Seek no further for the Land of Ironies if you come to Churachandpur, which is called Lamka. It's no myth that the land and its people are a complete package of paradoxical contrasts.
To begin with, save for a scattering group of tribes, majority are from the 'non-R' group of language. To us, not only is the name of our home-and-hearth outlandish, it is quite a tongue-twister. The great king after whom our principal town was named was said to have never reigned over it. Quite a few times did we try to change to an indigenous one: Lamka. Nobody disliked it. Yet nobody liked it. And, perhaps for a little clog or two, the larger interest always got sacrificed for a name we could hardly call out. Behold, this is Chulachanpul - a democratic land where the minority always takes the last call!
Now, you say changing a name is not an easy task? It is an issue. It needs consensus. It needs consultation. It needs legislation. But Orissa has very recently become Odisha, Bangalore Bengaluru, and Mamata Banerjee, in a span of a few months, changed the name of West Bengal to West Bengal (Paschim Bengal)! Is it really that hard? Do I have to rattle off more names?
Again, we, the peopurr of CCPul, are a bunch of curious cases. We preach peace but live in fear. We seek unity but choose to be at loggerheads if sacrifices have to be made for its sake. We form pacts and alliances that we may have security and steer clear from violence. Yet, at the end, we still have to fight it out with sweat and blood.
We believe in absolute truth. But that depends on the teller. Facts cannot bend; truth, well, curves in any form that suits its purpose. Of course, we vehemently deny this charge, unless you fortify your truth with the proper stuff. We prefer truths coated in syrups of money and muscle.
We boast of our high quality education. Perhaps, we mistook the burgeoning number of private schools as a regular yardstick. Beyond the borders of Lamka, we're one of the most arrogant, uncouth, unkempt, ill-mannered, and topping it all, the most uneducated species in the world. One reason for this ignobility may be our confusion between being educated and being literate. One point of difference between an educated man and a literate man is that the former's mind is accommodative whereas the latter's is compartmentalised and fanatic.
Dispensing advice without being asked for or being fit is a gift we claimed next to natural in us. It is our speciality to criticise without offering a suggestion. But if you dare to offer us a solution, we'll pay you back with our own coin, not yours! We criticise, but being criticised...um...you gotta be kidding! Perhaps, we're too great a soul to be nitpicked.
Dare to say or write to better our lot, we'll simply scream, I mean, comment, out of context and go guns blazing at your poor person and personality. Even if it relates to us in no way, we still pass a remark or two. We do this out of due expertise or haughty pride, only God knows.
Well, speaking of God, not unlike any bigot, the CCPulian is very touchy about his God. But we often take God for religion. God is personal, you cannot believe even for your own son. But religion, say church in a smaller, more understandable perspective, is an organised society. It solely serves for the welfare of its members, which is not necessarily always spiritual. We hold WTC-bombers and Muslim jihadis in utmost contempt. Admit it, hypocrite! But our emotion is not unprejudiced. For they desecrate not God, but the symbol of global financial supremacy of America. In truth, we ourselves, not unlike the Islamic hotheads, have our daggers drawn at anyone who dare speak against our religion, shall we again say, church? Let's give religion, not God, a rest with this single paragaph. It is too wide all interpretations look valid one way or the other. Needless to say, no war has ever claimed as many lives as did religion, not God. To be very candid, God is love, religion is hate. And all people are religionists.
Fleeing from religion, not God, let me dwell in politics. Oh God, it's from the frying pan into the fire. There is no love lost between proud us, hill warriors, and the valley White Foreheads. We call them incurable liars. And they love us as 'foreigners'. We call them money guzzlers yet learn the trade from them. And we grow into mites eating ourselves from inside out. They say a White Forehead can be gratified with a stick of cigarette. But grease a CCPulian's palm and you need the whole gallon.
By the way, why do politics and social movements connect so well? I mean, any movement that leans towards politics. Be it students' movement, employees' Union movement; be it the most popular movement, I mean in terms of recognition or fear factor I don't know, called militancy or underground movement. Let me add the movements of certain elders and clergy of our churches while you look away. Yes, I do wonder why all these movements have to end in politics always?
Now, politics, in the Land of Ironies, means elections. No more, no less. Nobody, no movement, so far, has yet risen above this benchmark. Even the most promising Long March of the 80's had fallen into the ways of electioneering. And the latter-day movements too involve themselves in this quest of power although in a subtler manner. But all seemed to have ended in a fiasco. I mean, if the movements are meant to serve the larger benefit of the common people - not the vested few.
Our society has been infested with all kinds of ills - physical, moral, spiritual, and whatnot. I'm not breaking news. Just stating the obvious what you already knew ad nauseum. But we still act living in Utopia. The brain-drain diaspora longed for their homeland too. But they come home only to find everything to their dissatisfaction. From development or lack thereof to the exceptional ease our youths find with the latest IT gadgets and absorption of hiphop culture. From the overflowing slush in the streets to the protective cover of dust that serves as humidity. They'd lament at the low our Once Paradise had sunk. Unable to help, they end up passing uncalled for remarks while having no power to bring about the change they propound. Now, that definitely earns them bigger pieces of mind from all sides.
All being said and done, you're still a free bird in Churachandpur. Only that your freedom is taken care by others. Say or write anything you feel right or unright, but please the audience. Especially the bigger fishes in the higher echelons of the society. I mean, all types of societies. The right to life and pursue happiness is a natural right. But a few some arrogated the responsibility to uphold it. Some may even claim divine sanction and recommend you to hell's fire based on a set of principles you choose to believe or unbelieve.
Nevertheless, we're a peaceful people. We've given up headhunting a long time ago. We don't resort to it anymore unless pushed to the wall. Slight problem is, we're pushed to it once too often. We're good Christians. But that doesn't mean you can preach us to love our enemies. Space is running out fast even for our own brothers if they don't belong to the same party as we do.
Okay, enough of this bullshit. Actually, we're not a bunch of ironies as often portrayed. What people see us outside is not always us inside. And you have to take the plunge to know the soft core we owned within. It may be a place where angels fear to tread. But, be bold, forget the angels (they never came anyway), and come to us. Zogam tourism, I mean, Chulachanpul at its ironical best, is waiting for you!
It's a rosebud you find in a bush of thorns. It's only deserts that have oases. You find peace not in the absence of problems but in their midst. Why do ivory and ebony have to lie side by side to produce the sweet music of a piano? And what do you expect to find in the Land of Ironies? Of course, harmony.