Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The missing National Family finally pieced together!

We are becoming too sensitive. Last week, 8 persons attempted suicide in Rajkot to get the cow declared as Mother of the Nation. (Pls read A few months back, a Shiv Sena MP had demanded the same. (Pls read

This was bound to happen. After declaring Gandhiji as the Father of the Nation, we stopped at that. Didn’t our founders know that Indians are clannish & other national icons should have been so honoured to avoid controversies? With a strong Prime Minister leading a government having a full majority, I request the Government of India to set up a committee and recommend names for the full set of national icons.

To get this going, here are my suggestions for our National Family:

Father: Let’s stick to the venerable MK Gandhi. That there is no other claimant for the position is evidence enough of his universal acceptance.

Mother: I don’t really back the cow for I want real humans. But I don’t want to have people dying on this account. Also, I will never annoy the Shiv Sena. So, Cow gets my vote for as the Rashtra Mata. Also, the cow has never been considered an animal, rather a part of the family, in our rich tradition. It has also taught us to be modest & humble. I remember, as a kid, we used to say "gai humari mata hai, humko kuchh nahi aata hai". It is still the same story.

Chacha: Nehru has occupied this position for a long time & Indians don’t rock the family boat. So, Nehru remains the Chacha.

Tau: I would go for Sardar Patel, simply because he was older than Nehru & Nehru is the Chacha. But at a time when the Jats are not in the best of moods, let us opt for the original Tau of indian politics – Devi Lal. Isn't a Jat being the Rashtra Tau a far greater honour than anything else? We can now hope that the Jats will forget about reservations for a few years. And that the railways will be able to peacefully move men and goods around.

Mausi: If Cow is the mother, shouldn’t Buffalo be the maternal aunt? After all, gai-bhais are always spoken as a pair. Buffaloes, though not revered as the cows, have been an equally integral part of agrarian life. And Mausis have always been an integral part of the family lore. Even Sholay, the first celebration of male bonding, had a Mausi playing a pivotal role in the movie.

Mama: Now this is the most difficult position. Who should be the role model, Shakuni or Kans? But we are selecting a national icon & Kans is definitely not a role model. My vote goes to Digvijay Singh, being the mentor of Rahul Gandhi in his (so far) failed political journey. For all the good intentions backing the wrong horse, shouldn’t this be the only criterion to emulate Shakuni mama? Diggy Raja wins hands down.

Bua: Umpteen no. of movies (the David Dhawan-Govinda ones are recalled immediately) have had a spinster Bua in a key role, who is wooed by the father/uncle of her nephew’s/neice’s love interest. Reminds you of Jayalalitha? Same here, and so it is her as our Rashtra Bua. Whether in prison, or out of it, she is the most sought after neta by the political backroom boys in Delhi.

Didi: This is a no-contest with Mamata Banerjee the only claimant. (If you do not find an image here, you can very well guess why!)

Bhaiya: Only a UPwala can fill this position for obvious reasons! We can consider the Biharis too, but the greatest of them (Laloo Prasad) will never be accepted by the proposed Rashtra Mata & Rashtra Mausi. Since beginning, every street level wannabe politician in UP has aspired to be the CM & every state level neta has considered himself to be a potential PM. A difficult choice, this one, as every UPwala thinks he is a political strategist. But I have the solution! As a national icon, who can match the Chhora Ganga Kinarewala? Even the most bhaiya of bhaiyas would agree.

Beta: Another no brainer. The one who has managed to stay a youth icon even deep into his middle age, the one who is (Congress’s) hope for the future, the one who is still feeling his steps in the world… Can there be any other National Kid?

Beti: Left out because our nation/society/tradition does not love, respect or care for our daughters.

Which completes our Rashtra Parivar, as far as I am concerned. But these are only suggestions from my side. For, I am a nobody & believe our netas are better suited for the job. I am sure, amidst all the walk-outs & sit-ins in the parliament, they will manage to find time for this job in national interest.

Picture credits:

Friday, March 18, 2016

United by Emblems, Divided by Slogans

Bharat Mata ki Jai!! What was the harm had he said this? What was the harm if he did not say this? But Waris Pathan was suspended from the Maharashtra assembly when they all ganged up after being unable to force him to say this. Surprisingly, Waris Pathan did not have any issues in saying Jai Maharashtra or Jai Hind. So, even if he is not a nationalist (as measured by the current political currency), he can't be called an antinational either. Well, he is a true politician!

But let’s not get drawn into the politics of the matter. Having far more important things to do, let us identify a slogan that would be acceptable to all so that we have a uniform measure to assess a person’s nationalism. We will begin with the ones that have been popular till now:

Bharat Mata ki Jai: This has been a universally accepted phrase, till Waris Pathan refused. We have always addressed our nation as “motherland” & Bharat Mata means just that. Maybe, Waris Pathan does not like to equate the nation with mothers. Even Germans do not. Maybe, there are other Indians too who feel the same way, but are less vocal. That mothers are loved while fathers are respected, could be a reason. But a united nation takes everyone along & we may as well drop this one.

Vande Mataram: This was the first litmus test for nationalism issued by BJP. Naturally, parties representing other communities will not accept this. Also, because it originates in a pre-independence day book (Anand Math) that was about a supposedly religious sect, gives it a communal colour for some. And being a Sanskrit phrase, the non-hindi speaking ones may not really like to the same extent.

Hindustan Zindabad: Now, where is this one lost? Not heard it for a long time. Being an Urdu phrase, the hindu right wing elements will associate this with muslims & not support it. And the non-hindu right wing will oppose it for the term “hindu”. Moreover, Hindustan is supposed to be a persianised term for those who lived along the banks of Indus (or Sindhu) river. Now, Indus is no longer in India & Pakistan should be, technically, called Hindustan. Which means, if someone says Hindustan Zindabad, he is actually praising Pakistan. Better terminate this line of thought here, before they come after my blood!!

Jai Hind: Association with Indus river holds true for this one too. But this slogan was given to us by the left leaning (going by the inclination of the party he founded) Subhash Chandra Bose & may not be acceptable to the rightwing or the centrist parties, though they cannot afford to be vocal about it.

Inqalab Zindabad: It has lost its relevance 70 years after we attained independence. Moreover, not to belittle the efforts each person who fought for our independence, we won our freedom through a largely peaceful struggle while this slogan was chanted by the young idealists who had taken up the gun. Of course, this slogan is still used by those in the extreme left of the political spectrum and still dream of a revolution. This is also heard at JNU, and isn’t it a place infested with antinationals?

Now, if the traditional slogans do not work for everyone it is time we looked at a new one.

Jai Bharat is one which immediately comes to mind & even Waris Pathan should not have any issues with this one. After all, I am not a BJP supporter. But Bharat, as a nation, was very different from the one we live in. States south of the Vindhyachal range may not feel the same emotional bond with Bharat. While, those parts of ancient Bharat that are no longer part of India would not be comfortable with this & make it difficult for our PM to drop down for a cup of tea in the neighbourhood. Also, connecting it with the Akhand Bharat doctrine of the RSS, this may not be acceptable to many.

Hail India would have been a safe bet, being an anglicized term for a country shaped by the brits. But this form of salutation has been used in the past by Hitler, and much later by Mogambo. How can we use it & belittle the efforts of Mr. India?

Mera Bharat Mahan is an old slogan that was in vogue in the mid-eighties. That it was pasted on cars & trucks alike is the proof of its wide acceptability & secular credentials. But that would mean crediting Rajiv Gandhi & who would like to do this? Not with someone like Rahul Gandhi being still around!

I think I should give up. This is a difficult task for someone of low intellect like me. We have enough creative brains in this country who can coin far catchier slogans. A lot of awards are also lying unclaimed & we may as well give those to the ones who come up with the best slogans.

Here’s hoping that we come up with a universally acceptable slogan sometime soon, one that will unite us all (like the Ashok Stambha). Or, accept that each one is good enough.
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