I’m addressing this to the moderate wing of the BJP, the modern thinkers in the party, frankly to you, Modiji. Please leash your self-appointed moral police, your sanctimonious protectors of ‘decency’ and ‘Indian values’, the repressive hoodlums who reside in your ranks, professing to uphold ‘cultural puritanism’. Their violence is not helping your vision. Their bad-tempered regression is turning your ‘acche din aa gaye’ into some pretty gloomy days.
Illustration / Amit Bandre
You sought the youth vote. You went after the 60 per cent of our population below 24. You promised them a new India. One where they could dream unfettered. They believed you blindly and put you in power. Now your thugs are running riot, ransacking cafés they perceive as ‘dens of vice’. Objecting to ‘kiss of love’ protests. Old fogeyism is hitting new lows.
Not my place to say what’s right and wrong. But I will warn you about today’s young.
This is not a ‘stand and obey’, ‘children should be seen and not heard’ generation. If you want to impose your old-fashioned, strait -jacketed ‘restraints’ on them, think again. Sure, build better roads and interstellar machines that orbit Mars. But I would focus equally on building their confidence.
Go ahead, clean up the streets of India. But first clean up the attitude of this bunch of draconian draculas, seeking to suck the blood out of youthful exuberance.
(You saw what happened to Pramod Muthalik, with the Pink Chaddi campaign, so you know what’s possible.)
So create all the infrastructure you want. But when you curtail intimacy, the gloves are off. And I know you, sir, you really are youth-oriented.
Pull up your socks and pull down the shutters on these ‘activists’. Forget soft targets, get down to some hard ‘rapping on their knuckles’.
This isn’t just living in the Dark Ages, it’s living in the dark.
The forces of protest are gathering momentum.
And it’s not about ahimsa, or ‘turn the other cheek’ or even repressed anger exploding one day. Don’t mistake their silence for weakness.
The young have given you their trust, in return for which you unleashed your reign of terror. They won’t arm themselves with laser guns. Just a laptop, with shared information and a plan of action. A click of a button, a powerful post, a viral video, a passionate tweet. This is a generation that lives in a virtual world.
Once lost, you will never get them back.
So every time your ‘goons’ bring out a lathi, the young will form a WhatsApp group. Every time you throw at them a feeble ‘anti-Western values’ argument, a new Facebook page will appear.
While we may not have an uprising in a city square, there will be a virtual mass movement. And you will not see it coming.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. They will not give you a second chance.
Moral policing will have only one moral at the next election — Youngistan won’t give you the finger. They just won’t put their nail out for you.
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.