Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.
It seems that APJ Abdul Kalam is unlikely to be re-elected India’s president, so this is an appropriate time to suggest a successor. My candidate is the Indian Mango.
I ate a Mango a couple of hours ago, and it was immensely refreshing. Most importantly, it did nothing that would be inappropriate for the president’s office. Indeed, the Mango has many qualifications that make it ideal for that exalted post, and I list some of them here:
1. Mangoes do not write poetry.
2. Mangoes do not want to waste taxpayers’ money to put Indians on Mars.
3. Mangoes will not try to keep themselves out of the scope of the RTI, despite getting a salary from taxpayers’ money.
4. Mangoes will not make the news for trivial reasons, and will stay away from celebrityhood.
5. Mangoes will not have hairstyles.
And so on. You do realize that I can keep adding to this list, I’m sure. It is quite clear to me, and I hope you agree, that the Mango should be our next president. What’s that? What did you say?
How dare you? Let me reiterate my motto of the day: Mangoes are people too.
Thank you. Do come for the inauguration.
Update: An anonymous reader writes in:
I disagree with your choice. Amartya Sen would make a better president. How will a mango carry out the duties of the office?
Update 2: Jim O’Neil writes in with a dramatic point of view that has made me think again about my endorsement. I reproduce his email below the fold:
Amit, Amit, Amit:
Of course it’s your country and outsiders should not meddle in your elections… but running a mangoe (or as we say in America, mango)? Shucky darn you might as well have a durian fruit stand for office!
Mangoe (mango). Sigh. The whole world knows that they just can’t stand the pressures of office, after the first day your mangoe would be puree and after a week would smell as bad as any other politician!
I know, I know, I’ve allowed that us foreigners have no right to meddle in your internal politics but might I suggest instead of a mangoe that you support an American Walnut?
Walnuts have the tough shell necessary for politics, their kernel is at least as large as any political’s brain, they have the gravitas necessary for high office, their thinking process is absolutely unaffected by momentary fads… I could go on and on and on and on.
Now I know you are ready to counter my argument by noting that your constitution would never permit a foreign nut to run, let alone to serve, but, admit it, Amit, we both know that it would take only a short search to find a walnut family that has been living in India for many generations and from said family tree find a truly Indian nut.
Amit my friend, I’ve great respect for your journalistic skills (I’ve enjoyed your baseball columns but due, I am sure, to computer errors in transmission, the bats look flat, I often see two of them and two of the bases are missing.), your intelligence and the depth of your reasoning but, call me conservative if you want, but I must say mangoes
have no business in public office!!
Hmm. Well, I am open to new perspectives, and Jim has certainly raised some valid issues. Any Indian walnuts among you are welcome to write to me, I shall see what I can do for you. Please include a CV.
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