A new lesson in democracy coming soon to schools near you in the form of crappy single-colour badly designed piece of art
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.
My Country is My Home.
32,86,237 Sq. kms.
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!
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