It all started quite seriously. Nirbhaya was followed by the Shakti Mills incident. Crime and rape were on the rise. Predictably there was no focused government response. We the people decided enough was enough. Change.org changed all that. For a while at least. Mass petitions starting with ‘Dear Rahul’ filled my inbox. Fathers of acid victims appealing for me to sign to demand reform. Sisters of rape survivors livid with the apathy of politicians, seeking amended laws for juvenile delinquents. Public outcry was leading to political change.
Signed petitions were influencing Supreme Court decisions. The aam aadmi was finally speaking up. And crucially, being heard.
Soon I was signing more petitions per day than Brangelina was adopting kids. A bit of a deluge I felt, but every cause was real and heart felt. And mass signatures were clearly helping.
Illustration / Amit Bandre
Then last night I received an email. From Yo Yo Honey Singh. I was so happy, the singer of Lungi Dance was thinking of me. Did he want me to play guitar on his next song? Have me dance at the IIFA Awards in Malaysia along with Ms Nargis Fakhri? Yo Yo talk to me man, I said.
And then I read the mail. Dear Rahul — Two sardar basketball players were asked by FIBA to remove their turbans. Stop this racial abuse.
And I’m thinking, how many Sikh basketball players do we have worldwide that this change might effect? It’s not like LeBron James was Lucky Singh Bhindranwale in an earlier avatar. So if I sign, who will benefit? And how is this something dire? No sardar sports person in this country has ever worn a turban while competing in a sport. Plus it’s not a racist slur. Just a request.
Truly, it is the Indian way to overdo a good thing. Misuse the tool.
Completely reduce this private outreach of public outrage into the banal.
So tomorrow — Dear Rahul, my dhobi is burning my shirts. Sign this petition to stop this ironing injustice.
Dear Rahul — Arnab Goswami reduced me to a bumbling fool on Times Now. I lost an election. I’m sending out a petition for him to be equally mean to Raj Thackeray before the September municipal elections. Signed Rahul Gandhi
Dear Rahul — I think Prithviraj Chavan should be the President of Maharashtra. Let’s vote for him to be so everyone stops making fun of me. Signed Alia Bhatt.
Dear Rahul, I reduced Virat Kohli to a bumbling wreck. And your media is holding Anushka Sharma’s presence in London for this. She may have distracted him but I destroyed him. So I pushed Jadeja, wouldn’t you? Signed James Anderson.
(On another note, the Dutch manager Van Gaal allowed the Netherlands players to bring their wives/women to the FIFA World Cup. See how well they did).
And finally there’s the Ice Bucket Challenge petition.
Dear Rahul, the universe now has complete ALS awareness. But as a result, half of the population has pneumonia. Plus we’ve lost three quarters of our water resources. Please sign this petition so that the next donation drive doesn’t debilitate the world in the process. Signed God.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.