This is a political satire. If you are offended by political satire – please don’t read any further. The action takes place in a fictitious country somewhere in Asia. All the characters and events are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real characters is purely coincidental.
Read ACT 1, Scene 1 for background information.
Lady Maindhi’s residence at 10, Lokpath
Enter Lady Maindhi, Mumble Singh and Plumberji. Lady Maindhi looking visibly agitated mumbling threats and imprecations against everybody. Plumberji in most ingratiating manner trying to suggest to Lady Maindhi:
Plumberji: If I may say so madam, why don’t we recommend the name of your Binacaji? After all she is born here and cannot be disbarred.
Mumble Singh: But Plumberji, Binacaji has said she doesn’t want to enter politics. She and her husband Bobbyji are busy raising funds for the party to fight the future electoral battles. After all we have to think of the nation and its poor people. We must not take Binacaji away from her national duty.
Plumberji: Madam, in that case why not make our Baabaa the Prime Minister? So what if he is not very qualified or experienced. Mumble Singh and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with him and make sure he does not falter.
Mumble Singh (aside): Your shoulder will reach Baabaa’s knees, you rogue.
Lady Maindhi: Enough! I have heard the two of you talking rubbish. Neither Binaca nor Baabaa is going to sit on that chair while I am alive.
Aside: (You think I married that man in England just to be just a housewife listening to that tyrannical mother of his ? )
(Loud): Now we have to think of someone else since I am sure that foolish man with the stupid haircut will be difficult to persuade. Oh I can’t understand why those idiots of the Bhajan Party made him the President? Anyway, his term will soon end and then we will show him his proper place.
Aside: (Just to think how much I have waited for this opportunity, only to be scuttled by that interfering Sammy and this kalam-pusher. Fortunately that Gorbachev finished the USSR and the KGB; otherwise today they would have been at my throat demanding all that money back. Good for them. Their money is now safe in my Swiss bank account where nobody can touch it. Even my dear Lotus, who had a share in it, is mercifully gone, and I alone can operate that account and enjoy its fruits. But how much more delicious it would have been had I become the Prime Minister today. Oh what shall I do now?
Mumble Singh (approaching timidly): Madam I have an idea. Plumberji is the most senior member of our party. He has worked with your mother-in-law, and he served her most faithfully. After her tragic assassination he thought he should have been asked to form the government, but that President Jhadoo Singh, in his infinite wisdom, chose instead to call your dear husband. I beg you, madam, let Plumberji have the post that he surely deserves. His skills in plugging leaks and stemming runaway floods of allies and partymen are well known. He will serve you as faithfully as well as your family and I will support him at all times.
Lady Maindhi: Thank you Mumble for reminding me of those terrible times. The earth really shook when that mighty tree was felled. By the way, how many of your faith committed suicide to show their anguish at the bodyguard’s foul deed, and atoned for that terrible crime?
Mumble Singh: I believe, madam, there were more than 3500 of them who lit instant pyres using anything inflammable they could lay their hands upon, like tyres etc., and committed sati like the Rajput ladies of yore. Our able members Durjan Kumarji, Tattlersahib, Bagulabhagatji really worked hard to help these martyrs in their cause. It was not easy but within three days they showed what metal they were made of and lit the greatest homage to our fallen leader.
Lady Maindhi: And where were you at that time? Why didn’t you show the same respect?
Mumble Singh: Oh Madam, I had gone to my native place for some urgent domestic work. Also you may recall, I was not a politician then, just a bureaucrat. By the time I came back, your dear husband had said that enough homage had been paid and that the stalwarts of the party had worked tirelessly for too long and they needed some rest. More such occasions could be sought when homage would be paid to the departed leader.
Plumberji: (Interjecting): So madam, should we draft a new letter asking the President to approve my name?
Lady Maindhi: Wait! How impatient you look?
Aside (I can see you are already dreaming about the loaves and fishes of office. I know how you love to eat fish, especially cooked in mustard oil that stinks to high heavens. But how can I forget that you had told that family retainer Jhadoo to swear you in even before my darling Lotus had boarded the plane that was to bring him to Delhi. No, you cannot be trusted)
Turning to Mumble Singh
(Loud) Well Mumble what do you say if we go back with your name instead of mine?
Mumble Singh, overcome with emotion falls at Lady Maindhi’s feet and while trying to look down, cannot but help letting a sly smile creep up to the corners of his mouth.
Mumble Singh: Oh madam, I am so unworthy of this august office that had been held first by that giant among us, your mother-in-law’s father, then by her and after her by that shining star of the country, your late husband. Madam, please reconsider. I am totally unworthy to sit in the chair from which such godlike people, divinely ordained, dispensed justice and largesse among the people of this country.
Lady Maindhi: Oh stop talking nonsense. Didn’t that nincompoop Barasingarao occupy it for full five years? Weren’t you his Finance Minister? So if he can sit on that chair, why can’t you? After all you are also not from the dynasty.
Mumble Singh: But Madam, while I was serving him, I was always looking towards you for guidance, and my eyes were constantly turned towards 10, Lokpath. You might have also noticed that when this imposter died and his followers tried to bring his body into the Party’s Headquarters, how stoutly the party members resisted that move. Did I even utter one word in his favour? No madam, because I knew he was just an interloper, even like the last Prime Minister we had from the Bhajan Party who was prone to writing and reciting poetry at every possible opportunity, instead of trying to do some real honest work. Please madam, do refrain from suggesting my unworthy name.
Aside: (Plumberji, now your goose is truly cooked. Just see how this putli will dance to my tune).
Back in the President’s office. Enter Lady Maindhi, Mumble Singh and Plumberji.
President: Well, well, Lady Maindhi, have you consulted your family and pets? What is the decision?
Lady Maindhi: Oh, Mr. President, how I wish you were there? You would have heard the most heart-rending cries from the faithful, who just could not understand how that unworthy Submarine Sammy had wrecked all their hopes to see me anointed as the undisputed queen of this land. How they cried and beseeched me to reconsider? Oh what disappointments on their faces when I refused like Julius Caesar who had refused the crown three times? But eventually they understood and reconciled to their fate.
Well, Mr. President, we have decided to make this Mumble Singh here the leader of the house and he shall rule in my place till our Baabaa is ready to take over the command as is his rightful duty. Meanwhile, Mumble Singh will keep the seat warm by placing a sheepskin over the cushions in order not to pollute it with his rather too frequent gassy disseminations. By the way, Mumble, why do you eat so much dal? Why can’t you eat pasta like normal people?
President: A very good decision, Lady Maindhi, I daresay. Mumble Singh has all the qualifications for this office and although he is not an elected Member of the Lower House, I am sure you would have thought of a safe constituency for him to fight a bye-election.
Lady Maindhi: No Mr. President, Mumble Singh cannot win an election even from the safest seat in Andhera Pradesh., where my loyal pet would be ready to ensure his success. We will have to think of an Upper House seat for him. I think one of the states in the North-East would be the right place, what with more than half the population consisting of illegal immigrants. We will smuggle in our Mumble Singh as one more and no one will notice. Anyway, he is hardly audible or noticeable. We will make Google search for a place for him and Google can be trusted to create a residence record for him.
President: Well, in that case Lady Maindhi, you may declare Mumble Singh as the leader and form the next government at the centre.
Signs the letter in front of him.
Here you are.
Shaking Mumble Singh’s hand,” Congratulations Mumble Singhji!. Today you have become the Prime Minister of this great nation. I hope you will prove to be its worthy son! Good luck, and may God Bless you!”
Lady Maindhi, Mumble Singh, and Plumberji exit.
President: Oh my countrymen, today I truly fear for you. The quirks of our electoral system have thrown up this unholy combination like the pot of poison that the churning of the oceans had thrown up. But then there was a God to swallow the poison and hold it in his throat. Today there are no gods and no devatas. Only puny, ambitious people, who will spread this poison among the multitudes, the hapless and the poor. Mark my words; this Mumble Singh is not as innocent as he looks. He nurtures within his bosom the grossest ambition and like Dr Faustus will not be loath to make a pact with the Devil if it gives him the power to rule. His ingratiating smile is the smile of the fox before it pounces upon his prey. Make no mistake; he will ruin this country for sure.