Identify them by what they eat and drink: Poha vs Gaumutra, is Poha the new beef ?  

In 2014, the ruling party’s favourite chant was, “Oy anti-nationals, go to Pakistan!” The food you’d be punished for possessing was beef. Beef has now been replaced by Poha and Pakistan with B’desh

Identify them by what they eat and drink: Poha vs Gaumutra, is Poha the new beef ?  

Rupa Gulab

Ever get the feeling that the boffins at ISRO are smarter than we thought and have secretly scooped India out of Planet Earth and plonked it into an alternate universe?

It’s not a very nice universe either: everything reeks of cow dung, we’re fed bullshit and only bullshit, and we’re wary of those complimentary welcome drinks at posh hotels — they could well be Gau Mutra cocktails with tiny replicas of umbrellas used by Hindu kings in ancient India. No, I’m not joking— some posh hotels have dodgy Patanjali products in their minibars! I saw this with my own eyes.

I have felt bemused for over five years now. In 2014, the ruling party’s favourite chant was, “Oy anti-nationals, go to Pakistan!” The food you’d be punished for possessing (or even suspected of possessing) was beef. The punishment was death by lynch mobs.

Oh, and then we had only one prime minister. He proudly announced that “hard work is better than Harvard” as he launched ridiculous schemes like demonetisation that froze our money in banks. He was so pleased with himself that he hummed happy little tunes while beaming at cameras 24x7, wore monogrammed suits and acted out grandiose poems.

A friend suggested that the following poem by Walter De La Mare was probably his favourite: “If I were Lord of Tartary, Myself and me alone, My bed would be of ivory, Of beaten gold my throne.”

Things have changed, now. In 2019, the same ruling party’s favourite chant is, “Oy Termites, go to Bangladesh!” If you’re spotted consuming anything that parochial BJP politicians have never seen in their lives, you could well die in a detention camp. Poha is the new beef, eat it at your own risk. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The real “tukde tukde” gang has butchered Kashmir: it’s not a state anymore, but a union territory. Far more cruel laws have been passed to torment, marginalise and arrest minorities and people who says mean things about this government.

Also, we now have two prime ministers (one official, the other an unofficial ghuspetiya), both of whom are trying to outdo the other in bigotry.

After the next general election in 2024, we will probably have three prime ministers (UP’s Blanket Chor will probably make the cut), but don’t worry about that, because by then, thanks to CAA, NRC and NPR, over 60 per cent of India’s population will be disenfranchised and we will have bigger problems: like how to dig tunnels out of detention camps with flimsy plastic teaspoons.

Meanwhile, it seems the world has just woken up from a Rip Van Winkle slumber and noticed that all is not well in India.

Call me cynical, but I suspect international biggies finally smelt the cow dung only because they have been affected too. Global growth projections had to be slashed, and it was primarily India’s fault (due to our economic slowdown) according to the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist Gita Gopinath.

India plummeted to the 51st position (a fall of 10 places) in the World Democracy Index this year. The Economist Intelligence Unit that publishes the index annually, says India’s slide is mainly because of the “erosion of civil liberties.” Soon, we will be called the world’s largest dictatorship, instead. India was the big story in the Economist too, with the unflattering but true headline “Intolerant India”.

In short, the world is not singing Shaggy’s “Mr Boombastic, tell me fantastic” about the PR-driven India story anymore.

The Lord of Tartary has been exposed as a ruthless tartar, and is universally acknowledged as incompetent at everything else. I gather five years is a long time to fool all the people. Thankfully, some of them have even get degrees in common sense by now.

Now that we’re out on the streets, will we ever get good old India back again? If not, can someone tell the poor labourers building detention centres to hide a few stainless steel teaspoons under the tiles?

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