* By The Irate Brahmin
The Irate Brahmin is a religious man whose sister had managed to do what most sane men would not want to do, namely, shake hand with Condoleza Rice. Being a Brahmin and all, he is a religious man. By that I mean he does a couple of things religiously, like drinking 2 pints of Kilkenny to wash down the usual 2 half-boiled eggs and sausages in the morning. He loves preparing breakfast and has been perfecting what he calls the "Brahmin Breakfast" for the past 10 years or so. May he soon succeed at serving one.
I write in response to Art Harun’s 1 Squat piece. As an Indian, I have to say that I am deeply offended.
Art seems to suggest that the Malays in this country have a monopoly. That is a statement of historical inexactitude and frankly one that lends to him being charged for sedition.
For in the function of excrement, Indians I will vouchsafe have some experience in the outdoors. Not just in the past, as Art suggests Malays have, but in the present.
But the past is what we have to deal with first. Art places his protagonists upon two strips of plank and then mounts his argument. Tosh and bunkum I say, for planks are a modern invention for those unable to find firm footing, while assuming the anatomical position.
A three hour flight to Chennai and a forty minute drive from airport to hotel, will of its own demonstrate the gymnastic ability of many Indians to not just spread legs, but manage sarong when conducting ablutions. No planks needed, these chaps do it in a different terrain every day. They are the commandos of public excrement.
Which brings us to Art’s demands upon our legislature. Pained as they are, especially when constipation must strike a certain portion of users of his proposed facilities, the legislation he demands is unconstitutional. It prefers one part of society or social group, over another, and that has to be wrong.
Shortly put, assuming the position is an individual right, plank or no plank, placing bottom within spitting distance of receptacle is a basic right of man. Some may have a greater historical entitlement to legal protection, and if that is the case (and I remain unconvinced), in my mind Indians stake the greatest claim.
And that claim comes about in two ways : first what my dearest uncle, who grew up in a small Indian village spoke to me of. He is now a retired doctor in England, but as we drove through southern India one year he recounted how as a little boy of 5 years old, he awoke every morning and sped to the nearest field with two of his cousins to attend to the morning’s business.
They would find a spot uninhabited by the previous day’s endeavours of the bowel and sit in a row in the open. Calculations of where one sat was a serious matter, distance a necessity, but not so that they could not communicate. Distance, because flies descended fast upon the pie first laid, but communication so that you could have an open air chat about the day ahead. It was, in any way you looked at it, a social occasion.
So Art, I beg to differ and stake the Indian claim to a constitutional right of protection for our manner of toilet.
But, if that is not enough, our claim is enforced by what we are told is our continued representation by the MIC. When our forefathers came to this country and fought for independence as fiercely as any other race, they accepted that the political reality was that we would have to be represented by a political party that advocated race and an understanding between them. But there were giants amongst them, those that also understood that one day that would have to change.
We are beyond that today, but the MIC, and most curiously the man who has been thumped by constituency and nation, continues to tell us that he and he alone knows what is best for Indians. Perplexing is the mildest of descriptions of the process of his thinking: incredulity if the reality.
Which gives us Indians, Mr Art, the golden key to the national toilet, and all claims to constitutional protection.
I look forward to seeing you perched, uncomfortably upon the future of true individual and not racial representation in this country sir, and you will forgive me I know, if I take from you, the constitutional and penal rights to the chamber pot that is current Indian politics.
Upon our squats in the future, I look forward to a communal chat about the way we go forward, with the odd backhand to deter the fly.
And finally of course, can I congratulate you for bringing that most priceless sense of all humour into writing : the toilet. We must exchange notes very, very soon on flatulence.