Mangalyaan or mangal-yawn? Politicians tell us what the mission means. Any resemblance with any character in real life is imaginary!
Shantanu Datta | September 24, 2014
Was there a delay of a day? That’s the question nudging the elbow of every Indian today as ISRO turned around 180 degrees from being an acronym for Iss row (ke last me baithiye) to YES!RO for millions. The achievement was so great that it forced even Manmohan Singh, best known for his sealed lips over the last 10 years, to part his lips and part with a few words in praise for the scientists at ISRO. For many, though, the sweetener would have doubled had the mission Mangalyaan been accomplished yesterday – on a Mangal-war (Tuesday).
But sad jokes and great hurrahs apart, ISRO’s mission, making India the first nation to check out Mars, has already been turned into a political war of self-appreciation. While prime minister Narendra Modi lost no time in using the occasion for another great PR job, Congress supporters lost even less time to start reminding people that it all started under the UPA government, and that Modi is reaping benefits of 10 years of Congress-led administration’s achievements.
While we obviously will not take part in it, we decided to check with the Martian avatars of some of our political leaders to get a sense of what they feel about Mission Mars. Read with a pinch of salt:
Narendra Modi: Congrats to ISRO for orbiting Venus.
Digvijay Singh: Mars can have no scope of hate politics because Martians never saw 2002.
Rahul Gandhi: Mission Mars was started under the UPA government. It is meant to empower women. Today I ask the women of this country: would you like to visit Mars? Or would you like to visit Neptune?
Ravi Shankar Prasad: Considering the veracity of the news that India has become the first Asian nation to reach Mars, I demand resignation of all chiefs of all such missions – whether planned, junked, thwarted, truncated or even those that never took off – in all nations of Asia.
Arvind Kejriwal: Delhi elections should be held immediately, and it should be held in Mars. There is no corruption, no Ambani, no lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung there.
Derek O’Brien: Red planet. Red soil. Maa, maati, manush.
Mamata Banerjee: Red planet? Red soil? This is a Maobaadi conspiracy against Trinamool gorment.
Uddhav Thackeray: That the Mars Orbiter faced no hurdles in reaching Mars shows there is no Modi wave in Mars. We demand 150 seats for Shiv Sena in Maharashtra assembly elections.
Mani Shankar Aiyar: Mars does not need any chaiwala. People there drink coffee.
Rajnath Singh: My ties with Mars, sorry Modi, are too deep for any mission to commission a demolition of it.
Sushma Swaraj: O my god!
Al Qaeda’s India operations spokesperson: We will take the holy war to Mars [everyone heaves a sigh of relief]. We will then turn India into Mars and Mars into India [unable to figure it out, everyone takes a deep breath and holds it, again].
Subramaniam Swamy: By the power vested in me, I declare Mars a Hindu rashtra and all Martians as Hindus.
Praveen Togadia: Ditto.
Excited TV anchor: If Mars is a bar of chocolate and Orbit is a gum to be chewed, the nation needs to know what we are praising each other for.
Manmohan Singh: …
As India celebrates 70 years of freedom, Governance Now looks back and picks 70 words – or phrases, buzzwords, slogans, events – that best define this ancient nation and young democracy. Here, you will find much to be proud of, much tinged with pangs of nostalgia. Then there are entries that
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