A place called Gotham-Humayun Gauhar

There is a fictional Gotham City. There is a real Gotham Country. Both are startlingly similar, except in one way. Gotham City has a Batman (and Robin). Gotham Country has none – or so it seems.
The citizens of both Gothams are gullible people known as Simpletons. Gotham Country one uses the more polite ‘Inept’. Gotham Country’s Simpletons have willingly put the Inept in authority because they love them. They love them because they think the Inept love them. The Inept use them, abuse them and kick them. The Simpletons love them even more. In Gotham City, there is also a Joker in the pack. In Gotham Country, there are many Jokers in the pack.
The Inept don’t know if they are coming or going. The one thing they do know is how to get rich wrongly. The trappings of power are with the Inept. Real power is with the Syndicate of Villains. The Villains are not citizens of Gotham. They don’t need to be because many of Gotham’s citizens – far too many for comfort – are agents of the Syndicate – and agent provocateurs. The Syndicate owns the Agents. The Syndicate owns the Inept. The Syndicate owns Gotham. The self-serving onslaughts of the Syndicate of Villains cannot be resisted by the ‘ruling’ Inept. Only Batman can keep them in check in fictional Gotham City. When life there becomes intolerable, its “authorities” and Simpletons beseech and implore Batman to save them, which he duly does. And they live happily ever after – until there is a sequel. Not so in Gotham Country. There is no Batman there to come flying in to save the day – or so it seems.
The Simpletons of Gotham Country foolishly thought that it was Batman who got them another chance to choose their Inept. They thought that in so doing they were ushering in a New Dawn. Now, not five months later, the realisation is dawning that this is yet another False Dawn. Batman was no Batman at all but an errant judge who cannot fly in a straight line. The influence of the many Jokers is far and wide – you can see it every minute of the day on comic television, comic newspapers, comic chatter, comic obscurants – all pedalling quick fix solutions. Not to forget the comic Super Brats – the Super Bureaucrats and Super Generals gone to seed – once amongst the serving Inept, many also agents of the Syndicate when in harness and still are after they have finally been put out to pasture despite much protestations but wish to return to stud even though they can hardly walk … The list of destructive comics that Gotham Country is infested with goes on and on. It is long, very long.
True to type, the Simpletons are again beginning to ask False Batman to “save” them. That’s not all. Amazingly, even naive citizens from the country of the Syndicate of Villains are beginning to suggest that, “This cannot be allowed to go on; it must be stopped.” These are the very people who nagged Gotham to distraction for years, crying themselves hoarse for “democracy through elections”. They wanted the Simpletons to choose their own Inept – devouring overlords all. They did. Now that they have chosen, they are asking to abort the process. It strains credulity. One can’t believe one’s ears. Why did these Nosey Parkers not say, “This cannot be allowed to go on; it must be stopped” when the twice indirectly ‘elected’ Chairman of their own Syndicate of Villains was destroying Gotham and the rest of the world for eight years with callous abandon? Because that’s democracy, the much manipulated “will of the people”? You wanted elections, you Simpletons of Gotham and Nosey Parkers of Syndicate Country? You’ve got them. The “will of the people” is before you. The Simpletons have “spoken in their majesty”. Now lump it. Be brave enough to suffer the consequences. You’ve made your bed of thorns; now lie in it. Suffer hourly nightmares if you have to, waking or when somnambulant – such unfortunate never can sleep. Only then will you learn. You cannot ask False Batman to “save” you again. Why should he? In any case, he cannot. He doesn’t know how. He is programmed to defend Gotham from external aggression, not internal stupidity. He will only make another mess, largely at the behest of the Syndicate, whose objective is to enable the Simpletons to bring back the Inept, the Jokers and their Agents and Agent Provocateurs so that they can manipulate Gotham Country and its Simpletons through them. All the time their Agents and Agent Provocateurs are hard at work, in political parties, the bureaucracy and the military, in the private sector, the media and academia… Not to forget Pastureland, from where clapped out Inept Idiot bulls that are beyond anything hold forth in comic newspapers, on comic television, on the roads, in seminars and conferences, all paid for and arranged courtesy the Syndicate, where they loudly proclaim their potency, trying to beat the unbeatable. The Villains laugh all the way. And so the merry dance of death goes on and inexorably on until Gotham will exist no more. Except in movies, novels and the footnotes of history.
There are certain similarities between Gotham Country and Syndicate Country too. Both suffer from the decline of their currencies. Both suffer from dear oil getting dearer. Both suffer from the Immoral War by Villains on Un-Islamic Terrorism. But there are crucial differences. In Gotham Country things that should fall (or stay steady) are rising, while things should be rising (or staying steady) are falling. In Syndicate Country it’s the other way round. So what separates the two? Gotham Country lacks two right things while Syndicate Country has it in surplus. The two things that Gotham Country lacks and Syndicate Country has in surplus are common sense and the right order of priorities. In Gotham Country the priorities are: “Me first, country second.” In Syndicate Country, the priorities are: “Country first, me second.” The day Gotham Country rediscovers its lost common sense, that day its order of priorities will also get reversed – “Country first, me second.” It will sound simple to Simpletons. It will sound simplistic to common sense. But it has been known to happen.
The change will only occur when it dawns on the Simpletons that in real life each one of them is a Batman because the only real Batman that exists lives is in each one of them. Only the real Batman inside them can save them from the Inept, the Jokers and the Villains of the Syndicate. All they have to do is to let him out. But they will not if they keep asking False Batman to always abort their learning process when it becomes painful or jeopardises their vested interests. Thus they won’t get a chance to pay for their gullibility and simplicity – and let it be said, crass stupidity – for only through paying from their mistakes will they learn and only when they learn will they realise that their salvation lies neither in the Villains nor in the Jokers or the Inept, nor indeed in False Batmen, but in themselves. The real Batman will only emerge if they go back to their roots. Then the real Batman will emerge from inside them. Then they will stop aping the ways and systems of the Villains and the many Syndicates of Villains before them. Then they will find themselves.
Talking of “the simple”, Umberto Eco says in The Name of the Rose. “Joining a heretical group, for many of them, is often another way of shouting their own despair.”
“The simple are meat for slaughter, to be used when they are useful in causing trouble for the opposing power and to be sacrificed when they are no longer needed.”
“…When your true enemies are too strong, you have to choose weaker enemies. I reflected that this is why the simple are so called. Only the powerful always know with great clarity who their true enemies are.”

Source: The Nation, 3/8/2008

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