Good bye Dr. Manmohan Singh.
You had once said that you hoped that history remembers you more kindly than the present does. Given that history at least in our country is written by a cabal of historians that are ideologically well-oriented towards your world-view and viscerally opposed to your opponents, you might very well get your wish. Be as it may, and I would not grudge you the odd hagiography, the thing is Dr. Singh I will not remember you kindly.
And let me explain why.
You failed as a leader.
National crises make even ordinary leaders like George W Bush look good. Except you could not pass for a leader even then. When our nation was in peril like as on 26/11 or our people were agitated like after the Delhi gang rape, you surfaced, almost always too late, with a prepared statement that had in it as much passion and hope and spontaneity as a tax form. Now the cynical intellectual in you may scoff at this, but alas when the country is attacked and terrorists do what they do, spread terror, ordinary people often just needs to hear a firm and reassuring voice. Yet the abiding memory of one of the most dastardly acts of aggression this country has seen will remain your most efficient Home Minister changing his bandhgalas like Suchitra Sen changing saris in a song sequence, and the resounding sound of silence from supposedly the most powerful person in the country.
It’s coming, coming, coming, coming.
Take your Cashmere shawls and your long-stemmed champagne glasses and run for the hills. (Or Paris if you have the money). The RSS (yes they have the SS already in there) are coming in their black Shikari Shambhu shorts to pour milk into your Cognac and convert India Habitat Center to India Hindu Center. They will ban your Marxist-feminist tomes, reduce the minorities to dhimmitude, rip the tongues of the free press (Open Magazine tera kar doonga khullam khullah) and put all the dissidents into the Bamboo gulaag with only copies of Bal Narendra for company. And the Chauthi Reich will be established, Devang Patel shall become Wagner, Chetan Bhagat Nietzche (if he isn’t already) and the Brahminical Nazis shall all stretch their hands out and up and say “Kemcho Fuhrer”.
Now I will confess that I am a sucker for doomsday scenarios. That is I believe all of them. Aliens will attack the earth from giant pods and the American president will save us by piloting a plane. Mughalistan shall be established and all women love-Jihaded. The Pope shall rule India through his insidious agents and through Catholic viruses implanted in EVMs. A team easily winning an IPL game in a canter shall lose 6 wickets for 2 runs and contrive to lose. To those who call me paranoid, that last thing did happen to KKR.
But of all these doom-and-gloom-Nazis-are-coming futures, the one that I take most seriously is the one that relates to the ascent of the Saffron Insidious of the Fifty Six Inch, because every respectable media outlet tells me that if he comes to power, the India we know shall cease to exist or to quote Bryan Cranston in Godzilla “You have no idea what’s coming and it will send us back to the Stone Age”.
And if I cannot believe the media, then hell what am I supposed to believe? My own common sense.
So why do I believe that fascism is coming?
I had come to know recently that Arvind Kejriwal recently won an online poll on the official website of Time magazine as the man who most positively influenced the world the last year. Needless to say, I was stunned by the verdict because while I know Kejriwal is awesome, I had no idea that his 49 days of government had such a great impact on the world at large. (Modi came second). Of course the possibility of manipulation of an online poll, as scientifically well-set up as the one of Time, by fanboys of both Kejriwal and Modi, never occurred to me. And definitely any kind of dishonest manipulation by the supporters of a party that is all about revolutionary honesty seemed to be most impossible.
Anyways, today I came to know, that Kejriwal has won the Time Person of the Year, apparently the second Indian after Mahatma Gandhi to win it. (Original screenshot on the page of a local chapter of AAP, subsequently removed but at time of writing, is given above. This post to the FB page of a local chapter of AAP still has the post at the time of writing. Have taken a screenshot) This was of course beyond awesome, since he would be the only man in history to have won the Person of the Year, only 4 months into the year. Which means Time’s editors have realized that his performance in 49 days of government was so awe-inspiring that nothing anyone might do in the next 8 months could ever match up to him. After all, who understand time better than Time. As a matter of fact, I believe the exact words used by the editor of Time while evaluating Kejriwal’s portfolio was “Kraantikaari, Bahoot hi Kraantikaari”.
When the atrocities of the Manoos-es on poor “North Indians” , led by The Bane of Arnab Goswami from the Thacker House, had reached the tipping point, a handsome hero rose by the name of “Deshdrohi” from the Hindi heartland. Through dialogs like “Jitne nafrat humhare liye tumhare dil main hain , usse zyada pyar tumhare liye humare seene main hain. Kabhi UP Bihar aake dekhna, mehman ko bhagwan samajhte hain hum” (The hatred in your heart is surpassed by the love in our heart, come to UP Bihar, we treat our guests like Gods) and the Azamgarh slide, a martial arts move where a man slides and punches the enemy in the testiclewa, KRK established himself as a champion of the common people. Subsequently he went to Big Boss House to represent the awaam where he engineered an eviction based on a carefully constructed act of high drama, (the throwing of a glass at a contestant), a gambit whose principle would be copied in a different context by another mustachioed champion of the aam aadmi to eject himself after 49 days of a similar reality show.
Despite having his milk come from Holland and his water from France and some of his opinions of humanity from the middle ages, KRK’s empathy for the ordinary man and especially for the extraordinary woman (Asin) and his politics of kick and kiss is well known by people on Twitter. Hence come election time, it would be expected that the Deshpremi inside him would triumph over the Deshdrohi.
What was fortunate was that there already existed a political party that shared his progressive views on women and secularism and other important things.
One of the many things I do not understand about the world is why people would pay money in a theater to see Sunny Leone in a half state of undress doing tepid things that would pass through the sieve of Indian censors when they can see her fully RTI-ed online doing bahoot hi krantikaari stuff for free.
It’s like someone getting a business class upgrade and then sitting coach-class right next to the lavatories, where the seats don’t even go back.
I never get it.
Because that’s all Ragini MMS 2 is.
Sunny Leone in lingerie and baby dolls and a song that has the words “baby doll”.
The first Ragini MMS was a passably good horror Hindi movie, given the severe restrictions of the Indian horror genre, stuck as it is in the scantily-clad lass in peril mode since the days of Ramsays. There were some nicely done moments, Rajkummar Rao is always good in whatever crappy role he is put in, and Kainaz Motivala’s demurely voluptuous charms captured through strategically-placed cams I at least understood the artistic reason for.
But Ragini MMS 2, with Sunny Leone playing a character called Sunny in the same way Himesh Reshammiya plays characters called Himesh (Himesh’s gratuitous cleavage being a horror movie in itself), is a disaster in every sense of the term.
[Image courtesy Hindu]
One of the principal, if not the principal scourge of the Indian political system is the cynical use of targeted intimidation as a populist political weapon. Deep divisions run without our country with persistent narratives of fear, historical notions of “hurt”, and generational denial of opportunities. Political parties have realized that the lowest hanging fruit is pandering to this, through violence or the threat of violence. The message is simple. While your elected representatives may not be able to provide basic amenities, they can surely facilitate “revenge” and “maintenance of morality” and “self-confidence” , where the latter is invariably defined by the subjugation of some other group.