Rupa Gulab: Ours not a Republic of bananas but possibly a ‘dhokla’ Republic

India is not a Banana Republic. It is a Dhokla Republic run by two bearded men who have got their friendly ‘clean chit’ manipulating government servants on board to help run/ruin the nation

Rupa Gulab: Ours not a Republic of bananas but possibly  a ‘dhokla’ Republic
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Rupa Gulab

I have seen several movies with dragons in my childhood. What I loved best about them was the way they’d snort.

After years of practice, I have almost perfected that snorting technique (I can even do it with special effects like fire and smoke if I stick two lit cigarettes in my nostrils).

These days, I have been snorting every time someone darkly mutters “India has become a Banana Republic,” which is fairly often. Snorting is quite as strenuous as Kapalbhati (note: my yoga skills are far better than the Dear Leader’s), but I have to inform these people that they’re dead wrong:

India is not a Banana Republic. It is a Dhokla Republic run by two bearded men who have got their friendly ‘clean chit’ manipulating government servants on board to help run/ruin the nation. Plus, some retired spineless geezers whose wives have thrown them out of the house during the day to get some peace and quiet.

If terrible things happen in Banana Republics, worse happen in Dhokla Republics. The Dear Leader is like a pesky housefly with compound eyes that can see almost everywhere—yeah, those plastic fly-squatters are a total waste of money.

Also, he’s got expensive spyware that’s classified as a weapon by the Israeli government. So, he keeps one beady eye on his smart phone for selfies, and his other beady eye on our smart phones to see if we’re saying bad things about him. Do you really need any more proof that he’s at war with citizens? There are protests by different groups almost every day, and woo hoo, some of the BJP’s die-hard fans occasionally join in. The ABVP protested against the fee hike at JNU alongside Lefties — their sworn enemies!

There’s a rash of resignations by bureaucrats, among them IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who quit over the denial of freedom of expression to the people of J&K. About 22 senior tax department officers opted for voluntary retirement this year (so far), and around 34 in 2018—they’ve had it up to here with the incompetence of the government. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many ghosts who walk restlessly through the Dhokla Republic these days, and the most prominent among them are a shocked Jawaharlal Nehru and a bemused German pastor called Martin Niemöller.

Like many of India’s public intellectuals and journalists, Niemöller too welcomed the Nazi regime with enthusiasm—he was a proud nationalist who hated communists (sounds familiar?) and was also anti-Semitic. It took him years to fall out of love with Hitler—and that was because he discovered the Gestapo was spying on him! He became a critic and spent seven years in a concentration camp with (bring out your hankies now) the very people he loved to hate. During the post-war years, he spoke about collective guilt for Nazi persecution and crimes against humanity. Here’s a quote that is now on almost everyone’s lips:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Which brings me to a journalist who has praised the Dear Leader non-stop since the run up to the 2014 elections. She had a brief Niemöller moment when her son was stripped of his Overseas Citizen of India card for some vague reason, but we all know it was because he criticised the Dear Leader.

Not such a big deal, he can apply for a regular tourist visa, right? But not fair either, as she rightly cannot stop stuttering. All her OTT adulation eventually amounted to zilch.

You and I can be on different sides of the ideological divide today, but some day, we may meet and bond in one of those wonderful concentration camps the Dear Leader is building.

Chances are, BJP’s favourite one-nation-one-something-or-the-other nonsense would have spread to food by then, so frankly, I’m worried. Dhoklas are okay in moderation, but too much can lead to bloated egos and gas—as the two bearded men have shown us since 2014. Snort!

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Published: 22 Nov 2019, 5:32 PM
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