I would like to tell you all a story.
It is not a true story; various facts have been distorted, ignored or, indeed, have been completely made up!
But you know me – I won’t let something like that stop me!
So, if you please, let’s have no comments about things that are wildly inaccurate or which could not possibly have happened as stated! Just do what you do every time you see a live broadcast from the House of Commons and suspend your disbelief for as long as it takes! OK?
For this story does have a point – one which I will come to in my own time and in my own way. And it is getting to that point that is the most important thing although it MAY be lost on (hypothetical) American readers who call things by different names.
So! Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin.
The Provincial Government of West Bengal was meeting four or five years ago in the great seaport formerly known as Calcutta (and I shall continue to call it that because my readers will all know it by that name) on the North East coast of India.
For those who did not have the benefit of the irritable Mr Burch to teach them Geography I should just explain that WEST Bengal is on the Indian EAST coast because East Bengal is up and around the coast a bit. It is not in fact now in India but is the country called Bangladesh.
While I am digressing I would like, once and for all, to scotch the rumours that I once fell asleep in an Economic Geography class, woke up in Colonial History and, as a result, now believe that the major export of that area is Black Coal of Calcutta! It simply isn’t true!
Anyway, let’s get back to the Provincial Government – who were worried by a disturbing report concerning the lifestyle of a growing number of teenagers in the suburbs of the city and the outlying villages.
The cause of their behaviour was quite apparent (which annoyed the career bureaucrats among them who wanted to form a committee to investigate this!) – it was a western-made movie set in 1935 in an unnamed area of India.
At the time of its first release it had not been well received on the sub-continent for two reasons. Firstly it did not present a very favourable view of some elements of Indian society and, secondly, it did NOT feature thousands of good looking and brilliantly clad dancers!
The film was, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, starring Harrison Ford, the only man in Hollywood to be named after a Peterborough Car Dealership!
For reasons that remain unknown, when this movie was released cheaply on DVD it struck a chord with disaffected youth in the slums of the city causing them to revive not only the despicable practices of the ancient Thuggee bands but also the corrupted and evil versions of the rites associated with the worship of the Hindu Goddess, Kali. Both of these activities were featured in the movie.
For information, the Thuggee were one stage worse than their teenage UK equivalent, the Hoodee! The latter would happily mug you for your cash and mobile phone while the former would do all that and then strangle you too! Sensible really – no witnesses to provide identikit pictures.
It was however, the twisted and perverted version of the worship of Kali involving as it did HUMAN SACRIFICE that had prompted the reaction from the Government.
They decided, not TOO surprisingly that this had to be stamped out without hesitation and enlisted the support of Hindu leaders to forbid ANY worship of the Goddess of Death until the emergency had passed.
When this order met with only limited success (that is to say the youngsters ignored it completely) a new strategy was quickly drawn up with the assistance of Religious and Business leaders – public demonstrations!
The idea was that hundreds of thousands or even millions of ordinary people would be encouraged to attend mass rallies and demonstrations a few weeks apart. At these day-long rallies the people would, it was hoped, show their complete disgust, vocally and with placards, for these sickening religious practices and demand the end of ALL worship of Kali, The Black Mother.
A third weekend would be set aside for 3 months hence as either a third demonstration, if needed, or hopefully to celebrate the success of the first two.
Preparations were made and the first rally was set for early May. HOWEVER, they overlooked ONE thing! A thing that no third year Geography student would have forgotten! THE MONSOON!
As the weekend opened so did the heavens and rain so heavy that even we in the UK couldn’t imagine it fell continuously for the next three days. The people who had turned up scattered for their homes and stayed there!
After that the weather improved slightly (it WAS after all a bit early for the full Monsoon) and everyone’s hopes were pinned on “Demo 2” four weekends later.
It was not to be!
Saturday dawned and “Kaaboom!” The Monsoon began in earnest – another total washout!
With the distinct feeling that the rest of the Hindu pantheon were against them for attempting to ban the worship of one of their number, the Provincial leaders met again and tried to think what to do next.
Fortunately matters were taken out of their hands by the release of a brand new computer game “Strangle and Sacrifice” which offered all of the thrills to be had from Thuggee AND Kali worship without the need for talking to other teenagers or all of that strenuous knife sharpening!
Overnight the muggings and sacrifices stopped COMPLETELY.
The long, hot, wet tropical summer proceeded peacefully – even the Monsoon rain seemed much less than normal.
It was, however, noted by the Government’s scientific advisers that the worst downpour of the summer coincided with the weekend in August earmarked for the now unnecessary third rally and demonstration.
A full enquiry was ordered into why this should have been the case but no conclusion was ever reached and the matter was quietly dropped.
With the benefit of hindsight, however, WE know what they should have done!
They should, of course, have phoned one of their many Call Centres in the UK and explained the circumstances.
All would then have become clear!
Because (and I really hope you are still sitting comfortably for this) everyone in the UK knows……..
IT ALWAYS RAINS ON A BAN KALI DAY!
Alfie (in hiding somewhere in the UK!)