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Morbi tragedy: How every Vishwa Guru move, gesture, speech was 'calibrated' to win polls

By Liaquath Mirza 

The day was Sunday the date 30th October 2022 and the time 6:30 pm. A little known town called Morbi in Gujarat suddenly burst its way into the consciousness of Indians with the horror story of a suspension bridge collapse taking down with it, a few hundred lives and mauling a few more holiday revelers who went out with families to have a good time on the “Jhulto pul” built by the British. Jhulto pul literally means a swinging bridge.
There was chaos on the ground and cacophony on the social media. Twitter tweeted incessantly, Instagram instantly relayed hundreds and thousands of photos and videos and Idiots of the idiot box were pressed into action.
Partymen of power scurried hither and thither trying hard to avoid uncomfortable questions quite uncharacteristically slinking away from inquisitive cameras and avoiding microphones thrust at them by those rare species called journalists trying in vain to catch a sound byte, an honest admission of grave lapse.
A whole army of twitter birds rose to the skies with one single goal, one exalted purpose which is to Teflon coat their Supreme leader afresh against criticism. After all a tragedy of this gravity does not bode well for the double engine sarkar looking for one more term in the coming assembly elections.
Goblins of godi media frantically started spinning stories and running old videos in continuous loop and virtually running day long debates all in compliance with a missive, a diktat from the kitchen cabinet of Supreme leader. People in power and brokers of people in power both danced a tango to the tune of ‘Don’t do politics’ directed at opposition parties.
They conveniently feigned amnesia at their Supreme leader’s sadistic rant from the pulpit of a political podium in Kolkata when a flyover under construction crashed and killed thirty innocents. The Universal guru had shouted at the top of his lungs into the mike that this crash was not ‘an act of god’ but an ‘act of fraud’ and that it was God’s way of warning Bengalis to not re-elect the party currently in power.
He indignantly questioned about corruption in high places in Bengal and declared that God took away 30 odd innocent lives only to warn the Bengalis. It was god’s way of canvassing for the party which fights for Mandirs to be brought to power in the state too. Such was the impeccable moral authority of a Vishwa Guru that he did not blink twice in giving the cat calls of ‘Deedi O Deedi’ in a vain attempt to grab power.
But unfortunately for the Guru, Bengali Bhadralok proved to be tough nuts to crack. Hindi heartland machinations proved futile. They went ahead and put the lady in plain cotton sarees and Hawaii slippers again on the chief minister’s chair.
Now cut to the present. The whole right wing eco-system tried in vain to hide their leader’s ugly past rants and yet the whole social media was abuzz with the past speeches that caught up with the Guru and his disciples.
Social media always has a way of coming back to bite and expose hypocrisies of blue tick celebrities. Old videos of those rants were dug out and replayed in continuous loop by YouTubers, posted on Facebook, tweeted on twitter and basically a dust storm was whipped up.
Caught up in the dust storm of past utterances they spluttered, coughed and felt asphyxiated. Kitchen cabinet activated code red and instructed lapdogs to bark loudly, Bollywood RW sanskari men to snarl, create diversions and basically come to the rescue of their beloved beleaguered leader.
Whole RW machinery moved in swiftly, analyses were done, dissections made, names called, rationalizations offered and blames fixed and on the whole victims of the tragedy were made the villains who jumped, swung and intentionally killed themselves to malign the fair name of their Supreme leader.
Sample just a sliver of these tweets and broadcasts: Bollywood sanskari Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri blames urban naxals holding them responsible for the tragedy while idiot box ideal man Sudhir Chaudhary blames the public for swinging their way to death.
Such calibrated chaos was churned out minute by minute with the sole purpose of occupying social media spaces and attempting to fill the readers with this filth only to save the supremo from angry citizenry.
Wise men and women of idiot box ran sob stories of supreme leader who is shown from a hundred different angles as getting emotional while delivering inaugural speeches (read political speeches in inauguration garb) in impeccable clothes, sometimes donning a cow boy hat, sometimes wearing a shiny silky gamcha (scarf).
The leader takes long pauses while addressing letting people know of his pain. Hi-definition cameras zoom in a close up on Supreme leader’s face and catch a hint of wet eyes and tears about to roll down. With the long pause comes an appropriate mouthing of condolences in a carefully orchestrated choked up voice, a sad sigh and a resigned gasp.
And yet the supreme leader decides to go on with his inaugural…. nee political speeches schedule as if the horrendous human tragedy is but a minor hiccup in his busy very busy life even flagging a train green for electoral brownie points. Then finally the pradhan sevak decides to pay a visit to Morbi Civil Hospital after precious two days after the collapse where the injured are hospitalized.
Epicentre of the activity now shifts to the nondescript civil hospital. The hospital buzzes into activity like a beehive. Overnight renovation works start in right earnest. Walls are painted, floors tiled afresh, rusty water coolers hurriedly removed and replaced with brand new Usha water coolers.
Hospital beds got new mattresses, brand new bed covers. Cheery baby photos, nature snaps and pleasant wall hangings adorned the freshly painted walls. Patients were scrubbed, freshly bandaged and drips were put on even those patients not requiring drips.
Sample this: Bollywood sanskari Vivek Agnihotri blames urban naxals holding them responsible for the tragedy
All in all a deeply disturbing tragedy was sought to be converted into a festive event for the biggest event manager’s visit. After all the world Guru can’t have proper photo-op sessions in a dirty dingy atmosphere, can he? God forbid, what if the supreme leader’s impeccable dress is stained by dirt, sweat or blood of injured?
Delicate eyes of the world Guru can’t bear the sight of poverty and filth that is associated with Government hospitals. Despite the screen saver -- face saver efforts by the hospital management, old warts managed to make themselves visible.
In the whole frenzied activity the hospital establishment forgets to connect the cooler to a water pipe and plug it in for electricity, which a sneaky reporter in the hospital corridors notices and telecasts the faux pas to the whole world only to be escorted out by a posse of embarrassed khakis.
When a creaky dated bureaucracy tries to imitate the corporate style event management it leaves gaping holes in the arrangements through which pesky journos slip in and make a mess of the cover up operations baring the insides of failed systems.
Depths of depravity was when a bunch of junior level employees of the contractors that includes ticket checkers and security guards are made the fall guys and arrested. The owner of the contracting company is not even named in the FIR, leave alone arresting him.
Such is the development model of Gujarat that a clock maker who has no expertise in construction is given a contract to rebuild and renovate a creaky old bridge and that too without a tender.
In this whole post tragedy cover up the near and dear ones of the departed and the injured ones are fobbed off with token amounts. A similar tragedy in Seoul on the eve of Halloween was dealt with all the seriousness and maturity of a responsible establishment. They went ahead and immediately declared national mourning to offer closure to their citizens.
In contrast state mourning here was delayed by two days so that supreme leader can go on with his scheduled speeches in fancy hats and dainty scarfs and crispy clothes. Such is the sensitivity of a government which aspires to world leadership. Here every move, every gesture and every speech is calibrated and fine-tuned with the sole aim of winning elections and wresting power for perpetuity.
The sorry saga of cover up continues to this day. New theories are spouted in every prime time show, new conspiracies are dug up by angry tweety birds by the dozen while dead, drowned and missing in Machu river and tatters of the bridge remain mute hapless spectators.
Though it is a mild surprise that ghost of Nehru is not dug out to shoulder the blame. The days go by and the memory blurs for the Teflon coated leaders it is now business as usual until a next tragedy hits them.

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