DailyOh! The US vice-president who came drunk to his inauguration, to the blooming of Kamalam

Joe Biden will be inaugurated as US President today.

 |  9-minute read |   20-01-2021
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A proof can prove more than you want it to prove. So when the Chinese state media released a video of billionaire Jack Ma as evidence that he has been found, it proved Ma was indeed lost and that the Chinese state had a role to play in this lost-and-found episode. In a video released by Tianmu News, Ma is seen meeting rural teachers through videoconferencing and telling them that they would meet when the “epidemic is over”. The epidemic became pandemic in March 2020, but we won’t outrage over that because Ma is not our Mumma, but he still has Ma in his name.

jack-ma_690_012021050714.jpgChinese billionaire Jack Ma has been found by China. (Photo: Reuters)

Also, the vaccine is here and we are not as angry as we were in March 2020. Talking of the vaccine, 1,000 doses of Covishield have been damaged because they couldn’t withstand the cold. Covishield needs a temperature of 2-8 degress Celsius, but the temperature at the Assam storage facility moved a few notches below zero. What’s done is done and can’t be undone but lessons can be learnt about what not to do in the future so a report has been sought from the hospital authority where the doses froze.

Will there be punishments or pardons? We will know when the report is submitted and action, based on the report, taken. US President, who will be former US President in just hours from now, has pardoned 73 people, who do not include him. Trump has also pardoned his ex-aide Steve Bannon, who was accused of swindling Trump’s supporters while raising funds to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

Trump has left the White House along with his family. In a break from tradition, the outgoing First Lady (Melania Trump) will not be giving incoming First Lady (Jill Biden) a tour of the White House. But guess who made the most of her last day at White House? Tiffany Trump. Tiffany got engaged to boyfriend Michael. That saves the Trumps the expense of booking a hotel or community hall for the occasion.

That must be a big occasion for Tiffany and Michael, but for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, today is as big as it can get. Biden will be sworn in as the 46th US President. Kamala Harris as the first woman Vice-President.

In a development unrelated, but coinciding, with Kamala taking over as US Vice-President, the BJP government in Gujarat has decided to rename Dragon Fruit as Kamalam. Looking at Dragon Fruit reminds the government of Kamal, but hearing its name reminds it of China, we guess. As a matter of coincidence kamal (lotus) happens to be BJP’s party symbol. In some more coincidence, BJP headquarters is named Kamalam. In no coincidence, but for this reason, Kamalam is our Word Of The Day. In Sanskrit, kamalam means lotus. Kamal, the flower, in Hindi draws from the Sanskrit word. So does Kamala’s name. But using Kamalam for Dragon Fruit seems to draw from BJP’s party symbol. The BJP says it draws from the look of the fruit.

kamalam_012021050809.jpgThe Gujarat government says Dragon Fruit looks like kamal so it should be called Kamalam. (Photo: Ananya Bhattacharya)

Let’s come back to the inauguration in the world’s oldest democracy. Wonder how the US takes pride in calling itself world’s oldest democracy if in all the years of getting old, it never saw a woman become President or Vice-President.

Let’s save the difficult questions for another day. Today is inauguration day. Did you know George Washington, the first US President, had to borrow money to attend his inauguration? He wasn’t actually poor, but land poor. Who is a land poor person? A person who has land but no money, as in cash or in the account. Not even the money to develop the land or pay charges on it. Washington had about 50,000 acres of land but no money in the account or pocket. So, he borrowed money to be at his inauguration.

Did we ever tell you that a US Vice-President arrived dead drunk for his inauguration? Maybe we didn’t because such an occasion never arose. So, let us tell you about that drunk V-P today. In 1865, Andrew Johnson was totally trashed when he reached his inauguration. Johnson was the V-P to Abraham Lincoln. Actually, Johnson didn’t have an alcohol problem. He had typhoid. He was running high fever and was in pain and so decided to gulp a peg or two to drown the pain. One or two became too many and Johnson slurred through his oath. As part of custom, he was to swear in other senators too. But he was too sloshed to do it. So, a Senate clerk filled in for Johnson.

andrew-johnson_012021051100.jpgUS Vice-President Andrew Johnson arrived drunk for his inauguration. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

And then Lincoln rose to Johnson’s defence saying, “I have known Andrew Johnson for many years. He made a slip the other day, but you need not be scared; Andy ain’t a drunkard.”

From the US, it’s time to come back to India. In India, let’s talk about the Supreme Court of India. The SC today said it can’t base verdicts on ‘public opinion’. The court was referring to a plea that wants the court to reconstitute the panel on farm laws that the SC constituted just days back. SC told farmers, “If you don’t want to appear before the committee, we cannot compel you. But you cannot malign people like this and cast aspersions on them and also the court. If you don’t want to appear, don’t appear.” What aspersions were cast? That the four-member panel had members who had spoken in favour of the farm laws.

The court also asked the Centre to withdraw its plea against the tractor rally on Republic Day because the court won’t pass a verdict on the rally.

But the Maharashtra Police has filed an FIR against Tandav makers and actors after the UP Police filed one and UP Police officers landed in Mumbai to investigate the matter. The best way, maybe the only way, to investigate a series is to watch it. That is for people. The police have to stretch their hands further and also question to the makers as part of the investigation.

tandav-1_012021050952.jpgMaharashtra Police has filed an FIR against Tandav makers and actors.

After questioning from the Indian government, WhatsApp has said it is working to ‘address misinformation’. According to WhatsApp, news that its privacy policy will compromise user data is misinformation. The information, according to WhatsApp, is that its proposed privacy policy is only about providing options to help businesses expand. What WhatsApp didn’t say is that it is expanding its own business in the process. Remember to read between the lines when you have read the lines because there is no such thing as too much reading.

It’s, however, getting too much crazy for West Bengal politics because another TMC MLA has arrived in Delhi. In the latest trend, TMC MLAs land in Delhi return to Bengal as BJP members. Nadia Santipur MLA Arindam Bhattacharya too may return as BJP member because not only has he arrived in Delhi but also met BJP’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.

The BJP may break into celebrations or wait for Bhattacharya’s formal joining. The waiting time can be used to grate the carrot and arrange the ingredients for a bowl of Gajar ka Halwa. You may have the Gajar ka Halwa recipe by heart, but in case you need a healthier one, we can help.

It could be celebration time for Tata Group soon too as the group may get BigBasket in its basket at a cost of Rs 87,60,00,00,000. Tata is also in talks to buy 1mg.

The Republic Day sale is on on most portals so just in case you are planning to buy something, now is the time. But sales keep coming and going (especially those online) so there is no need to rush unless what you need is urgent.

Late J Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala will be coming out of jail on January 27 but she won’t be going to the AIADMK because Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has ruled out Sasikala’s return to the party.

For now Sasikala is in hospital, where she arrived after getting unwell in jail.

In the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, it rained blows and fisticuffs after UP CM Yogi Adityanath inaugurated a portrait of Savarkar inside the official gallery of the state Legislative Council. We do not know if MLAs also said ‘sorry’ to each other after beating each other up.

That will be all for today.

We will be back tomorrow.

Stay safe.

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Also Read: Pieces of a Woman, and the gaps between help and support

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Vandana Vandana @vsinghhere

Author is Assistant Editor, DailyO.

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