HOW TO BE A POLITICIAN

Rupa Gulab

It’s not difficult at all to be a politician in India these days. Anyone can do it. Just follow these tips, and you will do just fine: 

Use every opportunity to talk about your humble/middle class/tragic background

When Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is not grunting and thumping his allegedly 56” chest like a gorilla (I guess we shouldn’t giggle – he’s just doing what comes naturally to him), his eyes mist over and he talks about his days as a chaiwalla. Tsk, never mind that he wasn’t really a chaiwalla – he apparently held the more exalted position of a canteen contractor in his family’s outfit instead.  The point is, the truth has never been important to his fanatical supporters. Bare-faced lies are cool, so don’t hold back!

Mr. So-proud-of-being-a-khap-panchayat-supporter Arvind Kejriwal never fails to remind us that he is just a ‘chhota aadmi’ who wants to live in a chhota house and drive a chhota car and eat a chhota meal (presumably two humble Parle G biscuits dipped in a cup of cough syrup). He does have a valid point about being chhota though -- he is short and his mind is surprisingly narrow. But you can’t deny that his small talk works.

Since Rahul Gandhi cannot speak of the pain of an underprivileged or middle class upbringing, he talks about the anguish he went through after the assassination of his grandmother and his father. This works well too. So what if some people have reached the point where they’ve completely run out of tears and tissues? Other people are still sobbing into hankies. If you can’t play poor, play on emotions.

Meanwhile, every TV channel’s favourite professional faster Anna Hazare has vowed to campaign for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, mainly because she wears humble rubber slippers. Burn your designer shoes right now!  And do note that sexy rubber slippers bought at international resorts won’t do the trick. In India, austere equals unattractive. Deal with it.  

Tip: If you happen to own a neem twig instead of a toothbrush, do call a press conference and vigorously brush your teeth while the cameras are rolling. Oh wait a minute – AAP netas have already done that after a night of sleeping on a pavement, so you’ve got to think of something a little more radical.  

 

Always carry girlie accessories with you to State Assemblies or Parliament

Despite the lip service about female empowerment by our netas, women are still not respected in India. For example, you can be stalked by a chief minister and the usually hysterical media people won’t support you – they will be unusually silent instead. We’ve also seen bangles being brandished often enough to jeer at political rivals. But who would have thought that a can of pepper spray would be used by a big, hairy man, not in self defence but as an assault weapon, and not on the streets but in Parliament! MP L Rajagopal from Andhra Pradesh did just that.

Interestingly, even after that frightening pepper spray incident, our netas have unanimously decided against being frisked when they enter Parliament. Perhaps, just like women, they dislike being groped? Hmmm.

Tip: If you’re a man, I urge you to pinch mascara, hula hoops and feminine hygiene products from your wife or daughter to shame your rivals. Or any potentially dangerous instrument that can harm individuals like sharp stilettos, tweezers or even beauty parlour containers of boiling wax.  

 

Trash toll booths

You aren’t neta material if you haven’t destroyed a toll booth at least once in your life. Seriously, boors rock. Just do it!

Tip: We’re bored of the usual footage of ugly goons thrashing poor helpless toll collectors. Do it differently so that we don’t yawn and switch channels when your moment of glory is being aired. Use battle tanks for novelty.

 

Go on a fast until death, or rather, a fast until the next commercial break

Stop eating for a bit for any old cause (even ‘vegetarians murder vegetables’ will do). You may lose weight and you may even gain voters. Both are good things. Besides, you can always cram chips into your mouth during commercial breaks.

Tip: Please, for the sake of news channel viewers, don’t take naps in a sloppy manner while cameras are rolling. Footage exists of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal lying spread-eagled on makeshift beds, and frankly, it is not a pretty sight. The coy mermaid position is way more dignified.  

 

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: MARCH 2014