Time magazine may think 2012 belongs to Obama, but we Indians know otherwise. The big winner this year was, of course, the mango man. The once lowly, aam aadmi who is now the ultimate arbiter of power, a god-like creature whose name is evoked over and over in vain.
"All resources of the country belong to him, his welfare is the only concern of the Government. Everything is done in his name," observes KV Narayanamurti, "This is much like what happens in Hindu temples. Everything, including the lavish Nivedyams, are Upahaar for him, and yet how much he gets to eat! He is locked in a dark, dingy room, with not much fresh air, not allowed to see sunlight or the rains, yet he is the Master of the Universe. Shall we not then be inclined to equate the aam aadmi, with God?"
But in 2012, this beloved god descended upon us in a more irate incarnation, unleashing his wrath of those who dared to curse him — as poor Robert Vadra did on his ill-timed Facebook update. His lila on the grounds of Ramlila in 2011 proved to be a sign of greater furies in store.
Far wiser to dedicate your freshly minted political party to his rageful holiness, smearing his sacred name across your gandhi cap a la Arvind Kejriwal.
Unlike his stingier peers, the mango god rewards obeisance with immediate wordly gifts. No need to wait for those comely virgins when media apsaras will dance to your tune right here on earth. Google aam aadmi and the results of true devotion are clear. Page after page of links to stories about Arvind Kejriwal with nary a mention of the common man's other self-appointed devotee, the Congress party which won many elections in his name. Move over Rahul, there is a new pope of populism in town.
Of course, Pundit Manish Tewariji did not take kindly to this act of idol theft, spluttering “The aam aadmi is synonymous with the Congress since 1885 when the party came into existence. Nobody can hijack, skyjack or bicycle-jack the intrinsic relationship between the Congress and the people of this country."
Tewariji and his UPA ilk fail to recognise what 2012 made clear: the Congress party's household god has taken on a new avatar, of the less domesticated kind. Gone is the meek, hapless thatha of RK Laxman cartoons of yore. 2012 ushered in the common man as The Great Destroyer, embodied by Kejriwal whose press conference tandavs aimed to bring down the great edifice of Indian politics down on our heads. He is angry, self-righteous, and unlike his dhoti-clad predecessor, has no sense of humour.
The god of mangoes is therefore unlikely to be amused by heretics over at Samosapedia :
The Indian aam aadmi has a very erratic and self-contradictory deposition. He gets very impulsive when he reads about corruption scams in local newspapers and wants to join the anti corruption movement on the spot but at the very next moment he attains a boner seeing Mallika Sherawat… wearing a nagin costume when he turns to page three. And the very next day he bribes the traffic police to allow him to wear a strapless helmet.
Shame on those Samosa-walas for underlining the uncomfortable fact that the ultimate Indian idol is aadmi not mahila. There are no goddesses in his temple, but female devotees are always welcome.
As the year rolls to an end, the vanquisher of corruption is armed and ready for electoral battle — first in Delhi in 2013, and later the national stage in 2014. Unless, of course, the economy improves and salaries increase. Aam aadmi may then take on yet another avatar, one less anorexic and ill-tempered. It's hard to stay mad with a mouth full of ladoos.