with money and some with might. He often smiled at himself, at how the vanquished had become the victor. Then came this guy. He brought out everything about him, every little detail, and made people remember those things that had all been forgotten. Ram babu knew that there was a huge mob-sentiment flowing against him, but he didn’t repeat the mistake of his predecessor. He even met with his opponent and refrained from criticizing him except for his lack of experience. On the night before the results declaration, there was an attempted burglary at the young man’s house. As he attempted to nab the fleeing robbers when one of them shot at him, at point blank range, killing him on the spot. The next day, ram babu was the first to come to his house to offer condolences, and offered the bereaved family his full support along with a state sponsored home and compensation. He demanded a thorough probe into the entire matter. The votes were counted, the deceased was found to be the victor. The state announced by-elections, and Ram babu was elected unopposed. The public didn’t find the courage to challenge its “servant”.

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