India’s ‘Mangalayan’ space probe over Mars. And that’s not the Martian surface in the background. It is India’s parched farmlands, victims to bureaucratic mismanagement of India’s water resources.


It says here that my land of birth, India, is reeling under yet another drought. Unlike similar situations in, say California or even Canada’s Saskatchewan, in India there is no fall-back for wretched subsistence farmers, except for those crappy hollow slogans like ‘Jai jawan, jai kisan’ crafted by India’s elite.

There are no resources available, they say, to locate sources of water, if I understand the situation correctly. Meanwhile, the supply of drinking water by tankers has been taken over by goons who are otherwise known as the ‘tanker mafia’ – tough, enterprising dudes who have exclusive water transportation contracts. And their shareholders? Why they are the ministers and legislators who have awarded them those contracts.

Meanwhile another farmer took his own life last week, unable to bear the crippling interest charges on a cash loan he had taken from, yes, another enterprising business sector that has Indian politicians as majority shareholders – ‘the cash loan at 30% mafia’. That’s 30% per month, or you have a shattered kneecap. That farmer merely weighed the two alternatives – death or not being able to walk again and provide for his family. He chose the former. I would, in his place.

But hey, listen, India’s high and mighty are in fact looking for water – it’s just that it is not on earth. It is on Mars. That is what I am told the fancy dinky doo spacecraft named ‘Managalayan’ probe is buzzing around the red planet for as I speak – in search of methane and water.

I guess they might have a problem transporting the Martian water to earth. They can’t get the local goonda, Banwarilal Dada Yadav to launch a few tankers now, can they? ‘Oo tunker ka ba? Hama hu tunker wunker na janatho. Eee Coleridgewa ka Ancient Marinerwa ka ho?’

Welcome to the banana republic that almost has the whole world fooled it is a regional superpower.