It’s time for Indian fans of Lewis Carroll to celebrate the new India with this quote: “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’” We’re now living in Wonderland, people, and we can change anything around to suit our convenience. We have learnt from BJP Party President Amit Shah that the word ‘jumla’ really means ‘big fat election lie’ these days. He said this while stoutly waving away accusations of the party not fulfilling its big fat election promises.
The shockingly uncultured Union Minister of Culture, Mahesh Sharma, has had what some in the media call a brainwave. To the rest of us, though, it sounds more like a short circuit of that walnut-sized organ in his skull that is an apology for a human brain. He has decided to grade artistes and writers into three categories: Outstanding, Promising and Waiting. The Outstanding and Promising lot will officially represent India at events, while the Waiting will wait for a change in government, I assume. I am pretty certain there’s a secret fourth category titled ‘Ignoring’.
From Nehru jackets, Fab India kurtas, and a brief flirtation with a monogrammed suit, India moved to mufflers. Much has been made of Arvind Kejriwal’s mufflers. So much, in fact, that the astute man turned it into an advantage. He found a way around the Supreme Court ruling that chief ministers cannot feature in ads –he got himself shot from the back wearing his trademark muffler and pullover, while promoting AAP’s odd-even drive. However, that look is so yesterday. Fashion pundits are bubbling with new predictions. Here goes:
You want facts – I’ll give you facts! On March 5, 2014, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said that if his party was voted to power at the Centre, it would try to abolish most of the direct and indirect taxes to generate more revenue and reduce inflation. Well, the BJP won that election and by now most of us know that all they have generated so far is hot air, photoshopped images, and doctored tapes (apart from divisive Hindutva sloganeering, lying shamelessly appears to be a big part of the party’s warped ideology too). Inflation has shot up and so have taxes.
Stop the world – I want to get off now! It appears to be taking a sharp turn to the ugly right, with bigots, fascists, fundamentalists, dictators and other mad people in charge. Parts of the Middle East and Africa are worse off than before, what with the nasty ISIS, Boko Haram and other terrorist organisations on a murdering, raping rampage. China and Russia are more or less as dictatorial as before. Turkey is on a slow roast with Erdogan bossing it around and as for India, sigh – I’ll get to that later.
In highly polarised times like these the words of Rabindranath Tagore provide some much needed inspiration
I ’m tired of politics so I’ve decided to write about books instead. Not books that have already been written, but books that really should be written. Here are a few:
Is There Life After Facebook? (Non-fiction)
The most important thing we learnt in 2015 is that the BJP is very, very special. It’s so special that rules that apply to other parties do not apply to it at all. This party is a gift from the gods (only Hindu gods, mind you) and anyone who thinks otherwise will be banished to Pakistan. The Ministry of External Affairs will do all the irritating paperwork, I assume, and we’ll get a grand send-off – shoes will be hurled at us which is a good thing because we can set up shoe shops as soon as we arrive.
For a long, long time, I’ve had nothing positive to say about my country. I’ve watched bigotry and hatred spread across its length and breadth with growing horror. Things have got so bad that I have a repartee ready for Hindutva supporters who often urge me to go to Pakistan: “Why bother,” I will say in a laconic voice, “India has become just like Pakistan. Same difference.”
I admit that I laughed like a hyena when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that our neighbourhood astrologers are the cleverest people on Earth and make NASA scientists look like dim bulbs – zero watts is what he implied. After my laughter subsided, I decided that we should give him a chance and test his pet theory. He could well be right. Hey, for all we know, those Lefties fooled us for decades!
Of all the ugly discourses happening during achhe din, the Adarsh Sanghi/Bhakt and Adarsh Liberal posters/cartoon strips are the least offensive and the most amusing. Here’s an example from an article in the Hindustan Times:
An Adarsh Liberal is “someone who goes on an expensive holiday to discuss and understand poverty,” and while he “supports PETA”, he “eats chicken and beef”, “shifts goalposts if losing arguments”, “attacks Hindu gods to become secular”, etc.