Welcome to a week of outrage in today’s India. Here are your subjects. Beef banned in Maharashtra and now Haryana. Jerry Seinfeld show cancelled in Mumbai. Nun raped in Bengal. Church desecrated in Haryana. The Aam Aadmi Party. Crops destroyed by unseasonal rain and hail. Sharad Yadav makes some incomprehensible remark about the colour of women’s skin. In today’s India, guess which we outrage about the most?
You know of course. The winner is Sharad Yadav and the loser by a long shot is the unseasonal rain. Because politicians are not just our society’s most incomprehensible incontrollable components, they are also our easiest targets. Sharad Yadav doesn’t care what city dwellers think of him, much less women. He has a well-maintained thick skin. He didn’t care when he argued against the Women’s Reservation bill with the unique defence that legislatures would be overrun by short-haired women. Why should anyone imagine he’d been bitten by some gender equality bug now?
Janata Dal (U) leader Sharad Yadav could be the one subject we outrage about the most in India. File pic
The ban on beef has upset everyone from gourmets to secularists plus all the in-between groups. Presumably those who knew that the promised “good days” applied to those who were subscribed to the save-Hinduism policies are very happy. They don’t care about the rights of those who eat beef whether they are Muslims, Christians, Dalits, foreigners, fallen Hindus or people who like their steak and beef chilly fry. Their aim was clear: save the cow from all those types of people mentioned above. In fact, they have been so successful that the word beef is often beeped out of TV serials and films.
The cancellation of the Seinfeld show hurt a small urban English-speaking group. But the reasons for the cancellation no parking permission should actually hurt everyone for its bureaucratic idiocy, if true and lack of imagination, if not. We have never stopped being told that Mumbai is on the verge of becoming a world-class city. And for some inexplicable reason, many people continue to believe it. I would provide a Hollywood test. Only after you have been hit by a global warming storm that freezes the city, attacked by Godzilla and by aliens do you qualify as world class. New York, take a bow.
The fights within the Aam Aadmi Party have provided much entertainment to all. At best, it can be seen as a joke. At worst, the destruction of the hopes and dreams of the common man who was looking for an improvement on what other political parties had to offer. As the people who believed in “good days” but didn’t interpret that, as a ban on beef and humour will tell you, all good things might possibly come to those who wait forever. This includes old age and death presumably.
The desecration of a church and the rape of a nun must have a nuanced response in the new India of the “good days”. Only, as we have often been told, if you are an evil secular anti-Hindu person would you actually even pay attention to such things much less believe them. India is under the grip of a Vatican conspiracy to defame Hindus. It is also under the grip of an Islamic conspiracy to defame India, under the guidance of said secular people. If the nun actually got raped, how sad, but how come you never protest when Hindu women are raped. As for the church, do you have any idea how many Hindu temples have been destroyed.
That leaves the weather. However the consequences of the weather rarely bother us. Farmers, oh dear, how sad, yawn. Climate change is another matter and who can understand what it means anyway. Any talk about possible damage to the environment makes it clear that you are an anti-progress, anti-development, anti-growth anti-India foreign NGO type person who should be jailed for treason immediately.
What are the odds that next week in today’s India is not going to be much different?
Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on twitter @ranjona
J. Jayalalithaa passes away: Her life in pictures
Photos: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt at an awards show
Photos: Big B, Iulia Vantur at Himesh Reshammiya's album launch
Photos: Aamir Khan with 'Dangal' actresses at fashion show
Spotted: Twinkle Khanna, Shriya Saran at an event in Mumbai