#Politics #Society Opinion

Revealed: The Two Chogas of Indian Politics

(Illustration by Rajat Goel)

A political commentator-turned-fashion designer, by the name Vyangya Shah has come up with two exclusive designs that, he promises, can get any political party the winning vote-bank in the Indian masses. The designs were showcased by Shah at the National Fashion Week. While fashionistas were left puzzled over what was going on, Shah has succeeded in garnering bouquets and brickbats aplenty from “Indians” in general—which, he says, was his “primary objective”.

At 12 in the noon when Shah’s show started, there were no models or ramp scorchers to be seen. Instead, on the stage was Shah himself with two curtained mannequins standing one each beside him. At his count of three, A. R. Rahman’s Oscar-winning number “Jai Ho” began to blare from all directions and set the tone for the display of Shah’s “national designs”. With the excitement set and curiosity at its peak, all that the audience got to see in the name of “fashionable items” were, as Shah himself calls them: “the two chogas of Indian politics”. Mannequin 1 wore a long choga in Khadi with the right palm up and facing the audience. Mannequin 2 was dressed in a similar attire but, unlike its counterpart, held a big lotus flower in its right hand. Further, mannequin 1 had “SECULARISM” written in bold letters over its garment; the garment adorning mannequin 2, on the other hand, cried out, “DEVELOPMENT”.

What followed next was a long speech from Shah that went on, unopposed and unhindered, probably for the “little political relevance” of the audience present at the venue. The whole speech was recorded by media channels. Here it is, for NTMN readers:

Friends, Indians and countrymen! What you see here might be low on the aesthetic value one expects on this stage. But believe me when I say, on the national level, they are a lot more than that. These carefully-created chogas are enough to get your voters head over heels for you, making up for all wrong, all malice, all misconduct you have ever, or will ever, commit in your lifetime. Besides, if the scene in our country’s system is anything to go by, you need to wear only one of these at a given point in time, and things will always be in your favour. That seems to be the thumb-rule in this part of the world. I shall now explain why I say what I say.

MANNEQUIN 1: A lot has been seen, heard and talked of the party in power right now. The ConGreat-led UPA government has, in recent times, ended up making a bigger fool of themselves than ever before. The 2G spectrum scam, the CWG scoop, Adarsh Society scandal and the list goes on… every now and then we see a new feather being added to the government’s cap. The ConGreat party’s “able and highly credible” leadership at the centre is only an icing on the cake. I can barely tell you how stupid I feel right now saying all this. Stating the obvious, that too on national television, is not really the coolest thing to do, you see.

But the point is, none of this brouhaha is a recent phenomenon. Rome was not built in a day; the same holds for scandalous happenings. Yet, the ConGreat party has been voted to power 2 times in a row now. Do you know, why?

My mannequin 1 here answers it for you. In a country where emotions outweigh science, all you need to build a zillion years of blind trust with people across the country, are two things: 1) their favourite surname, 2) the “secular” image. So what if you do not justifiably use your power, so what if you are a weak, misguided leadership, so what if you are wasting your time that should have been used in dealing with burning issues in looking after things as worthless as internet censorship, or scrapping exams etc, so what if you come across as an utter disgrace in the name of “national development”—that, in spite of the position you have been raised to—you still are loved for the secular IMAGE that you, or maybe your ancestors, won in people’s eyes. And guess what, that is all what matters.

Illustration: Rajat Goel

Not getting deeper into the way we voters are fooled in this country, I’ll conclude my demonstration of mannequin 1 on this note—the choga of secularism works wonders in the electoral schema, no doubt. But, you cannot escape the criticism that comes your way when your inactivity and worthlessness begin to come out too strong to handle, into the picture. This is precisely the reason why in spite of all the love it gets, in spite of the gimmicky marketing strategies it devises, in spite of the mighty surname that matches with that of the Father of the Nation in its backing, the ConGreat party is being cursed and abused by almost all today. Because there is NO DEVELOPMENT. So yes, that way, this choga designed by me isn’t really the most infallible one. It isn’t criticism-proof, not debate-proof too. BUT, it will still help you stay in the race as the longest running horse ever. This is the nation where people know that you are useless, they are really upset with you, but feel helpless when it comes to casting their vote on the election day. They feel they do not have a lot of options, when the children of a man who shook hands with them some time in the 1980s, are alive and begging for votes. Even if these children in question are a total disgrace in the name of “able leaders” or even speakers, for that matter. And thus the hand with it palm-face up becomes a tight slap on our faces, hands down. That, my dear friends, is how strong this cloak is.

BUT, it hardly is any competition for the cloak that my mannequin 2 is wearing here:

Illustration: Rajat Goel

MANNEQUIN 2: Undoubtedly the more protective of the two, you can always—and that really means ALWAYS—use it as a shield for yourself. Hundreds of innocent people got killed in riots in a state under your supervision? Has your state witnessed one of the worst forms of communal violence and discrimination to have ever taken place in the country? Still never did anything for the victims? Been in the middle of controversies ever since, including those centred around suppression of witnesses? Is a major part of your state’s population living in sub-human conditions—sans good food, water, shelter or education—as a marginalized strata, well, possibly because of their religion? All of these aside, are the tribal minorities too not worthy of your mighty concern and attention? To sum it all up, are you a biased leader? Yes? No worries! This cloak called DEVELOPMENT can help you actually compensate for all such malice and controversies!

Tie up with industrialists, bring forth some new constructions… roads, industries, schools or whatever… schemes named this and that to symbolize your work in the direction of providing more employment and facilities and the like; my dear friends, you might or might not be surprised to hear, that all of this can actually cover up for your atrocities to humankind, or if I better be more subtle to not draw any attention that could be fatal, for your ‘lack of interest’ in your state’s strewn-apart peace and order. You know why? Because: This is a country that would never admit, but in reality is not as secular as it claims to be. Thus, the Hindu groups do not mind that their Muslim fellows suffered at the hands of one Mr. Narendra Modi. Some even have the audacity to ask them to “leave the bad days behind” and take pride in the present state of their state—fondly called, “vibrant Gujarat”. So what if Mr. Modi has still not steered clear of the ghastly charges upon him; so what if the developmental model he and his able party in the backing—the “Hindu Janta Party” (HJP)—clearly use as their favourite propaganda, is still a widely debated and questioned one; so what if he has taken forward a state that was already on the rise before he entered the scene, he is still, in spite of all, in the eyes of most Indians, the most fair and honest leader, their favourite politician and the “undisputed best” Prime Ministerial candidate.

Do you realize now, how strong the choga my mannequin 2 here stands wearing, is? I may say more on this… err… example, but need I? I don’t think so.

Hence the picture is clear. Secularism or Development—just one of these is enough to strengthen the roots of your existence in this nation’s system for an eternity. The funny part is, they still don’t have to be real! I took two perfect examples to prove this fact, and I am sure, by the end of this speech I will be hated by one and all. Half the people would want to burn my effigies for the way I cited the first example, and the other half would want to burn me alive for my choice of the person to attack. More so since the bone of contention of my talk today circled around two opposition parties of our political architecture. To them all I wish to say, suit yourself. For all of you are as much hypocritical as the able men or women I mentioned here. I have sustained enough silence of the intelligence so far, but, no more. To make the youth speak, I had to take up this initiative. I want you, if you’re listening to me, to accept why you do what you do, and why you don’t do what you ought to do. Curse me, call me a fool, counter-attack my points, fine, all I want is that you come out, discuss and debate upon these issues, because that is the only way to at least instigate change.

Till that happens, mannequin 1 would continue surviving each time with their false claims, and mannequin 2 would continue escaping the brunt they ought to bear for their misdoings. But the bottom-line remains, they will all remain mannequins after all… emotionless, unchanging, shameless and inhuman.

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  • This article does NTMN a disservice.
    It sets the imaginary wrongs of the BJP against the actual wrongs of the congress and then proceeds to do ‘equal-equal’.
    The author should look for the facts behind gujarat riots before making audacious claims that ‘riots are being covered by the cloak of development’. http://www.gujaratriots.com/ is a good place to start. The ‘gujrat riots’ cottage industry has been fuelled by the congress and it’s paid media lackeys for ten years, but finally people are beginning to see through it.

    Equal-equal is congress/commie propaganda designed to deceive voters and discourage them from voting. Unfortunately this article is a good example of that.

  • @Saurabh: It is unwise to think that I would have written this article without doing any research. As a matter of fact, having one website as the reference source in this matter is not the best thing to do, as everybody has his or her own opinions to say, you never can trust any one as the rightest person or website. Hence, I have gone through multiple websites by different people and then stated what I stated.
    I have not done an equal-equal here. In fact, both the sides are on the extreme end, cannot be defended. I wonder how pro-modi Indians defend him still, plain fanaticism I say. I do not support any one party, so please do not accuse me of using Congress or any other party’s propaganda. Had it been the case, the opinions about Mr. Modi would have been a lot stronger and critical. Talking about facts, you too may look for them. The point I have raised is nothing new.

    • how can you forget 1984 riots….. nd call congress secular or this so called English media feels suffering of a particular religion …..

  • Lol congreat party xD 😛
    What a piece. Equally good illustrations.
    All kurta-clads are the same. Throwing dirt is their fav. job and they are best at it sadly.
    They buy a new one every election eve and dump it as soon as the EC asks them too.

    Lesson: Go for Nirdaliya folks only if they are your BROs. :p

  • @Ankit: BROs. 😛
    Hmm. Although my intention here wasn’t to cast them all in one mold, that has been done plenty of times already. I only wanted to present one side each of two separately talked about issues together, under one umbrella and then see what people seem to think about it… a political opinion that isn’t biased. Fortunately, the post didn’t get much response, else I know what the outburst would have been like… by the pro-modi people, that is. 😛

  • Brilliant one 🙂 Specially liked the lines where u wrote about HJP and Modi being the undisputed favorite leader ; Also loved the term Con-Great ; Your posts always have a great spark ..keep going :):)

  • this is bakwas…congress is not secular…as in case with bjp, at least it does not hide its intentions,but 10 years after gujrat, we need to move on see whats more important for us, a government which siphons off our money and deposits it in swiss bank( forbes today declared sonia gandhi 4rth richest politician in the world) or the progressive narendra modi, secular than anyone nitish kumar, shivraj singh chauhan etc..we can have true knowledgwe obout ourselves only after we know our true history, not those restricted to school textbooks…and once one becomes enlightened, he/she cannot ever vote or support congress…bjp is the only option and a neccesary medicine according to time….

  • and yes, there is no one leader in india who is futuristic, forward looking and a visionery, except namo…so plz stop misleading people…

    • @Ashutosh: I will not comment on your political beliefs, as everyone has their own point of view. Personally, first of all, I do not think that admitting your wrongs means correcting your wrongs, with reference to: “at least it does not hide its intentions,but 10 years after gujrat, we need to move on see whats more important for us”. Well, ask those who are living secluded lives in the state, who have seen their loved ones die in front of their eyes that what is important or what isn’t. Secondly, when did this happen that they stopped hiding their intentions, or not admitting them? I don’t know what makes you think so, but Mr. Modi is till date struggling to project himself as secular… and one is forced to struggle to portray an image only if it isn’t his.

      Thirdly, I never commented upon whether Congress is secular or not. On the other hand, just like a Modi-supporter may say that it is a better option of all, a Congress-supporter will say that Congress is at least more secular.

      Fourthly, this article is not biased to project support for any one party, I hope you all noticed this. My point wasn’t to argue who is what, my point was that everybody is basically living and trying to sustain with an IMAGE powerful enough to cover up all malice or inefficiency behind it. And that goes for both the parties alike, in this article.

      Fifthly, I am not misleading people. I can’t. But I am entitled to an opinion, as are you. 🙂

      When I wrote this article, I knew not many people will “like” it, many will curse me too, ‘coz there still is a long way to go before we rise from our favoritism and think of the nation and ALL our fellow countrymen alike, not people. If you noticed, if I have talked of Modi’s blind supporters, I have mentioned those who still vote for someone because he belongs to Rajiv Gandhi’s lineage. But, you only chose to call the article bakwas for the things it said about Mr. Modi. Which further exemplifies what I say.

      Thanks a lot for dropping by. 🙂

    • Thanks Ningning. Modi crazy or not, I wanted to comment on the worst of both parties, which I did. Glad some of you could appreciate it.
      Thank you.

  • Beautiful piece of writing…honest and to the point…but I don’t think it is doing its job…a lot of comments supporting a party shows that may be another 50 years will be needed to get rid of this blind-support tendency.
    Bros, try to understand this article! It has got a much deeper message.

    God bless 🙂

    • I wish to thank you for not showing your political bias in your feedback, Farhan. Glad that you could see that the attack of this article is not just on the politicians, but ourselves too. People who hero-worship blindly, people who are not as secular as they might pretend to be, people because of whom the main agenda today has reduced to subjects far apart from development of the nation as a whole.
      Thanks again.

  • I do not agree with your opinion of projecting congress as more secular as they our country have many communal riots in their rule especially 1984 riots, where they were killing shouting ‘khoon ka badla khhon’. You cannot neglect Modi after progress the state have seen in last 10 years. If he was a communal, the state would have witnessed more riots during this period. And if we talk about the testified blunders and scams, Congress+ has a long list of that while there is a little in the pocket of BJP. So I believe you cannot use the term ‘equally’.

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