Millennium Post

The Regress into Modi

The Regress into Modi
It’s time for the new-look India to take a look at their voting ballots. The foreign-educated, Macbook wielding junta who are chugging gallons of free booze on economy airlines and spewing moralising lectures on indigenous tongues, technology, education – beware! Modi is not what you think. It’s not going to be a cakewalk for you. Fundamentalism is more primitive than your scratch-the-surface caste affiliations, and you now must be prepared to kill or be killed in the name of your state/country/religion/dialect/whatever your government decides. You are also to turn into a consenting subject, a teetotaller, vegetarian, celibate-until-wedded and violent-for-a-just-cause, such as the birthplace of a chosen deity, who no one knows at all existed or not.

Women, please get ready to return to your hearth, to your respective and respected roles as sisters/mothers/wives and please start getting back home by 6 pm so that you don’t get raped. No chowmien or mobiles on your way neither. Your marriages would be decided according to your father’s (or any other suitable male ancestor’s) caste and your only impending thought should be, lest you have been trained in the traditional drawing room arts, on how to successfully drape a saree or cook a meal or produce a healthy baby boy. Don’t worry, women’s marital status is already a priority in Modi’s Ramrajya. After all, he has already asked peasants to grow five trees so that the timber can, in due time, pay for their daughters’ weddings. If you are too ‘urbane’ and want those trees to pay for your college or university fees, or detest the thought of smearing your forehead with coloured chemicals as a sign of marital bliss, or are averse to the display of your marital status by wearing a variety of symbolic ornaments, you are most definitely a slut and a libertine, and worse, a leftist libertine! And if you have dared share your bed out of wedlock with another of your species, you are doomed to the eternal judgment of your friendly neighbourhood ‘elders’ (the khap panchayat, if you’re very lucky), until you are rescued by a kindly gentleman (perhaps with a more colourful history than your own) who shall do you a favour and accept you into his comely homestead.

I have a pretty neat question for the Modi sarkar supporters this year: what are you expecting from him? That he will do your dirty work for you? That the nation will undergo a genocidal clean-up, for, beneath the veneer of your educated mien, there is a seething, throbbing, insecure lunatic who has kept an eye on the census and kept a track of how the minority populace has been on the rise and been concerned that Hindus are being looted, killed and brutalised in Bangladesh, and who, therefore, in righteous outrage, has been thirsting for blood? What do you think Gujarat is? A paradise on earth?

If you disembark in Ahmedabad station, you’ll promptly find that there is not a single shop or an ATM or a rickshaw stand anywhere in the vicinity. The only big thing around is a huge mega-mall/corporate-hub looking fully air-conditioned fiber glass structure coming up which one hears is the chief minister’s vision of a Gandhi Ashram. The state has everything in it to show the rest of the country that growth is inversely proportional to population. While the roads are so wide and well-made and clean that the city would need no flyovers in the next 100 years, it indeed becomes a different and difficult terrain where people are advised by the ‘friendly’ hosts or neighbours not to walk out in a ganji without a shirt.

Underneath, there is that roiling sea of malcontent, of divisiveness and force, of ghettoisation, of brutalisation and sanitisation. It’s indeed a city on the surface – in every way cosmopolitan (something Modi promises) except for where it matters – in the mind. Beware the cosmopolitanisation of the Hindu mind! Beware its unwholesome teachings and its effects on your sons and daughters! Beware the forces that ‘westernise’ and therefore desensitise your mind towards your own pristine home-grown culture! Beware the atheists who should be kicked out lest they begin to betray a general lack of trust in fundamentalist ideologies and smooth talking politicians who may incapacitate rational thought and incite people to riot! After all, what is rationalism but the remnant of a failed Eurocentric attempt to monopolise education and enlightenment?!

Oh, the ‘vile’ influences of ‘western civilisation’ that ‘taught’ women to wear pants and speak in dialects other than they learn on regional television and saas-bahu soaps! That gave them books to read and things to think other than on topics of motherhood and childbirth and how to procure eligible and rich grooms (obviously belonging to the same caste). Men can now feel free to follow the Modi dream, leave their respective wives and devote their celibate prowess to the recovery of the nation. I hear Gautama Buddha did the same darn thing, so Modi must be well on his way to enlightenment. Certain well-worn paths to salvation never fail for God-men, especially if they involve rejection or deprivation of women and other minorities. In other world, all the ‘others’ of the world, or at least, of their tight little nationalistic universe that’s passed off in the name of a polity composed of ‘the masses’. Masses that are kept deprived and poor and uneducated and hungry, so that they are primed and ready to pounce in the name of God, or Devil. So that it’s easier to say, ‘Behold, ignorant urban integers, it’s the masses that elected Modi’! It’s a mass alright. A mass of malnourished, trembling, repressed, tortured lot who turn to their Gods when all else fails. And Modi is their new God who is going to bring down inflation and give them jobs. Much like Hitler did, of course.
Dear Modi-supporters – dear harkers of ‘traditional values’, of so-called indigenous affiliations and origins (however divided and repressive), the pajama-punjabi-sindoor aficionados, dear poitey-sporting privileged Brahminical and maniacal upholders of caste-and-creed-and-religiosity-and-matrabhasha, dear fundamentalist detractors of the ‘urban youth and their narrow-minded cosmopolitanism that hails all writers, philosophers, artists irrespective of language, race, colour’, dear ethno-religious bigots who want to trap the universe in your despicable monolinguistic cultural hegemony and want to teach the perceived category of ‘urbanised youth’ their own breed of ‘uncorrupted culture’ in their own terms, dear haters of heterogeneous thought who want to steamroll all into the hands of dysfunctional Gods, whose faith owns thought and human dignity, hail your Lord, the new Reich Chancellor as he arrives in pomp. When the end is nigh, all roaches fly high. I’ll gladly let loose the dogs on all of you.

How are you going to clean up the mess left by centuries of syncretism? How are you going to ban Baul-Fakir-Sufi music and Jazz? How are you going to glean your precious friggin’ matrabhasha from my tongue which revels in its polyglot nature? How are you going to make the youth ‘unlearn’ politics and art and language and knowledge that it has greedily absorbed from every possible source (yes, even sitcoms)? How are you going to remove Metallica from my audio selection and make me forget Marquez and Neruda and Picasso and Antonioni and Allen? How are you going to sanitise our immorality and cleanse our palates? How are you going to make me believe that my non-religion is better than others’ faith, that my caste is superior to others’, that my colour is superior to others’? How are you going to stick everyone into boxes conveniently labelled ‘urban’ and ‘Hindu’ and ‘non-Hindu’ if you cannot tell them apart? I won’t play that game, and certainly not on your cultural terms. If I want to say ‘fuck’ instead of ‘hey Bhagwan’, I shall fucking very well do so, and pretty much in your pretty fucking face. In case you are wondering – those are Americanisms. I can also say them in five regional and three foreign languages. And I absolutely relish the power of doing so.

Hail Modi!

Gargi Bhattacharya

Gargi Bhattacharya

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