Sunday Snippets: The 3 Idiots
By Venkatesh Raghavan
It was a Sunday evening and I was seated with Amir at the corner table of his Irani restaurant. We had just finished our glass of green tea and he was feeling intrigued about such an indiscrete outburst by the Pakistani foreign minister against our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Our conversation was somewhat along these lines, which made our Sunday.
Amir: The comments made about our Prime Minister seem to be stoked by some Western Media propaganda, seeking to bring about the tension of war clouds in the air.
Me: Not at all Amir. I have a strong feeling that the Chinese who are facing a slowing down of their business have hatched a plan to give their export earnings a boost.
Amir: You sound way off the mark. How on earth will China benefit from such a high-level verbal war that amounts to nothing other than TRP ratings for the media?
Me: The Chinese have a two-fold business plan to benefit from this endeavour. Firstly, both India and Pakistan will indulge in the burning of effigies of each other’s parliamentarians. This offers a rich business opportunity to China to sell effigies at economically attractive prices. As the number of effigies increases, with more and more sound bytes from the two verbally warring nations, Chinese manufacturers will gain by diversifying from their toy-making industry.
Amir: You have said it is a two-fold gain. I don’t see benefits accruing to any other industry. Or are you talking about the Chinese government gaining an edge over us by using it as a pretext to stage a border dispute?
Me: No Amir, I am not suggesting any political or geopolitical goal. I am still echoing the business benefits the Chinese will stand to gain from this.
Amir: It beats me how else can the Chinese economy benefit from the spillover of such a war of words?
Me: The Chinese will also be able to give a fillip to their failing readymade garment industry. They will sell T-shirts and caps that carry anti-India messages in Pakistan and vice versa. Many in both countries will be shown staging protests and the TRP-hungry media channels too will have a field day.
Amir: Are you suggesting both the Indian and Pakistani governments are orchestrating a diversion from the real issues facing our countries with able assistance from China?
Me: I would say it’s the other way around Amir. I feel China, which is facing mounting protests from its citizens who are unhappy with stringent COVID-19 restrictions, will receive some good news on their local channels to cheer for.
Amir: Your views are very China-centric and I am unsure of what both our neighbours, India and Pakistan are going to face because of this standoff.
Me: You might have heard another of the Pakistani ministers threatening to exercise the nuclear option against India if we don’t stop criticizing their extremely erudite politicians. This offers a golden chance for the Prime Ministers of both countries to step in and perform a peace negotiation.
Amir: It makes no sense to me. What agenda will all this finally fulfil?
Me: No agenda Amir. It’s just “All is well”.
Amir: You mean, India, Pakistan and China will constitute the 3 Idiots?