It is 8 a.m. on Monday and Prime Minister Modi is in his conference room in Panchavati with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and his Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra.
On the conference line is Arun Singh, India’s ambassador in Washington, D.C., Asoke Kumar Mukerji, the Permanent Representative at the UN in New York, and Ranjan Mathai, the High Commissioner to UK in London.
Modi starts the meeting with a brief explanation, “I know that it is late hours for some of you but I have gathered you for a matter of grave concern to our nation, to our homeland and to me.
“Day before yesterday, I received a recording sent to me by Shri Gajanana Patel, chairman of the Patel Motels Group of the Southwest and Dunkin Donut Franchisers Group of the Southeast. He likes to be called “Gin” in America.
“But I am really concerned why this matter was not brought to our attention by our embassies in Washington, New York, and London!
“The recordings show that a insurance company headquartered in Virginia calling itself Elephant Insurance Services is exploiting our beloved Lord Ganesha in its advertising.
“This is unacceptable! On of our dear Lords is being used as an insurance salesman!
“They have used Lord Ganesha because they have heard about his glorious attributes. He symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and a discriminating intellect that one must possess to attain perfection in life. He represents the natural human desire to enjoy life in the world. That he is a perfect person who possesses a great capacity to listen to others and assimilate ideas; one who can hold anything and everything existent in this universe.”
The Prime Minister gestures to a secretary and the recording start playing.
He continues, now angered, “Besides causing blasphemy, the insurance company has violated Indian intellectual property. You can see it clearly, how an American surgeon has copied our ancient plastic surgery and transplanted the elephant to an American gentleman.
“You will recall my speech of 28 Oct 2014, which is posted our website where I said, ‘Hum Ganeshji ki pooja karte hain. Koi to plastic surgeon hoga us zamaane mein jisne manushya ke shareer par haathi ka sar rakhkar ke plastic surgery ka prarambh kiya hoga. (We worship Lord Ganesh. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery).’
“First of all this science of transplanting an elephant’s head on the body of a human being is India’s intellectual property. Even if these silly folks were misusing Ganeshji, they should have come to us. Are they not aware of my ‘Make in India’ campaign? This is unacceptable!
“First of all, our government should file a blasphemy case against this insurance company, secondly, file a copyright infringement case. In fact, this copyright case will strengthen our call for ‘Make in India’. It is our invention, and we own it!”
Modi turns to Sushma Swaraj, “I have assigned Shrimati Sushma to coordinate with Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda to harness the energies of the External Affairs and Law ministries to obtain success in these two cases.’
Modi takes pause, and starts speaking again, “This blasphemy with Ganeshaji, however, does not end with the Elephant Insurance.
“I have been following the case of the Alpha Phi sorority chapter at the University of Alabama, which in fact is not just about race, but in this infamous video they are using another version of Ganeshaji, called Big Al, who is considered their mascot. Isn’t it utterly shameful? Our beloved Ganeshaji dancing at sports events!
“Ganeshaji is the Lord of letters and learning. His presence at a university should be a respectful one. But making him act like a clown! Yes, he is the remover of obstacles but using him for cheering in what the Americans call football is simply an insult to our beliefs, an insult Ganeshaji and to India. THIS HAS TO STOP! NOW!
“It is also means this practice of transplanting an elephant’s head on the body of a human being is being used by many plastic surgeons. We should consider filing a class action suit against all plastic surgeons. Perhaps the right move would be to take the American Society of Plastic Surgeons who can then set this problem right.
“And I want a report by noon of Friday!”