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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 11 New Delhi March 5, 2016

The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions—like Reservations. But where’s Hell These Days?

Wednesday 9 March 2016, by T J S George


For the crying babies of Haryana, the promise of milk was not enough. They kept crying violently for the actual delivery of their elixir. The inexperienced State Government was too scared to do anything, bringing Delhi into the picture. Originally meant to ensure social justice, reservations have become too hot even for Delhi to handle, for Haryana’s Jats inspired Rajasthan’s Rajputs to go on the war path. When Jats and Rajputs rise, can Marathas be far behind? Looming over them all are of course the Patidars of Gujarat, now thinking about the futility of being peaceful. What a mess.

The Rajputs saw the Jats’ violence as worthy of emulation. One of their leaders said: “Look at the Jats. They created such chaos that the government had to respond. We will do the same if our demands are not met.” Fortunately they have suspended plans to agitate simultaneously in many States. But for how long?

A ruling party MP from Gujarat said: “If Jats get reservation, so should Patidars.” The jailing of Hardik Patel on sedition charges has not discouraged them. At least 350 Patels are on fast. Some leaders have denounced the State Government’s negative response and said the authorities “are inviting Naxalism in the State”. Four buses were set on fire by angry mobs in the last few days.

Sections of Muslims have now started asking for reservations. In the south Brahmins, as a minority community, have also been demanding reservations.

Where is this all-consuming movement leading us? To heaven, say the protagonists. Or could it be to hell? Let no one dismiss the latter possibility out of hand. There is a strong strain of logic in support of hell as a desirable destination. A mind not to be changed by place or time/ My mind is its own place, and in itself/ Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven/... Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

Hell can also be seen through a coldly scientific prism. Internet aficionados got a view of this a year ago when a professor at the University of Arizona released what a student wrote in answer to the question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat). Those who have already seen this on the net may yet have another read if only to savour the profundity of it all. One student answered:

“First we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. We can safely assume that once a soul gets into Hell, it will not leave. Therefore no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

“Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of that religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one religion and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates being what they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

“This gives two possibilities. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose. Or, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

“So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa that ‘it will be a cold day in Hell before I love you’, and take into account that last night she told me she loved me, then I am sure Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. It follows that Hell is not accepting any more souls and is therefore extinct.

Or, depending on our definitions of nationalism, we can say Hell has relocated itself in Syria, in JNU, in television chat shows, in the citadels of the political party we dislike. It’s always the other guy who is in the wrong.

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