Sunday Levity: Ten reasons why Bappi Lahiri is better than a thermonuclear bomb

A National Humour Rights Commission Report

At the sidelines of a G-20 summit, two bhais, one Hindi, one Chini, meet at an abandoned temple.

Mere Paas Bappi Hai
Mere Paas Bappi Hai

Chinibhai: “Look, we both rose from the same per-capita GDP rate. But see where you are now, and where I am now. Today I have tall buildings, Olympic stadiums, trade surpluses, Sovereign Wealth Funds, ICBMs and thermonuclear bombs. What do you have?”

Hindibhai: “Mere paas Bappi hai

Contrary to popular belief, the Indian interlocutor was not making a emotional argument. He was engaged in strategic signaling—sounding a subtle warning that even if the thermonuclear design didn’t deliver the expected bang, we have Bappi on our side. A keen scholar of Indian history and culture, the Indian diplomat was drawing attention to the ancient Reality Show in which the Kauravas might well have had the biggest army, but the Pandavas had The Charioteer. We all know how that war ended.

You don’t have to be a Bappitva fundamentalist to understand why Bappi Lahiri is better than a thermonuclear bomb. At the broadest strategic level, this is because while a nuclear weapon is merely an instrument of hard power, Bappida is that and more. For ten important reasons:

First, because a thermonuclear bomb has to be developed indigenously it is very hard and expensive to build one. On the other hand, not only do we already have Bappida, but he himself has never been moved by indigenousness, swadeshi and other forms of irrelevant parochialism. He’ll take whatever, from wherever and make it rock.

Second, even if you design a thermonuclear bomb, it is very difficult and very costly to test it. Bappida doesn’t suffer from similar constraints. He’ll just go ahead and test his designs—if you think it is successful, you’ll get on your feet and dance. If you don’t, then it cost you Rs 25 (in 1985 rupees) or less to figure out that you are on the sad side of the generation gap. No one will demand a ban on his tests.

Third, how easy do you think it is to increase the yield of a thermonuclear bomb? The correct answer is “not at all”. But to improve Bappida’s yield you just need to turn the knob (of the 1985 amplifier) clockwise, slowly. (Those who have done this will know that it will set-off explosions in the adjacent room, flat or town. In some localities in Tamil Nadu, it will even cause mass migrations radiating away from the said amplifier.)

Fourth, you can’t put dark glasses on a thermonuclear bomb.

Fifth, a thermonuclear bomb is useless as a store of wealth. But Bappida is India’s secret Sovereign Wealth Fund. All that gold jewelry can defend the rupee, the Indian government and the Indian film industry.

Sixth, the bomb doesn’t have a son called Bappa.

Seventh, nobody in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Hollywood or South Bombay knows, or gives a damn about, India’s thermonuclear bomb. But they are passionate about Jimmy.

Eighth, try getting a thermonuclear bomb to sue Dr Dre for plagiarism. It can’t, and even if it did, no California jury will side with an ugly beast that doesn’t sport dark glasses indoors and wear heavy gold jewelry.

Ninth, a hydrogen bomb can’t judge a reality show.

And finally, the thermonuclear bomb can never—not in a million years—sing “Yaad aa raha hai, tera pyaar”. See for yourself:

Actually, astute as they are, the Chinibhais have known all this for some time. But they couldn’t do much about it. Not that they didn’t try—surely, you don’t think that it is a mere coincidence that that Dear Leader chap wears dark glasses—but not every charioteer is The Charioteer. Till that time, India is safe.

15 thoughts on “Sunday Levity: Ten reasons why Bappi Lahiri is better than a thermonuclear bomb”

  1. Why are you guys piling on Bappi? Campy style and occasional plagiarism apart, he did create some really good music.

  2. Honestly I don’t quite like what Bappi has come to stand for. Though I must admit that I may rock to some of his numbers. But apart from being proud of what one really is, this article gives too much importance to Bappi’s soft power and perhaps recommends this as a strategy to be copied.
    I would suggest you listen to some of the recent creations of Sandeep Khare and Salil Kulkarni. Unlike Bappi’s songs / music methodology, they have conjured up a healthy fusion of a variety of music styles and touch upon issues contemporary, current and modern……

    In summary, glorification for copying , confusing over creating is something I would not recommend, especially knowing the vast cultural resources that we as Indians have to work with and shoddy outcomes that we often have to defend
    -Saurabh

  3. How come there is no mention of the great one…. Annu Mallik? He is the equal of a Dong-Feng, Changefeng, Hongniao, Julang, Shenzhou combined!!!

  4. @huvishka,

    Shh! You are leaking state secrets. Annu Malik and a certain other cap-wearing character are part of our strategic arsenal. They are peerless. None of those dingdongs you mention come close. But let us speak softly, but carry a big amp.

  5. Dear Mr Palkar,

    The NHRC hereby issues a show cause notice to you, for violating our humour rights and taking things seriously.

    Please apologise or ROTFL

  6. Mr. Udayan,
    hmmm ! Your prescription ROFL (No T in the acronym) now is really NO LAUGHING Matter. It directly caused a LARGE BUMP on my head, even though I did exactly what you asked.

    Just wait till my 1-800-LAWYER sues you for this.

    Saurabh

  7. The comments are as interesting as the posts.Specially the one with leaking the state secrets.I think Nana Patekar and Irffan Khan are enough to take guard on both frontiers.As for the South………………No comments.

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