BHAWNA ATMARAM

It is commonly believed that God helps those who help themselves. Fair point. Work hard and eventually, an invisible divine push might unexpectedly manifest itself to propel you forward, as a token of gratitude for your determination. The saying ‘God helps those who help themselves’ has been traced to Aesop, a Greek fabulist and later popularised by Jean de La Fontaine.

However, some money-minded souls have been interpreting this proverb in a completely different way.  Well, certainly in Mauritius, this saying has been stripped of its original meaning. Numerous crooked individuals in power will stop at nothing to help themselves, help line their own pockets, help their near and dear ones (how noble!) get lucrative deals at the very expense of the poor cash cows that the taxpayers have now become! They have become faithful devotees of that saying indeed; helping themselves and exponentially enriching themselves! Anyway, keep overmilking us and pretty soon, there will soon be nothing left to milk.

And after indulging in these unholy acts of looting (intentional or not!), there is nothing more fulfilling than going on religious pilgrimages, worshipping sprees, immersing oneself into spiritually purifying ceremonies, faithfully captured by the paparazzi. Some local rags have made it their mantra to splash all the nitty-gritty details of the purifying processes of some of our dear politicians, who need to show a desperately prim and proper illusion of themselves, now that the general elections are lurking ahead. What an irony! You help yourselves unceremoniously to the state wealth and now rely on the divine powers to drag you out of that hot mess? Will the Hand of God miraculously appear to erase past shameful deeds, providing a stairway to heaven or write the word of truth and justice?

Till then, we will continue to be the privileged witnesses of such self-indulgent acts of helping oneself. Photo-ops appealing to the powers of heaven for redemption will make the rounds in an attempt to appease the hardworking people of the nation but the third eye of many has opened up to the reality of that ongoing façade!