An entry to the The Great Indian Blogging Contest, as a part of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2015.
I find it so befitting that after all this time, after The Great Indian this-and-the-Great-Indian-that, the ‘chamcha’ has been given his or her moment of fame. Perhaps it was a matter of time before cruel Destiny would relent and give the Great Indian Sycophant his moment in the spotlight. How ‘great’ is that!
Well, much enthused by this act of justice and of course, the promise of reward, I sat to pen an ode to these individuals who should be given due recognition for their efforts.
Did I just imagine you rolling your eyes at my use of the word ‘efforts’? Save that ocular exercise for the ophthalmologist’s please, for I am going to remind you how laborious is the task of the ‘chamcha’. But first, there is a formal protest I must register.
Our Indian vernacular is pretty unforgiving when it comes to referring to the sycophant. The unanimous choice of word is the derogatory ‘chamcha’. However, our colonial rulers, who were so used to this form of allegiance, have been kinder, and endowed us with the gift of words like ‘flatterer’ and ‘adulator’. Yes, there are less flattering terms coined by envious losers of all sorts, which can be happily ignored in polite society.
Coming to the point- have you ever considered how tedious must be the task of the sycophant? Never?? Sycophancy is a labour of love in India. Well, The Great Indian Chamcha earns his greatness from endless hours of saying sweet nothings to those ‘anybodies’ who will or have already magically metamorphosed into ‘somebodies’, thanks to our Indian system of things. Family, power, influence, or even contact with the right family, power and influence changes lives here. The man holding the umbrella for his boss, has a dream for himself which continues to be nurtured under the shade of that ubiquitous umbrella.
That individual, in any workspace, who is the ‘yes man’, is such a persevering soul. Consider the mammoth task it is to silence the nagging voice of your conscience and agree with every word and action of the boss, and that too, with a smile! Our Great Indian Chamcha is born perfect at this task! Isn’t that prodigious of him?
Sycophants have a life plan. They are not idlers or wastrels. They wish to rise as quickly as possible to the position of influence where they would in turn be fawned upon by a newer generation of flatterers.
Ghalib had penned lines to the effect that ‘love is never easy- it is a river of fire which can only be crossed by drowning oneself in it.’
These diligent, ego-less souls, who dance, sing, write, draw, perform and also rule in the name of their lord-god-almighty(the ones-who-cannot-be-named), are the greatest lovers; for they lose themselves- mind, body and spine in this love.
So friends, never make the mistake of denigrating the great institution of sycophancy, that too, in India. We breed the best of the lot because anatomically, our Indian spine is perfectly disposable and we thrive without it.
So cheers to the Great Indian Sycophant, the greatest lover of all!