If you are a political party running a government in a ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ country but interested in staying in power forever (some call this aspiration ‘fascist’ while others mild it down to ‘authoritarianism’ – but it is quite likely that this is driven by a higher-order nationalist feeling of saving a poor country like ours from expensive elections), you have to do several things. Key amongst them is neutering democracy’s watchdog. Oh, I don’t mean the press. Most news shops, as we know, are happy to ‘self-castrate’ themselves with memos which their corporate bosses dole out. The few ‘free thinkers’ still holding on to journalistic ideals can be character assassinated. Or, well, be assassinated.
But then, what does one do with the damn social media which, despite being owned by corporations, allows people (yes, I know – only on the ‘right side’ of the digital divide) to show the middle finger to traditional media, create their own freaking media and speak their minds? Sure, you can troll them down to pure hell and misery. But that is not without its costs and consequences. Have you seen the number of sites dedicated to busting fake news? Gosh, they are menacing and such spoilsports!
Now, if you are a political party living on the past glory of fighting for sovereign independence and past electoral conquests – with no claws to bare, currently, but only tainted fangs – you are doomed. But, if you are the ‘neo bloke’ on the block led by ‘Broad Chest Alpha’ – who doesn’t flinch while lying, and has ‘full-grown men’ falling over each other to please you and take forward your mantra – then we are talking.
These full-grown men come with ideas that the ‘lib-sec’ write-off with an arrogant chuckle (and in that lies their defeat) – but which, in fact, are pure genius. Check out the latest one from Gujarat – it’s a pamphlet. A crappy single-colour, badly-designed piece of art that people and schools all over Gujarat have received – followed up by phone calls from the Department of Education urging managers and principals to get their students to fill and return them.
What does it say? Ah, now you ask!
It’s a pledge form by one Madadgaar Parivar (translates to Helper Family, so sweet!), evidently run by a ‘full-grown man’ called Prakash Gurjar. The man’s not fake, I checked! According to his blogspot, he is ‘a young dynamic and vibrant karyakarta of BJP from Karnavati, Gujarat, with a profound penchant for patriotism and philanthropy’. For those who are thinking ‘what the cow’ is Karnavati, it’s the Hindu way of honouring Ahmedabad. Gurjar was the vice-president of the Gujarat Youth Congress until 2012, and abandoned it when the previously-mentioned ‘tainted-fangs party’ did not give him a ticket to contest elections.
I checked up on Madadgaar Parivar too. The first couple of searches led me to a Madadgaar, an NGO based in Karachi, Pakistan! Of course I froze on my trackpad – I wasn’t in the mood to be slapped with sedition charges!
Back to the pledge form. So, it says:
Resolution for Achievement.
My Country is My Home.
32,86,237 square kilometres.
1. I will, from today, believe that the whole of Bharat, that is 32,86,237 square kilometres, is my home.
2. Within the 32,86,237 square kilometres, I will only throw trash in garbage bins, I will not dirty it, nor will I let anyone do so.
3. I will not prejudicially criticise (blame/disparage/dispraise) the administration that is formed of the people, by the people and for the people.
Yes, I am Madadgaar (helper). Pledger (sign).
Place: Gujarat, Bharat. Date: 16-9-2017
Madadgaar. Name:, Mobile:, Address
Come let us together create a new Bharat.
(Photo) Prakash Gurjar. Madadgaar Parivar (Helper Family)
How is this a piece of genius? Check out point 3. Look at the clever way of redefining the very core essence of democracy itself. Now, childhood readings of basic civics lessons may still remind some of you ‘lib-secs’ that ‘in a democracy the government is formed of the people, by the people and for the people’. In fact, this ‘of, by and for’ has become such a freaking cliched weapon.
Look how cleverly this pamphlet ‘de-teaches’ democracy by not even saying the word. And the ‘will not prejudicially criticise’ portion is a surgical strike at the very jugular of the overrated democracy.
Remember how we were taught in schools about the six basic elements of democracy? The first one about ‘elected representatives’ is still cool because it allows for the majority to rule the roost. The rest are such a drag:
3. civil liberties (yikes!),
4. rule of law (this one is cool as long as the law enforcers wear the same chaddi),
5. independent judiciary,
and the horrible
6. organised opposition.
This last one is a hornet’s nest because it taught us that the opposition keeps an eye on the policies and working of the government. By criticising the wrong policies of the government, it forces the government to make laws and frame policies for the welfare of the people. It prevents the government from being dictatorial. Look at those harsh words – like ‘forces’ and ‘prevents’. ‘Why the cow’ should a democracy allow anyone to ‘force’ or ‘prevent’ a government made ‘by the people’, right?
Now, so far as ‘organised opposition’ is limited to mean ‘other political parties’, it’s a cakewalk considering the fact that all of them are pretty toothless, currently. But, when you have a situation where every goddamn ‘lib-sec’ thinks that they are the ‘opposition’ and starts to criticise the government for its wheeling and dealing, high-handedness and crony capitalism, things get out of hand. Not to mention their outrage on street violence and killings (pathetic, right?). And these ‘sickulars’ then circumvent the TRP-overdosed media and take to Twitter and Facebook. Damn!
So, how do you beat them? Read the pamphlet again and discover the genius. You take some toilet paper (young minds and their ignoramus teachers are not worthy of more than that, in any case), print this crap, call the schools up, squeeze their ‘aid balls’ and instruct them to get their students to sign. Now, when students read, “I will not prejudicially criticise the administration” right beside the ‘of, for and by’ cliche, they will surely take this to be the updated ‘democracy mantra’ doled out by ‘His Highness The Broad Chest’, because his photo is on the top left corner. Clearly, you don’t expect the cowardly teachers to interpret this work of art as a blasphemy of true democracy! So, the students sign the pledge – and then five years later, they join the ‘neo-bhakti’ movement. Bang! Score!
Now, for the final stroke of masterful genius – did you notice the date on the pamphlet? Yes, it’s post-dated. Why September 16? Google ‘Modi birthday’ and you will see the magic reveal itself. Yes, it’s the day before his birthday. Even toilet paper must be gift-wrapped!
Now you know why even the RSS is envious of the right-wingers in Gujarat. They are a class apart. Accept it.
Full disclosure: This was written after consuming one full glass of sweet fresh lime soda, and two plates of beef – chilly fried. No animals were harmed in the course of writing this. Some may get hurt now.
A version of this post first appeared on the author’s blog.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.