Blessed are the homes that don’t have TV!
And I personally have been feeling that blessedness in the last one month that we disconnected the DTH connection. All that karate practice not withstanding, everyday ‘sky is falling’ premonitions would have surely given the fast middle-ageing me, at least a minor heart attack.
Way back, when Anna sat in Jantar Mantar and Kajriwal was a chaste, dyed in white activist, TV screeched to show us that anyone asking for accountability from elected government was an anarchist. Anna was jailed, cartoonists were arrested and charged with sedition and the country was saved.
When thousands swarmed to Ram Leela, they scared us that the country will be taken over by self righteous, un-elected mobs.
Thankfully, we survived, Anna went back to Ralegan beating boozards and Kejriwal became a hardboiled poiltician.
Then they told us that if Modi became PM, the sky will fall, all of us will die and intelligent, emancipated people will have to leave the country.
Well, Modi did become PM, and we haven’t died, not at least as yet and not a lot of intelligent people left the country though many keep saying they will. TV meanwhile continues with its sky is falling symphony.
Then came the beef story. With all that noise, I started having visions of trident wielding, saffron wearing chaddi-men storming in my house looking for left over meat curry of the last night. Thankfully, I survived. Perhaps they missed my house. Perhaps because it is on the nineteenth floor.
Then came the award wapsi season. The country became so intolerant all of a sudden I thought I too would have to return my degree to save my country. In retrospect, it would have been a smarter idea before IIT and IIM themselves disown me from their alumni lists for not having done anything earth shattering as yet.
But the country lived on and some reverse award wapsi too happened.
And now this freedom of speech vs nationalism issue. Like, evil Brahminical mobs are roaming the streets distributing certificates of nationalism (just as every election season, certificates of secularism are handed out and withheld) beating anyone who doesn’t wear a khaki short.
The sky is dark, the outlook grim. The sky is falling and we all are dying. Like yesterday.
They don’t teach this in management schools but fear sells more than sex.
Don’t use Fair and Lovely? You will die an ignored, unemployed virgin.
Don’t use Complan/Farex/Cerelac/(whatever else)? Your child will shrink down to an unintelligent, weak midget.
Don’t buy a flat in Noida/Crossings Republic? You will have to live and die in rented slums in Pilakhuwa.
Don’t use this magic toothpaste? Your buccal cavity will soon resemble the chopped forests of Mala – all stump, no crown.
Fear is everywhere. They use it to make us buy things and TV is their favorite vehicle.
The point is not denial. Akhlaq’s murder was a crime and should be dealt strongly. Attacks on writers – be it Kalburgi or Tasleema – were wrong and should be punished. Sec 124 is archaic – whether charged on Aseem Trivedi or Kanhaiya. Beating people up on the streets is a crime in IPC.
But the sky is not falling. India has survived far more hate filled oppressors and self glorifying incompetents than we have on display right now. We have also survived foreign rule, emergency, forced sterilizations, Sec 66A and still preserved our voice.
In the end, there are only two questions:
a) Is name-calling Supreme Court verdict (‘judicial murder’) legitimate dissent or contempt of court?
b) Is calling for the destruction and division of country (God willing), acceptable free speech or treachery?