Reality Bites: So, what’s wrong in having an ‘Eye’ specialist as Prime Minister ?
How long before MG Roads are renamed as NM Roads, wonders Rupa Gulab
When I first heard that the Sardar Patel Stadium in Gujarat had been renamed Narendra Modi Stadium, I panicked and turned on the news. I was puzzled that bhajans and other dirges were not playing. Mr A, the other Mr A, and Mr T (his favourite cronies) weren’t on TV beating their breasts and wailing, “Who will I call every morning now?” Not a single cosmetologist, hair stylist, fashion designer, Bollywood star, sports star, bigoted troll or journalist was sobbing into his/her hanky and recalling happier times when he generously shared his expensive mushrooms with them.
I gathered (with relief) that the Dear Leader was in the pink of health, pinker than ever in fact because he was modestly blushing at the great honour he had bestowed on himself. And oh, the joys of adding yet another “first” to his name! He is India’s first sitting PM to have infrastructure named after him (these honours are usually bestowed after they kick the bucket), and is following in the footsteps of infamous world leaders like Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein and Kim II Sung, according to reports in the media.
The world is sniggering at the stadium megalomania just like they sniggered at the monogrammed suit he once wore to welcome a US President. A screaming headline in the Financial Times says, “Narendra Modi renames cricket stadium after himself.” Unlike the monogrammed suit that he hurriedly got rid of, I don’t think it’s possible for him to auction the stadium (public property, and all that), but who knows—he’s shocked us before, hasn’t he?
The point to keep in mind is that his megalomania did not end with a monogrammed suit, and it certainly will not end with the largest cricket stadium in the world. I suspect it’s just a matter of time before all the MG roads across India will be renamed NM road. Roads leading off them will be renamed after precious cronies like Mr A, and the other Mr A. Think of the Narendra Modi Stadium as the template.
Unlike others, I am not outraged by his acts of megalomania—I find them vastly amusing, instead. However, the louder I laugh, the sadder I feel. India has become the biggest joke in the world since early this year, thanks to this government. It began when our External Affairs Minister attacked an international pop star for supporting our farmers. It turned to horrified gasps when India’s Heath Minister lied that WHO had certified a Covid-19 medicine created by his party’s favourite quack—WHO was quick to dismiss the claims, why even our timid IMA condemned this lie (the nation is wearily waiting for the current President of the IMA to be sacked). And now the world is rolling with mirth at the sight of our Dear Leader behaving like a tin-pot dictator in a Walt Disney cartoon.
Disha Ravi, the young Indian activist who was accused of helping Khalistani terrorists by editing a harmless protest toolkit on the farm laws, finally got bail after about ten days, and one of the most telling remarks by the Additional Sessions Judge on the bail order was this: “The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of governments.”
Vanity is what drives the Dear Leader. Every day he flies in his fancy new plane to states across the country and inaugurates projects that he had absolutely nothing to do with. As petrol and diesel prices are spiralling in India, think of all the expensive fuel he wastes in the process—not that it worries him because we are paying for it, just like we are paying for everything he fancies from his new house to new beard extensions.
Now that mainstream media is firmly under his control and only flattering articles on him are published, he’s started tackling social media too. Taking off from the grand success of the Sangh Parivar’s barbaric gau rakshaks, the Dear Leader’s ministers are encouraging social media rakshaks to report all those who criticise their government. Freedom of speech is only permitted to those who sing his praises. Soon, everything in the country the Dear Leader looks at from stadiums to tweets will remind him of the man he admires the most. A man his mother will not recognise (if she’s honest).
(Any resemblance to real people or events is a coincidence)