How Modi's India spawned the neo-bigot age

Unfortunately, a democracy is only as good as the quality of dissent it allows.

 |  6-minute read |   28-02-2017
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Remember the yuppies (young urban professionals), then the dinks (double income, no kids), well, we in Bharat that is India have our own spanking category - the neo-bigots.

As we segue in a new post-truth fake news world, complete with reality reduced to a WhatsApp forward and systematic attempts to reduce the meta credibility of the media, even celebrities turns troll to attack a 20-year-old daughter of a martyr for the "anti-national" crime of protesting the violence of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Cricketers, such as Virendra Sehwag, actors such as Randeep Hooda and Ajay Devgn use the bully pulpit of their celebrity status to attack common citizens. A whole minor chorus of D grade wannabes stands ready to wade into public issues, such as CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani who is singlehandedly upholding "sanskar" for India and Ashoke Pandit, ever ready to shout down any dissent.

Others on this "patriots" list ready to shove down their view down your gullet include actor Anupam Kher of the intolerance march fame and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri.

The new bigotry has opened the flood gates to things which were considered unmentionable in civilised society. The neo-bigots may be utterly ignorant but they make up for ignorance by vociferous insistence on their dog-whistle issues.

The neo-bigots are malleable - earlier they were anti-corruption crusaders, howling for people to be sent to jail, doing "chai pe charcha" over the return of our "kala dhan", talking of the trillions in corruption uncovered by the non-caped crusader Comptroller & Auditor General Vinod Rai.

Three years down after "Ram Rajya" has been ushered in the "Delhi sultanate", I have to sadly report that Robert Vadra has not been frog-marched to jail, none of Rai's fantastical audit fantasies has panned out witness the telecom auction, and none of us has got the Rs 15 lakh promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi into our bank accounts.

So is the neo-bigot disenchanted? Not a bit. As long as it's all for the greater good of "56 inches", he's flexible.

As a great leader, General VK Singh has led from the front, setting the tone by calling Dalits "dogs" as behove a thought leader laying down the tone of India's conversation with itself.

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Neo-bigots now want to take up actual core issues - Muslims, Dalits and women, who all need to be shown their rightful place. Photo: Reuters

This has sent the neo-bigots into paroxysms of delight. Finally it's time for them to fling off the "mukotha" of development and all that nonsense and be true to themselves.

No more dog-whistles. They now want to take up actual core issues - Muslims, Dalits and women who all need to be shown their rightful place.

And if it needs "fake encounters", fine and dandy. The neo-bigot will roll up their sleeves and step in. It's all in the service of the nation, unlike the "libtards" who've destroyed the country through "sickularism".

And it's so much fun to wrap yourself in the flag while flogging Dalits in Una in Gujarat while also filming them. Told you loud and proud.

After all we have the neo-bigot diet rules on the statute now. And, "gau rakshaks" will soon be a symbol of "Bhartiyata". What do you mean extrajudicial killings? How can you ask questions? It's not "good culture" as our junior minister for home Kiren Rijiju ordered us on the new terms of democratic engagement after the Bhopal fake encounter, when eight undertrials were gunned down in cold blood.

Rijiju also thinks that to protest against ABVP violence is "pollution". So 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur is bullied into withdrawing from the DU campaign and it must be such vindication for the machismo of those who led the rape threat mob against her.

Just to be clear, no action will be taken against the men who made public rape threats against her.

The neo-bigots are doers - they have no time for tiresome detail like due process, rule of law and irrelevant media and democracy. They know that all undertrials should be gunned down, more pellet-guns should be used in Kashmir, the Dalits ought to carry on doing all the dirty work and be grateful that Amit Shah dines with them.

So what if he leaves them to do the dirty dishes. It's part of our respected "savarna" system. And, if all else fails, you have three-term MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan saying with ill-concealed disdain that why feed terrorists "biryani in jail"? There, he told them, squeal the neo-bigots and Chouhan immediately moves up the scale with the RSS and the neo-bigots.

Not that facts should bother us but, just for the record, no biryani is served in any prison in India.

In fact, Chouhan in his zeal to play to the gallery, banned even eggs in the state, provided in mid-day meal schemes in some of the country's most deprived tribal areas.

So what, say the neo-bigots, eggs are evil, up there with beef. To get a united Hindu samaj, we need to impose a universal food code across India. Preferably sourced from Baba Ramdev who's showing evil multinationals their place with a little help from the government of India.

While we are imposing, say the bigots, let's also impose Hindi and a Uniform Civil Code. After all it's so much fun to see the prime minister showing concern for "poor Muslim women" victimised by triple talaq.

The neo-bigots chortle with glee, rubbing their hands together remembering the Gujarat model when he used to talk about "hum paanch hamarey pachees" and refer to refugee camps for the Muslim riot victims as "baby-producing factories".

The neo-bigot turns nostalgic - those were the halcyon days - "garvit Gujarat", "James Michael Lyndgoh", "50 crore girlfriend", "Dilli sultanate", "news traders" and "paid media".

Modi revolutionised staid boring public discourse by setting an acid saffron agenda. The neo-bigots lapped it up and public life and democracy changed irrevocably.

What do you mean, what about the Constitution? The neo-bigots are planning a "surgical strike on it". And, it won't be a one-day event but a daily systematic assault. See already the Chief Justice of Supreme Court is raising silly objections, saying "you are shutting the doors on justice".

Ridiculous I say, let's get our devout cheerleaders, er, the embedded media, to manage headlines.

Stop whining about channel bans - it's for national security. So what if the government allowed the ISI into an air force base. So while NDTV has been investigated and held guilty, what has the official court of inquiry into Pathankot security lapse revealed?

That's it. Enough of this drivel, "go to Pakistan", says another minister Giriraj Singh and once you arrive, do ask them "what about Malda"?

Our venerable Venkaiah Naidu has already said Modi is an avatar of God and we are blessed to have him. That's it, the last word - the neo-bigots' new bhajan.

Unfortunately, a democracy is only as good as the quality of dissent it allows.

What does that make us?

Also read: Why the Indian democracy is under threat

Writer

Swati Chaturvedi Swati Chaturvedi @bainjal

The writer is a journalist.

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