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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Horse sense

AAP and BJP agree: Racing is un-Indian. But no one asked the oldest stakeholders in the game.

By: Editorial | Updated: September 23, 2016 4:05:34 pm

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been named as an actor without a role in an FIR filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau which, he said, could not have gone through without the “approval” of the prime minister. He threatens to retaliate with a special session of the assembly to discuss this “conspiracy” threadbare. Meanwhile, the capital’s lieutenant governor continued his skirmish with the AAP government by decapitating the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, on the intriguing ground of “illegal infirmities”. But surprisingly, in the thick of the squalling which has been in progress for months, Kejriwal and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, among others, agreed that the cheerful name of New Delhi’s Race Course Road, where many prime ministers have resided before Narendra Modi, was against the Indian ethos and brought the highest office into disrepute.

The moral value of RCR must be the least important question facing the nation. But the BJP energetically put forward the ideologically loaded name of Ekatma Marg and the AAP spiritedly parried with that of Guru Gobind Singh (the party is a serious contender in the forthcoming Punjab elections). In turn, the municipal corporation was not susceptible to suggestion and has selected the neutrally abstract name of Lok Kalyan Marg, or Public Welfare Road. A noble name fit for the grandest avenue of Stalinist Novosibirsk, or contemporary Pyongyang.

But please, the Indian ethos is not limited to high-minded indolence. That is an orientalist cliché. Rather, this is a country on the move, reverberating with calls to action from the political leadership. So why not rename Race Course Road to Dengue Drive? Perhaps it would stir someone in power to action. The public may have constructive suggestions too, but the authorities are obdurately self-willed. Sadly, they have not even canvassed the opinions of the oldest stakeholders of Race Course Road: The horses whose exertions it mutely acknowledges.

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