When Satan Played Chess
When Satan Played Chess
Rajdhani, February last week, 2020
Atul shouldered the dead body to the cemetery. As he was carrying, he thought of the great moments spent with his best friend Asif, whose body he was shouldering on. They had been to the same school; studied together; bunked classes; went to first-day first show; ogled at girls by the bazaar; shared their meals; sometimes ate from the same plate.
In one moment of frenzy, he had chopped off the head. He, too, shouted Jai Shri. Then the sense followed.
The next day morning, Atul’s mother found him lying dead on blood-stained sheets. He had cut his wrist with the same sword, and their blood had become one. His mother screamed.
Satan watched all this with great satisfaction. Round number 1, he had won the game of chess. He felt sated as the communal division among people was nearly complete. His master had said that this was an experiment. The Goondaraj model has got implemented. Here and there, a muted voice protested. Some commented on the lack of Rajadharma. What a joke? How do you expect the devils’ brotherhood to have Rajadharma?
Satan mused that in 1984, the nation’s psyche got a permanent scar when certain communities were murdered en-masse. Where was the Rajadharma then? In 1992, the then PM did not dare to stop the Rath-yatra or engage the military to prevent the destruction of a holy place. The flame of hatred got ignited then. It grew into a blaze in 2002 in Goondaraj. The devil twin had led the pogrom against another community this time. They went from strength to strength, and now they are ruling the nation. It was time to test the Goondaraj Model. The citizens were totally in awe of his master as he could no wrong. He talked about brotherhood and sisterhood post the riots like the infamous Nero. Yet his rating went up. The law-keepers were under a leash, and the military has bowed before the charisma of the master. Gurus were in awe, and so was the media too. Not a whimper from the world leaders; they were all occupied with the Coronavirus.
When people, if at all, wake up from their slumber, they would realize the nation has become one synonymous with majority bigotry. The illusion of past glory would mesmerize them for time to come.
In the Chamber of the Minister of Ultimate Knowledge (MUK), Early March 2020
MUK took stock of the capital riots. He was satisfied with the results. This riot was little revenge for the loss of the Capital in the just went elections. The intelligence chief reported that some viral disease has been going on in countries like Tally and Whono. It is time they took some action on this count. Then a representative of the Mahasabha intervened and said that they have Gomutra, and that will take care of any viruses. They will start Gomutra parties in the Capital and elsewhere. But the intelligence chief persisted and said the Capital was due to host a religious meet in the middle of March. Delegates from certain countries close to the virus epicenter got to attend. He asked, “shouldn’t we stop the meeting?” MUK brushed aside the question and said, let it happen. Politically it may cost us somewhat to stop this meeting at this juncture. He didn’t reveal his mind in the meeting.
Three weeks later
The virus had made a grand entry, notwithstanding the Gomutra parties. As was anticipated by MUK, social media was buzzing about the virus. Time was ripe for igniting social media. Virus provided the opening gambit. Many who attended the minority religious meet got tested and found positive for the virus. A new term called COVID Jihad became popular in social media. Blame game had started. It was a minority voice that questioned the inaction of the MUK. The majority blamed the people who belonged to the minority.
One evening the intelligence chief walked in to continue his daily briefing over a game of chess. MUK and the chief were both Shatranj ki Khiladi. The chief told MUK, “now I understand why you didn’t want to stop the religious meeting.” MUK let out his customary grin and moved his knight and called out “check.” MUK added, “politics is like a game of chess and people are like pawns. You win some you lose some.“
MUK had underestimated the power of social media. The COVID jihad had turned into a phobia and snow-balled across the border. The Princess of the Emirates of United Arabs (EUA) was annoyed when her mobile phone pinged, and she got furious to see the message. Yet again, a message full of venom against followers of her religion. She tweeted that what they will do if EUA were to send back the followers of the other religion to their home country. The Indian Ambassador got alarmed. He knew that, annually, nearly 55 Billion USD was the estimated remittance from gulf countries. He doused the phobia and asked his country citizens to refrain from tweeting hateful messages.
Back in India, the President of the National Service Society decided to issue a statement. He felt that this wasn’t the time to point fingers at any community. COVID times was bad enough. He didn’t want the communal virus too, to flare up. His appeal to the countrymen and women in the papers read, “COVID doesn’t differentiate between any religion, caste, creed or nationality. Let us fight this battle together.”
Satan wasn’t pleased with this development. He decided to play the Premier of Whono into the game. Skirmishes started in the border region. The game is being played now at a higher level, literally and metaphorically.