Reality Bites: Old habits die hard…or never do

RSS-BJP think-tanks buzzed with discussions, the main question being, “How to continue to spread Islamophobia in India without being blamed for it?”

A supermarket in Kuwait removed Indian products from its shelves last week after row over BJP spokespersons' blasphemous remarks against Prophet Mohammad
A supermarket in Kuwait removed Indian products from its shelves last week after row over BJP spokespersons' blasphemous remarks against Prophet Mohammad
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Rupa Gulab

By now, even the lizard that lurks on my balcony knows BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s name and is aware that this is not the same Nupur Sharma who works with that BJP rag Op India, although their views are identical. Both are graduates of the Grisly Sanghi University of Hideous Hate and Boundless Bigotry. They received their shiny Dementor medals ages ago.

I’m not going to bore you with a rehash of the outrage from over 15 Islamic countries across the world after Nupur Sharma said what she did on national telly.

All you need to know is that Indian products were pulled off the shelves in some Gulf nations, and public waste disposal units were cheerfully jazzed up with pictures of the Diyar Leader—to add insult to injury, his mugshot was artistically decorated with shoe-prints.

The old man must be scrubbing his eyes repeatedly with Patanjali’s Saundarya soap to get those disturbing images out of his head. This is not the sort of publicity he hankers after.

Also, as journalist Ranjona Banerji astutely pointed out, “India’s two biggest billionaires have massive business interests in some of these countries.” If “Hamare do” suffer, “Hum do” will suffer too, no?

Damage control followed, lip service was duly paid, and the nation was informed in bold typeface that BJP spokespersons have been warned against criticising any religion, its symbols or religious figures. RSS-BJP think-tanks buzzed with discussions, the main question being, “How to continue to spread Islamophobia in India without being blamed for it?”

Then an “aha” moment happened. Cast your mind back to when several countries and global bodies criticised the discriminatory CAA and the Indian government’s human rights violations in Kashmir. External Affairs Minister Jaishankar stamped his tiny little foot and petulantly whined “Maybe we’re getting to know who our friends really are.”

The BJP was inspired to step up the wooing of far-right politicians from across the world. Remember that sorry bunch of MPs from Europe who were sent on a free holiday to Kashmir while India’s MPs were not permitted? We saw photographs of them on shikaras etc, and read gushy tweets saying “All is well”. These are the sort of politicians who are reviled in their own countries by sane people, tut.

So there you go. A quick rummage through the BJP’s jhola of dirty tricks, and some friendly Islamophobic whites were discovered. Enter far right Dutch Opposition MP Geert Wilders on India Today TV.

He sweetly said all the lovely Islamophobic things that BJP spokies are not permitted to anymore (well, till big Gulf countries forget about this incident), and the BJP’s hate propaganda continues seamlessly. Masterstroke!

While this unsavoury drama was playing out, the US Army's Pacific Commanding General Charles A. Flynn said he was alarmed by the defence infrastructure being built by China along its border with India in Ladakh. “And so, much like across all of their military arsenal, one has to ask the question, why? The question comes as to what are their intentions,” he added.

It has fallen on deaf ears, because no apps have been banned to punish China and make it suffer for its actions. Who can forget that after a bloody skirmish in the Galwan valley in 2020, our brave Diyar Leader lied through his dentures and said no one had entered our territory?

Instead of more people being posted to monitor our borders, more people have been hired to monitor social media. The aim is to wipe out the BJP’s diplomatic embarrassment by Islamic countries—far more important than China grabbing our territory.

After a tweet by a BJP IT Cell employee (Vashudev) calling for the “bycott” of Qatar Airways went viral, a Twitter handle (@AhadunAhad11111) created a hilarious video spoof. We saw a dubbed version of the CEO of Qatar Airways expressing concern over Vashudev’s tweet, and imploring him to take back that “bycott” call or else Qatar Airways would collapse.

It contained gems like, “Vashudev is our biggest shareholder with a total investment of six hundred and twenty four rupees and fifty paise. We don’t know how to operate any more. I have grounded all the flights.”

Naturally, the thin-skinned BJP got this Twitter account suspended—they lack the ability to laugh at themselves. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Sigh.

(Any resemblance to real people or events is a coincidence)

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