Sunday, 9 June 2013

hunger for a king

Yes, you saw it right.  This number plate belongs to someone who identifies himself - or at least his car - as the National President of the Nazi Party - complete with swastika.

We saw this in an industrial part of North Delhi just over a week ago.  And the next day on the plane down to Mumbai I sat next to a gentleman whose business line it is to buy old ships from around the world and break them up. 

Needless to say I had a fascinating conversation with this man for most of the 2 hours our silver bird whooshed between Delhi and Mumbai.  The man had flown up earlier in the day to meet a minister about some issue.  I'll call him Mr. Vijay.   Mr. Vijay had multiple, massive plans at various points of execution, and seems to know just how to get things going.

Mr. Vijay made the morbid comment that for 'ministers don't mind if you kill a cow or kill a man - all they want is their money.'  He went on to say that the ministers all just want to make their millions while they are in office.   Mr. Vijay's hopeful monster?  That the next election will change everything and that young people will choose 'good efficient' people.


And for all the disgust that Mr. Vijay expressed about the leadership - he ruefully admitted that he was upto his eyeballs in playing the game.  Thinking back on our conversation, I realise that he was basically painting himself as a normal guy, who is just trying to make ends meet.  "Get up, eat, work, come back, drink some black label, sleep' is how Mr. Vijay summed up his life.

Hardly.  But then again, how much truth would he be able to give to a guy he is sitting next to on a flight?

But one of the interesting statements he made, when Mr. Vijay saw that I had a Bible with me, was that one of his distant relatives is an evangelist, who goes from village to village in a neighbouring country and preaches.  I am glad my seatbelt was buckled.  And if there were an open window, I may have fallen out in surprise.

Here I am talking to a chap who if what he says is even half-true, is a fellow who hobnobs with some of the biggest politicians in the state - and whose business ventures are clearly multiple orders of magnitude more than running a neighbourhood grocery store.   And he has a relative who is doing what my great-grandfather and grandfather did in the first half of the twentieth century - going village to village and preaching.

So why start with a picture of a license plate of a 'Nazi Party' supremo?  Because of the murkiness of all things leadership in our dear land of India.  And the deep desire for something better.  Behind the glitz and glamour of the most lucrative cricket league in the world - we now see a vast morass of grubby behaviour - and no real way to move out.  At the same time, more and more people push their aspirational dreams and leave their small towns and rural area for the lights of the big cities.  We see it in our work as the old and new and hyper-new Indias jostle each other.

Mr. Vijay spoke darkly about revolution.  About a time when people will be fed up with the inequality.  It was quaintly marxist for him to have that thought.  What I see around us is more of what I have seen all my life so far - the deep divide between haves and have-nots - and the willingness on most of our parts to carry on as if nothing is wrong with the picture.

Do we yearn for a leader?  A fuehrer who will set things right?   There is a white-haired gent who is pitching himself as the man with a plan with elan for the 2014 national elections.  In the other camp the tired dynasty has a young crumpled fellow who seems to be sleep-walking into oblivion.  Hardly stirring stuff.

But my readings these days tell me of a different story.  There is a mustard-seed kingdom taking root in our midst.  It has suffered many apparent defeats, often caused by its very 'success' at times, but is real.

I believe, in the Kingdom come, when all the colours bleed, into one, bleed into one... sang a once fairly simple group of Irish lads.

There are just two possible ways of looking at history.  One is the status quo, go with the flow, grab what you can, man approach.  The other centres around a Jewish carpenter who rode on a donkey into a city one day to the shouts of a rag-tag mob that He was the chosen one, the celestially appointed King who will rule in justice and truth.

A few weeks later, he left behind a group of 120 odd open-jawed men and women, looking up into the clouds into which he had disappeared.  These in turn obeyed (mercifully) what he told them in parting and went back and prayed till power from on high was poured upon them on the day when Jews celebrated that 50 days had passed since the Passover feast.

Mr. Vijay's world has been nibbled a bit by this mustard seed conspiracy.  Despite his suaveness and his apparent ease in the corridors of the powers that be, at least one of Mr. Vijay's relatives has taken the plunge and identified himself heart and soul with King Jesus.

And that's who I pledge my allegiance to.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

One day the kings of this earth will bring their glories into the city ruled by our soon and coming King.

I can't wait - and that's why we seek to use every moment we have to serve Him now.   So help us sweet Jesus.

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