Mission Delhi – Ashok Kumar, Near Sai Baba Temple
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
He blows a whistle. A few men materialize from here and there. “Each one of you is a maderchodh (motherfucker),” he says. The Delhi Walla meets Ashok Kumar one monsoon evening at a traffic light near South Delhi’s Sai Baba temple.
In his 30s, Mr Kumar is wearing goggles. His T-shirt and shorts makes him look like an evening jogger but he is barefoot. He has a backpack and a bicycle. The latter is decorated with his large-sized photographs. A wooden club is fitted around his waist. He is carrying an empty mineral water bottle and a strange-looking apparatus made from a sheet of black rubber, which he calls his AK-57.
Mr Kumar is circling his cycle with seemingly rehearsed steps. “This is my only property,” he says, “I don’t own real estate like you bastards.”
The crowd responds to Mr Kumar’s insults with increasing curiosity.
“I’m neither afraid of the Prime Minister, nor (Barack) Obama,” he says. Pointing to a banner that he has put around a yellow pole, and which describes him as ‘Ashok Kumar Gaadphaar’, he says, “I will split open your arse. Yes, that’s what I’m good at. That’s what I plan to do to this country. Don’t touch me. I warn you. I’m a fauji (army man) and you cannot mess with me.”
Mr Kumar is holding the water bottle in the manner of a mike. His voice is loud, urgent and agitated. “(Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh will address India from Lal Quila (Red Fort) on Pandrah Agast (15th August),” he says. “What a fool he is and what fools you are. It’s not Independence Day, bhenchodh (sisterfucker). It’s your Chootiya Day. It’s the day of the fraud.”
Some bystanders break into laughter.
Mr Kumar blows a whistle. “Chup (Quiet),” he shouts into the bottle.
“Listen, I’m not a politician so I won’t make any promise. I will also not lie. I will also not say anything against the fauj (army). I only ask you to burn your I-cards. You all must also fuck Pakistan. That’s the only choice. I tell you for your sake.”
By now a large crowd has gathered around Mr Kumar. He takes out a scissor and starts slicing the air.
“Why are you staring at me like that? I’m about to leave for a commercial break. You all must leave your family. Go to a studio and get yourself photographed. Leave India, make your own country and become its Prime Minister. I’m telling you it is the best thing to do because I know how to fuck into your arsehole…”
A police constable arrives. The crowd disperses. Mr Kumar starts to clean his cycle.
[This is the 76th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
On the pulpit