Skip to main content

A new lesson in democracy coming soon to schools near you in the form of crappy single-colour badly designed piece of art

By Stalin K*
If you are a political party running a government in a 'free' and 'democratic' country but interested in being in power forever (some call this aspiration “fascist ” and 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 got 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 with memos 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 that, in spite of being corporations owned, allow 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 cost and consequences. Have you been seeing 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 past glory of fighting for sovereign independence and past electoral conquests with no current claws to bare 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 who 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 in fact are pure genius. Check this latest one from Gujarat: It’s a pamphlet. A crappy single-color badly designed piece of art that schools all over Gujarat have received, with follow up phone calls from the Department of Education urging managers and principals to get their students to fill and return.
What does it say? Ah, now you ask.
It’s a pledge form by one Madadgaar Parivar (translates Helper Family, so sweet!) evidently run by a full grown man called Prakash Gurjar. The man’s not fake, I checked. He is, according to his own blogspot, “a young dynamic and vibrant karyakarta of BJP from Karnavati, Gujarat with a profound penchant for patriotism and philanthropy”. [For the morons who are thinking what the cow is Karnavati, it’s the Hindu way of honoring Ahmedabad.] Mr Gurjar was the vice-president of the Gujarat Youth Congress until 2012 and abandoned it when the earlier mentioned tainted-fangs party did not give him a ticket to contest elections.
I checked up on Madadgaar Parivar too. The very first couple of searches led me to a Madadgaar Foundation, an NGO based in Karachi, Pakistan! Of course I froze on my trackpad. Not in the mood to be slapped with sedition charges.
Back to the pledge form. So, it says:
Resolution for Achievement.
India Home.
My Country is My Home.
32,86,237 Sq. kms.
Resolution/Pledge Letter
1. I will from today believe that whole of Bharat, that is 32,86,237 Sq. kms., is my home.
2. Within the 32,86,237 Sq. kms. I will only throw trash in garbage bins, I will not dirty it nor will I let any do so.
ill not prejudicially criticize [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 redefining the very core essence of democracy itself. Now, childhood readings of basic civics 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 cliché weapon. Look how cleverly this pamphlet de-teaches democracy by not even saying the word. And the “will not prejudicially criticize” 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 of the five are such a drag: (ii) Elections, (iii) Civil Liberties (yikees), (iv) Rule of Law (this one is cool as long as the law enforcement wears the same chaddi), (v) Independent Judiciary, and the horrible (vi) Organized Opposition.
This last one is the 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 democracy allow anyone to force or prevent a government made by the people, right?
Now, as far Organized Opposition is limited to mean other political parties, it’s a cakewalk considering all of them are pretty toothless. But when you have a situation where every goddamn “lib-sec” thinks she/he is the opposition and starts to criticize the government for it’s wheeling-dealing and high-handedness and it’s crony capitalism, things get out of hand. Not to mention their outrage on street violence and killings (pathetic, right?). And these siculars then circumvent the TRP-overdosed media and take to Twitter and FB. 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) and print this crap, call up the schools and squeeze their aid balls and get them to get the students to sign up. Now, when students read, “I will not prejudicially criticize the administration”, right alongside the “of, for and by” cliché 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 blasphemy of true democracy. So, the students sign the pledge and then, five years later, she/he joins the neo bhakti movement. Bang! Score!
Stalin K
Now, for the final stroke of masterful genius: Noticed the date on the pamphlet? Yes, it’s post-dated. Why the 16th ? Google “modi birthday” and you will see the magic reveal itself. Yes, a day before HHBC’s 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 fresh-lime-soda-sweet and two plates of beef chilly fried. No animals were harmed in the course of writing this. Some may get hurt now.
---
*Documentary filmmaker, media and human rights activist. co-founder, Video Volunteers

Comments

TRENDING

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

Business back to normal? IIM-A survey says, sales expectations have sharply improved

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management’s Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), which polls a panel of business leaders to find out their perception of slack in economy, including their inflation expectations, year-ahead cost expectations and the factors influencing price changes, such as profit and sales levels, etc., has said that the cost perceptions data indicates signs of moderation in price pressures. Carried out for September, the survey says, the cost pressure of the reporting firms has shifted from “very significant increase (over 6%) to moderate increase (3.1% to 6%).” It adds, “The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has declined. Over 21% of the firms in September 2022 round of the survey perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – down from 26% recorded in August 2022.” Claiming to be a unique survey, in that it goes straight to businesses -- the price setters -- rather than to consumers or household

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

Amit Shah accused of inciting communal passion: Demand to postpone Gujarat polls

Counterview Desk  In an email representation to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India, has objected to the statement reported to have been made by Union home minister Amit Shah, who allegedly justified the 2002 Gujarat riots stating that certain sections of people “taught a lesson” to the rioters. Noting that the statement, if correct, “in effect implies those other than the law enforcement authorities had taken law into their hands”, Sarma says, “Shah's statement needs to be viewed by the ECI in conjunction with the reported fact that it was the Union Home Ministry that cleared the release of the eleven rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, directly related to the infamous Godhra incidents in 2002, which triggered the shameful sequence of events that shook the nation's conscience.” According to Sarma, if the statement is true, “I am constrained to draw the inevitable inference that it would have already impacted th

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

Facing tough times, Rajasthan's Raika herders hold first-ever camel cheese festival

By Rosamma Thomas*  During the pandemic, the annual Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan did not occur for fear of contagion; in 2022, it was called off again as lumpy skin disease affected cattle. At Sadri in Pali district, however, festivity continues – a two-day Camel Cheese Festival was held on November 23 and 24, 2022. Visitors spent time with the camel herds and their Raika, drank camel-milk tea with the herders and then returned to lunch at the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, from where the Kumbhalgarh Fort is visible, to taste camel cheese. The Raika herders have been facing a tough time – camels are no longer used as much for transport or agriculture in Rajasthan. The animals have limited utility, but their milk is prized. Camel Charisma, the dairy at Kumbhalgarh, sends camel milk across the country to people who use it in therapy – for autistic children, improved blood sugar levels, or even to treat cancer. It is believed that the health benefits of the camel milk is because the animals

What's behind public sector banks showing huge profits in 2nd quarter of 2022-23?

By Thomas Franco*  The quarter two results of the public sector banks (PSBs) appear to be noteworthy compared to a few years ago. All these banks showed good profits in the financial year 2021-22. Twelve PSBs made a net profit of Rs 25,685 crore in quarter 2 of FY23 and a total of Rs 40,991 crore in the first half of 2023. The combined profit of 12 banks in March 2022 was Rs 66,539 crore which was 110% more than 2021 – Rs. 31,816 crore. The Asset Quality Review of 2015 saw a surge in NPAs of PSBs jumping to Rs 8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 from Rs 2.17 lakh crore in March 2014. This was simply because the norms for NPAs were changed from 180 days to 90 days, and all restructuring of even genuine accounts was done away with. In 2018 NPA of SBI was 5.73% which has come down to 0.8% in Q2 of FY23. The NPA of Canara Bank has come down to 2.19% from 7.48% in Mar 2018. The same trend is seen in all public banks. Now SBI has seen a jump of 74% in its net profit, while Canara Bank’s profit is

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.