Put on your dancing shoes

What a strange world we live in, said Alice to the Queen of Hearts

There’s a Hindi song that used to be rather popular with DJs and RJs that goes Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai (The party’s just begun). And that’s exactly how I feel now that the election is over and the BJP has returned to power with a massive mandate.

Well-meaning trolls have been telling us to shut up and sit down because apparently “the people have spoken” and that’s all we need to know. I didn’t realise that once an election is over and a Prime Minister installed, it’s the end of journalism. In fact, according to one set of believers, this election should also mean the end of elections so that Mr Modi can rule for a lifetime.

Sorry, we didn’t get that memo. We’re putting on our dancing shoes and getting ready for the next set. Abhi toh party shuru hui hai.

And so we return to Orwell and 1984 and Newspeak, the official language of Oceania, whose vocabulary is purged of any words that might even hint at negativity or rebellion. Where ‘bad’ can only be expressed by the word ‘nongood’.

In India, too, if you say that Hindutva and Brahminical Hinduism are ‘divisive’ ideas that pit religion against religion or caste against caste, you will be told instantly that it’s your criticism that’s ‘divisive’, not these concepts.

Or if you point to the silent sanction for intolerance that gives thugs the confidence to attack a doctor or a tailor and force them to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, thus creating an atmosphere of fear for minorities, you’ll be promptly told that actually all minorities were fearful only in the previous regime; they have become fearless now.

Nothing is as it seems. The words mouthed by the Prime Minister are totally at odds with what his apparatchiks do on the streets. Soon the Prime Minister will himself be at odds with them. When after victory Mr Modi bowed to the Constitution and said “Our only loyalty is to the Constitution,” he was greeted by dozens of faithfuls on Twitter reminding him that he had been voted to power to change the Constitution, not to worship it.

The newly-elected Gautam Gambhir tweeted, “In Gurugram Muslim man told to remove skullcap, chant Jai Shri Ram. It is deplorable. Exemplary action needed by Gurugram authorities. We are a secular nation where @Javedakhtarjadu writes ‘O palan-hare, nirgun aur nyare (O nurturing, formless, greatest one).’

Pleasantly surprised by Gambhir’s words of sanity, most people applauded him. But the charming Anupam Kher instantly warned him not to get “popular with a section of the media”. And dozens of BJP supporters descended on him like locusts asking him to shut up.

It’s a topsy-turvy world. In Belagavi, a teenager committed suicide. Fake news artists circulated the photograph saying that he had been killed because he had been trying to save cows from cow smugglers. The police confirmed it was suicide, but trolls posted the image on Gambhir’s timeline to warn him of the ‘atrocities’ visited upon Hindus. But, they said, don’t believe the Gurugram episode because these are “old media tricks to create unrest in the society”.

It’s a dizzying world, with a fake news factory that is every minute painting black into white. It takes experts hours and days to sift the truth from the lies — imagine then how easy it is to dupe the layman into believing that he lives in constant danger of a Pakistan attack or that his jobs are being taken away or that it is religion and not unemployment that is India’s biggest concern today.

It’s a world Alice would have known, a world where a raven equals a writing desk. Said the Prime Minister in his speech, “Ab hamara koyi paraaya nahin ho sakta hai” — we cannot consider anybody an enemy now.

Three days later, in Agra, on Veer Savarkar’s birthday, the Hindu Mahasabha distributed knives to Class X, XI and XII students. Mahasabha spokesman Ashok Pandey said: “…. we are distributing knives and creating Hindu soldiers. If Hindus want to protect themselves and their nation, they should learn how to use weapons.”

So you can see, gentle reader, like I said at the very beginning, abhi toh party shuru hui hai.

Where the writer tries to make sense of society with seven hundred words and a bit of snark.

Source: Read Full Article