Note: Ganesh Gaitonde is a fictional character from the Netflix series Sacred Games, but that does not make him any less real than anyone else on the planet.
Warning: Profanity ahead. Get parental advice before proceeding.
Somewhere on a yacht in choppy waters off the western Indian coast I met Ganesh Gaitonde, notedpolitical analyst, role model for the youth and public intellectual for a free-wheeling interview.
We discussed a wide range of extremely important issues confronting Indian society today from the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi at the Ambani household to what PC (not Chidambaram) said when NJ farted in her dreams. Some trivial themes like climate change, nuclear war and crisis of Indian spirituality were also touched upon – but you can skip those portions if they bore you to death.
Ganesh Gaitonde (GG): Stop calling me ‘Gaitondeji’, you #^^$%&&&. You guys kept chanting ‘Gandhiji’ for seven decades while screwing everything he stood for. So, cut this ‘ji’ crap. I am just Ganesh – nothing more, nothing less.
Me: Ok, I apologize Ganesh. Now, even before we get into important national and social issues, can you explain why every other word you utter is always an obscenity?
GG: Obscenity? You seriously think some of the words I use are obscene? If I had known you were another journalist who thinks he is washed in milk and honey, I would never have accepted to meet you.
Miserable parasites like you pretend the world is divided into the beautiful and the ugly – when both are two sides of the same coin. It is a simple law of nature – if you put something in from one orifice it has to come out from another, but according to you only one of these holes is mentionable in civilized company? You think you are above the laws of biology and like some pure soul without a body, floating around in the universe? A kick on your behind will dispel the idea that the world is all maya!
Me: Don’t get angry Ganesh, I was only keeping my readers in mind when I asked you that question. Many of them like to believe they are very educated, refined people, and then one has to remember our ancient Indian traditions also. For example, nobody in the Ramayan or Mahabharat used the kind of language you do even while going to war – they spoke chaste Sanskrit. The cultural nationalists will be upset with your choice of words.
GG: Now, you are talking like that idiot Trivedi – about Indian civilization, culture and other nonsense. Don’t throw this Vedic shit at me.
I don’t give a rat’s ass for your respectability – everything in this world can be bought or taken by force. Throughout history it is only proximity to power that has decided what is respectable and what is not.Elsewhere you may be God, but when I hold a gun to your head here you are less than a piece of fertilizer.
Tell me, if you guys – you and your readers- were all so cultured or spiritual, when did you get the time to accumulate so much wealth, land, gold, assets of every kind”? Or for that matter these airs of being so morally superior? It all suddenly dropped in your laps did it? Truth is you are just a bunch of cunning bastards. You never had the balls to actually steal by physical force so you used religion, ideology, academic credentials and so on as a cover to get what you wanted. And now you want to tell me and others who have come up the hard way that we are not refined or cultured enough?
Gestures with his gun… ‘Up yours!’
Me: This is exactly why I wanted to meet you Ganesh -there seems to be no way to accurately convey anything about the current state of our world without using the language you do – along with those fabulous hand movements of course. What happened to the age of politeness?
GG: Times have changed because it is all part of the wheel of history. The way I speak and behave is going to be the norm of the future. Your days are over.
You think because you speak some damn language of reason and logic, present facts before the world you are going to be taken seriously. The real world has never worked like that – or if it has, then only for very brief periods. It is the raw language of money, muscle and murder that shapes history again and again. That logic trumps every other version hands down.
And the reason is simply that it is too much effort for everyone to become reasonable. Life is short and the list of our desires are long. Take my example. If I were to be polite, nobody would give me anything. They will make me stand in a long queue, outside an ATM with no cash in it – like the Indian public did after notebandi. Some idiots love being told what to do and are willing to be patient. I am not one of them.
Yes, I have used means that are criminal according to your laws – that are administered by some pompous, dishonest judge somewhere. But there is no other way someone from the bottom of the pit can rise without shoving an umbrella up the fellow on top of him and then another up the guy above that fellow and so on, all the way to the top. I know you think my methods are uncouth. But, this is what the ancestors of all the polite people in the world – like you- also did. Now you pretend you got everything because of some mysterious ‘merit’ – bullshit!
Problem with your lot today is that you want to have power or be influential and manipulate events and society without dirtying your hands. As if you have arrived at a state when all of history stops happening. Sorry, history is still alive and kicking your ass right now. Get used to it.
Me: In the Godfather movie – Marlon Brando – I remember, spoke very softly and did not have to use any obscenities to get his work done. Just a few gentle gestures were enough. Why can’t you be like that?
GG:By the time you come to a point where a few gestures are enough to get what you want you should have carried out many massacres and genocides. Even Emperor Ashoka was taken seriously as a Buddhist only because of the massacre of Kalinga. No Kalinga, no Ashoka the Great. I am not yet in that league.
And, talking of Brando the Godfather or anyone who speaks softly – theymay look cool but arefar more evil than I can ever be. They are the type who would not hesitate to engineer a genocide. I am content with murdering people I don’t like – one by one. I am a craftsman not an engineer.
Me: What do you mean you are not capable of genocide? What’s your secret?
GG:There are three reasons. First, I am really old-fashioned and not good with modern technology. So, for example, I would not know how to build a gas chamber. I just can’t kill on that scale at all, like these techno-savvy guys can.
Secondly,I still believe in God. Those who are genocidal in their methods or goalsand may even use religion for various purposes but are actually cynics who think God can be ‘managed’. These ‘Godfather’ types usually think they are much bigger than God – so drunk are they with the petty power they possess.
The third reason I can’t be genocidal is because I believe in reincarnation. Seriously, I do. I know I will be reborn on this planet again and again. That is why, while I seek revenge against my enemies or have many desires and ambitions, I am not in a tearing hurry about anything. I can still stop by a roadside shop and have a cutting chai or vada pav whenever I feel like or go see a movie somewhere. But the genocidal types – the &%**$*#&&&- want to commit all the sins possible within one lifetime!
I say, thamba! you &%**$*#&&&, you will always get another chance to do all that in your next life.
Me: You sound like a religious guru now. Why go for crime when you can make all the money in the world by being a guru – like Asaram, Sri Sri, Jaggi Vasudev or Ram Rahim? Have you ever thought of that?
GG: Me, a religious guru? (laughs). That is one crime I will never commit. I can rob, pillage, murder, organize riots whatever but will never fool people by misusing their deepest religious sentiments. That is like molesting a child – utterly disgusting. I don’t believe in stealing from the weak. I prefer screwing the strong and proving I am stronger than them. Aham Brahmasmi!
Me: What about Guruji then?
GG:He was a funny guy. My teesra baap. (Looking thoughtful)He was something else altogether. You know, there are always some people like him in every era of history. Those who think they know everything, have all the answers and are going to shape the future of the universe. Clever people, spouting a lot of wisdom. They think very long term, in fact very, very long term. They can see so far ahead, they often do not see the hole waiting to swallow them right in front of their eyes. I was that hole for Guruji. He wanted to use me to achieve his dream of a new world and a new India – according to some blueprint he had learnt from his yogi father. He wanted to destroy the existing world to create the new – which is a totally f….ed up idea if you ask me. It is strange, but most such lunatics come from Varanasi or around those parts. I don’t know why – just an observation.
Me: But you were his favorite chela?
GG: Yes. I was willing to do anything for him and did it too for a long time. I was his right-hand man. He had me hooked to the gochi, both verbal and physical. But he also used me like a tool and thought I couldn’t think for myself at all. His remote stopped working at some point and the artificial intelligence project failed because I woke up to his mad scheme. I had a big ego and that is what saved me in the end – I refused to be an unquestioning slave. He got screwed for treating me like a mere quantity with no quality at all. It was scary sometimes but also fun while it lasted (chuckles).
Me: Fascinating. You are indeed the philosopher that I thought you were. But tell me about your enmity with Isa – was it a religious issue? I mean you are a Hindu criminal and he is a Muslim criminal – did that play a role at all in your hatred for each other?
GG:(Laughs) Only a ‘cultured’ asshole like you can come up with such a stupid question. In my business there is no Hindu or Muslim. Either you have balls or you don’t – that is what matters and nothing else. With Isa it was all about Kukoo – I stole her from him and he was pissed off like hell. It was just plain love or lust for both of us – and of course the status of having Kukoo. If Isa forgot about Kukoo and offered me a good deal I will take it of course? What God you believe in has nothing to do with business. But whenever there is a fight over religionanywhere in the world, remember, there is always a Kukoo involved somewhere.
Me: Do you believe in India? Are you a nationalist?
GG:WTF is India? I know only Mumbai – that is my mother, father, brother land whatever. I grew up there and that is what made me what I am today. India is too far away- in Delhi. If the big, swinging (unmentionable body part) from there wants something from me he has to come to Mumbai. Ganesh does not go anywhere to ask any favours. These fellows who run the government of India think they own the whole damn land. They don’t. India is still a network of warlords as in the old times. They have to negotiate separate deals with every warlord like me and we can revolt anytime if things don’t suit us.
Me:You should be careful Ganesh. There are some very powerful people in control of India today. They are capable of doing anything. You may be a powerful man in Mumbai, but India is much bigger.
GG:Listen. It is not about size but about quality. You can be very big- as big as an elephant’s unmentionable body part – but in the end even a high-quality rat can screw you. I know my history. How did India come into being? If not for the East India Company there would be no India. It was a small bunch of company officials who used our own people to conquer this land and put together hundreds of kingdoms into one. We are a company product – rest everything is plain fiction. If you ask me, Robert Clive should be declared Father of the Indian Nation.
And it is only 70 years since Independence from the British – nobody should think the current arrangements are permanent. Everything can go upside down – back to square one. To the time before the angrez came to India – very quickly. One spark is all it needs and every ambitious baniamaking a quick buck by marketing‘India’will be put in their place. If you want your India to survive focus on quality, not go blindly after quantity. The number of seats in parliament mean nothing if you are clueless about the quality of people, processes and products you are delivering.
Me: Strong words indeed. Now, to change the subject a bit, Guruji talked about climate change and nuclear war. Do you think the world is headed for a collapse?
GG:(laughs hysterically) There is nothing to collapse for most people in Mumbai. No home, no food, no jobs, no electricity, drinking water, education, health or hope. And all of India is just an extension of Dharavi. India is the world’s largest slum. And you think there is something in the future that will ‘collapse’? Only those who have something need to worry about the future – they are all mostly outside India. Here, we are busy surviving the present to get all scared about climate change or nuclear disaster.
Me:So, you think there is no hope anywhere?
GG: No, I am not a pessimist. I think the world will survive – not because of me, I am nothing. It will survive because of that mad Sardarji – Sartaj Singh. Or because of people like him, who are obsessed about doing something to save the world, who have a keeda up their ass and also the courage to follow through. My only problem with Sartaj is he speaks far too politely. Please inform him if you see him – the time for politeness got over many decades ago – the day Gandhi was murdered. If Sartaj uses a few gaalis and kicks some ass, like I do, he will be far more successful in achieving whatever he wants. The people he is dealing with understand no other language.
Me: But are individual heroes enough to change the course of history?
GG:No man can do everything by himself. You need someone like Bunty by your side too. Tell Sartaj to find him.
Me: One last question. Do you believe all humans are equal?
GG: No, they are not – unless proven otherwise. Even if they are, how does one find out except by stabbing the other fellow and then realizing we all have the same red colored blood? You see, that is the problem with the idea of equality or democracy. Nobody will believe in it because some great man said so. Everyone has to go through the messy process of stabbing or getting stabbed. That is how the idea of equality arose in history. Anyone who wants to be treated as an equal should learn to draw blood.
Watch this space. Interview to be continued…
Satya Sagar is a writer and journalist who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of banknotes…so very noted.