The feisty ladies of Shaheen Bagh are still out there in full force, urging the government to junk the CAA, NRC and NPR. Every attack on them by the BJP’s pet news anchors on TV and their IT cell on social media seem to make the ladies stronger and far more charming—why, they even sent gracious postcards to dear old Snoopendra, inviting him to tea (a chai pe charcha, if you like) and a dialogue.
Snoopendra did not respond, of course. He forgot that India is a democracy. Also, the word “dialogue” must have terrified him—remember that schoolmate who never ever put up his hand when teachers asked questions in class—he’s like him. He only does monologues—very good only if you’re trying to put a cranky baby to sleep.
Massive Shaheen Baghs have sprung up in other parts of India with women occupying the streets. It’s beautiful to watch! Of course, the women in Uttar Pradesh have had a tougher time. As we know well by now, UP’s chief minister is not a particularly cuddly human being.
Fortunately, all the bad press in international media may have stopped Ajay Bisht from ordering the police to shoot and thrash protestors for a while. The police were ordered to snatch the blankets and food of women who peacefully protested near Lucknow’s Clock Tower late at night instead. Can’t the UP policemen buy their own blankets?
One would think that after weeks of relentless protests across India, a responsible Prime Minister would have stopped to reconsider this Act, but nope. Our Snoopendra is an arrogant man, and he has what he imagines is a fool proof plan: invite a President who is facing an impeachment trial for abuse of power (among other things) to vouch for him.
Yes, US President Donald Trump may finally drop in. This, Snoopendra hopes, will make our jaws drop. In his mind he can hear us saying, “Gosh! Mustn’t mess with Snoopendra. He’s so powerful, even Trump blows his trumpet.” Psst: we won’t be told what concessions India made to get him here, of course.
The Ministry of External Affairs has now put on its event management company hat, so we can look forward to giggles. I have a suggestion for them. Since they called their US event ‘Howdy Modi’, why not call their Indian event ‘Howdah Trump’?
Snoopendra can receive him at the airport on a caparisoned elephant, and the two of them can have a lovely chat on the howdah while inhaling fresh dung as they amble into Delhi. Well, why not? Note to photographers from the media: carry shovels and wear gum boots if you’re following in the elephant’s wake.
While many students won’t be impressed by Snoopendra’s bromance with Trump, I’m not too sure about their lecturers, some of whom are also known as “public intellectuals.”
The question Canadian actor Akshay Kumar really should have asked Snoopendra when he ‘interviewed’ him on TV was not “How do you eat mangoes”, but “How much butter do you like on your toast?”
It’s sad, but India’s public intellectuals desperately want to know how thick to lay it on.
To be safe, they apply artery-clogging lashings of butter when they talk about the man in public. They wring their hands and moan that the bigotry is awful, the lynchings are disgraceful, CAA, NRC, NPR etc are discriminatory and against the secular values enshrined in the constitution, etc, but, even so, they insist that Snoopendra is a creature to be admired because he’s “self-made”.
When historian Ram Guha said this at a Lit fest in Kerala, I wished I were there with a few rotten eggs in my handbag. Will someone gently explain to Guha that bigots (self-made or not) deserve condemnation, not admiration? The good people of Twitter tried, full marks to them.
Guha is not alone. There’s a group of public intellectuals who pretend that no matter how bad things are, nothing is Snoopendra’s fault. Other people must be blamed, particularly people who are not in power. Isn’t it weird that they insist on spreading this nonsensical and dangerous “There is no alternative” narrative?
Anyway, with all that butter being generously applied, it’s no wonder that Snoopendra is as greasy as a pakoda and slippery as hell too!