It’s Only Words

Published: Thu, 09/08/2016 - 09:16

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. See, we have our very own living, breathing Humpty Dumpty in Amit Shah, hooray! So while those who truly believed in the BJP may be disappointed, they’re not exactly shattered like egg shells. 

What is devastating, however, is one important thing the BJP did not mention in its election manifesto: any fool can harass you and charge you with sedition in these glorious days of the Modi government. You dare to say in public that ordinary Pakistani citizens are nice, unlike their government, and up jumps a member of the Sangh Parivar and files a case. You click the ‘like’ button on a Facebook post and up jumps another member of the Sangh Parivar to file another case. Social media is buzzing with the word sedition – but I have noticed that it’s usually misspelled as ‘sedation’. I have given up trying to correct spellings and grammar on Twitter (apparently that’s in very bad taste). 

To prove I’m not a red-ink-pen-wielding snob/schoolteacher, I’m planning to adopt the word sedation and charge the Dear Leader with it. That tedious, neverending speech on Independence Day – what on earth was he thinking? To make matters worse, he even sent text messages to almost every smart phone-owning Indian with a link to his speech, like we’re so fond of him that we’re going to listen to it again. I must be fair, though, and give the Dear Leader the benefit of the doubt: maybe it was not just his usual megalomania at work – perhaps he’s being kind to us since sleeping tablets are not easily available anymore. He wants us to sleep naturally, like babies without colic. I guess this is why news channels have barely covered the Kashmir crisis, the Dalit march in Gujarat, the Scorpene data leak, etc. We are being lulled into a false sense of security. By the way, I’m expecting Baba Ramdev to start marketing CDs of the Dear Leader’s speeches sometime in the near future along with Patanjali dog biscuits and other strange things. 

Development is another word that now means something else in India. It means going backwards, not forward. The Dear Leader dramatically revealed this in 2014 when he inaugurated a hospital in Mumbai and informed senior doctors, surgeons, radiologists, and so on that plastic surgery was first invented in India, when Lord Shiva cut off his son’s head and, in contrition, replaced it with that of an elephant. I’m sure this inspired the entire medical staff at the new hospital. Between then and now, we’ve been going backwards at an exceptionally brisk pace. In BJP-ruled states, traffic policemen will soon be replaced by cowherds to manage a steady flow of ageing cattle. Take the latest surrogacy laws too – we appear to be going back to the caveman era. 

Phrases too are being twisted around to suit the BJP’s convenience. When the Dear Leader told cow vigilantes (his most loyal supporters who would willingly kill for him) to stop thrashing Dalits and shoot him instead, what he really meant was, “As if – I have Z-plus security, ha ha.” 

Oh, well. Enjoy living in Wonderland until 2019, but remember that if you ever throw a tea party, do not serve beef sandwiches.

This story is from print issue of HardNews