Since 2014, we have come across a shocking change in our political vocabulary. Shocking, mostly because a majority of the words which have been coined during this time have negative connotations. We still were reeling under the pressure of ‘demonetisation’, ‘notebandi’, ‘mob-lynching’, ‘anti-Romeo squad’, etc., when words with new connotations came into being as the election season began in 2019.
The word ‘Chowkidar’, as we knew it, will not be the same as now the word ‘chor’ is often attached to it. ‘Jumla’ is yet another word which has acquired a negative meaning. ‘Surgical strikes’ has lost its sanctity and secrecy as in the past, when it was used just for covert military operations. But now, the frequent use of the word has given it a whole new meaning. ‘Balakot’, which is a place, is now associated with politics, thanks to its frequent use in election speeches.
The word ‘Nyay’, meaning justice, is now more associated with the Congress’ Minimum Income Guarantee programme. The word ‘anti-national’, which was seldom used, is now used very frequently to condemn anything or anyone who questions the government. Then, there comes the word ‘urban naxal’, which is now a dreaded word, if you consider yourself as an advocate of human rights or the rights of the downtrodden.
The media is also not unaffected by the new vocabulary. Journalists have a new name now. Any journalist you wants to deride, you can comfortably call him/her a ‘presstitute’.
Then there comes the more specific and quirky expression like, ‘expiry Babu’ with Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee using the term for PM Modi. How could PM Modi lag behind? He coined another word ‘speed-breaker Didi’ for Mamata Banerjee in response.
Well, words like ‘vikas’ and ‘achchhe din’, which were coined as an election ‘promise’ by the BJP in 2014, have acquired a negative meaning and were ridiculed on social media. Last, but not the least, is ‘Sankalp Patra’ and ‘Maafinama’, used on Monday as the BJP released its manifesto and the opposition retaliated saying that they should release a ‘maafinama’ (apology) instead of a ‘Sankalp Patra’ (resolution document).
There may come a volley of some more such words which won’t remain the same once they are coined for a specific meaning during these elections. Let’s just hope that these words do not have polluting connotations and are more inclined to positivity and hope.